CRGA brought together some 40 academics, experts, faith and civil society leaders, diplomats and journalists in Beirut from a wide range of countries in Africa, Middle East and Europe. The consultation's aim was to reflect on how and why religious organisations often become the most powerful actors in failed and weak states and to draw policy relevant lessons from the cases of Boko Haram in Nigeria, ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and Al Shabab in Somaliaand the wider Horn of Africa.
Theoretical discussions on the relationship between religion and violent conflict as well as peace building were grounded in discussions on how faith actors and international community have responded to violent religious extremism. The consultation ended with a discussion on policy implications of the discussions at the consultation.
The speakers at the consultation were: Ziya Meral, Director of CRGA; Prof Alp Ozerdem, Coventry University; Dr Craig Larkin, King's College London, Hayder al-Khoei, Chatham House; Murad al-Shishani, BBC Arabic; Sheikh Muhammad Abou Zaid, Sunni Court of Saida, Lebanon; Prof. Kyari Mohammed, Modibbo Adama University of Technology; Nigeria, Dr Adam Higazi, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Abdullahi Boru, Policy Analyst, Horn of Africa; Dr Hashim Abdulkadir, Univeristy of Nairobi; Dr Joseph Wandra, St Paul's University Kenya; Dr Martin Accad, CRGA Beirut; Rafaello Pantucci, Royal United Services Institute, London; Raymond Asfour, Board Member, CRGA.
Our delegates have highlighted that in addition to expertise of the speakers, the diverse backgrounds of delegates and the intentionally small size of the gathering enabled stimulating conversations and new friendships. During the consultation there were many side meetings between the delegates and CRGA to plan practical projects by way of follow up to our discussions in Beirut.
CRGA will produce two reports on themes that emerged from the consultation. The reports will be released in Arabic and English.