With the rise of Islamism in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, religious minorities have come increasingly under siege. Already this year, nearly two hundred Hazara Shiite Muslims in Baluchistan, Pakistan have been killed in bombings launched by the Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jangvi. In Egypt, the nation’s new constitution denies Baha’is the right to houses of worship, while Iran’s denies Baha’is any rights at all. In Mali, Islamists have destroyed historic Sufi shrines, and in Iraq, a campaign of terrorist violence has driven almost the entire Mandean community from its ancient homeland. Across a broad geographic area and in once culturally diverse societies, Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Ahmadi Muslims, Zoroastrians, Sufis, Shiites, Mandeans, Yizidis, Sikhs, Hindus, and other religious minorities face a range of threats from ascendant Islamists.
Moderator Nina Shea, Hudson Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Religious Freedom, and our expert panel discussed Islamism’s impact on religious minorities and recommendations to strengthen the cause of religious freedom and cultural pluralism.