Skip to main content

The Contest of Ideas with Radical Islam

Nina Shea

All jihadist orthodoxies hold the core animating belief of absolute intolerance for the religious “other,” that is other religions and faith groups, as well as other Muslims, whether members of other Muslim groups or individual Muslims who dissent from intolerant orthodoxies. The contest of ideas requires a U.S. soft power response that advances religious freedom and tolerance in the Muslim world. The new administration should prioritize this effort in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq because of their foreign policy significance. It should press Saudi Arabia to end its sponsorship and spread of religious hatred; undertake real textbook and education reform; end persecution of and discrimination against Shiites and individual Muslims accused of apostasy and blasphemy by its clerical establishment; and allow non-Muslim places of worship inside the Kingdom. In Iraq it should urgently adopt a comprehensive policy to specifically help endangered communities of Christians, Yizidis, and Mandeans. It should use its considerable leverage with Egypt to end official discrimination and repression against Copts, Quranists, Shiites and those accused of apostasy and blasphemy. It should oppose the trend to universalize blasphemy laws, including through bans on religious defamation now being considered at the UN; and recognize the diversity within Islam in its own Muslim outreach programs here in America.

To read the complete report, please click on the “View PDF” button below.

View PDF

Related Articles

Persecuted Christian: Will Pakistan's Asia Bibi Be Killed for Alleged Blasphemy?

Lela Gilbert

Amidst wars and rumors of wars, the eyes of the world have understandably fixed themselves on the Middle East. In Iraq and Syria, untold thousands ha...

Continue Reading

Malala Has Won the Nobel Peace Prize – and It’s about Time

Lela Gilbert

Just about a year ago, the Western world held its collective breath, hoping against hope to hear that the courageous young Pakistani teenager, Malala ...

Continue Reading

From Attempted Murder in Denmark to Freedom in the Islamic State

Naser Khader

Lars Hedegaard responded to a knock at his front door in February, he saw a mailman waiting with a package delivery. What seemed to be a commonplace o...

Continue Reading