LYNC Hosts Briefing on Building Religious Freedom in Central Asia: Unveils New Approach in Metrics Reporting

Details on Uzbekistan, developments in Kazakhstan, and a case for positive metrics


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Jessica Eturralde
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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 06—Love Your Neighbor Community (LYNC) announced that it is launching a new research angle to identify positive metrics for advancing Religious Freedom. The announcement follows a recent briefing the organization hosted on building Religious Freedom in Central Asia. 

In the briefing at the Army & Navy Club on January 29, LYNC Founder and CEO Wade Kusack presented developments of the LYNC model working in Kazakhstan to advance religious freedom and social cohesion.

Following, LYNC’s Senior Researcher, Dr. Maksym Vasin, unveiled a new approach to evaluating Religious Freedom, shifting focus from negative indicators to positive metrics. 

Vasin added that Kazakhstan is the pilot country for the innovative approach, considering cultural nuances and geopolitical contexts.  

Throughout 2024, LYNC plans to collaborate with partners such as the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to refine the indexes, ensuring an accurate reflection of religious freedom and social cohesion.  

“Instead of perpetuating the stereotype of countries as violators of religious freedom, LYNC is introducing a novel assessment framework centered on positive indicators, “said Vasin. “This approach encourages even authoritarian nations to take incremental steps toward building religious freedom.” Dr. Vasin expounded on LYNC’s positive metric approach in a recent blog. 

(from left to right) Nadine Maenza, Mohamed Elsanousi, Chris Seiple, Bakhodir Khujaevstop, and Wade Kusack pause for a picture in front of t...

During the event, religious freedom experts, including Chris Seiple from the University of Haifa, Nadine Maenza from the IRF Secretariat, Mohamed Elsanousi from Peacemakers Network, and Wade Kusack from LYN Community, presented the first outcomes of their religious freedom assessment trip to Uzbekistan. The assessment showed a significant improvement in the religious life of diverse communities compared to 2016 but also highlighted the need for continued progress.

The experts presented their observations in four areas: the historical and current context, the current state of religious freedom, the necessity for clarity on various legal issues, and the potential for multi-faith engagement to strengthen social cohesion and prevent radicalization.

The panel also discussed Uzbekistan’s complex security issues, including its geopolitical challenges, the risk of youth radicalization, and economic dependencies, particularly on Russia.

The group is developing recommendations for the Uzbek and US governments on strategies to advance religious freedom and social cohesion in Uzbekistan for an upcoming report. The expert panel’s comments were recently published by Voice of America (VOA). 

Greg Mitchell, founder and CEO of the IRF Secretariat, also made remarks, noting the significance of faith communities’ necessity and ability to work with their governments.

The event closed with LYNC’s Communications Director Jessica Eturralde sharing features on LYNC’s new website, particularly the subpages for governments, foundations, and individual supporters.

“This event signified a groundbreaking shift in the landscape of religious freedom,” Kusack said. “It marked LYNC’s first independent public appearance, during which we detailed our successful model for advancing religious freedom and social cohesion in Central Asia.”

LYNC is dedicated to civil society development and multi-faith cooperation, working hand-in-hand with governments, civil societies, and faith-based communities. LYNC is fostering societies where religious freedom, responsible citizenship, mutual trust, and cross-sectoral cooperation are not just ideals but lived realities. LYNC translates the spiritual imperative of love toward God and thy neighbor into practical, actionable programs that touch lives and transform societies.

Its goal is to create a strategic framework that motivates countries to enhance their performance, fostering positive competition for improving religious freedom.

LYNC invites support for this transformative project.

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