Religion and Post-Conflict Statebuilding: Roman Catholic and Sunni Islamic Perspectives

Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

Book cover

'Religion and Post-Conflict State building is a much-needed contribution to the study of religion and politics. The book offers a useful review of the existing literature on state-building, successfully points out the importance of religion and religious institutions, and consequently opens the floor for future research. And finally, most simply but perhaps most importantly, it convinces the reader that in studying the political aftermath of conflict, religion matters.'
- Dr. Marko Vekovic, Journal of Politics, Religion and Ideology

'Dragovic's book is thus an extremely important contribution because it moves beyond questions about the utility of religion for state-building and inquires about the actual perspectives of two religious traditions—Roman Catholicism and Sunni Islam—on the question of state-building.'
- Dr. Laurie Johnston, Review of Faith and International Affairs

'The author's awareness of various theological views within both Sunni Islam and Catholicism, along with his skill in analysing contemporary issues in conflict resolution and state-building based on theological principles, distinguishes this book from other literature in the field.'
- Dr. Shameer Modongal, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Was religion a friend or foe in the post-conflict state-building endeavours of Iraq and Afghanistan? Largely ignored in academia and policy circles alike, religious institutions are important non-state actors that wield considerable influence and can draw upon extensive resources. Dragovic begins by considering how the unique traits of religious institutions can make or break state-building efforts. But understanding how religious institutions can contribute does not explain why they would.

Drawing from the theologies of Roman Catholicism and Sunni Islam, the book diverges from traditional approaches such as rational choice theory and instead embraces a teleological view, recognising the importance of belief in understanding a religious institution's motivations to act as a friend or spoiler. Drawing upon the author's extensive experience as a practitioner, the book then applies the theory to the practical case study of Bosnia and Herzegovina, highlighting how the international community missed an opportunity to their detriment.


Religious Peace building Since World War II, in Oxford Handbook on Peace History, 2022

​The Role of Religion in Rebuilding the State of Syria: A case study of Sunni Islam in Review of Faith and International Affairs, Volume 15, 2017 - Issue 3: Islam and Security

Full Arabic translation: دور الدين في إعادة بناء دولة سوريا: دراسة حالة الإسلام السني available here.

It's Time to Break Up SyriaThe National Interest, July/August 2017

"The Battle of Ideas: can the Beliefs that feed terrorism be changed?" Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Denis Dragovic, Tanveer Ahmed, Peter Kurti, Centre for Independent Studies, September 2016

" See No Religion, Hear No Religion, Speak No Religion: Aid workers, religion and cognitive dissonance in Bosnia and Herzegovina" in Development Across Faith Boundaries, eds. Anthony Ware and Matthew Clarke, 2016

"Friend or Foe: Religion and rebuilding states after the war" speech at the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria, a video posted June 2016

"Aligned Interests or Conflicting Agendas: Stabilisation, Reconstruction and Religion," Small Wars Journal, August 2015

"Why Understanding Religion Matters in Post-conflict Zones," e-International Relations, July 2015

Interview by Prof. Christian Peterson on New Books Network, June 2015

Denis Dragovic on Religion & State-Building, interview by Prof. Anthony Gill, Research on Religion Podcasts, May 2015

Religion's Role in Building Stronger States, Tony Blair Faith Foundation, March 26, 2015

"Response to Theology from Outside the Foxhole: A Veteran Reflects on Heroism," Practical Theology, vol. 6, issue 2, 2013

Book review of Development and Religion: Theology and Practice by Matthew Clarke, Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 66, no. 3, 2012

"Terrorism and the Aid Industry: A Back to Basics Plan," Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, Oct 2009

Book review of Paradise and Power by Robert Kagan, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Volume 57, Issue 3, November 2003

"Why We Should Intervene in Civil Conflicts," Quadrant, Volume XLVI, Number 12, Dec. 2002

"How Diplomacy Failed the People of East Timor," Journal of Asia Pacific Affairs, Vol. 3:2, 2002

"Foreign Aid, a Red Herring in Sudan," Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Winter/Spring Edition, 2002