How Saudi Arabia and Iran use Islam in foreign policy

Indonesian Muslims attend Friday prayers at the Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta July 23, 2010. Indonesia's Muslims learned last week they have been praying in the wrong direction, after the country's highest Islamic authority said its directive on the direction of Mecca actually had people facing Africa. Muslims are supposed to face the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia during prayer and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued an edict in March stipulating westward was the correct direction from the world's most populous Muslim country. It has now said the true direction is north-west. REUTERS/Supri (INDONESIA - Tags: RELIGION ODDLY IMAGES OF THE DAY) - GM1E67N18IZ01

Peter Mandaville and Shadi Hamid, both experts in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings, discuss their new paper, “Islam as statecraft: How governments use religion in foreign policy.” Their research focuses largely on how both Saudi Arabia and Iran employ Islam as a soft power tool in the conduct of their foreign policy, and also touches on case studies including Morocco, Jordan, Turkey, and Indonesia. Also in this episode, demographer Bill Frey, a Metropolitan Policy Program senior fellow, discusses new U.S. Census Bureau data on the declining U.S. population growth rate.

Related content:

Islam as statecraft: How governments use religion in foreign policy (paper)

Islam as statecraft: How governments use religion in foreign policy (event)

The future of religion and U.S. foreign policy under Trump

The case for engaging religion in U.S. diplomacy

Islamism after the Arab Spring

Islam: A conversation with Shadi Hamid

US population growth hits 80-year low, capping off a year of demographic stagnation

Subscribe to Brookings podcasts here or on iTunes, send feedback email to [email protected], and follow us and tweet us at @policypodcasts on Twitter.

The Brookings Cafeteria is part of the Brookings Podcast Network.