IPD Workshop | Indonesia-Egypt Dialogue on Democratic Transition Continues
Jakarta | 11-12 April 2012
The Indonesia-Egypt Dialogue on Democratic Transition, sponsored by CDI’s close working partner, the Institute of Peace and Democracy (IPD), has continued to expand its range of activities in Indonesia and Egypt. The fourth workshop in the series was convened in Jakarta on 11-12 April 2012. CDI is proud to have supported the Dialogue since its conception and initiation, in association with the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
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The fourth workshop was focused on the issue of “Islam, the State and Politics”, with the aim of drawing on the common experience of Egypt and Indonesia as countries with a Muslim majority. In both countries questions about the role of Islam in government and politics have been key issues in state formation and in the course of political developments during both the pre and post-independence eras. On this occasion the Dialogue was enriched by the attendance of delegates from Tunisia. Tunisia is regarded as having triggered the historic events that have come to be known as the “Arab Spring” and is also a country with an Islamic majority. 21 participants attended from Egypt and 4 from Tunisia.
The delegates from Egypt and Tunisia represented major political parties in those countries, as well as religious, civil society and media organisations. Indonesian participants were drawn from a number of the country’s leading academic institutions and think tanks, in addition to representatives from the two major Islamic organisations, Muhammadiyah and Nadhlatul Ulama.
Discussions centred on the complexity and multifaceted nature of Islamic ideas on politics and society. Many speakers emphasised that there was far from a united or monolithic view about relations between Islam and the state and the degree to which Islamic precepts should influence government policy or intervene in people ’s personal norms and behaviour. Sessions focused on issues such as integrating Islamic ideas into basic questions of state such as the objectives and clauses of the constitution, through to critical social issues such as the role of women. A major element of this interchange was engaged with the question of how to protect the interests of non-Muslim minorities, as well as minority currents within Islam. The subject of how much voters are influenced by religious orientation, as distinct from material issues, such as employment, health and education, was of particular interest to the political party representatives.
The workshops in the Dialogue have not only provided a forum for interchange of ideas between the countries involved, but have helped foster an ongoing network of contacts, maintained through emails and social media sites. The success of the Dialogue has encouraged IPD to continue planning further workshops in the series.