After four remarkable years (including a half-year extension due to the pandemic), the GREASE research project is now complete. But our efforts are continuing to bear fruit. In the coming months, we will quietly celebrate the release of four publications – two books and two special journal issues – spearheaded by the GREASE consortium. (See preview below.) Meanwhile, the treasure trove of resources on our website – from policy briefs and concept papers to country reports and documentary films – will remain freely available for at least the next five years. Plus, both of our popular online courses will continue to be offered on the FutureLearn platform for the foreseeable future.
At the end of a significant project like GREASE, it’s important to take stock and assess what was accomplished. Our final conference in September provided that opportunity. In our report on the event (below), GREASE coordinator Anna Triandafyllidou points out the consortium’s success in illuminating the complexities of our difficult subject matter and revealing how different world regions deal with religious diversity and violent radicalisation. The GREASE research project, says Triandafyllidou, provides further encouragement for “building inclusive societies”. The GREASE project may be over. But the partners who breathed life into this collaboration will continue engaging with the growing community of scholars, policymakers and practitioners for whom our work has relevance. So please don’t hesitate to reach out to us moving forward.
Thank you for being with us.
Publications in the Pipeline
As the GREASE project wraps up, we are proud to announce the scheduled release of four major publications. These are among the project’s most ambitious undertakings, the culmination of years of collaborative research. Here’s a summary of what’s on the way:
- A Special Issue on Developing a framework for a global comparative analysis of the governance of religious diversity published in an international peer-refereed journal : Religion, State and Society. This special issue is guest edited by Tariq Modood and Thomas Sealy and brings together contributions from several project teams, presenting our new theoretical approach on the governance of state religion relations in different world regions. A book version of this special issue is also being planned, scheduled for release in 2023.
- A book edited by Tina Magazzini and Georges Fahmi on Causes and Consequences of the Governance of Islam and Violent Radicalization is due to be published by Routledge, London. This book addresses the relationship between governing religion and religiously inspired violent radicalisation in Muslim majority countries across the MENA region and southeast Asia as well as Muslim minority countries in Europe.
- A special issue entitled Dynamics of the governance of religious diversity in Southeastern and Central Eastern Europe and Russia is being guest edited by Egdunas Racius and Lily Yakova. It is due to appear in Ethnicities in 2024 (final submission in summer 2023).
- A volume edited by Michele Grossman and Hisham Hellyer on Rethinking Religion and Radicalisation: Terrorism and Violence Twenty Years after 9/11 will be published by Bloomsbury, London in 2023.
GREASE Final Conference
On 22 and 23 September 2022 scores of researchers from around the globe gathered with policymakers in Brussels to discuss the findings of the GREASE project. Our wide-ranging investigation into religious diversity, secularism, governance, and violent radicalisation yielded a rich bounty of publications, data sets, and educational materials. These outputs – from country reports and indicators to a resilience handbook, documentary films, and policy briefs – were the basis of the discussions that took place at our final conference in Brussels
Researchers – representing many European countries, the MENA region, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia – presented their findings and engaged face-to-face with policymakers and practitioners from the European Commission and EU Member States, the United Kingdom, and South East Asia.
Constantinos Alexandris, an official specializing in religious diplomacy at the European External Action Service, was among those responding to presentations by project members during the policy section of the conference. He zeroed in on policy relevance of GREASE’s findings, noting that “religious diversity matters for the European Union because it relates to social cohesion and social stability.”
Summarizing her experience with the project, scientific coordinator Anna Triandafyllidou observed: “The GREASE project gave us the opportunity to truly engage with the experiences, challenges and solutions adopted in other world regions in governing religious diversity and preventing religiously inspired violent radicalisation. There is more commonality than we tend to think when looking at good practices for recognizing religion in the public space and include minorities. There are also common trends when looking at how socio-economic grievances and geopolitical factors can fuel the spiral of religiously attributed violent radicalisation. Our work during these four years has contributed to highlighting some of the complexities and encouraging us to work across countries and world regions in building inclusive societies.”
Pakistan Country Report
Our collection of country reports has expanded yet again. The latest addition is Pakistan, bringing our total number of country reports to 26 (three more than was originally planned when the project began). Authored by Iqraa Bukhari, the report discusses the nuances and facets of religious diversity, tolerance (or lack thereof) and radicalisation in Pakistan. It includes an overview of socio-demographics in the country with a focus on religious and ethnic diversity and sectarianism. The report also examines Pakistan’s legal, institutional, and sectarian history relating to radicalisation, as well as its school education system. And it explores the various challenges that Pakistan faces in regards to radicalisation – i.e. religious militancy, terrorism and religious sentiments. This report strengthens our coverage of South Asia, complementing our reports on India and Bangladesh.
Although pandemic restrictions prevented us from holding most of our planned regional workshops in-person, we did manage to salvage one: Morocco. On May 11th and 12th we gathered with scholars and stakeholders at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fes.
Invited participants took part in a policy round-table and contributed to a MENA-focused academic workshop. The event provided a valuable opportunity to discuss our research findings and the recommendations put forth in our policy briefs. The conference program and a brief report (in French) are available here.