International Institute for Religious Freedom

Historic Publication on Organized Crime & Religious Freedom

The interface of organized crime on religious freedom is discussed in an academic journal read by human rights experts in the UN human rights system.


Vulnerability and Active Religious Behaviour: Christians and Crime Syndicates in Mexico, co-authored by Dr. Dennis P. Petri and Prof. Dr. Marlies Glasius is a landmark publication in the Human Rights Quarterly. For the very first time, the interface of organized crime and religious freedom is discussed in a high-ranking academic journal that is read by human rights experts working in and with the UN human rights system. This opens the pathway for the issue to enter into the consciousness of advocates within the UN system and across the globe who would not have considered the linkages discussed in the publication.

A new approach is utilized in the research to observe violations of religious freedom, paying special attention to active religious behavior. The authors, through a case study of the interactions of actively practicing Christians with crime syndicates in Northeast Mexico, reveal that threats at the subnational level may not have any relation with the quality of national legislation, and that religious freedom may be threatened by non-state actors who are not necessarily religiously motivated.

Most importantly, the risks people may run because they translate their religiosity into behavior that involuntarily or intentionally challenges local power holders are brought to light by focusing on religious behavior rather than religious identity.