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Islam and Democracy in Southeast Asia: Reform and Challenge

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Southeast Asia has generally been moderate, tolerant, and inclusive, and has demonstrated economic growth and relative political stability, peace, and security for several decades. An era of democratization has touched on many countries as people exercise newfound political rights; there is a gradual realisation that democratic freedoms and the rule of law are compatible with stability and economic growth. Home to the largest Muslim democracy in the world, Southeast Asia offers compelling evidence that there is no conflict between Islam and democracy. However, significant challenges remain ahead. The emergence of a stronger civil society will ultimately determine the future democratic prospects of the region.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1993-1998, and after 6 years in prison, emerged as the de facto leader of the Malaysian opposition. Apart from his political career, he has held teaching posts and visiting fellowships at Oxford University, Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University, and in March 2006 was elected Honorary President of the Institute of Social and Ethical Accountability in London.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Southeast Asia Forum series.

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