RFI’s Ismail Royer Presents on “Islam, Democracy, and American Public Life”

July 14, 2023

On July 9, Ismail Royer, RFI’s Islam and Religious Freedom Director, was a guest speaker at an event organized by the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society of Washington. Royer’s presentation was titled “Islam, Democracy, and American Public Life,”  in which he discussed the importance of encouraging those of differing faiths to collaborate on creating a flourishing society. 

The event examined how in today’s discourse, while there is considerable focus on various challenges to democracy at home and abroad surprisingly little attention is given to the insights offered by those of differing faiths, and the extent to which people’s actions align with religious teachings. As a result, significant issues go unaddressed, such as whether different religious communities might provide insight into the potential threats from democracy, as well as its capacity to safeguard us from tyranny and oppression. Faith perspectives on taking risks or making sacrifices to uphold democratic principles are instead often overlooked.  

Royer also discussed RFI’s Virtues Project, which delves into how classical traditions of virtue – deeply grounded in the transcendent – can offer a powerful remedy for the deep disagreements in America regarding the common good.

Royer said, “To expect [people] to not draw upon their deeply held belief is not realistic – it’s not fully taking into account what it means to be a human being.” 

Watch Royer’s remarks below: