USCIRF Hearing: Strategies for Religious Freedom in Fragile States

Sep 22


Sep 22nd 10:30am - Sep 22nd 12:00pm

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Hearing
Strategies for Religious Freedom in Fragile States

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Virtual Hearing

Hearing Transcript

Hearing Summary

Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a virtual hearing on how the U.S. government can promote and help protect religious freedom in fragile states.

In recent years, the U.S. government has begun revising its approach to addressing violence and conflict prevention in fragile contexts.  In 2018 the U.S. government published the Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR). The Global Fragility Act was passed and signed into law with strong bipartisan support in 2019. These developments, which require long-term planning and organizational discipline across U.S. foreign policy interagency processes, present a starting point to discuss how religious freedom can advance U.S. stabilization efforts and how U.S. policy in fragile states can better support individuals whose rights to freedom of thought, conscience, and worship are under threat.

Countries with fragile contexts, such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen present uniquely challenging landscapes for U.S. government officials to promote and protect religious freedom. When governments lack control over their territory or the support of their populations, common tools like diplomacy or sanctions often prove ineffective in promoting the fundamental rights of freedom of religion or belief.

This hearing will explore the intersection of religious freedom and fragility, the tools that the U.S. government has to promote freedom of religion or belief abroad, the role that religious leaders and communities can play in strengthening stabilization efforts, and how the U.S. government can better promote and help protect religious freedom in fragile states.

Opening Remarks


  • Elie Al Hindy, Ph.D, Executive Director, Adyan Foundation for Diversity, Solidarity and Human Dignity
    Written Testimony
  • Corrine Graff, Senior Advisor on Conflict Prevention and Fragility, U.S. Institute of Peace
    Written Testimony
  • James Patton, President and CEO of International Center for Religion and Diplomacy
    Written Testimony
  • Ebrahim Moosa, Professor in Islamic Thought & Muslim Societies, University of Notre Dame
    Written Testimony


Witnesses’ Bios


This hearing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the public, and the media. Members of the media should register online and can email for any questions or to schedule an interview. The video recording of the hearing will be posted on the Commission website. For any additional questions, please contact Nina Ullom at or (202) 322-0232.