Religious Liberty and Violent Religious Extremism
Date: March 5th, 2017

Can religious liberty serve as an antidote to religious violence extremism?  This was the question posed to a panel of four scholars at a symposium sponsored by the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs (Georgetown University).  Thomas Farr, the current director of the Religious Freedom Institute, moderates a lively discussion that includes Daniel Philpott (Notre Dame), William Inboden (UT-Austin), Allen Hertzke (Oklahoma), and Sahar Aziz (Texas A&M).  The discussion ranges widely with a focus on human rights, the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood and the possibility of democratic governance.  Prof. Dan Philpott begins the conversation by noting an empirical pattern between the lack of religious liberty and violent extremism that has arisen amongst Islamic nations in recent decades, but cautions individuals against thinking this relationship is related to Islam per se.  Instead, he places an emphasis on the lack of freedom and democratic governance.  Prof. Inboden then turns the discussion to the issue of radicalization and terrorism, pointing out that the U.S. has not yet developed an effective policy of counter-radicalization.  Thomas Farr then turns to Dr. Hertzke who argues there is a strong empirical linkage between religious repression and violence.  Prof. Sahar Aziz then joins in to clarify some of the dimensions of what “terrorism” means and asserts that religious freedom is actually connected to a wide range of other freedoms.  The discussion takes off from there and includes a number of interesting theoretical and empirical observations.  An audience question & answer period follows the interchange of scholars.  Recorded: November 15, 2016.



Religious Freedom Project at the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs (Georgetown University).

Religious Freedom Institute.

Video of the panel discussion on YouTube.

Thomas Farr’s bio at the Religious Freedom Institute.

Daniel Philpott’s bio at the University of Notre Dame.

William Inboden’s bio at the University of Texas, Austin.

Allen Hertzke’s bio at the University of Oklahoma.

Sahar Aziz’s bio at Texas A&M University.


Is Religious Freedom Good for Growth? A Panel Discussion.

Religious Liberty & Economic Prosperity: A Panel Discussion.

Religious Freedom & Political Flourishing: A Panel Discussion.

Proselytism, Humanitarianism, & Development: A Panel Discussion.

Proselytism, Social Stability, & Development: A Panel Discussion.

Dan Philpott on Defending Religious Freedom.

Dan Philpott on Religious Resurgence and Democratization.

William Inboden on Religious Liberty, Foreign Policy, and the Arab Spring.

Allen Hertzke on Religious Liberty.

Thomas Farr on Religion, Religious Liberty, and Foreign Policy.

Monica Toft on Religion, Terrorism, & Civil War.

John Owen on Confronting Political Islam, Historical Lessons.

Sean Everton on Dark Networks.

David Patel on Religion & Social Order in Iraq.

Eli Berman on Religious Terrorism.

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