May 27, 2019
Working to unite the sectors of society and lower incidence of risk factors for radicalization in Central Asia, as well as expanding fundamental understanding of FoRB, LYN Community (Love Your Neighbor Community) received over $230,000 to fund a one-year project to launch immediately.
Since 2011, stakeholders have observed the enacting and implementation of Kazakhstan’s religious codes aimed singularly at stifling extremist ideology and upending their birthing ground in country and across the region. The unequal application of the law from the capital outward to municipalities has led to increase in tension amongst the different sectors of the society and religious communities.
A relied-upon voice in FoRB in the region, LYNC President Wade Kusack has spent the past eight years monitoring reforms, working with minority groups and developing a strategy and toolkit for interfaith dialogue alongside the Institute for Global Engagement. The signing of the Uzbek – IGE MOU in September 2018, signaled key action and intention across the region to protect and preserve religious rights.
LYNC, together with IGE and the Association of Religious Organizations in Kazakhstan, began seeking to fully fund a one-year project resulting in reforms with protections for FoRB for all leading to a lower incidence of risk factors for radicalization in the region.The project objectives include:
1) Expanding fundamental understanding of FoRB;
2) Capacity building in tolerance, pluralism and anti-radicalization; and
3) Empowered national and regional religious community/ society networks advocating for FoRB.
Tactically, and utilizing a tried and tested model used to bring peace and reconciliation to Ukrainian and Russian religious leaders during the 2014-2015 conflict, LYNC foresees this ground-breaking and inclusive project to have three core activity:
1) Roundtables in Shymkent, Actobe, and Ust-Kamenogorsk: Level 1 with localreligious leaders, government, civil society + internationalcomponent (US religious leaders, scholars, experts, etc.) and Level 2 – The same Kazakh participants but withoutthe international component;
2) Toolkit Creation: IGE will compile existing materials and create new resources, which together will make up a toolkit on FoRB, the rule of law, and social stability.
3) MOU Recommendation Conference in Astana: The roundtables will culminate in a conference which will include the signing of the MOU to Advance Religious Freedom.
LYNC and its partners recognize now is the optimal time for engagement, with positive signals and open dialogues continuing with the Kazakh government.