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The Role of Faith-Based Groups in Pakistan

International faith-based groups, comprised of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and Quaker communities, as well as interfaith peace-building organizations, continue to provide humanitarian and livelihood assistance to thousands of displaced people in Pakistan.

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Faith-based experts and justice advocates convened by the Faith and Progressive Policy team at the Center for American Progress in early May shared ideas for how to support the people in Pakistan amid intense civil conflict.

International faith-based groups, comprised of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and Quaker communities, as well as interfaith peace-building organizations, continue to provide humanitarian and livelihood assistance to thousands of displaced people in Pakistan. The participants at the event identified three specific areas where these groups can help achieve sustainable peace in Pakistan.

First, faith-based groups can contribute ideas to the Obama administration and Congress on how to restructure U.S. policy in Pakistan. Many of the groups represented at the CAP briefing are currently engaged in policy advocacy aimed to rewrite the existing budget for foreign aid. Religious organizations can incorporate Pakistan into their ongoing advocacy, supporting legislation such as the Kerry-Lugar bill introduced last week that would triple nonmilitary spending in Pakistan. And they can support other policies that would expand U.S. aid to Pakistan to include more economic and development assistance.

Second, faith-based leaders can advance a broader understanding and knowledge in their own communities and organizations about the challenges in Pakistan. If educated on the issues, faith-based groups can respond to the humanitarian crisis and civilian casualties in the region that present a moral imperative to act.

Finally, faith-based groups can develop partnerships with organizations in Pakistan to provide civilian services and strengthen cross-cultural partnerships.

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