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Psychological Fallout of Violence: Iraq and Gaza

Anna Badkhen, writing in Baghdad for ISN Security Watch, wrote a commentary this week expressing her view that "the most lingering threat to stability in Iraq is the psychological fallout of the sectarian violence of 2006 and 2007." She discusses the long-term threat that is now emerging from the severe segregation of Sunnis and Shias.  […]

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Isolation or Dialogue?

This month, the Center for Security Studies (Zurich) published an excellent analysis of Switzerland's Middle East policy. The article first reminds readers that Switzerland follows a policy of engagement on the basis of three principles: neutrality, universality, and recognition of states rather than governments. The last element can be specifically contrasted with the foreign policy of […]

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The Religious "Left'

From all the media coverage of the current U.S. presidential election, it seems that the "liberal" or "progressive" voice has once again entered U.S. politics. According to a recent Q&A at the Pew Forum, "the religious left" is more active. John Green, the Senior Fellow in Religion and American Politics, provides clear definitions of the religious […]

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Obama's Time to Stand by Israel

AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is an organization that lobbies to promote and secure greater U.S. support for Israel and a stronger U.S.-Israel relationship. This past week, AIPAC held its Policy Conference 2008. All three of the U.S. presidential candidates spoke at the conference, as well as prominent speakers such as Secretary of State […]

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Political Showdowns over Gay Marriage

Jack Leonard, for the Los Angeles Times, has written about the upcoming "political showdown" in California over gay marriage. Yesterday, the California secretary of state said that the gay marriage initiate would be on the November 4 ballot. Voters will have to decide whether there should be a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as […]

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Bombings versus Interfaith Dialogue in the Philippines

This past Thursday, there was a deadly bomb attack in the Philippines. Three people were killed outside an Air Force base. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) , the largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines , denied any involvement in the attack but was accused by the regional police chief. There are other Muslim […]

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Freedom of Conscience in 2008

Amnesty International's Report 2008 considers the current state of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights,’ sixty years after it was adopted. In the section "At a Glance,' Amnesty International challenges world leaders to apologize for six decades of human rights abuses and "to deliver concrete improvements." The press release said that the "most striking images of 2007 […]

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The UNESCO Peace Prize

The former Finnish president, Martti Ahtisaari, has won UNESCO's annual peace prize. Ahtisaari was the President of Finland from 1994 to 2000. The award is known as the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize, and Ahtisaari is the recipient of the award on account of “his life-time contribution to world peace.” Mr. Ahtisaari is the founder of the NGO, Crisis […]

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Post-Conflict Lebanon

An agreement in Doha, Qatar has been signed among Lebanon's political leaders. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has welcomed the agreement and hopes it will be the start of "a lasting period of national reconciliation." The Security Council also supports the agreement and the "decision to continue the national dialogue on ways to reinforce the authority of […]

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The President's Middle East Trip

While Israel has been celebrating its 60th anniversary, US President George W. Bush took a five-day trip to the Middle East (May 13-May 18). On May 15, President Bush addressed members of Israel's Knesset. His remarks were controversial in the US domestic arena on account of his supposed criticism (attack?) of presidential candidate Barack Obama […]

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Integrating Immigrant Communities

After the riots in the French suburbs in 2007 (not to mention 2005), Olivier Roy , an expert on Islam and politics , said, "what these guys want is integration." In a presentation of his book (published the same year), Secularism Confronts Islam, Olivier Roy discussed the "tools" of integration. With respect to the situation […]

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Religious Parties in Secular States

A classic example of the complex dynamics surrounding an “Islamic” party in a secular state is Turkey and the AKP (The Justice and Development Party), which has spent most of its recent political clout trying to remove the headscarf ban in universities. The Eurasia Daily Monitor (Jamestown Foundation) has recently reported on research that shows […]

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Historical Reflections on the Meaning of Jihad

This is a Guest Blog written by Zharmukhamed Zardykhan, an Assistant Professor at KIMEP, the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research.   The First World War was noted not only for its horrific physical destruction and tremendous financial ruin, but for the first time systematic international propaganda became one of the most effective means of […]

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Attitude Trends in Iran and the United States

Attitude Trends in Iran and the United States

  (Photographed by Karin Esposito, 2004, Tehran) The organization Search for Common Ground (SFCG), on April 7, 2008, published the results of a second poll that it took of 710 Iranian adults , both in rural and urban areas. The first extensive survey it took of Iranian citizens was published in January 2007. SFCG has […]

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Europol Helps Define Islamist Terrorism

In March 2007, Europol published its first annual report on terrorism in the EU. The "EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report” is also known as TE-SAT. With respect to the subject matter of this blog, what useful information about supposedly "religiously motivated" terrorism can we find in the TE-SAT? "Islamist terrorists aim at mass casualties." […]

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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;

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