Religious Tolerance Efforts in the Middle East

Nov 16, 2021

The United Nations marks November 16 each year as the International Day for Tolerance. Religious tolerance is one key component of tolerance overall. Governments in the Middle East have increasingly espoused a doctrine of religious tolerance, especially after September 11, 2001. Along the same lines, the U.S. government has encouraged greater tolerance abroad as an antidote to extremism, especially violent extremism. Many countries in the Middle East showcase their churches, synagogues, and mosques as evidence of tolerance. The recently signed Abraham Accords have also reignited the conversation on religious tolerance.

USCIRF Supervisory Policy Analyst Scott Weiner joins us today to discuss the potential pitfalls of promoting religious tolerance rather than freedom of religion or belief as defined in the international human rights standards. He also discusses the difference between the two, and how the U.S. government can support religious tolerance in a way that most effectively advances the national interest in promoting religious freedom.