Watch Congressional Briefing Here
Briefing: Mosque and State in Central AsiaPosted by U.S. Helsinki Commission on Monday, December 17, 2018
On December 17, Eurasia expert at (Daniel Morgan Graduate School) DMGS, Dr. Edward Lemon participated in a congressional briefing on “Mosque and State in Central Asia” convened by the U.S. Helsinki Commission. Dr. Lemon presented his research on counter-extremism in Tajikistan, based on fieldwork in the region between 2010 and 2017. Counter-extremism in Tajikistan, Dr. Lemon argued, is less about addressing genuine threats to national security and more about securing the country’s authoritarian regime. Tajikistan’s secular policies, which restrict religious freedoms, may backfire according to Dr. Lemon. They are creating resentment and a sense of injustice among local communities, which is being used by extremist recruiters. By creating docile citizens who cannot think critically, the government makes the simplistic narratives offered by terrorist organizations more difficult to challenge. Other panelists included Dr. Kathleen Collins of the University of Minnesota and Dr. Emil Nasrutdinov from the American University of Central Asia, who discussed secularism and security in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Also known as the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the U.S. Helsinki Commission was established in 1976 to to strengthen the legitimacy of human rights monitoring through the Helsinki Accords, an agreement signed between states in a region extending from Vancouver to Vladivostok. Currently chaired by Senator Roger F. Wicker of Mississippi and co-chaired by Representative Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey, the Commission consists of 21 Commissioners, 18 of whom come from the U.S. Congress. Staff from the Commission conduct regular visits to the 57 member states. The Commission holds regular public hearings and briefings on human rights issues in Eurasia including civil society, freedom of speech and religious freedom.
Dr. Lemon’s expertise contributes to the academic excellence of DMGS, which allows our students to gain insight from active practitioners, who remain on top of the latest developments in the subjects they teach. DMGS provides unique academic training that helps students to understand international security challenges from regions across the globe.
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Edward Lemon, Ph.D. is the DMGS-Kennan Institute Fellow at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School.
Between September 2016 and August 2018, Dr. Lemon was a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. He gained his PhD in international studies from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom in 2016.