Since the dawn of Arab Spring in 2011, the Middle East has seen many new political developments, good and bad. One of them is related to the political position of movements sometimes put under the umbrella term of “Political Islam”. In Tunisia, arguably the birthplace of Arab Spring, Ennahda Party has managed to form a consensus with other political groups so the transition of power in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia has gone smoothly compared to other countries in the region. A different story came from Egypt where a legitimately elected Islamist government was overthrown by the military after failing to tackle both the economic crisis problem and political conflict with dissenting oppositions. In Turkey, where Islamist government has been in place since before the Arab Spring, the overall turnout of chains of protests and demands for democratization has led to a stronger position of the regime.
Several voices have pointed out the patterns in which the protests for democratization in the Arab Spring have actually been carried out in parts by Islamist groups, leading many to wonder whether it was actually an Arab Spring orchestrated by youth, secular, grass root people, or instead of an Islamist Spring designed by Islamist political movements.
Libya and Syria are examples where the protests have evolved into armed conflicts which have not yet seen a glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel until today. While some pointed to the West’s intervention as the cause of the conflicts, others instead protest the lack of proactive policies needed to be taken by American and other western countries’ governments to overcome the already very complex and intertwined conflicts. ISIS as the new main face of Islamic terrorism has a hard-to-deny background of American military training, arms and resources support at least at its pre-declaration era. Now, the armed conflict in Syria has gone multi-sides with each party usually fights more than two other parties which usually also fighting with each other. The current conflicts in the Middle East have in themselves brought new waves of immigrants to the West. Besides immigrants, a big new wave that hit the West hard these days are a chain of terrorism acts mostly carried out by ISIS-related individuals. The West again is forced to rethink its relationship with Islam, especially Political Islam. As an effect, right-wing leaders come to rise, and Islamophobia has once more spread out vastly within the society.
What the future brings for political Islam or what political Islam will bring for the future remain uncertain, but they will significantly affect our lives. All of these questions would leak themselves in the future, near or far. It is the role of today’s youth to prepare themselves for a world of tomorrow with its problems and issues. Only by grasping today’s world, that the will be able to tackle the problems of tomorrow.
CONFERENCE TITLE AND OBJECTIVES
Political Islam In a Turbulent World: Context And Dynamics in The Middle East, Southeast Asia, And The West.
The objectives of this conference are as follows:
- Exchange thoughts and ideas about contemporary trends and phenomena of political
Islamism in several key countries.
- To get first-hand insights from the actors about their vision and trajectory in bringing Islam
into the political arena in various parts of the world.
- To put the rise of Political Islam in the historical context of shifting demographics and economic landscape on the global level.
- To prepare ASEAN’s youth in facing the future world with the rise of Political Islam (and its
contingent phenomena such as intolerance in Muslim countries and Islamophobia.
Series of Events
Public Lecture on “Recent Trends of Political Islam in The World” by an expert in the academic field (Prof. Dr Ömer Faruk GENÇKAYA)*
Thematic Workshops on Socio-Economy, Socio-Cultural, and Political Aspects of the Phenomena of Political Islam
- The Social-Economy Question: Political Islam’s Dealing with Poverty and Prosperity
- Political Trajectory: Political Islam’s Dealing with Secularism, Democracy, and Other Islamic Group
- Best Papers from Each Workshop plus Q&A time.
- Panel Discussion with 3 Political Islam Actors and 3 Academics/Workshop Coordinators.
- Concluding Remarks delivered by the Promotor/Advisor of the Conference.
To end this muqaddimah, we underline the urge to expose the current generation of ASEAN youngsters to one of the most important political, economic, social, and cultural development happening in many parts of the world, that is, the rise of Political Islam. It is at the center of our concern that ASEAN’s future leaders receive what they need in terms of thorough and positive understanding of this development, to prepare themselves in bringing a better future for the region as well as for the world. Learning first-hand from the experts and the real-life actors, and building a network with fellow concerned youths, are among the best ways to do so.
We then can only hope no more than positive response and comprehensive collaboration from all parties concerned as this big project would not be able to realize itself if we were to do it alone. We make sure to execute the event smoothly and to achieve the goals outlined in this proposal. For further inquiries, our Contact Persons will always be happy to welcome and assist you. We also sincerely apologize for any shortcomings included in this document. We hope cooperation between our sides will be equally valuable for both sides, and most importantly, for the future leaders of ASEAN for whom this project is dedicated for.