Is Islamic Thought compatible with modernity?
The Ibn Rushd-Prize 2005 calls for an independent reformer of Islamic Thought
Is Islamic thought compatible with modernity? Do the principles of Islam allow an Arab Muslim to live in a modern Arab society shaped by a civil state? A society with the citizen at its core and in which freedom of thought and equality are elementary values? Does Islam contradict a society governed by a democratically elected leadership, in which all citizens are equal, independent of colour, race or confession?
The modern democratic state is the common intellectual heritage of many cultures, religions, and philosophical theories. It is not an exclusively Western product, but the product of an accumulation of human intellectual power that has, for the time being, reached its peak in Western civilisation.
How do we Arabs of Muslim belief regard this civilisation? Does Islam make a difference to our wish to connect to modernity? And if we say Islam, which Islam do we mean? The official Islam of undemocratic regimes? The political Islam? The fundamentalist Islam? Or the Islam stirring in the heart of every Muslim, longing for genuine reform and social justice?
Today, we need more than ever a new beginning of the enlightenment movement that was once started by Gamal ad-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad Abduh and al-Kawakibi. We lack a revisionist approach to reinterpret Islamic cultural heritage, we lack a critical position with respect to traditional values that are contradictory to modernity. Arab-Islamic history needs to be rewritten in a matter-of-fact way in order to define a new position from which the last barriers to free thought can be cleared away. Where are the independent reformers today?
Nominations for the IBN RUSHD-Prize for Freedom of Thought 2005 are now being accepted. This year, the prize calls for
an Arab scholar of Islam (male or female)
who strives for a fundamental reform of Islamic thought, and who works towards a rapprochement between Islamic tradition and modernity.
Candidates may be nominated until May 15th, 2005.
The IBN RUSHD-PRIZE for Freedom of Thought will be awarded in Berlin at the end of November 2005.
The Ibn Rushd-Prize commemorates at the same time the Arab philosopher Ibn Rushd and his ideas - especially freedom of thought. The prize is endowed with € 2,500. The Ibn Rushd-Fund also covers the prize winner's cost of flights to and from Berlin and his/her accommodation in Berlin for 2-3 days.
The list of candidates will be forwarded to an independent jury, who will select their favourite from among the nominees and propose him or her to the board of the Ibn Rushd-Fund.
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