Public Intellectual Lecture: Is Political Islam a Threat to Democracy?

January 16, 2016

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Date: Monday, 25th January 2016
Time: 10AM-12Noon
Venue: Auditorium JCI 2, Level 1, Sunway University



Perhaps the term “Political Islam” aka Islamism is a highly contested term these days. The word has been used very widely to infer many different, and sometimes contradictory phenomena in the Muslim world, thus, making the definition deeply blurry and usually colored with a negative connotation.

But generally Political Islam infers to the discourse on the instrumental use of Islam in politics, articulated in the modern concepts or vocabularies. In short, it’s a modern political discourse of Islam. And like any other political discourses, it was translated into practices in a few different forms, as an “ideology”, ‘a movement-organization’ and sometimes a ‘model of government’.

In Malaysia, Political Islam becomes a visible marker in the form and content of Malaysian politics since the 1970s, and there is little reason that this is going to change any time soon. The cry for Shari’a, hudud and “Islamic State” still remain as the necessary rhetoric among politicians and spiritual leaders in this country, presumably intended to gain votes and influences from the masses.

The situation gets more alarming when the powers that be began promoting policies and laws that are threatening the foundation and the values that are inherent within democracy. The call for banning of books, vilification of dissenting thoughts as liberals, and conniving for a single version of Islam are all signs of the encroaching Islamofascism.

All these issues forced us to confront a few important questions. Is Political Islam undemocratic? Is there any way to connect Islam and politics within the spirit of democracy? And if yes, which form would it take? We hope to find an explanation and answers to these relevant issues in the lecture and discussion on this topic.


Organized by:

Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia


In Collaboration with:

G25 and Islamic Renaissance Front