Only funded by NFS
Tunisia is the only ‘Arab Spring’ country which has graduated from the tumultuous revolution to a more stable democracy and its recent experience suggests that Islam and democracy are compatible, provided political leadership demonstrates a pluralist approach. It is also a country which is facing economic challenges as the economy is dominated by the state and labour unions.
On 17-19 July, 2019, Islam & Liberty Network organized its second Summer Workshop in Tunisia, supported by the Network for Free Society in collaboration with the Center for Islam & Democracy Tunisia. It was attended by 14 participants from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, affiliated with universities, civil society and political parties. This batch was selected from a pool of 82 applications, including 63 from North Africa and 19 from other regions. The faculty included Ali Salman, CEO of Islam & Liberty Network, Dr. Bican Sahin, Professor at Hacettepe University Ankara and Dr. Husnul Amin, Associate Professor at the International Islamic University Islamabad.
The programme included two full days of “Liberty Fund” style moderated discussions based on the pre-distributed reading material. The topics included Islam and democracy, secularism, religious freedom and economic freedom with readings drawn from diverse sources. Examples are What is Liberal Islam? The Silent Majority, by Radwan Masmoudi, the History and Structure of Libertarian Thought by Tom , The Debate about the Compatibility of Islam and Democracy by Bican Sahin and What is Freedom of Speech by Alan Charles Kors.
Special sessions were held discussing the economic development and challenges in Turkey. The engagement in these discussions was very encouraging and participants found the workshop intellectually stimulating. Many of them have expressed strong interest in follow up actions through writings and lectures.
Some comments are mentioned here:
“The workshop overall was intellectually stimulating, I enjoyed the discussion without the political filters, the participants and the speakers are very easy-going. Thus, the debate was healthy and enlightening.”
“In this workshop, we dealt with controversial issues that need a lot of debate/discussions/seminars and at the same time more reflexions & more deep research, interesting articles & different short or long writings are always demanded. This will be my way.”