The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University hosted an all-day symposium on the role of religious groups in the Arab world after a year of political upheaval in the region Friday.
The discussion, called "Religious Freedom and Extremism: Lessons from the Arab Spring" examined the relationship between religious freedom and religious extremism, the idea that religious freedom limits religious extremism and how U.S. foreign policy can promote democratic institutions and religious freedom to counter religious extremism.
The first panel discussion covered the topic, "How Repression Breeds Religious Extremism and How Religious Freedom Does the Opposite." Panelists included: University of Maryland Associate Professor Johanna Kristin Birnir; Senior Researcher and Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Director Brian Grim; and Naval Postgraduate School Associate Professor Mohammed Hafez.
The keynote discussion on “Religious Freedom, Religious Extremism, and the Arab Spring: Bush and Obama Administration Perspectives” included panelists: Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams; former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush Stephen Hadley; and Washington Institute for Near East Policy Counselor Dennis Ross.
The final panel on "Fostering Religious Freedom and Curbing Religious Extremism in the Arab Spring - Lessons for US Policy" featured University of Massachusetts Associate Professor of Political Science Jillian Schwedler; Georgetown University Assistant Professor in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies Samuel Tadros; and Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute Samer Shehata.