Hefner in The Diplomat: Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy


Robert HefnerProfessor of Anthropology and International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University and Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs, an affiliated center of the Pardee School, was recently interviewed on the relationship between religion and U.S. foreign policy.

Hefner was interviewed for a May 17, 2016 article in The Diplomat entitled “Religion in U.S. Foreign Policy: Implications for Asia.

From the text of the article:

The greatest religion-related policy challenge facing the next U.S. president has less to do with religious symbolism in general than with, far more specifically, how to respond to Islamist extremism in a manner that works with rather than alienates our friends and allies in the global Muslim community. The rise of Daesh, the failure of Arab-spring efforts at democratic renewal, and the specter of future terrorist attacks in the West have made sober public discussion of Islam and Muslims more difficult than ever in Western countries. Level-headed policy discussion has been made additionally problematic as a result of campaigns by populist Western politicians intent on winning political advantage by stoking popular fears of Muslims and Islam. The fact that most victims of Daesh terror have been Muslims, and that our most steadfast allies in campaigns to destroy the so-called Islamic state have also been Muslim, makes this narrative bitterly ironic. The next U.S. president has to show the intellectual capacity and moral courage to contain or repair the damage done by certain anti-Muslim populist politicians in the U.S. and Western Europe.

Robert Hefner has directed 19 research projects and organized 18 international conferences, and authored or edited nineteen books.  He is former president of the Association for Asian Studies.  At CURA, he has directed the program on Islam and civil society since 1991; coordinated interdisciplinary research and public policy programs on religion, pluralism, and world affairs; and is currently involved in two research projects: “The New Western Plurality and Civic Coexistence: Muslims, Catholics, and Secularists in North America and Western Europe”; and “Sharia Transitions: Islamic Law and Ethical Plurality in the Contemporary World.” You can read more about him here