Mr. Andy Bayuni, senior editor at the Jakarta Post from Indonesia and renowned anthropologist and author Dr. Shabana Mir, who teaches at Millikin University USA shed light and shared experiences on how religion and politics is viewed in their particular context in their respective countries. Dr. Shabana said that religion could have multiple roles in politics with the multicultural diverse society and highlighted the need for the separation between religion and politics. She said that “US Constitution is not ‘insensitive/ indifference to religion’ as it has free exercise clause as individual act” which allows everyone to follow their faith in personal capacities but is separated from the politics
Mr. Endy Bayuni said that Indonesia was confronted with a number of challenges in its process of democratization which were similar to Pakistan. He added that despite the resistance from hardliners the people of Indonesia have shown commitment to multiplicity and modern democratic values. For the people democracy is the only way forward to keep the country united and strong.
Participants expressed keen interest in discussion and asked various questions such as gender related segregation in the society, human rights, minority rights and women perspective and role of religion and political parties in Indonesia and USA.
Senior journalist and executive director Mr. Imtiaz Gul, who moderated the dialogue, shared the article 25 of Pakistan’s constitution with participants which talks about the equal rights of every citizen in the country.
As part of the project, Center for the Research and security studies has also organized lectures of these eminent scholars on the above subject in various universities in Lahore (LUMS and FC College), Peshawar (Peshawar University) and Islamabad (NUST and Fatima Jinnah University).