Please join the Atlantic Council for “What’s Religion Got to Do with It?” — the second public hearing of the Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST). The event will examine to what extent religion is a driver behind the rise of violent extremism and sectarianism in regional politics. To answer this question in a way that is both fresh and relevant, the event will feature not only experts on Islam and politics, but also experts on the social media platforms that have become integral to contemporary questions of faith and politics in the Middle East, especially among young people. Through this combination of perspectives, MEST Co-Chairs Madeleine Albright and Stephen Hadley will seek to identify the factors that empower extremist movements and explore how people in the region can harness the uplifting and unifying potential of faith, while containing its capacity to divide.

Madeleine Albright served as US Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001 and is currently Chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group. Following his tenure as US National Security Advisor from 2005 to 2009, Stephen Hadley cofounded RiceHadleyGates LLC where as principal he remains engaged in international affairs. Imam Mohamed Magid is a Sudanese-born American who serves as the Executive Director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), and works in a number of interfaith dialogue initiatives and efforts to counter extremist recruiting and ideology. Neha Sahgal is Senior Researcher at Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life project. Geneive Abdo is the Convener of the MEST Working Group on Religion, Identity, and Countering Violent Extremism. She is also a Fellow in the Stimson Center’s Middle East program and a Nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Alberto Fernandez is Vice President of the Middle East Media Research Institute. He was previously the Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications at the US Department of State. Hayder al-Khoei is an Associate Fellow in the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham where he studies Middle East history, politics, and Islamic Studies, focusing on Iraq, Iran, and clerical authority in Shia Islam.

The event will be followed by an iftar reception.

Thursday, July 9

Event begins at 6:30 pm

Iftar begins at 8:30 pm