Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB) is a sensitive topic across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In some countries, FoRB is severely restricted, and certain laws and practices are used to prohibit expression by religious minorities, non-believers, Muslims from a sect different from the majority, and those who publish critical reflections on religion.

Furthermore, the rise in hate speech and subsequent violence during the past two years, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the deterioration of the economic situation in many countries in the region, necessitates an overall awareness of the real meaning of FoRB. Because some perceive it as a ‘foreign’ concept, it is important to use a narrative that is accepted and understood by all.

To address these issues, in 2019 – 2020 Adyan ran a ‘FoRB Training of Trainers in Arabic’ project, which involved the capacity building of 50 FoRB trainers across the MENA, and a FoRB course tailored specifically for journalists. This project builds on this earlier work, expanding it to new target groups and geographical regions.

The project will empower a network of diverse FoRB promoters across the MENA region and in Arabic-speaking communities in the West, who will be equipped and supported with FoRB knowledge and capacity gained via courses and peer-to-peer learning.

This strengthened network will then cascade their FoRB knowledge to wider communities, leading to an increased understanding of FoRB issues across diverse groups. The FoRB promoters will come from a wide variety of countries, faith backgrounds, and professions, to ensure that FoRB messages reach diverse segments and levels of society. Targeted participants will include trainers, activists, religious leaders, artists, and policymakers. The network built by the targeted participants across the MENA region will become a community of practice/, via which graduates can share knowledge, experiences, and practices to better foster FoRB in their respective communities. This network will meet online regularly in order to share experiences, knowledge, challenges, and opportunities related to the promotion of FoRB.


• 150 FoRB promoters
• 2,400 participants in training sessions


July 2021 – July 2024


Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region


Impact: Arabic-speaking communities have increased understanding and respect for complex issues related to FoRB

Outcome 1: 150 FoRB promoters in Arabic-speaking societies are empowered to conduct FoRB training within their communities, using gained knowledge and skills related to FoRB

Outcome 2: A regional network of 200 FoRB promoters across the MENA region and in Arabic-speaking communities in the West share knowledge and experiences, using online communications

Outcome 3: Increased awareness of FoRB issues and the work of the network, via the public dissemination of three short films

Adyan Global Goal
Goal 3: Pluralism and Justice


SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals


Direct Beneficiaries:

  • 150 FoRB promoters (including trainers, activists, religious leaders, artists, and policymakers), who attend the Training of Trainers (ToT) course, plus 50 former graduates, who form the online community of practice.
  • 2,400 participants in training sessions conducted by trainers who have graduated from the course.

Indirect Beneficiaries:

  • More than 200,000 online viewers of the short films promoting FoRB and showcasing the work/initiatives of network members.


  • Online training sessions, involving four ToT courses for trainers, activists and policymakers, and two dedicated courses for specific target groups including religious leaders and artists.
  • Production and dissemination of three short films that promote FoRB and showcase the work of graduated alumni.
  • Knowledge-sharing sessions/webinars and meetings through established online platforms.
  • Bi-monthly online meetings of the network members.


Leave a Reply