IL News 016/2018


Indonesia is the world’s third largest democracy, and has the world’s largest Muslim population. While violent conflicts and extremism are plaguing many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Indonesia’s experience presents hope that a Muslim majority country can be a strong and stable democracy.

But will it endure? Questions are raised as the 2019 Elections are drawing near. Recent imageries from Indonesia have challenged the peaceful and tolerant face that Indonesian Islam has been known for. Recent surveys show that religiously intolerant and radical ideas have run deep among the young generation.

This is the background that encourage Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Indonesia to partner with Leimena Institute hosting public discussion on the 2019 National and International Challenges on “Islam, Democracy, and Indonesian Identity”.

Ferdinand Lahnstein (Deputy Ambassador, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and Matius Ho (Executive Director, Leimena Institute) opened the discussion on Thursday, December 6th 2018 at Erasmus Huis Jakarta. After the exclusive video interview with Prof. Dr. Ahmad Syafii Maarif, H.E. Ferdinand Lahnstein received a book titled, “Islam, Humanity and the Indonesian Identity: Reflections on History”, written by Buya Syafii Maarif.

The event was then continued by panel discussion presenting experts as speakers, such as Elsebeth Søndergaard Krone, Deputy Ambassador of Embassy of Denmark; Ambassador Jakob Tobing, President of Leimena Institute; and Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra, CBE, Professor from UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. Participants received ‘bonus’ from Dr. Alwi Shihab (Indonesian President’s Special Envoy to the Middle East and OIC) presence who also communicated his ideas on overcoming the challenges.

The interesting discussion was moderated by Prof. Dr. Roel van der Veen, Head of the Political Affairs Department from Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The enthusiastic participants asked questions and gave statements. “We will think how to continue the discussion”, said Prof. Roel van der Veen ending the discussion.