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  • Author: Mariam Mufti
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The importance of studying the rise of Islamic radicalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot be overemphasized. First, both Afghanistan and Pakistan have experienced serious threats from radical Islamic groups. In Afghanistan, coalition forces led by the United States were successful in overthrowing the Taliban regime after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but since then there has been a resurgence in violence that is being perpetrated by a combination of the Taliban who have regrouped, the Haqqani Network (HQN) and Hizb-e-Islami (HiG). Foreign groups such as al Qaeda are also implicated in the violence. In Pakistan, most of the militant activity has occurred in the frontier region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, known as the FATA. But other parts of Pakistan, especially Punjab, have also been subject to bomb attacks. These attacks have not only targeted Pakistanis but also foreigners, including U.S. government facilities.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Religion, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan
  • Author: Alexander De Juan
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Institutions can contribute to regulating interethnic conflict; however, in many cases they fail to bring about lasting peace. The paper argues that their negligence of intraethnic factors accounts for some of this failure. Ethnic groups are often treated as unitary actors even though most consist of various linguistic, tribal or religious subgroups. This internal heterogeneity is often obscured by overarching collective ethnic identities that are fostered by interethnic conflict. However, when such interethnic conflict is settled, these subgroup differences may come back to the fore. This “resurgence” can lead to subgroup conflict about the political and economic resources provided through intergroup institutional settlements. Such conflict can in turn undermine the peace-making effect of intergroup arrangements. Different subgroup identity constellations make such destructive effects more or less likely. The paper focuses on self-government provisions in the aftermath of violent interethnic conflict and argues that lasting intergroup arrangements are especially challenging when they involve “contested” ethnic groups.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Religion, Governance, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq
  • Author: Alistair MacDonald, Gabriel Munuera Viñals
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The confrontation between Muslim and Christian inhabitants of Western Mindanao, between the 'Moros' and the Philippine State, belongs to that category of 'forgotten conflicts' of which most international relations practitioners are often only vaguely aware. The conflict has historical roots that reach back centuries and has evolved with many twists and turns, culminating in an equally long and no less convoluted peace process. However, this conflict has important international ramifications and is one in which the international community is today actively involved, with facilitating and monitoring mechanisms involving states as well as non-state actors. In particular the European Union has been playing an increasingly important role, including in relation to diplomatic efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the conflict, based on its holistic approach to crises and interaction with European NGOs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Israel, Philippines, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Qamar ul Huda
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The recent desecration of the Koran and Islamic writings caused violent unrest in Afghanistan and raises concerns about essential training in culture and religion for U.S. personnel. Basic knowledge of religious actors and their roles in peacebuilding and conflict management is still barely factored in by policymakers and advisers to U.S. government. There needs more effort by local, regional, and international religious leaders to promote nonviolent and tolerant reactions even in midst of incendiary events. An assessment is needed to evaluate whether efforts at promoting inter-cultural sensitivity are working or not, and identifying processes for mitigating tensions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Religion, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Andrew Walker
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Boko Haram is an Islamic sect that believes politics in northern Nigeria has been seized by a group of corrupt, false Muslims. It wants to wage a war against them, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria generally, to create a “pure” Islamic state ruled by sharia law. Since August 2011 Boko Haram has planted bombs almost weekly in public or in churches in Nigeria's northeast. The group has also broadened its targets to include setting fire to schools. In March 2012, some twelve public schools in Maiduguri were burned down during the night, and as many as 10,000 pupils were forced out of education. Boko Haram is not in the same global jihadist bracket as Algeria's al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or Somalia's al Shabab. Despite its successful attack on the UN compound in Abuja in August 2011, Boko Haram is not bent on attacking Western interests. There have been no further attacks on international interests since that time. Following the failed rescue of hostages Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara in north¬eastern Nigeria in March 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan played up the connections between the group and international terrorism. However, links between Boko Haram and the kidnappers are questionable. It is difficult to see how there can be meaningful dialogue between the government and the group. The group's cell-like structure is open for factions and splits, and there would be no guarantee that someone speaking for the group is speaking for all of the members. Tactics employed by government security agencies against Boko Haram have been consis-tently brutal and counterproductive. Their reliance on extrajudicial execution as a tactic in “dealing” with any problem in Nigeria not only created Boko Haram as it is known today, but also sustains it and gives it fuel to expand. The group will continue to attack softer targets in the northeast rather than international targets inside or outside Nigeria. It is also likely to become increasingly involved in the Jos crisis, where it will attack Christian indigenes of the north and try to push them out. Such a move would further threaten to destabilize the country's stability and unity.Now that the group has expanded beyond a small number of mosques, radical reforms in policing strategy are necessary if there is to be any progress in countering the group. Wide¬spread radical reform of the police is also long overdue throughout Nigeria. As a first step, jailing a number of police officers responsible for ordering human rights abuses might go some way to removing a key objection of the group.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Islam, Religion, United Nations, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Somalia
  • Author: Susan Hayward
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The field of religious peacebuilding has begun to move closer to the mainstream of conflict resolution practice and theory. The 2011 unrest in the Middle East and North Africa—the Arab Spring—reflects ongoing challenges and opportunities for the field. American and European nongovernmental organizations, agencies in the U.S. government, academia, and international organizations—sectors that once held religious issues at a distance or understood religion mainly as a driver of violence—increasingly engage religious communities and institutions as partners in creating peace. Meanwhile, religious organizations that have been involved in creating peace for decades, if not longer, increasingly have institutionalized and professionalized their work, suggesting ways that religious and secular organizations could coordinate their efforts more closely. The U.S. Institute of Peace's own programs on religion reflect the development of the wider field, having moved from research and analysis to on-the-ground programming to foster interfaith dialogue in the Balkans, Nigeria, Israel-Palestine, and Sudan. In addition, it has trained religious actors in conflict management in Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Colombia and developed peace curricula based on Islamic principles for religious and secular schools in Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and elsewhere. As the U.S. field of religious peacebuilding continues to develop, challenges include integrating further with secular peacebuilding efforts, engaging women and youth and addressing their priorities, working more effectively with non-Abrahamic religious traditions, and improving evaluation, both to show how religious peacebuilding can reduce and resolve conflict and to strengthen the field's ability to do so.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Peace Studies, Religion, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Eduardo Posada-Carbó
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: By focusing on its electoral role, this paper revises some of the prevailing views regarding the Catholic Church's impact on the politics of Colombia between 1830 and 1930. To this aim, the paper offers a brief general overview of the Church during the period, in an attempt to locate its sources of power. Then, I look at the place the religious cleavage had in the formation of the party system that emerged in the republic by the mid-nineteenth century. Next, I examine the various ways in which the Church was involved in the electoral process both before and after the emergence of the party system. Finally, the concluding section considers the wider implications that such involvement might have represented for the history of democracy in Colombia. Overall, the paper addresses the following questions: What had the historical role of the Catholic Church been in the politics of Colombia since independence? How did the Church—the hierarchy, the clergy and the laity—relate to the electoral history and partisan divisions of the country? And to what extent did the involvement of the Church in electioneering enhance or hinder the process of democratization over this century?
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Thomas Liles
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: While Adjara's Islamic identity has been in decline, the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) has increased its presence in Adjara's capital Batumi and western lowlands since the 1990s. Today Islam retains a strong presence primarily in the republic's eastern highlands (upper Adjara), specifically in the Khulo district and to a lesser extent in the more rural areas of the Shuakhevi and Keda districts. With financial support from the state, the GOC maintains a growing presence in upper Adjara, and conversions to Christianity in the area are becoming more common. Simultaneously, certain segments of the region's Muslim population express dissatisfaction with perceived state discrimination, mainly resulting from the lack of state funding for local Islamic institutions and the difficulties of legally registering such institutions. With the creation of the new Administration of Georgian Muslims (AGM) in May 2011 and the passage of a new law on the registration of minority religious groups in July 2011, this discontent may well subside. However, it is still too early to tell whether these laws will have a significant effect in upper Adjara.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: President Obama's 2009 Cairo speech and Secretary Clinton's 2012 speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace persuasively argued for policies that promote international religious freedom (IRF), including links to national security, economic development, and democracy promotion, and as an antidote to religious extremism and terrorism. Unfortunately, current IRF policy--in place since 1998 and largely built around the threat of economic sanctions which no administration has been willing to use--is not up to the challenges or the opportunities that President Obama and Secretary Clinton so eloquently identified. To correct that, the White House needs to embrace a leadership role, building an infrastructure and providing the necessary resources for a reinvigorated policy of new tools and strategies to thrive. The need is pressing.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Economics, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael Phillips
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre on Human Rights in Conflict
  • Abstract: The parable of Jesus walking on water occurs in three of the gospels. This parable was used by Imanol Zubero, former Socialist Senator and Basque peace activist, now Professor at the Basque Country University, to describe to me the position of the Catholic Church in Spain today: where once the Church had known how to walk on water and call to the Spanish people to follow it, today the Church has lost its prophetic voice and is in danger of becoming a closed sect. Zubero was referring to the 1970s when the Church played a positive, and widely admired, role in the Spanish Transition to democracy. In this paper I try to account for this change by considering cases from two very different Catholic traditions, Spain and Australia, which have at least one thing in common: in both cases the Church has been accused of responsibility for historical wrong-doing and complicity in human rights abuses.
  • Topic: Civil War, Human Rights, Religion, History, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Australia/Pacific