Debate on « Islam and democracy in the Middle East – Challenging assumptions »

The EPC and the British Council are pleased to invite you to a “90 Minutes” on Islam and democracy in the Middle East – Challenging assumptions, on Tuesday 23 April.

When? Tuesday 23 April 2013  18.00-19.30 (registration from 17.40)

Où? Hotel Silken Berlaymont, 11-19, Boulevard Charlemagne, 1000 Brussels


Claire Spencer

Head of Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House

Reza Aslan

Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

The debate on Islam and democracy has taken a new turn since the Arab uprisings and the electoral results in many countries in the Middle East. With most of the region in flux, the parties in power face all kinds of challenges, from translating their vague promises into pursuable policies to dealing with sceptics both domestically and abroad. A struggle to master the newly gained political terrain poses significant challenges to political movements inspired by Islam and participation in politics has already been changing these movements: strengthening some factions, weakening others and suggesting that the early advantages might not necessarily last. Still, the debate on containing these democratically elected forces is not necessarily the most realistic one. Opinions vary on the implications of the rise of Islamist movements in the emerging democracies and on whether the notion of democracy can prevail in this changing region. Is there a niche for a new narrative of Islamic democracy in the new Arab public sphere? How are these developments changing mind-sets and policies in the EU and US? Does the “West” have the right analytical tools and mind-set to understand the changing context and therefore develop the appropriate policies? These issues will be discussed by two distinguished experts, Claire Spencer, Head of Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, and Reza Aslan, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Rosa Balfour, EPC Senior Policy Analyst and Head of the Europe in the World Programme will chair the discussion.

The invitation is personal.

More information: www.epc.eu or by writing to n.news@epc.eu