Islam and Civil Society in Southeast Asia

Islam and Civil Society in Southeast Asia

Islam and Civil Society in Southeast Asia

Islam and Civil Society in Southeast Asia

Excerpt

This volume is the result of a two-day closed intensive seminar and a halfday open symposium entitled “Islam and Civil Society: Messages from Southeast Asia”, held on 5–7 November 1999 in Japan, sponsored by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. Ten paper-presenters from five countries of Southeast Asia participated in the seminar, joined by ten commentators from Japan. In the open symposium, more than one hundred individuals — scholars, graduate students, activists from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and staff of non-political organizations (NPOs), business and media people, and government officials - were present.

The Sasakawa Peace Foundation planned the conference and commissioned the project to me as general co-ordinator. The Foundation also sought the co-operation of Professor Nurcholish Madjid, Rector of Paramadina Mulya University, Indonesia, as another general co-ordinator. In preparation for the conference, I visited all ten countries in Southeast Asia for a preliminary survey and consultation.

In July 1999,1 set out for the first half of my journey and made contact with the following people: Dato Michael Mastura in the Philippines; Dr lik Arifin Mansurnoor of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and a number of his colleagues at UBD in Brunei; in Singapore, Mr Zainal Abidin Rasheed (Ministry of Foreign Affairs/MENDAKI), Dr Sharon Siddique, and Dr Syed Farid Alatas and his colleagues at the National University of Singapore; and in Malaysia, Prof. Mohd. Kamal Hassan, Rector of the International Islamic University of Malaysia, Prof. Dato' Osman Bakar, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya, Dr Dato' Ismail bin Ibrahim, Director of the Institute of Islamic Understanding of Malaysia (IKIM) and his colleagues, amongst others.

On my return, I stopped over in Jakarta and consulted with K. H. Abdurrahman Wahid (then General Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama and now fourth President of the Republic of Indonesia), Prof. Syafi'i Ma'arif (then Acting General Chairman of the Muhammadiyah), Prof. Malik Fadjar (then Minister for Religious Affairs), and some others concerning Indonesian representation to the conference. I also had a discussion with Nurcholish Madjid to finalize the list of delegates from island Southeast Asia.

In August 1999, I left Japan again for five countries in mainland Southeast Asia. In Thailand, I talked to Dr Chaiwat Satha-Anand of . . .

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