CFIA Co-sponsors Conference on Minority Rights and Islamic Extremism
The Council on Faith & International Affairs will send a delegation of scholars to Moscow from 17-23 June for the first conference in a groundbreaking series on “Managing Minority Rights and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism.” This conference represents the first time that American, Russian, and Chinese experts will meet specifically to discuss these issues, and an opportunity to learn from their comparative approaches. The conference will include an experts’ seminar and study tour in North Ossetia and Chechnya.
This conference is hosted by the Carnegie Moscow Center, and cosponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Beijing Pu Shi Social Science Institute; the Institute for Ethnic Minority Groups at the Development Research Center of the State Council (P.R.C.); and the Council on Faith & International Affairs.
This conference is the first of a planned series of conferences on this theme. The inspiration for the series emerged from a December 2005 conference on Religion and Security in Beijing, China, co-sponsored by the Institute of World Religions at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Beijing Pu Shi Social Science Institute; the Institute for Ethnic Minority Groups at the Development Research Center of the State Council (P.R.C.); and the Council on Faith & International Affairs.
All participants at the December 2005 conference agreed to several basic principles: 1) China and the U.S. are both shareholders in a global civilization, both of whom must responsibly address the threat of terrorism; 2) Religious groups can make positive contributions to society if properly protected; 3) Crackdowns against religious believers are ineffective, often radicalizing believers to more extremist views; and 4) Proper respect for and among religious communities is only possible with an acute awareness of local traditions.
Recognizing these shared principles, the conference co-sponsors decided to expand the dialogue to include Russia and Central Asia in order to compare state responses to Islamic extremism throughout Eurasia. Through respectful and honest dialogue, participants will explore together practical and balanced responses to this timely challenge in each of their cultural contexts.
The U.S. delegation includes: David Belt (National Defense University); Zeyno Baran (Center for Eurasian Studies, Hudson Institute); Martha Brill Olcott (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Pauletta Otis (Senior Fellow, Council on Faith & International Affairs); and Chris Seiple (Founder, Council on Faith & International Affairs).