Today, Albania is once again a country where one can freely profess one’s creed but religion, unlike many former Communist countries, has not since become a key factor is civil or political life. It certainly has been such as to deeply influence society. For the most part it discretely remains within the private sphere.
- The future of Indonesian Islam, and with it that of the entire nation, involves the issue of addressing social justice. The 82-year-old Muslim leader Ahmad Syafii Maarif, is convinced of this.
- Are Indonesian democracy and pluralism being endangered by the revitalization of radicalism and the increasingly invasive presence of extremist Islamic groups?
- In persistently developing a model for coexistence able to peacefully contain social unrest and radical Islamism, Indonesia has been able to emerge headstrong from years of difficult dictatorship and positively react to the late-nineties financial crisis. Although Indonesia has painted a bright and prosperous image of itself, it carries behind it a thick and oppressive shadow.
- Democracies need confrontation and debate in ethical and moral questions, says Michael Sandel.
- “Is the legendary Indian pluralistic ethos once again under challenge by attempts to homogenize and radicalize society around dogmas and creeds?” asks Rajeev Bhargava, interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014. He contends that the threat is real, but an entrenched pluralist ethos and a democratic tradition of checks and balances should be able to contend with it. If channeled correctly, these forces may be able to be contained within reasonable limits and even serve to strengthen Indian democracy.
- According to Rajeev Bhargava, interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014, Ashoka’s 7th edict is a lesson about public political morality in deeply diverse societies. It encourages people to evolve in their own respective religious-philosophical perspectives towards a mutual moral growth, by which the Other can be enriched. Today, we call this notion pluralism. Toleration, on the other hand, encourages living back to back with a lack of mutual interaction.
- Rajeev Bhargava, a Professor at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi and a scholar of issues concerning secularism, constitutionalism, and multiculturalism, looks at India during the 3rd century BCE to analyze the major social and intellectual transformation that took place under Ashoka’s rule. Bhargava contends that ritual sacrifice lost importance for a transcendental view in which the Other, the community, became of value. In his legendary edicts, Ashoka engaged in finding answers about how to live together in spite of difference. Bhargava was interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014.
- A special issue of the Indian magazine Seminar for Reset-Doc and an essay by Mujibur Rehman about the Muslim minority in India.