Commentaries

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Opinion

Morocco's Counter-Terror Approach May Just Keep ISIS at Bay

The North African state has invested heavily in its security infrastructure over the past decade.

Ryan Cummings

22 Nov 2016

Opinion

France Must Move Beyond Security to Tackle Extremism

France must do more to tackle the ideology fuelling extremist violence, not just its symptoms.

Rachel Bryson

18 Nov 2016

Opinion

What Does the Future Hold for Hizbullah After Syria's Conflict?

The Iran-backed Shia militia is on a long and bumpy road from millennial revolutionary zeal to Lebanon’s confessional realpolitik.

Hilal Khashan

17 Nov 2016

Opinion

Balfour Declaration Apology Won't Help Peace in Palestine

The push for Britain to apologise for its commitment to Zionism in 1917 won't help achieve the two-state solution.

Alona Ferber

04 Nov 2016

Opinion

Trump's Unlikely Alliance with Hindu Nationalism

The Republican presidential candidate has struck up relationships with those who share his profound distrust of Islam.

Milo Comerford

03 Nov 2016

Opinion

World Leaders Must Respond to Islamist Extremism

New global polling shows a public crying out for a comprehensive and strategic response to extremism from their leaders, writes Tony Blair.

Tony Blair

28 Oct 2016

Opinion

Is Niger ISIS' Newest Arena in Africa?

ISIS describes the sub-Saharan state as a country where it exerts ‘medium-control,’ placing it in the same bracket as places like Somalia, the Philippines, and Afghanistan.

Ryan Cummings

27 Oct 2016

Opinion

Does Quetta Attack Show ISIS Shifting Focus to Pakistan?

With ISIS claiming a major attack in Quetta, the group may be looking to expand into Pakistan as its 'caliphate' suffers in Iraq and Syria.

Milo Comerford

26 Oct 2016

Opinion

'Coup' Attempt Could Complicate Libya's Fight Against ISIS

A recent move to challenge the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli may reconfigure political alliances in Libya, affecting the battle against ISIS in Sirte.

Rhiannon Smith and Jason Pack

24 Oct 2016

Opinion

The Quiet Loss of Dabiq: A Major Blow to ISIS

As the much-vaunted offensive to wrest Mosul from ISIS control begins, the loss of a tiny Syrian town constitutes another major defeat for the group.

Milo Comerford

21 Oct 2016

Opinion

Why The US Should Not Ignore Hizbullah in Syria

Regardless of whether the Lebanese Shia militia is ‘plotting’ directly against the US or not, the group will instigate greater regional instability if left unchecked.

Ruwan Rujouleh

20 Oct 2016

Opinion

What Comes After the Defeat of ISIS in Mosul?

In the run up to the operation to recapture Mosul from ISIS, the indigenous communities of the Nineveh Plain are the victims of a competition over who controls the region.

Mardean Isaac

14 Oct 2016

Opinion

Is Fighting Extremism in Syria Compatible with Opposing Assad?

Amid another failed ceasefire attempt, Syria's rebels are as enmeshed as ever, with the line between jihadis and moderates blurred. Assad claims to be fighting 'terrorists,' but is it possible to fight the regime and stop extremists shaping Syria's future? Three Syrians have their say.

Oula A. Alrifai, Youssef Sadaki and Ruwan Rujouleh

06 Oct 2016

Opinion

How the New York Bombing Was Inspired by a US Ideologue

Blast suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami wrote in his journal that he was looking for answers. He found them in Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born al-Qaeda propagandist who died in 2011.

Mubaraz Ahmed

23 Sep 2016

Opinion

The One Thing Donald Trump Can't Build a Wall Against

Muslim immigrants don't bring terrorism – ideology does.

Mubaraz Ahmed

23 Sep 2016

Opinion

What You Need to Know to Understand al-Shabaab

Three years on from the Westgate mall attack, a deep dive into one of the least understood factors in the resilience of Somalia's al-Qaeda affiliate.

Peter Chonka

21 Sep 2016

Policeman outside the Ouagadougou hotel attacked by al-Qaeda-linked jihadis in January 2016.

Opinion

How ISIS is Challenging al-Qaeda in West Africa

A recent attack in Burkina Faso's Sahel region was the first formally claimed by an ISIS-aligned group in an area dominated by those loyal to al-Qaeda.

Ryan Cummings

15 Sep 2016

Opinion

Why Syrians aren't Holding Their Breath for the Ceasefire

Until we have a truce that can secure a political settlement and provide an answer to what happens to Syria's extremist groups, the bloodshed is likely to continue.

Ruwan Rujouleh

14 Sep 2016

Opinion

Saudi-Iraqi Tensions Should be a Wake-Up Call on Sectarianism

ISIS has shown that localised sectarian tensions can give rise to global terrorism, and that marriages of convenience can come back to bite us.

Emman El-Badawy

09 Sep 2016

Opinion

Burkini Bans: Why France Is Giving Iran A Run For Its Money

Extreme secularism in France looks no different to extreme Shia ideology in Iran. This move towards the extremities should concern everyone who wants to uphold liberal values.

Ruwan Rujouleh

26 Aug 2016

Opinion

Burkini Bans Will Only Help ISIS

The sight of four armed men forcing a woman to remove her clothes on a French beach propagates the extremist narrative that the West is at war with Islam.

Alona Ferber

26 Aug 2016

Opinion

Why Children Are Crucial for ISIS

ISIS recruits children of a young age, indoctrinating them to its violent practices, and exposing them to venomous ideology.

Rachel Bryson

24 Aug 2016

Opinion

After Sirte, What's Next for ISIS in Libya?

The operation to retake Sirte from ISIS looks set to oust the jihadis from the coastal city. After that loss, what future does ISIS have in the North African state, which, until recently, was touted as its main hope for the future amid defeats in Syria and Iraq? Three analysts have their say.

Jason Pack, Ruwan Rujouleh and Nadav Pollak

17 Aug 2016

Opinion

The Tragic Role of Women in the ISIS 'Caliphate'

Kadiza Sultana, who left London to join ISIS aged 16, is believed to have died in Syria. She did not get the chance to return to her family, but perhaps her story will save more girls like her.

Rachel Bryson

12 Aug 2016

Opinion

Leadership Struggle Reveals Boko Haram's War of Ideologies

ISIS has announced a new leader for its Nigerian affiliate. The response of the sect’s notorious leader Abubakar Shekau indicates a split over where the group aims its violence.

Ryan Cummings

05 Aug 2016

Opinion

A US-Russia Deal in Syria Would Maintain a Bloody Status Quo

The Assad dictatorship would cling onto power.

Ruwan Rujouleh

04 Aug 2016

Opinion

ISIS Imports Sectarianism to Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s 'long war' is entrenched and intractable, but unlike conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon it has not been characterised by a Sunni/Shia divide – ISIS want to change that.

Milo Comerford

29 Jul 2016

Opinion

Jabhat al-Nusra's Split from al-Qaeda: Pragmatism or Ideology?

The move indicates significant change for a group originally set up by ISIS, at the time al-Qaeda's Iraq affiliate, but it does not mean a change in its Salafi-jihadi ideology.

Ruwan Rujouleh

28 Jul 2016

Opinion

A Year After Jerusalem Pride Attack, Rhetoric Remains

In the lead-up to Jerusalem's LGBT Pride parade, religious figures have repeated the extremist rhetoric that led to murder last year.

Alona Ferber

22 Jul 2016

Opinion

A Decade of Declining Peace

The tenth edition of the Global Peace Index finds that levels of terrorism and conflict have risen, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.

Murray Ackman

18 Jul 2016

Opinion

How Do We Defend Against the Terror that Struck Nice?

'Lone wolf' and small-cell terror attacks are hard to predict, and to prevent. But we can protect ourselves by taking on extremist thinking.

Peter Welby

18 Jul 2016

Opinion

Strategies Shift in the Battle for Aleppo

Fighting over a vital supply line to the Syrian city points to changes in Assad's policy against rebels.

Ruwan Rujouleh

14 Jul 2016

Opinion

The Saudi Approach to Returning Jihadis

Hundreds of Saudi ISIS fighters have come home from Syria and Iraq. Three attacks in Saudi Arabia this week highlight the threat extremists pose.

Najah Al-Osaimi

07 Jul 2016

Opinion

Turkey's Twin Terror Threat

Turkey is at war with extremism on two fronts, religious and political. Denouncing this terrorism is not a sufficient response to the challenge the country faces.

Ed Husain

01 Jul 2016

Opinion

The Shadowy Ties Between ISIS and Boko Haram

Is the reported collaboration between the two Salafi-jihadi groups nothing more than a public relations exercise?

Ryan Cummings

30 Jun 2016

Opinion

Turkey Needs Our Solidarity and Support

Turkey faces twin terror threats and is a victim of regular violence. It does not need to be scapegoated, ostracised or criticised in the aftermath of the Istanbul airport attack.

Mubaraz Ahmed

30 Jun 2016

Opinion

Will Islamists Ride the Wave of Muslim Democracy?

Tunisia’s Ennahda party recently announced it was separating religion and politics. Islamists are in two minds about whether this can work.

Ruwan Rujouleh

23 Jun 2016

Opinion

After Orlando: Lone Attackers and ISIS Propaganda

ISIS was quick to claim responsibility for the 49 people massacred in an LGBT nightclub. But reports about the gunman show how lone attackers can undermine ISIS' propaganda efforts.

Adam Hoffman

17 Jun 2016

Opinion

Winning the Argument Against Jewish Extremism

The key lesson of the fight against violent Islamism must be applied to Jewish radicals too: Insider religious and right-wing Jewish voices are key to dissuading their descent into violence.

Alona Ferber

17 Jun 2016

Opinion

Hizbullah Under Fire in Syria

May’s assassination of a senior Hizbullah commander, apparently by Syrian rebel groups, demonstrates the growing threat the group faces from fellow Arabs and Muslims.

Matthew Levitt and Nadav Pollak

09 Jun 2016

Opinion

The Fall and Rise of Extremism in Bangladesh

With a spate of Islamist murders drawing attention to Bangladesh, Lailufar Yasmin asks whether a polarised debate on the role of religion in society is leaving space for extremism to flourish.

Lailufar Yasmin

07 Jun 2016

Opinion

The Cost of Extremism in Israeli Politics

Violent extremism in Israel and Palestine takes many forms. The Israeli government and the international community must work to address it if the peace process is to succeed.

Sara Yael Hirschhorn

03 Jun 2016

Opinion

What the Taliban's New Leader Means for Afghanistan

Haibatullah Akhunzada's appointment as leader of the Taliban may put stress on the movement, but is unlikely to dampen its insurgency.

Milo Comerford

26 May 2016

Opinion

Islamism and Jihadism: A Difficult Conversation

There is not a direct progression from political Islamist aspirations to the jihadi violence of ISIS. But there is an overlap that we cannot shy away from.

Mubaraz Ahmed

20 May 2016

Opinion

How Sharia Jurists Influence East Ghouta Rebel Infighting

Recent deadly clashes in the Damascus suburb illustrate the role local religious bodies play in the civil war.

Ruwan Rujouleh

17 May 2016

Opinion

Between Hammer and Anvil: The Druze Dilemma in Syria

Five years into the bloody civil war, much of this tiny minority in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel sees the Assad regime as the least of all evils.

Yusri Hazran

13 May 2016

Opinion

Simmering Passover Tensions at the Temple Mount

Analysis of media coverage in the lead-up to the Jewish holiday showed Islamist and Jewish activists reiterating claims to the holy site - and far more coverage of the issue in Palestinian news sources.

Rachel Hoffman

10 May 2016

Opinion

How Elections in the Philippines Will Affect the Peace Process

The US and Manila’s other allies support a firm resolution to the separatist war over Mindanao, but will Islamist militant groups like Abu Sayyaf scupper talks under a new president?

Patricio Abinales

06 May 2016

Opinion

Embattled Aleppo, a Microcosm of Syria

The dynamics of the fighting that has raged in the Aleppo suburbs for weeks could easily replicate elsewhere.

Ruwan Rujouleh

05 May 2016

Opinion

The Caliphate as Geopolitical Challenge

Until ISIS declared its so-called caliphate in 2014, this Islamic theological term barely raised flags for the West.

Jacob Olidort

28 Apr 2016

Opinion

Jihadis Inch Towards the South Caucasus

Recent attacks in Dagestan point to an increased Salafi-jihadi presence near the Azerbaijan border.

Rafael Ibrahimov

25 Apr 2016

Libyan pro-government forces pose for a photo as they patrol a rural area on the outskirts of the eastern coastal city of Benghazi.

Opinion

Tripoli Cannot Impose Unity on Libya

With pressure from militias and a growing ISIS presence, can Libya's Government of National Accord really exert control?

Nate Mason and Jason Pack

21 Apr 2016

Opinion

We Must Defeat the Ideology that Drives the Violence

Islamist extremist ideology is giving rise to violence around the world. If we fail to confront it, demagogues will triumph.

Tony Blair

27 Mar 2016

Opinion

Trump's Statements about Muslims are a Gift to ISIS

The Republican frontrunner apparently forgot who suffers the most from ISIS' violence

Ed Husain

23 Mar 2016

Opinion

We Must Stop Extremists in Prison Spreading Their Hate

The history of jihadism tells us that extremists thrive in prisons. Their arguments must be challenged behind bars to counter the danger they pose in the long-term.

Ed Husain

17 Mar 2016

Opinion

Religious Divisions over Pakistan's Blasphemy Law

The recent execution of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who assassinated the governor of Punjab, shines a spotlight on Pakistan's religious puzzle.

Yasser Latif Hamdani

16 Mar 2016

Opinion

Behind the GCC's Terrorist Designation of Hizbullah

The Gulf Cooperation Council's move to blacklist the Lebanese Shia militia goes back at least three years, and is largely a function of broader sectarian tensions.

Matthew Levitt

10 Mar 2016

Opinion

What makes a religious extremist?

Is religion inherently extremist? Or do we just hear a lot more about the extremist variety?

Peter Welby

03 Mar 2016

Opinion

In Pakistan, extremism goes on despite army offensive

Home to more than 50 militant groups, religious extremism plagues Pakistan, despite an ongoing army clampdown on militants, as reflected in January’s Global Extremism Monitor.

Inamullah Khattak

02 Mar 2016

Opinion

Counter-Extremism in India: ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Beyond

Concerns over the rise of Islamist extremism in India have been steadily growing, a trend that is reflected in the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics' Global Extremism Monitor for January 2016.

Bibhu Prasad Routray

25 Feb 2016

Opinion

Martyrdom or Suicide? Dying for the Jihadi Cause

Salafi-jihadis have taken elements of risk and reward from ancient warfare and transposed them onto suicide attacks.

Mubaraz Ahmed

27 Jan 2016

Opinion

Shia in Nigeria: Deliberate Violence or Mistaken Intent?

Last month's deadly clashes between the army and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria echoes the first rumblings of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Aminu Abubakar

21 Jan 2016

Opinion

The West's Refusal to Confront Islamism is Doing ISIS' Work for It

So long as we continue to give a free pass to Islamists in the name of cultural sensitivity, we will not defeat the extremist scourge.

Ed Husain

15 Jan 2016

Opinion

How Jihadis Exploit Racism for Recruitment

Al-Shabaab and ISIS present themselves as racially equal utopias. How is racial tension in the West being appropriated as a recruitment tactic?

Milo Comerford

11 Jan 2016

Opinion

Saudi Arabia's Executions: Why Now?

Saudi Arabia's execution of Nimr al-Nimr, along with 46 others, in January drew widespread condemnation and a growing regional crisis. But the regime seeks to gain domestically and internationally from its actions.

Emman El-Badawy

05 Jan 2016

Opinion

Why Would al-Shabaab Target Turkey?

Close diplomatic and economic ties between Somalia and Turkey undermine the militant group's operations on its home turf.

Mubaraz Ahmed

18 Dec 2015

Opinion

Who Gains from the Russia-Turkey Crisis?

Moscow-Ankara tensions are the worst they have been in a century. If things get worse, it could open a Pandora's box of ethnic and religious conflict.

Rafael Ibrahimov

16 Dec 2015

Opinion

Israel and India's Growing Alliance

The two allies, one majority Jewish, the other majority Hindu, are seeing a growth in domestic religious extremism. And both are lumped together as 'enemies of Islam' by jihadis.

Milo Comerford

11 Dec 2015

Opinion

How Can We Defeat ISIS?

The intellectual battle against ISIS will be less visible and less heroic than the military one. But ultimately, if we are to beat Islamist extremism, it is just as important.

Peter Welby

11 Dec 2015

Opinion

Is ISIS Going Global?

Recent terror attacks in the West have stoked fears of ISIS' influence around the world. But we should put the group's global presence in context.

Mubaraz Ahmed

10 Dec 2015

Opinion

Who Really Lives in Religious Diversity?

Amid ongoing conflicts and shifting migration patterns, the global religious landscape is changing. Todd. M. Johnson and Gina A. Zurlo examine the trends.

Gina A. Zurlo and Todd M. Johnson

08 Dec 2015

Opinion

The Depth of the Challenge

Tony Blair argues that the scale of the challenge of Islamist extremism requires a re-examination of Western policy responses.

Tony Blair

04 Dec 2015

Opinion

Why the Rise in Jihadi Violence in 2014?

ISIS and Boko Haram accounted for 39 per cent of terror-related deaths last year. Murray Ackman takes a deeper look at what the figures say about global terrorism as a whole.

Murray Ackman

04 Dec 2015

Opinion

What Khamenei's letter shares with jihadi propaganda

In a message to Europe's youth after the deadly Paris attacks, Iran’s supreme leader stands at the crossroads between two bitterly opposing interpretations of Islam, explains Emman El-Badawy.

Emman El-Badawy

03 Dec 2015

Opinion

Al-Shabaab Divided Over ISIS Courtship

ISIS has pursued al-Shabaab for its pledge of allegiance for months. How much ISIS support is there in Somalia and why does ISIS want it?

Emily Mellgard

26 Nov 2015

Opinion

Tunisian Tremors

As Tunisia suffers its third major ISIS-claimed attack this year, Emman El-Badawy explores what increasing violence could mean for a country held up as the Arab uprisings' biggest success story.

Emman El-Badawy

25 Nov 2015

Opinion

Thailand's Insurgency Grinds On

The militant Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand continues to rumble on, with renewed sporadic violence in 2015. Michael Kugelman examines the prospects for peace in the region.

Michael Kugelman

25 Nov 2015

Opinion

Who Attacked Mali's Radisson Blu Hotel?

The circumstances surrounding the 20 November attack on Mali's Radisson Blu raises questions about the relationship between jihadi groups involved.

Rida Lyammouri

24 Nov 2015

Opinion

Belgium's Jihadi Problem

With links to a number of attacks in recent years, Belgium is increasingly viewed as a hub for jihadis in Europe. Milo Comerford looks at the scale of the problem in Belgium and explores the underlying cause.

Milo Comerford

17 Nov 2015

Opinion

The Contest Over Islam in Russia

Russia's religious landscape is fast changing, and a contest over religious practice in the country's heartland has implications both for Russia's internal stability and it's geopolitics, writes Rafael Ibrahimov.

Rafael Ibrahimov

10 Nov 2015

Opinion

What You Should Know About ISIS in Yemen

Yemen's instability has helped ISIS establish itself in the country and challenge al-Qaeda’s dominance of the jihadi landscape.

Mubaraz Ahmed

03 Nov 2015

Opinion

A Message to Jerusalem: ISIS Threatens Israel

Last week's Hebrew-language ISIS propaganda video aims to capitalise on the Israel/Palestine conflict, intimidate Israelis, and keep the group at the top of the international news agenda.

Adam Hoffman

26 Oct 2015

Opinion

Taliban Resurgence: Outward Strength, Inward Weakness

It is no coincidence that the Taliban's seizure of Kunduz came at a time of unprecedented internal fragility for the group, writes Milo Comerford.

Milo Comerford

23 Oct 2015

Opinion

Will al-Shabaab join ISIS?

Rumours are circulating that al-Shabaab is to join ISIS, but such a move faces formidable obstacles, writes Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

22 Oct 2015

Opinion

Defender of the Faith? Russia's 'Holy War' in Syria

Russia's Orthodox Church and Syrian jihadis agree on one thing: that Russia's intervention in Syria is a 'holy war.'

Milo Comerford

14 Oct 2015

Opinion

The Other Apocalypse

Apocalyptic imagery permeates the current conflicts of the Middle East. Charlie Gammell explores how Shia millenarian beliefs are a major motivator of both militia violence and regional geopolitics.

Charlie P.W. Gammell

12 Oct 2015

Opinion

Militias Must Unite Against ISIS in Libya

ISIS continues to expand in Libya as rivals jostle for power and the UN looks to build a unity government. To defeat the group, rivals must rally against a common enemy, write Jason Pack and Andrea Brody-Barre.

Jason Pack and Andrea Brody-Barre

08 Oct 2015

Opinion

Al-Shabaab's Changing Tactics

After the second anniversary of al-Shabaab's attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall, the group's changing dynamics in Kenya in the past three years need to be better understood, argues Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

07 Oct 2015

Opinion

Religion and Geopolitics: Why it Matters

The Right Honourable Tony Blair gave a speech at the September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York on 6 October in which he called for a greater effort to combat the ideology of Islamist extremism.

Tony Blair

06 Oct 2015

Opinion

What Has Happened to al-Qaeda in Yemen?

Despite the loss of key figures and the emergence of ISIS in the region, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has taken advantage of Yemen's chaos to gain territory and support, writes Mubaraz Ahmed.

Mubaraz Ahmed

30 Sep 2015

Opinion

This is a Battle of Ideas: Don't Ignore Ideology

As world leaders at the 70th United Nations General Assembly discuss strategies to defeat ISIS, they need to emphasise the strong ideological motivations of jihadi groups, says Peter Welby.

Peter Welby

29 Sep 2015

Opinion

Peace in Syria Requires Global Effort

Russian fears of domestic jihad linked to ISIS and the presence of Orthodox Christians in Syria who look to Russia for protection means Russia cannot be excluded from peace negotiations, argues Ed Husain.

Ed Husain

22 Sep 2015

Opinion

Terror in Tajikistan?

Recent unrest in Tajikistan has been blamed on extremists with links to ISIS, but the reality is more complex, requiring the country to answer difficult questions about religion and politics, writes Milo Comerford.

Milo Comerford

09 Sep 2015

Opinion

Why Does ISIS Destroy Historic Sites?

As ISIS destroys yet another priceless piece of history in Palmyra, there is a need to understand the reasons behind the group’s actions and how out of line they are with Islamic tradition, writes Mubaraz Ahmed.

Mubaraz Ahmed

01 Sep 2015

Opinion

The Return of the Malian Islamists?

Despite the peace deal signed by Mali's government in June, violence in the country persists. Islamists rather than Tuareg separatists are predominately responsible, writes Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

01 Sep 2015

Opinion

Who Are Boko Haram's Female Suicide Bombers?

Boko Haram is increasingly relying on young girls as human bombs. Who are these girls and why do they carry out these attacks, asks Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

28 Aug 2015

Opinion

Assyrian Plight: The Untold Story

One of the less widely known consequences of ISIS' devastating rise in northern Iraq is the existential threat it has unleashed against the Assyrian people, writes Mardean Isaac.

Mardean Isaac

20 Aug 2015

Opinion

Prison Radicalisation in Europe

In order to successfully address the issues of prison radicalisation in Europe, we must understand the nature and scale of the problem across the continent, writes Mubaraz Ahmed.

Mubaraz Ahmed

17 Aug 2015

Opinion

Religious Freedom and Sri Lanka's Upcoming Election

The inaction of the previous government led to increased persecution of religious minority communities in Sri Lanka. The situation has improved since the March 2015 election, says Sahar Chaudhry.

Sahar Chaudhry

04 Aug 2015

Opinion

Why the death of Mullah Omar could help ISIS in Afghanistan

The reported death of Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban, comes at a pivotal moment for the Taliban as it faces up to the growing threat of ISIS in Afghanistan.

Mubaraz Ahmed

31 Jul 2015

Opinion

Extremism and Radicalisation in Germany

Like many European countries, Germany is striving to tackle the growing threat of extremism, but its Kurdish and Turkish diaspora communities leave it with a unique challenge, writes Mubaraz Ahmed.

Mubaraz Ahmed

27 Jul 2015

Opinion

A Shining Light? Islamism and Democracy in Tunisia

Major questions were asked of the so-called 'success story' of the Arab Spring after the Sousse attack. But the contest between secularism and Islamism runs deep in Tunisia, write Jason Pack and Andrea Brody-Barre.

Jason Pack and Andrea Brody-Barre

24 Jul 2015

Opinion

Global Overtones of Kashmir Violence

While militancy in Indian-controlled Kashmir has declined in recent years, developments in Iraq and Syria have the potential to bring new transnational overtones to the struggle, writes Bibhu Prasad Routray.

Bibhu Prasad Routray

23 Jul 2015

Opinion

Data Vital in Tackling Jihadi Violence

Detailed data on conflicts, as well as analysis of ideologies, is essential for governments to develop effective strategies to counter the threat of jihadi organisations, writes Anthony Measures.

Anthony Measures

22 Jul 2015

Opinion

Turf Wars for Uganda's Mosques

A series of murders of Ugandan Muslim leaders resembles ideological power struggles in Nigeria and Kenya, which preceded escalating religious tensions, says Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

17 Jul 2015

Opinion

Israel, Egypt, and Security in the Sinai

The ISIS-affiliated 'Sinai Province' has claimed to be behind a number of high profile attacks across Egypt in recent months. Tobias Borck explores the wider regional implications of the group's emergence in Egypt.

Tobias Borck

14 Jul 2015

Opinion

A House Divided: Jihadis Battle for Derna

ISIS is fighting with other jihadi groups for the Libyan city of Derna. But while the rivals differ, hopes that an ISIS defeat will mean the decline of its ideology are sadly misplaced, writes Rhiannon Smith.

Rhiannon Smith

10 Jul 2015

Opinion

Stalling Peace in the Philippines

There is growing unease in the Philippines as the long-awaited peace process for Muslim Mindanao stalls once again, amid fears that Islamist groups linked to ISIS could disrupt it, writes Anthony Measures.

Anthony Measures

07 Jul 2015

Opinion

State Fragility: The Role of Belief in Conflict Dynamics

The multiple pressures that are put on states, whether social, economic or political, must be understood to put into context the role that religion plays in conflict, writes Nate Haken.

Nate Haken

03 Jul 2015

Opinion

Why is Boko Haram Attacking Chad?

The recent attacks in Chad by Boko Haram are not surprising. Chad is at the centre of the campaign against the group and Boko Haram aims to undermine its legitimacy, says Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

01 Jul 2015

Opinion

The Drivers of Peace and Conflict in 2014

The growing gap between the most and least peaceful countries has been driven by rising conflicts and terrorism. An acceptance of the rights of others is needed to tackle this, writes Murray Ackman.

Murray Ackman

01 Jul 2015

Opinion

The Roots of a Sectarian Middle East

The rise of sectarianism in the Middle East is partly a consequence of the failure of nationalist politics. Turning the clock back requires strong national institutions and better education, writes Gerald Butt.

Gerald Butt

25 Jun 2015

Opinion

Bad Government Creates Space for Extremist Groups

A history of corruption and bad government in three African countries has created space for extremist groups to spread their ideologies. Regaining trust is vital to defeating them, writes Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

24 Jun 2015

Opinion

Building a Global Alliance for Religious Freedom

Rising religious freedom abuses represent a challenge beyond the capabilities of any one government or organisation. But recent collective action efforts give cause for hope, writes Knox Thames.

Knox Thames

18 Jun 2015

Opinion

Bandits, Radicals & Rebels: Violence in Mali

Despite the signing of a peace agreement, ongoing violence in Mali raises questions over the influence of Salafi-jihadi groups and radicalisation. But they are part of a wider problem, writes Andrew Hernann.

Andrew Hernann

17 Jun 2015

Opinion

Support the Kurds, A Bulwark Against Extremism

A recent ICG report claimed that Kurdish divisions were undermining the fight against ISIS. But supporting the Peshmerga is essential to defeating extremism in Iraq, writes Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman

16 Jun 2015

Opinion

Jabhat al-Nusra: Moves Towards the Mainstream?

Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra seems to be attempting to convey a more moderate and conciliatory image. Their change of rhetoric should not be read as an ideological shift, writes Milo Comerford.

Milo Comerford

12 Jun 2015

Opinion

Why the Caucasus Matter

The heavy presence of Caucasians as foreign fighters in Syria's civil war can be traced directly to the rise of jihadism in Chechnya's resistance to Russia, write Osama Filali-Naji and Milo Comerford.

Milo Comerford and Osama Filali-Naji

09 Jun 2015

Opinion

In Defeat, Erdogan Shows Respect for Democracy

The Turkish election results have implications not only for democracy in Turkey, but also for the wider Muslim world. This progress should be supported and welcomed, writes Ed Husain.

Ed Husain

08 Jun 2015

Opinion

Nigeria Under Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari’s ascension to the Nigerian presidency is a victory for Nigerians, but the challenges ahead are daunting. Nigerian religious leaders could be strong allies, says Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

29 May 2015

Opinion

Myanmar's 'Religious Protection' Laws: Widening The Rift

In the run up to the general election, ethnic and religious minorities need to be protected in Myanmar, but concerns remain over the weight of the law behind new 'religious protection' laws, writes Dr Lynn Kuok.

Dr Lynn Kuok

18 May 2015

Opinion

Origins of Mali's Islamist Occupation

Violence simmers in Mali as Islamist and separatist groups continue to protest government control, but the origins of the situation are older, explains Andrew Hernann.

Andrew Hernann

13 May 2015

Opinion

Politics, Religion and ISIS in Malaysia

As the global threat from ISIS continues to grow, Malaysia and other South East Asian countries face the challenge of how to deal with extremist voices, both nationally and regionally, writes Elliot Brennan.

Elliot Brennan

12 May 2015

Opinion

The Insecurity of the World's Largest Refugee Camp

The Kenyan government announced in April it will close Dadaab refugee camp, claiming terrorists shelter there. Kenya would be less secure if it went forward with its plans, argues Joshua Meservey.

Joshua Meservey

11 May 2015

Opinion

Combatting the New Religious Freedom Violators

The rise of ISIS and continued violence from other religiously motivated groups must be countered with concrete steps by the international community, write Elizabeth Cassidy and Sahar Chaudhry.

Elizabeth Cassidy and Sahar Chaudhry

06 May 2015

Opinion

Religious Freedom: Arguments from Islam

The rich discourse on religious freedom within Islam, seen by many as an effective antidote to extremism, should be amplified, particularly since it is silenced in many Muslim-majority countries, argues Areej Hassan.

Areej Hassan

05 May 2015

Opinion

Boko Haram: A Regional Solution Required

A regional military coalition has pushed Boko Haram out of many of its territories, but understanding the group's appeal and agenda is key to defeating it, argues Ryan Cummings.

Ryan Cummings

01 May 2015

Opinion

Migration and Militancy Along the Pakistani Border

Ongoing counter-insurgency efforts by the Pakistani military are leaving thousands displaced. Meanwhile, militants freely use established migration routes to conduct their operations, argues Assunta Nicolini.

Assunta Nicolini

27 Apr 2015

Opinion

The Vicious Cycle of Sectarianism in the Middle East

Sectarian rhetoric is increasingly permeating the conflicts currently engulfing the Middle East, a symptom of the absence of an inclusive political identity in the region, argues Gerald Butt.

Gerald Butt

22 Apr 2015

Opinion

Brazil: A Lesson in the Peaceful Navigation of Religious Change

The high level of religious freedom in Brazil is notable as the country arguably undergoes one of the most dynamic religious shifts in the world today, with no religious or sectarian conflict, writes Brian Grim.

Brian J. Grim

20 Apr 2015

Opinion

Confronting the Taliban's Claims to Religious Legitimacy

A recent biography of the Taliban's leader reminded the world of the centrality of religion to the movement's identity. Religion will also play a part in any meaningful peace process, writes Michael Semple.

Michael Semple

15 Apr 2015

Opinion

Al-Shabaab Rhetoric Suggests Potential Counter Narrative

As al-Shabaab seeks to expand in Kenya, it needs a receptive environment and recruits susceptible to its ideology. The attack on Garissa University was part of that strategy, argues Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

08 Apr 2015

Opinion

India's Concerning 'Saffron' Tide

Hindu nationalists are becoming increasingly emboldened by the Indian administration's reluctance to speak out against religious persecution, raising fears amongst India's minorities, writes Sandhya Gupta.

Sandhya Gupta

07 Apr 2015

Opinion

Religion on the Rise: What this Means for Peace and Conflict

As a new study reveals a growth in religious affiliation worldwide, Brian Grim assesses what this means for peace and religious conflict, and the role that religion can play in peacebuilding.

Brian J. Grim

02 Apr 2015

Opinion

The War Next Door: How Syria Is Shaping Politics in Turkey

Four years on, the Syrian war continues to foment a concerning rise in religious prejudice and violence in neighbouring Turkey, although it has improved prospects for a Kurdish peace, writes Kunaal Sharma.

Kunaal Sharma

30 Mar 2015

Opinion

Religion's Role in Building Stronger States

In many parts of the world, religious actors have access to unparalleled resources and influence, essential to effective statebuilding. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they will play along, writes Denis Dragovic.

Denis Dragovic

26 Mar 2015

Opinion

Data: Essential to Understanding Religion and Conflict

Expert analysis on conflict requires accurate and globally comparable data. This is essential when attempting to understand the profound impact of religion on global events, writes Anthony Measures.

Anthony Measures

20 Mar 2015

Opinion

Placing ISIS' Persecution of the Copts in Context

The murder of 21 Christians by ISIS in Libya brought condemnation from around the world. Their murder puts them in a long history of persecution of the Coptic church, writes Samuel Tadros.

Samuel Tadros

18 Mar 2015

Opinion

Khalid Koser on... Resilience Against Violent Extremism

Khalid Koser speaks about the challenges of developing mechanisms to help communities build resilience against violent extremism, and explores some of the key drivers for radicalisation.

Khalid Koser

17 Mar 2015

Opinion

Francis Campbell on... Faith and the Public Square

Francis Campbell speaks on how integrally important religion is in conflict prevention and conflict resolution, and how sidelining it can be highly problematic.

Francis Campbell

16 Mar 2015

Opinion

M. Christian Green on... 'Religionising' Conflict

M Christian Green speaks about what it means to understand a conflict as religious, and how this can help policy making and peacebuilding.

M. Christian Green

12 Mar 2015

Opinion

Sufism: An Alternative to Extremism?

In the search for alternatives to Islamist extremist ideologies and violence, the traditional and historical Islamic practices of Sufism may offer part of the antidote, argues Sarah Feuer.

Sarah Feuer

11 Mar 2015

Opinion

Usama Hasan on... Religion as a Transnational Force

Usama Hasan speaks about understanding religion as a transnational force, how it can exacerbate conflict, and how it can promote peace.

Usama Hasan

10 Mar 2015

Opinion

ISIS in Libya: A New Third Force

In the chaos of the Libya conflict, jihadi groups have emerged as a potent third force, determined to derail any meaningful negotiation process between the two major blocs, writes Jason Pack.

Jason Pack

05 Mar 2015

Opinion

Fear and Hope in the CAR's Peace Process

During the crisis in the CAR, international jihadi groups volunteered to take revenge on Christian militias, but faith leaders in the country are working to prevent radicalisation, writes James Smith.

James M Smith

03 Mar 2015

Opinion

Boko Haram: “We're Not Only In Nigeria Anymore”

Boko Haram's communications strategy appears to be shifting as the group attempts to tie itself to the international jihadi narrative argues Jacob Zenn.

Jacob Zenn

09 Feb 2015

Opinion

The Power of Boko Haram: Local Roots, International Jihad

Africa's largest country is being destabilised by the violence of Boko Haram. The group's power results from its use of ideology and ethnicity, as well as its links to other jihadi groups, writes Jacob Zenn.

Jacob Zenn

06 Feb 2015

Opinion

Taliban Rhetoric and Peace in Afghanistan

The withdrawal of international troops from a combat role has seen Taliban violence spike in Afghanistan. Understanding the group's rhetoric is essential to a peaceful reconciliation, writes Milo Comerford.

Milo Comerford

05 Feb 2015

Opinion

Philippines: A Peace Process Scuttled?

With over 40 police officers killed in the Philippines recently, following an attempt to capture a number of extremists, Patricio Abinales looks at the repercussions of this event on the peace process.

Patricio Abinales

03 Feb 2015

Opinion

Effective Ways to Tackle Radicalisation

The problem of some in society becoming radicalised should be tackled by building relationships with those at risk, including through business and faith communities, writes Brian Grim.

Brian J. Grim

02 Feb 2015

Opinion

Modi Must Commit to Religious Freedom in 2015

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi completes over eight months in office, Lisa Curtis assesses his commitment to religious freedom during a period of unease amongst religious minorities.

Lisa Curtis

28 Jan 2015

Opinion

Kurdistan in the Spotlight: Beacon of Tolerant Pluralism?

The increased focus on Kurdistan as a bulwark against jihadism has revealed a tolerant society that is a beacon for its neighbours; the Kurdish model requires more international support, writes Gary Kent.

Gary Kent

26 Jan 2015

Opinion

Blood and the Ballot Box: Boko Haram and Nigerian Elections

As Nigeria's national elections approach, the threat of Boko Haram to the election and to Nigerian democracy is assessed by Ryan Cummings.

Ryan Cummings

21 Jan 2015

Opinion

Anti-Semitism in Hungary: New Voices for Old Narratives

Dr Erin Marie Saltman examines the ways in anti-Semitism has developed in Hungarian politics and society, and how it remains a part of the far-right narrative in the country.

Dr Erin Marie Saltman

20 Jan 2015

Opinion

The Urgent Need for a Religion-Friendly Secularism

The Paris attacks show us that in order to beat Islamism we need a secularism that encourages religion, write Ed Husain and Peter Welby.

Ed Husain and Peter Welby

19 Jan 2015

Opinion

State Ambivalence Towards Jihadi Groups in Pakistan

December's attack on a Peshawar school by the Pakistani Taliban has sparked a public backlash. But the fight will be undermined by the state's ambivalence towards jihadi movements, writes Frederic Grare.

Frederic Grare

08 Jan 2015

Opinion

We Cannot Let The Paris Murderers Define Islam

The Paris murderers are blind to the compassion shown by the Prophet, assaulting the very freedoms that allow Muslims to prosper in the West. This ignorance must be tackled head on, writes Ed Husain.

Ed Husain

08 Jan 2015

Opinion

Religion and Displacement: Focusing on Solutions

Displacement can often make communities particularly vulnerable to radicalisation, but a number of measures can help them to build resilience against extremist voices, writes Khalid Koser.

Khalid Koser

06 Jan 2015

Opinion

Nigerian Religious Leaders Advise Political Candidates

As Nigeria's presidential elections approach in early 2015 and the candidates are chosen, religious leaders and elder statesmen weigh in to the debate, writes Emily Mellgard.

Emily Mellgard

31 Dec 2014

Opinion

The Changing Profile of French Jihadism

A flurry of 'lone wolf' attacks and an increased flow of French citizens to Iraq and Syria has shocked France, particularly as the typical profile of the French Islamist is fast changing. Europe should take note, writes Gian Marco Liuni.

Gian Marco Liuni

22 Dec 2014

Opinion

Kenya's Religious Violence Risks Worsening

As Kenya grapples with religious violence, rising radicalisation is exacerbated by challenges facing moderate religious leaders and the need for a new security strategy, writes Cleophus Tres Thomas III.

Cleophus Tres Thomas III

17 Dec 2014

Opinion

Religious Paradoxes in Pakistan

The international community must provide sustained engagement to help Pakistan escape a self-perpetuating cycle of religious discrimination and sectarian violence, writes Knox Thames.

Knox Thames

15 Dec 2014

Opinion

Struggle for the Soul of Bangladesh

The reaction to the ongoing International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh reveals long-standing social and political dynamics around the role of religion in Bangladeshi society, writes Lailufar Yasmin.

Lailufar Yasmin

05 Dec 2014

Opinion

Tracking Changes in Global Terrorism

The 2014 Global Terrorism Index, recently added to the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics' online data section, is an important tool for better understanding changes in global terrorism, writes Anthony Measures.

Anthony Measures

02 Dec 2014

Opinion

A Long View of History and Religious Extremism

To understand religious conflict, Prof. Philip Jenkins argues that we need to take a long view of history and that failure to reflect internally and learn from our own experiences risks misunderstanding drivers of current conflicts.

Philip Jenkins

24 Nov 2014

Opinion

U.S. Policy to Counter Nigeria's Boko Haram

Nigeria continues to be ravaged by the homegrown violent Islamist group Boko Haram, which has declared a caliphate in the areas under its control in the northeast of the country and begun implementing a harsh version of sharia law.

John Campbell

20 Nov 2014

Opinion

Religion, Politics, and the Youth Factor in Nigeria’s Elections

As Nigeria's national election cycle gets into full swing, Emily Mellgard argues that the rhetoric and actions of candidates and religious leaders will influence whether the elections are peaceful. Boko Haram's growing control of territory in the northeast and capacity to disrupt elections will also have an impact on the legitimacy of the results.

Emily Mellgard

17 Nov 2014

Opinion

Central African Republic: What Turns a Conflict 'Religious'?

As insecurity and violence continue in the Central African Republic, Tom Jackson discusses how the conflict and perception of it developed along religious lines when its foundations are in socio-economic tensions.

Tom Jackson

10 Nov 2014

Opinion

Loyalty and Disavowal: Al-Wala Wal-Bara

Examining jihadi interpretations of the salafi ideology of "al-wala wal-bara", loyalty to all that is Islamic and disavowal of everything that is not, Ian Linden argues that in order to counter this narrative we must look more critically at the reality of the democratic values the West claims to be upholding.

Ian Linden

07 Nov 2014

Opinion

To Defeat ISIS We Must Decimate Their Theological Appeal

The jihadis offer a caliphate and death. Our message must be one of life, writes Ed Husain.

Ed Husain

31 Oct 2014

Opinion

The Druze: Solidarity and Allegiance in Syria

In the face of the increased prominence of salafi-jihadi rebel groups in the Syrian civil war, the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics looks at the position of the Druze minority, who are being forced to evaluate whether greater integration with the Assad regime or a sectarian strategy can best assure their safety.

30 Oct 2014

Opinion

Al-Shabaab's Three Crises

In the wake of al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane's death from a US airstrike in September, Stig Jarle Hansen examines the leadership, territorial, and ideological crises the group currently faces.

Stig Jarle Hansen

29 Oct 2014

Opinion

The Lebanon Equation

Spillover from the Syrian conflict is upsetting the delicate religious balance in Lebanon. Escalating sectarianism has the potential to jeopardise the entire region's response to ISIS, writes Gian Marco Liuni.

Gian Marco Liuni

28 Oct 2014

Opinion

Jonathan Powell: Religion and Peace Making

In a wide-ranging interview, Jonathan Powell, the British Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to the Libyan Transition, speaks about the role of religion in peace negotiations in Libya and the wider region.

Jonathan Powell

27 Oct 2014

Opinion

Deradicalisation: Using the Language of Religion

After this week's attacks in Canada, Ed Husain calls for an effective confrontation of radical ideologies on religious terms, arguing that we cannot kill our way out of this threat.

Ed Husain

24 Oct 2014

Opinion

ISIS’ Rejection of Religious Authority

The ISIS claim to a caliphate has been rejected by Muslim scholars all over the world. But ISIS does not depend on traditional Islamic authority; instead, it believes that its conquests give support to its claims, writes Adam Hoffman.

Adam Hoffman

21 Oct 2014

Opinion

In the Middle East Everyone Has a Map of Their Own

The upheaval rocking the Middle East has two tendencies at its core, writes Eric Brown. The first is to retrench into narrow communities and groups, the second to seek security in larger movements, including Islamism and regional rivalry.

Eric Brown

15 Oct 2014

Opinion

The Syrian Mosaic

The civil war in Syria, now characterised by brutal sectarianism, is being fought in a country once known for pluralism and tolerance. David Lesch explains how Syria's rich religious background and colonial history paved the way to the current conflict.

David Lesch

13 Oct 2014

Opinion

The Rise of ISIS in the Maghreb?

The struggle between ISIS and al-Qaeda for leadership of the global jihadi movement is dividing the militant community in Algeria. In the wake of a new group announcing its formation by the murder of a French tourist, Geoff D. Porter examines the dangers this development presents.

Geoff D. Porter

08 Oct 2014

Opinion

In Their Own Words: Christian Minorities Under ISIS

In a conflict often dehumanised by the brutality of ISIS, Balint Szlanko speaks to the Christians of northern Iraq in the wake of the recent invasion of their towns and villages.

Balint Szlanko

06 Oct 2014

Opinion

Al-Shabaab Capitalises on Muslim Grievances in Kenya

Kenyan security operations against al-Shabaab members and sympathisers within their borders are perceived by many Kenyan Muslims and Somali refugees as discriminatory against their communities and religious activities. If security measures are too oppressive, they risk inflaming the tensions they seek to destroy finds Tom Jackson.

Tom Jackson

03 Oct 2014

Photo/Commonwealth Secretariat

Opinion

Nigeria: Religious Leaders and Elections

As Nigeria’s election cycle begins, Ian Linden looks back at the elections in 2011, and the violence that occurred after the polls closed, and he looks forward at the role religious leaders can play in mitigating violence and promoting national unity.

Ian Linden

02 Oct 2014

Opinion

Boko Haram: Ideology, Ethnicity and Identity

As Boko Haram continues its fight in northern Nigeria, Atta Barkindo examines the cultural and ethnic ties of the insurgency. He argues that the group’s ideology is ultimately religiously focused, but draws on deep ethnic and cultural roots to recruit members and sustain its momentum.

Atta Barkindo

29 Sep 2014

Opinion

Boko Haram: The Islamic State of West Africa?

As Boko Haram continues to claim territory in northeastern Nigeria, Jacob Zenn looks at the similarities in ideology and tactics between the group and ISIS in Iraq and Syria. While there has not been collaboration or declarations of an alliance from either group, Zenn posits that a future declaration may not be improbable.

Jacob Zenn

23 Sep 2014

Opinion

The Way Ahead

In this essay, Tony Blair sets out seven principles of understanding that he believes should underpin a comprehensive strategy to counter religious extremism.

Tony Blair

22 Sep 2014

Opinion

What’s “Religious” About the CAR Crisis?

With the arrival this week of UN peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic, M. Christian Green looks at the motivations and drivers of a conflict that is so often characterised as being divided along religious lines.

M. Christian Green

18 Sep 2014

Opinion

A Military Campaign Alone Is Not the Solution to ISIS

American leadership is essential for peace in the Middle East. The US can show how a better future can be attained through political unity, religious pluralism and free-market capitalism says Ed Husain.

Ed Husain

16 Sep 2014

Photo/Kipp Jones

Opinion

Boko Haram: A Religious or Ethnic Insurgency?

As Boko Haram escalates its territorial expansion in northeast Nigeria, Ian Linden analyses the ethnic and religious motivations for conflict in Nigeria, and disentangles the base motivations for the group.

Ian Linden

15 Sep 2014

Opinion

Religion's Importance in Pakistani Politics

The Centre on Religion & Geopolitics talks to Ambassador Zamir Akram, the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, about the role that religion plays in Pakistan's current political and foreign policy tensions.

Ambassador Zamir Akram

11 Sep 2014

Opinion

Understanding Religion and Conflict

Professor Miroslav Volf of Yale University says that perceptions of religion, once identified with politics, inevitably end up being an instrument in conflict, but globalisation and faith traditions and how they relate to each other are powerful forces shaping the world today.

Miroslav Volf

10 Sep 2014

Photo/Marc Veraart

Opinion

Times That Try Men's Souls

The crisis facing the Middle East and Africa is related to two failures: the failure to promote religion-friendly democracy and the failure to promote democracy-friendly religion. Facing this will test international commitments to religious freedom, writes Ian Linden.

Ian Linden

05 Sep 2014

Opinion

ISIS and the Implementation of Islamic Rule

ISIS has ambitions to create an Islamic State in the image of the earliest Caliphates. To understand their scale, we must understand the group's historical allusions, write Adam and Rachel Hoffman.

Adam Hoffman and Rachel Hoffman

27 Aug 2014

Opinion

The Changing Shape of Nigeria's Conflict

The fallout of the Chibok kidnappings has changed the shape of Nigeria's war with Boko Haram. The group is expanding the scope of its operations, while a potential food emergency and impending elections create a precarious situation writes John Campbell.

John Campbell

26 Aug 2014

Opinion

Saudis Must Stop Exporting Extremism

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Ed Husain traces ISIS atrocities to Saudi Arabia's sponsorship of Salafi extremism.

Ed Husain

26 Aug 2014

Opinion

The Myth of Islam's Ancient Conflict

The narrative of a centuries-old Sunni-Shia war in Islam is so prevalent it is now accepted without challenge – but does not stand up to scrutiny. It is a recent invention serving a political goal, argues Abdul-Azim Ahmed.

Abdul-Azim Ahmed

20 Aug 2014

Opinion

Nigeria: Lies, Half-Truths and No Statistics

As violence in Nigeria continues unabated, Ian Linden considers its many causes and points out that violent religious extremism, whether committed by Boko Haram or another group, is nothing less than an attack on our common humanity.

Ian Linden

08 Aug 2014

Opinion

Kenya's al-Shabaab Problem

As Kenya is subjected to repeated attacks by militants affiliated to al-Shabaab, Jonathan Russell examines the reasons for the group's successes in recruiting in the country and what it can do to address them.

Jonathan Russell

06 Aug 2014

Opinion

#WeAreN

A social media campaign has been started in solidarity with Mosul's Christians, forced to flee in the face of ISIS. Peter Welby explains what it means.

Peter Welby

01 Aug 2014

Opinion

Take Sides in Islam's War of Ideas

In the last two weeks, ISIS stoned two women to death, applying a rigid version of Sharia law that is not accepted by the vast majority of the Islamic community around the world and is not prescribed by the Quran. Will we speak out against this Pharisaic barbarism, asks Ed Husain.

Ed Husain

29 Jul 2014

Opinion

How 'Caliph' Baghdadi aimed his sermon at the Muslim devout

The Western media focused on Ibrahim al-Baghdadi's wristwatch. But to religious Muslims, the symbolism of his speech was carefully chosen and clear, says Ed Husain.

Ed Husain

18 Jul 2014

Opinion

Sectarianism in Lebanon

In this Religion & Geopolitics Briefing Note, we take a look at Libya and the recent escalations in a conflict which has continued since the uprising against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. We explore the domestic security challenges, the political deadlock and look at the international aspects of the conflict.

Raphaël Lefèvre

16 Jul 2014

Opinion

The Continued Plight of Egypt's Copts

The coup removing President Morsi in July last year did not bring the Copts of Egypt the relief that many hoped for. Constitutional equality is irrelevant; unless the Egyptian government takes serious steps to address the issue, persecution will continue, says Samuel Tadros

Samuel Tadros

14 Jul 2014

Opinion

Kurds, Christians and Security in Syria

Relations between Kurds, Christians and Arabs in northeast Syria are driven mainly by considerations of security. While this has driven religious and ethnic groups apart elsewhere in Syria, here it has served to bring them together, says Balint Szlanko

Balint Szlanko

07 Jul 2014

Opinion

Is Modi Ready to Lead?

In the last of our three part series on religious tensions in India following the BJP's election victory, Lisa Curtis looks at the cautious optimism amongst religious groups nationally and how the prospects are seen regionally and globally.

Lisa Curtis

04 Jul 2014

Opinion

Most Muslims Don't Care About the ISIS Caliphate

The Muslim world cares more about the World Cup than about the brutal so-called caliphate. Al-Baghdadi does not represent Islam, says Ed Husain.

Ed Husain

03 Jul 2014

Opinion

Untangling Assamese Communal Violence

In the second of our three part series on religious tensions in India following the BJP's election victory, Priyankar Upadhyaya examines the pre-election communal violence in Assam, arguing that without a change in the state's politics, such violence will continue.

Priyankar Upadhyaya

02 Jul 2014

Opinion

India's Rising Intolerance

In the first of a three part series on religious tensions in India following the BJP's election victory, Sumit Ganguly points out that politicians of all stripes are exploiting religion for electoral advantage.

Sumit Ganguly

01 Jul 2014

Opinion

ISIS: More Than Insurgents

The division of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) from al-Qaeda earlier this year is not about ideology. In jihadi circles proximity equates to power, and ISIS - more than just an insurgent group - sees no reason to obey al-Qaeda's commands, writes Shiraz Maher.

Shiraz Maher

30 Jun 2014

Opinion

Strict Religious Law Has No Place in a Free Society

The Meriam Ibrahim case highlights the continued need to protect the right to live free from the fear of persecution.

Charlotte Keenan

27 Jun 2014

Opinion

Myanmar Violence: Roots of Buddhist Nationalism

Political leaders in Myanmar should make statements condemning violence in the country, but at the same time Buddhist nationalism must be understood.

Dr Lynn Kuok

23 Jun 2014

Opinion

Pakistani Politics and the Afghan Peace Process

While Pakistan is signalling a change in its policy on Afghanistan, its strategic objective of undermining Indian influence remains. This entails strengthening its central control over the Taliban, but also reaching out beyond its traditional allies.

Frederic Grare

18 Jun 2014

Religion & Geopolitics. The Formation of Religious Identities. Photo/World Bank

Opinion

The Formation of Religious Identities

One key characteristic of extremists - and there are so few generalisations that can be accurately made - is that they appear not to be able to handle the demands of integrative complexity.

Ian Linden

05 Jun 2014

Opinion

Sinai Insurgency Threatens Egypt and the Region

The Sinai peninsular has become a hotbed of jihadi groups since the Egyptian revolution of 2011. But solving the problem will take more than military measures. And failure to do so could destabilise the country and the region, says Peter Welby.

Peter Welby

23 May 2014

Opinion

A Watershed Moment for India

The economic progress of Gujarat has been held up as a model for the country. But Narendra Modi has a responsibility to pursue a model of development that is truly inclusive, says Sandhya Gupta.

Sandhya Gupta

20 May 2014

Opinion

Global Lessons from Northern Ireland

Ian Linden makes the point that learning from the past is a means of shaping the future.

Ian Linden

14 May 2014

Opinion

Combat This Evil Where It Takes Root – In our Schools

The abduction of the Nigerian girls has (eventually) shocked the world. But unfortunately their case is not an isolated one, says Tony Blair.

Tony Blair

12 May 2014

Religion & Geopolitics. Nigeria Kidnap Strikes at the Heart of Schools-for-All. Photo/Stars Foundation

Opinion

Nigeria Kidnap Strikes at the Heart of Schools-for-All

The abduction of the Nigerian girls is an offence against the best traditions of learning in Islam writes Michael Barber, a trustee of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Sir Michael Barber

07 May 2014

Opinion

Why the Middle East Matters

What is happening in the Middle East represents the biggest threat to global security of the early 21st century, says Tony Blair in his speech at Bloomberg in London.

Tony Blair

25 Apr 2014

Opinion

Continental Considerations

To reduce religious extremism in the future, African demographics need international attention now, says Tom Thorp.

Thomas Thorp

09 Apr 2014

Opinion

Uniting Against Extremism

Most people accept the role of the security services in preventing extremist violence, but more needs to be done to address its root causes. This must revolve around education, support for peace-building groups on the ground, and removing the internet as an effective extremist tool says Charlotte Keenan.

Charlotte Keenan

05 Apr 2014

Opinion

Syria's Fragmented Extremists

With the failure of peace talks, western fears of powerful Islamist groups in Syria left many unsure of a solution, but the importance of ideological unity for these actors is overstated, argues Peter Welby

Peter Welby

01 Apr 2014

Opinion

Why 'Divide and Rule' Survived the Arab Spring

Many saw the Arab Spring as the death of authoritarianism in the Middle East. But continued sectarian violence across the region shows that authoritarians have simply adapted to retain their power, argues Thomas Thorp

Thomas Thorp

20 Mar 2014

Opinion

In Defence of 'Whataboutery'

Professor John Brewer recently gave this year’s Dunleath Lecture, highlighting the importance of civil society in Northern Ireland’s peace process. Ian Linden argues that this has to involve religious groups.

Ian Linden

19 Mar 2014

Opinion

Good Government is the Issue

President Morsi of Egypt won office by a majority vote in a free election. One year later, his removal had popular support. The reason, says Peter Welby, is that he failed to govern well.

Peter Welby

06 Mar 2014

Religion & Geopolitics. The Imam and the Archbishop: Central African Republic.

Photo/hdptcar

Opinion

The Imam and the Archbishop: Central African Republic

Local religious leadership is a tragically neglected feature of international interventions in crisis situations. The Archbishop of Bangui and the President of the Islamic Council of the Central African Republic are examples of how it should be done, reflects Ian Linden

Ian Linden

13 Feb 2014

Opinion

Rebuilding the Wall

Where multiple faiths share a political space, deeply held beliefs can divide societies. The answer is to keep faith out of the public square, writes John Campbell of the Council on Foreign Relations

John Campbell

07 Feb 2014

Opinion

No Single Cause of Conflict

There is a Punch and Judy quality to the argument about the cause of violent extremism: is it religion or socio-economic factors that drive conflict? Why this passionate need for mono-causal explanations? One process certainly stands out: the manipulation of religious explanations and ideology to "religionise" conflicts that, initially at least, may have little to do with religion: for example, the challenge of socio-economic change on honour cultures, feelings of humiliation and alienation, the experience of social deprivation and injustice with no hope for the future.

Ian Linden

03 Feb 2014

Opinion

Religious Difference will Fuel this Century's Epic Battles

The last weeks have seen a ghastly roll call of terror attacks in the obvious places: Syria, Libya, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Pakistan. Also suffering are places where we have only in recent years seen such violence: Nigeria, and in many parts of central Africa, in Russia and across central Asia, and in Burma, Thailand and the Philippines. We can either see all of these acts of killing as separate – produced by various political contexts – or we can start to see the clear common theme and start to produce a genuine global strategy to deal with it.

Tony Blair

26 Jan 2014

Opinion

How to Counter Violent Extremism

Horrific recent events in Syria, Kenya and across the world focus our attention on the urgent need to counter violent extremism. Immediate security and counter terror responses are rightly assessed, terrorists hunted down. But ultimately this is only half the story. We will only achieve lasting change if we deal with the root causes as well as the consequences of extremism.

Charlotte Keenan

11 Oct 2013

Religion & Geopolitics. Countering Religious Extremism.

Opinion

Countering Religious Extremism

Violence in the name of Islam is on everyone's minds. Imagine you are a Muslim parent, or simply a Muslim citizen, and you discover your son, or a friend, is taking an unhealthy interest in extremist websites. What do you do? They certainly won't listen to you. They would refuse to talk to the Imam at your mosque: "Not a proper Muslim". Perhaps it is just a passing phase.

Ian Linden

23 Sep 2013

Religion & Geopolitics. Tunisia is Not Following Egypt’s Path.

Photo: Desta

Opinion

Tunisia is Not Following Egypt’s Path

In recent days Tunisia has seen major unrest after the assassination of opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi. Faced with growing unrest over a faltering economy and rising violence by extremists, Tunisia’s moderate Islamist led government is facing its biggest test.

Charlotte Keenan

01 Aug 2013

Opinion

What’s in a Constitution?

The last decade has seen a bumper crop of new constitutions. It has been Spring time for constitutional lawyers and drafters: a well-placed comma saves lives, so they say. Constitutions carry the wisdom and burden of history. And they all have to present a plausible account of how religion is intended to fit into the scheme of things.

Ian Linden

31 Jul 2013

Opinion

Democracy and Effective Government

The events that led to the Egyptian army's removal of President Mohamed Morsi confronted the military with a simple choice: intervention or chaos. Seventeen million people on the street is not the same as an election. But it is an awesome manifestation of people power. The equivalent turnout in Britain would be around 13 million people. Just think about it for a moment. The army wouldn't intervene here, it is true. But the government wouldn't survive either.

Tony Blair

08 Jul 2013

Opinion

Religious Freedom: Principle or Plot?

The hue and cry at Channel 4's Ramadan broadcasts and call to prayer highlights the way religion is jumping back into the headlines in an unhelpfully sensationalist fashion. The good news is that in foreign affairs attitudes are moving in the right direction. Both the USA and Canada now have active offices for religious freedom and the British Foreign Office has a dedicated staffer for the topic.

Ian Linden

03 Jul 2013

Opinion

Thought-Stoppers for Policy-Makers

"A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language", wrote George Orwell in Politics and the English Language. "It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts".

Ian Linden

04 Jun 2013

Opinion

Who Ówns "Humanism"?

What would happen if the different faiths began automatically adding 'humanism' to their names, Islamic humanism, Buddhist, Judaic, Hindu, Christian humanism, for example - then explored what each meant. We'd probably end up with a rich dialogue based on a celebration of two great realities: our shared humanity and the richness of our different religious traditions. In some countries, this is far from just a utopian vision.

Ian Linden

18 Feb 2013

Opinion

Religion in an Age of Uncertainty

Lesson One from the Arab Spring in 2012: revolutionary political change is neither seasonal nor predictable. But in a time of resurgent religious identities, in North Africa and the Middle East, it was always going to heighten divisions between world views as well as between different concepts of governance and political order. Once the lid of authoritarian and repressive rule came off, an ugly blooming of human fears, and hopes encroached on political space propelling untried political leaders into perilous uncharted waters.

Charlotte Keenan

01 Feb 2013

Opinion

The Unhurt Locker

Londoners are flooded with foreign news and local stories about terrorism, arrests and attacks, which portray Muslims engaged in religiously motivated violence. The English Defence League, the "Counter-Jihad" movement, the new face of the extreme Right, build on the anxieties that this generates to build anti-Muslim hatred on top of anti-immigrant sentiment. The narrative is harmful and it hurts.

Ian Linden

29 Jan 2013

Opinion

The Mind of the Religious Terrorist

Tolkien's Gollum would have been a prime target for a religious terrorist recruiter. He is obsessed by the loss of a sacred treasure that defines his identity, obsequious yet angry in its pursuit, reduced to a split personality that goes down dark holes, addicted to being manipulated. Should Gollum be pitied, loved, redeemed or cast out?

Ian Linden

21 Jan 2013

Opinion

Kosovo and the Untold Religious Dimension

At first sight, there was nothing unusual about the shelled mosque, with the aluminium roof of the minaret hanging on the side, in the village of Carraleve in 1999. To many reporters passing through the gutted villages of Kosovo during the yearlong war, this village in south-western Kosovo was merely a ghost town, just like scores of other villages whose residents were forced to flee to nearby woods to escape certain death, leaving behind their houses and places of worship engulfed in flames.

Garentina Kraja

11 Dec 2012

Opinion

Religious Conflicts: Phantom or Real?

On the one side, there is the constant refrain that the real cause of a particular conflict is not religion. When people are burning down each other's mosques, temples and churches, this can sound implausible. On the other is the impression, reinforced by the mass media, that religion is today's number one vector of the virus of hatred around the world. Well, steady on; it's not that simple. There is another story to tell.

Ian Linden

05 Dec 2012

Opinion

Nigeria's Future Depends on Religious Groups

The development of Nigeria with its population of some 150 million people, oil reserves, and an abundance of entrepreneurial spirit, is arguably critical for the future of sub-Saharan Africa. It has had more than its fair share of misfortunes: civil war, serial military coups, tyrannical military government, spectacular corruption and all the downsides of its black gold economy.

Charlotte Keenan

03 Dec 2012

Opinion

Religious Conflict and the International Community

In 1999, in the midst of the Kosovan war and in the aftermath of a global financial crisis, I set out six areas I believed needed serious focus in order to build a peaceful and long-lasting global community: global finance, free trade, the UN, NATO, action on climate change and third world debt.

Tony Blair

17 Nov 2012

Opinion

Promotion of Religious Freedom

It is, as Einstein once said, ‘very difficult to explain the obvious’. So it is best not to labour over why religious freedom lies at the heart of any meaningful concept of human dignity. Better to assert simply that interfaith relations that attempt to ignore this truth, or keep it for an ever receding “next meeting”, are barking up the wrong tree. Outside of references to “reciprocity” from the Vatican, it is rarely on any interfaith agenda.

Ian Linden

01 Mar 2012

Photo/Catholic Church (England/Wales)

Opinion

On Public Squares

The recent visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Britain took the edge off the contemporary Punch-and-Judy show between secularism and religion in the public square. There was certainly a binary opposition in his talks but it was between “aggressive secularism” and “an open secularity”. The message was to stop the attacks, let’s talk and have a conversation. Keep the doors open. Keep the public square open for religious counsel.

Ian Linden

28 Sep 2010

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