“Exploring Dimensions in Countering Ideological Support for Terrorism” Conference, Amman, Jordan, 28-30 September 2009

Representing the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, David M. Kirkham, Senior Fellow for Comparative Law and International Policy and Regional Advisor for the European Union, addressed freedom of conscience concerns at the conference “Exploring Dimensions in Countering Ideological Support for Terrorism” at the Royal Jordanian National Defence College, Amman, Jordan, 28-30 September 2009. Co-sponsored by the Defence College and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, the conference explored efforts by nations to delegitimize the culture of violence that often informs the thinking of ideological extremists. Dr. Kirkham addressed, among other things, concerns of government overreach in efforts to contain extremism. While reaffirming the need for international cooperation in countering violent extremism, he noted that government overreach tends to restrict the legitimate exercise of civil liberties and inflame hostility towards religious groups who are operating within the law and providing benefits to society at large. Conference participants included more than 100 academic, governmental, security, and religious leaders from the Middle East, Europe, Eurasia, and the United States.