Thoughtful commentary on current affairs, international issues and ICRD programs from staff, colleagues and partners of ICRD.

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Peace Beyond Havana: Reconciling Colombia's past with a new future. — October 1, 2015

By ICRD Executive Vice President James Patton – 28 Sept 2015 The faces of the martyrs are laid out on the floor in the morning, in concentric circles around a two-foot tall candle. These are friends and colleagues who were killed in pursuit of peace in Colombia. Some photos are grainy shots,... (Read more)

Is Secularism a Necessary Condition for Democratization? — September 24, 2015

By ICRD Intern Arian Soroush As Pope Francis’ impending visit to Congress reminds us, the relationship between religion and politics is a problematic one that still continues to perplex even the most advanced societies. Centuries ago, the Western world found some balance between the two in t... (Read more)

Common Sense Counter-Terrorism — September 16, 2015

By ICRD Intern Eamon Lebow As civil society leaders around the world struggle to develop innovative strategies for countering terrorism that can go beyond the use of force, one pivotal legal decision casts a shadow over this work. In 2010, the Humanitarian Law Project (HLP) challenged the Anti... (Read more)

Religion: A Narrative of Connection — June 16, 2015

By ICRD Intern Mostafa Foda There is currently a great deal of discussion by policy-makers about evolving a “counter-narrative” to the current surge of extremist violence. Perhaps, as one African Imam stated at the State Department’s Ministerial Event on CVE, it is not a counter-narrativ... (Read more)

At Risk: Causes and Solutions for Radicalization in Prisons — June 3, 2015

By ICRD Intern Ian Farkas As national attention remains fixated on the Islamic State and its internet-based recruitment tactics, insufficient attention has been paid to the influence of prisons on radicalization. In 2015 alone, a spree of terroristic shootings in Copenhagen and an attack on a ... (Read more)

An Alternative to Violence – Amplifying Counter Narratives — May 27, 2015

By ICRD Intern Graham Conlon Last February, the New York Times interviewed a member of ICRD’s Interfaith Leadership Network, Imam Mohammed Magid. The article highlighted his efforts to provide a counter-narrative to youths in his community in Sterling, Virginia who might be vulnerable to ext... (Read more)

Signs of Hope in Syria: The Revolutionary Potential of Religious Engagement — May 20, 2015

By ICRD Intern Nicole Patierno Despite the appalling butchery and surprising staying power of ISIS, it is important not to mythologize the activity of the so-called Islamic State. Though 2015 marked the fourth year of brutal civil conflict in Syria, Western media attention has remained fixated... (Read more)

Building Resilient Communities Abroad: A Reflection on the White House Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism — February 18, 2015

By Andrew McDonnell This afternoon, the White House will convene key religious leaders, law enforcement officials, NGO leaders, social service providers, and representatives from countries around the world in a summit on countering violent extremism (CVE). This meeting is an opportunity to cel... (Read more)

An Eye toward the Future: Curbing Mistreatment of Religious Minorities — November 19, 2014

By Nicole Magney As the so-called Islamic State (IS) continues to gain ground in parts of Syria and Iraq, it is easy to fall into a state of hopelessness about the fate of the region and more broadly, the Muslim world. While many people are focused on how to combat IS now, as they rightly shou... (Read more)

From the Valley to the Summit: Coca and Cauca — May 20, 2014

by James Patton We take a hard left turn just shy of an hour away from the airport in Cali and the driver applies the brakes, drifting to a stop. We are in a bulletproof SUV. Contrary to stereotypes, however, it does not have the UN or a foreign government logo on the side, not even that of an... (Read more)

'Return to Homs' lets the world experience the Syrian war from the inside — April 4, 2014

By Jennifer Crumpton A small, lifeless boy lies in a pool of blood on the floor of a bland, crumbling concrete room. Gut-wrenching, helpless wails of mourning rise up from those standing around him. “God curse you, Bashar!” cries one low, scratchy voice, perhaps his father’s. After th... (Read more)

Are Colombians Ready for Peace? — November 22, 2013

By James Patton On the one hand, there is the young man who was taught by his father to care for the livestock and the family ranch. After sitting by the side of the bed while his father bled to death, following an assault by guerrillas claiming an egalitarian economic cause, he joined the par... (Read more)

Back from the Brink — October 24, 2013

by Jennifer Crumpton SEAL raids in Somalia, the Westgate Mall siege in Nairobi, church burnings in Egypt. From the Benghazi attacks to the murder of Sikhs in a Wisconsin temple, what modern issue affects the global family of humanity more than the rise of violent extremism and the roots and ou... (Read more)

Honoring Their Sacrifice — September 11, 2013

Welcome to the inaugural launch of the ICRD blog site on this, the 12th anniversary of 9-11. In remembering those who paid the ultimate price on that fateful day, it becomes appropriate to take stock of how far we have come in developing a coherent response to the religious extremism that gave ri... (Read more)

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