Foreign Policy Blogs

Archive by Author

Where is the Government When You Need It Most?

The Telegraph reported two days ago an absolutely absurd story about the movie actress Julia Roberts and the shooting of the new film, “Eat, Pray, Love.” Apparently, Roberts managed to prevent villagers from celebrating the religious rites of Navratri by closing a local temple to the public and …

read more

No Eid for Rebels in Yemen

A month ago a new wave of fighting started between Yemen’s government forces and rebel Shi’ite Muslims. According to Reuters/Alert Net, the conflict has spread and the plight of civilians is at “alarming levels.” The most recent fighting has been on-going for five years, displacing about 150,000 people. …

read more

Islamic Law in Egypt – Applied to Adoptions

This week in Egypt, two American couples were arrested and charged with human trafficking after they engaged in illegal adoptions.They were sentenced to two years in prison and fined $18,153. According to the AP, “They adopted children from a Cairo orphanage that allegedly gave them forged documents stating …

read more

Iran's Day of Solidarity?

You cannot imagine a stronger mix of religion and politics than the news out of Iran today. According to the LA Times, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been prevented from leading the Friday Prayers in Tehran on the occasion of Quds Day. The alleged reformist leaders …

read more

Islamic Law in Context

On Monday, BBC News reported from Aceh province in Indonesia that a new law was passed to make adultery punishable by stoning to death. According to the BBC report, “Sharia law was partially introduced in Aceh in 2001, as part of a government offer to pacify separatist rebels.” …

read more

The Visual Aspect of Religion

The Visual Aspect of Religion

I’m always impressed by how much religion permeates the life of Tajikistan, even when it is incorporating trends from abroad. This past week, as Tajikistan celebrated its 18th year of independence, there was a small art festival entitled, “Graffiti is Flight Fantasy.” (sponsored by the Institute for Eurasian Studies). Although …

read more

Dilip Hiro on Turkey: Secular Elite vs. Religious Masses

Overlook Press has recently published Dilip Hiro’s new book: Inside Central Asia, which is an all-encompassing history of practically everything the average reader of history might want to know about the region. It even considers the ancient history of the 5 major “stan” countries, as well as Iran and Turkey. …

read more

Shiism: A Radical Threat?

The most interesting article I’ve come across recently concerns Morocco and the spread of Islamic radicalism. Although articles are being published practically every second on “Islamic radicals,” Steven Erlanger’s and Souad Mekhennet’s piece in the New York Times  alerts readers to an element of the spread of radicalism that is …

read more

Extremist Tolerance?

Christopher Hitchens, on Slate.com, has written a piece on Guantanamo Bay and the current Presidential policies that has made me re-consider my understanding of tolerance (at least for a time). After much consideration, though, I have to say that this Hitchens article is not very compelling. He basically …

read more

Another Fresh Start?

Last week U.S. President Obama directly spoke to the Muslim world (again), and it seems that this time everyone has taken notice. In the President’s historic address from Cairo – supported by Al Azhar and Cairo University, there was great humility presented in order to try and ease the current …

read more

Regulating Conversions in Muslim Countries

Al Jazeera has published a “breaking news” report about the evangelical Christians serving in the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Of course – as Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, the U.S. Army is not intentionally involved in “promoting religion.” On the other …

read more

Political Islam is also a Victim

The current issue of Newsweek has an interesting commentary titled, “As Economies Sink, Religious Radicals Suffer Setbacks.” Apparently, the financial crisis is killing the prospects for more political Islam. The examples given are from: Turkey, Indonesia, Iran, and Lebanon. In Turkey, the AKP has lost support after focusing …

read more

More Defamation of Religion Needed?

The Economist has jumped on the debate train: This past week they looked at the resolution on religious defamation, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. Actually, they asked the question (which shows perfectly the confusion in this debate), “What exactly is it the drafters of …

read more

“You cannot put out fire with flames”

“You cannot put out fire with flames”

This was the Turkish proverb quoted by President Obama in his speech yesterday before the Turkish Grand National Assembly to say that the U.S. does not aim to fight extremism through force. The President’s speech was remarkably general, but at the same time, he made some important …

read more

Coming Soon – The 2009 Alliance

Coming Soon – The 2009 Alliance

President Obama is expected to participate in the UN-connected meeting called the Alliance of Civilizations. It is the second forum of the alliance and scheduled for April 6-7 in Istanbul. The Alliance was established in 2005, and it aims to reduce cross-cultural tensions. The director of …

read more

About the Author

Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;

Contact

GreadDecisions in foreign policy discussion group ad v2