Tuesday Headlines

Crackdown In Egypt Could Radicalize Youth
The Carnegie Endowment’s Nathan J. Brown and Michele Dunne contend that the Egyptian state’s harsh crackdown on Islamists, which they describe as the most”intense a period of killing, imprisonment, torture, and other forms of repression as the one since the July 2013 coup against former president Mohamed Morsi,” is having the effect of radicalizing the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The new Brotherhood leaders might be less cautious than their predecessors in part because they are preoccupied with how to retain the allegiance of young members. Brotherhood leaders and older members are deeply aware and constantly reminded that extremist groups such as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis are recruiting actively. Young members follow the social media campaigns of such groups carefully, partly in order to look for militants who might have come from the Brotherhood or from secular groups active in the 2011 uprising. Brotherhood leaders worry about the impact of extremists’ media campaigns,” they write.

Venezuela Could Face Humanitarian Crisis
International Crisis Group’s latest Latin America briefing warns that Venezuela’s mismanaged economy could lead to a full-blown humanitarian crisis.

“Having incurred massive debts, spent most of its international reserves and emptied a stabilisation fund set up for such contingencies, the government faces a critical shortage of hard currency and the prospect of triple-digit inflation this year and can no longer afford to make up domestic shortfalls of consumer goods with imports. The impact has naturally been felt most keenly by the poor, who rely on increasingly scarce supplies of price-controlled food, medicines and other basic goods for which they must often queue for hours, with no guarantee of success,” the briefing says in outlining the problem.

Greatest Threat To Religious Liberty Is Religious Extremism
As religious extremism spreads across the globe from the Middle East to Central Asia and throughout Europe, protecting the religious rights of individuals has become an imperative and could be an effective tool in fighting terrorism. But governments must first develop fresh approaches to promoting the free exercise of faith.

“Violent religious extremism grows out of many factors and is often situation-specific. So the response must be flexible, comprehensive, and coordinated, not fragmented across different bureaus and agencies,” asserts Knox Thames, director of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The USCIRF released a report last year that noted the broad impact a lack of religious freedom can have on nations.

“Politically, religious freedom abuses are linked with the absence of democracy and the presence of abuses of other human rights, such as freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Economically, religious persecution can destabilize communities and marginalize the persecuted, causing their talents and abilities in many instances to go unrealized, robbing a nation of added productivity, and reducing its ability to fight poverty and create abundance for its citizens,” said the report.

For that reason, Thames argues “better incorporating promotion of freedom of religion into American efforts to confront ISIS and others extremists can enhance efforts to fight terrorism” because “environments that support religious freedom are therefore better positioned to reject violent ideologies.”

He adds that it is not a cure-all, but makes counter-terrorism efforts “more durable by protecting civic space for diversity of thought and belief.”


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