Southeast Asia Muslim human rights advocates express concerns on the growth of politicized Islam in the ASEAN region and makes recommendations to ASEAN leaders at the 15th ASEAN Summit. A regional meeting of Southeast Asian human rights advocates was held in Jakarta on 16-17 October 2009 to examine how certain interpretations of Sharia laws are affecting the rights of the women in Muslim contexts in the region and undermining secularism and democratic institutions in such countries as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.
The following, and attached, are recommendations from the Regional Meeting held in Jakarta, 16-17 October 2009. Islam in Southeast Asia has long been recognized as humane, tolerant, diverse, plural, metropolitan, progressive, and empowering of women. It is thus a matter of urgent concern that the rapid growth of Islamic extremism is now changing the landscape in Southeast Asia, with serious consequences for all living in the region, as well as for the rest of the world. Leaders of ASEAN member states are urged to be cognizant of this regressive trend, which will have serious impacts not only on women’s rights, human rights, but also on the stability and development of the region as a whole. The conservative and monolithic values that underlie this trend are intolerant of the diversity that characterizes Southeast Asia. Such extremist attitudes result in acts that marginalize women and also use terrorist tactics to eliminate diversity.