Why Religious Freedom Is a National Security Issue

On Palm Sunday 2021, a suicide bomb was detonated outside a Catholic church in Indonesia, wounding more than 20 people. The incident was a disappointing setback for a Muslim-majority country that has battled extremism. This and many other attacks on peoples of faith and houses of worship point to a connection between religious freedom and stability and security.

Religious freedom is a human right, and countries seeking to protect this right worldwide (like the United States) often do so strictly out of humanitarian concern. Yet, the need to promote this right can be made on other grounds as well—namely, that promoting religious freedom around the world is in the best interest of our own national security.

In the West, religious freedom has not yet been incorporated into a consistent, long-term, foreign policy strategy. But perhaps it should be.

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