The Embassy of Indonesia in London in collaboration with the University of Exeter held a seminar titled “Democracy and Counter-Radicalisation in Indonesia: Learning through Comparison” on November 16, 2011 at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. The seminar presented a number of prominent experts from Indonesia as well as scholars/lecturers from the University of Exeter.
The Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Indonesia, Minister Counsellor Herry Sudradjat, opened the seminar by delivering his remarks to the audience. In his speech, Mr Sudradjat conveyed his views on democracy in Indonesia, in which the democratization process in the country has provided space for the Indonesian people to enjoy their basic rights as well as provided protection to the freedom of press and ensure a better respect for human rights in Indonesia.
Unfortunately over the years the democratic nature of Indonesia has somehow also provided a small number of groups to preach radicalism in the country. In this regard, Mr Sudradjat reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to counter radicalism, among others by working closely with religious organisations such as the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah to be in the forefront in implementing the country’s counter-radicalisation programs as a mean to prevent and stem the growth of radical values and ideas in the country.
Speakers from Indonesia present in the event were the Head of National Agency for Combating Terrorism (BNPT), Inspector General (Ret.) Ansyaad Mbai, Secretary General of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) H. Marsudi Syuhud and an Associate Professor from Aga Khan University London, Dr. Arskal Salim.
The presentations delivered by these speakers were mainly focussed on issues regarding the recent development of Indonesia’s success in managing its transition to democracy, Indonesia’s counter-radicalisation strategy in combating terrorism, the role of moderate Islam in Indonesia associated with democracy and de-radicalisation as well as Sharia in a democratic arena.
The seminar which consisted of two sessions was chaired by Professor Tim Niblock, Professor Gareth Stansfield and Professor Ian Netton from the University of Exeter and presented a number of speakers from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, which consisted of Professor Sajjad Rizvi, Dr. Lise Storm, Dr. Klejda Mulaj, and Dr Omar Ashour. During the seminar, the speakers shared the views of British scholars on the future of democracy in the Muslim world and the problems of radicalisation in the effort to form democratic states in the Muslim world.
The Indonesian Updates Seminar itself was intended as a series of seminar held by the Embassy in cooperation with partner organisations in the United Kingdom to update stakeholders in the UK about recent developments in Indonesia. The Embassy hopes that this cooperation will add as an impetus to further strengthen bilateral relation between Indonesia and the UK that has been growing from strength to strength.