Religious Freedom and Global Security

Chris Seiple and Dennis R. Hoover

in The Future of Religious Freedom

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199930890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980581 | DOI:
Religious Freedom and Global Security

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The field of international security, like international relations in general, has been slow to incorporate religion into empirical analysis, policy development, and strategic engagement. Since 9/11, religion has belatedly become a major focus in security circles, yet rarely in ways that put religious freedom per se into the foreground. The focus on religious freedom—its forms, complexities, causes, effects, impediments, strategies, and so on—is not nearly as integrated into the mainstream of the security field as it should be. Moreover, there is tendency to assume a zero-sum relationship between religious freedom and security—that in an era dominated religiously-motivated terrorism, increasing security necessarily means curtailing religious freedom to constrain violent religious extremists. This chapter argues that religious freedom and sustainable security are in fact interdependent. It demonstrates two underlying dynamics in the religion-security relationship: a negative cycle (in which religious restriction/repression leads to insecurity) and a positive cycle (in which religious freedom supports social stability and well-being, and hence security over the long-term). The chapter concludes by providing recommendations for governmental and nongovernmental actors in contemporary world affairs.

Keywords: religious persecution; religious conflict and violence; religious peacebuilding; terrorism; civil society; social capital; human rights; sustainable security

Chapter.  7655 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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