Muslims Asked to Support Democracy
Wednesday, 13 August, 2008 | 18:45 WIB 

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Vice President Jusuf Kalla said democracy is a way 
to attain a country's prosperity. Islamic teachings are expected to support the 
implementation of democracy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 

Democracy in every country is determined by its system, its culture and 
historical back ground. "The objective of a country is to achieve prosperity," 
Kalla said at the official opening of the second meeting of the Southeast Asian 
Forum on Islam and Democracy at the vice president's office, today (13/8).

According to Kalla, democracy is a system found in many countries such as 
Indonesia, the United States, Europe, and Korea. Moslems in ASEAN, must respect 
democracy and diversity. Kalla further said that the Moslem community is 
currently the biggest population in Indonesia. 

"However, quantity is not more important than the values they hold," he said. 
He believes that Islam and democracy have always been interesting topics of 
discussion, especially when Indonesian leaders refers to democracy in their 

He cited Soekarno, known for his guided democracy, and Suharto with his 
Pancasila democracy. "Today we have an open democracy," he said.

Kalla praised the international meeting, which was attended by intellectuals, 
and hoped that it can create conformity. 

International Center for Islam and Pluralism executive-director, M. Syafi'i 
Anwar, said the meeting was aimed at strengthening the NGOs' network and Moslem 
intellectuals in ASEAN. The first meeting was held in Manila, the Philippines. 

According to him, Islam teaches peace and justice, therefore Moslems in ASEAN 
must be friendly and respect other faiths, despite the diversity. "Moslems must 
respect human rights and the existing regulations," he said. 

The meeting was attended by participants from seven ASEAN countries, namely 
Indonesia, Malaysia, Filipina, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, and Timor Leste.


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