How the U.S. Promotes Extremism in the Name of Religious Freedom
On July 26, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback as U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom. The position was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which also established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), with whom the ambassador’s office closely cooperates. President Trump and members of Congress will appoint new commissioners to the USCIRF in 2018. The commission reports on global violations of religious freedom and makes recommendations to the president and the State Department for action, including sanctions.
Despite Congress’ best intentions, the USCIRF has strayed far from its mandate. In its 2017 report, the commission effectively supports the right of Islamist extremists to operate in several Muslim-majority countries, Iranian mullahs to spread radicalism abroad, and hardline Islamist organizations to receive foreign funding. It also castigates policies that promote secularism, such as bans on headscarves for girls in public schools. In its quest to protect freedom of religion, the USCIRF is championing the rights of groups that aspire to impose religious coercion on others.
Terror in Stockholm
Last week’s terror attack in Sweden should raise important questions about how the West defines its enemies. Last Friday, an ISIS supporter rammed a truck into a department store in […]
A Steady Hand: The EU 2019 Strategy & Policy Toward Central Asia
Executive Summary The launch of a new EU Strategy for Central Asia in June 2019 marked a milestone in the gradual development of relations between the EU and the region. […]
Turkey’s election reveals the durability of nationalism
Suat Kiniklioglu was formerly deputy chairman of external affairs for Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) before parting ways in 2012. He is a senior fellow at the Institute for Security & […]
The U.S. Should Go Around Erdogan to Engage Turkey
Following recent clashes at the Gaza-Israel border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has broken his tenuous two-year cease-fire with Israel and returned to spewing invective at the Jewish state. But […]
The Long Game on the Silk Road: U.S. and EU Strategy for Central Asia and the Caucasus
This book argues that American and European policies toward Central Asia and the Caucasus suffer from both conceptual and structural impediments. It traces the framework of Western policies to the […]
Uzbekistan’s New Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity under New Leadership
Since Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, its government has sought to maximize its national security and sovereignty by limiting dependence on foreign actors. This priority has continued under former President […]