There is a leadership struggle underway within Boko Haram, the violent, extremist movement that has claimed more than 20,000 lives since 2011 and destabilized the secular Nigerian state and its neighbors. The personal struggle between Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Barnawi reflects in part the rivalry between Boko Haram and a splinter group, “Ansaru,” and are part of a complex, intra-Muslim conflict across the Sahel, including competition between rival al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamic State.
In the wake of the horror in Orlando, discussion has once again focused on the idea of placing a 'ban' on all Muslims entering the United States. The idea is to keep Muslims out of America and to go further by banning all entrants from countries with a "proven history of terrorism" against this country.
Andrew Doran, senior advisor to In Defense of Christians, discusses the historical and cultural context of Christianity in the Middle East and provides an overview of the persecution faced by Christians and other religious groups in the region.
Vali R. Nasr, dean of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, discusses rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the subsequent escalation of sectarian conflict throughout the region.
The Saudi establishment’s misconceptions about the relationship between their Shiite community and Iran is proving dangerous, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Denigrating Shias as heretics will only inflame their grievances and radicalize the political culture of the region.
Katherine Marshall discusses the role of women of faith in peacebuilding, focusing on the challenges and opportunities of strengthening women’s abilities to work for peace in both religious and secular capacities.