Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought

Call for Nomination

The Ibn Rushd Prize 2014 is calling for
a person who stands for a modern Islam as a pillar of civil society and in so doing calls for a democratic civil state

The Arab Spring has brought about greatly differing political, legal, and social changes. Some of these convey the feeling of progress and may be met with optimism, whilst others seem regressive.

One thing is certain: the journey continues. Yet advocates of a modern civil state are giving answers that seem diametrically opposed to the ones given by those standing for a state which solely relies on Islamic precepts. These different answers, however, do not have to be incompatible, although they do point to the importance of discourse between the different elements in society. It is only through debate that a society can build a state which responds to the needs of all members of society.

Is an Arab society, built on a culture shaped by Islam, capable of mastering the change from a dictatorship to a democratic constitutional state based on the principal of liberty? Is civil society in the Arab world strong enough to bring about this change? And: is it possible to bring Islam and modernity into agreement? How can an Arab society both build on its own cultural, Islamic, heritage and construct a modern state based on democracy, freedom and pluralism?

The Ibn Rushd Fund is convinced that there is ample evidence in history proving this to be possible, and that Islamic culture has the prerequisites needed to build a modern democratic state. However we are also convinced that only a civil society can create a democratic state developing from interrelation of various religions and world views.

The Arab World needs a fundamental, radical debate about the relationship between civil society and Islam, and about the question which role each should assume in creating a modern democratic state. A debate on this had been initiated as early as  the  19th century by reformist thinkers such as Jamal ad-Din al Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi and Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi, and is as important today as it was then. The time has come to resume this discussion and to scrutinise the relationship between a society and its religious culture.

Only in so doing can the conflicting ideals of a modern democratic state and Islam be reconciled.

Thus the Ibn Rushd Prize 2014 calls for a
person who considers a modern Islam as a pillar of civil society and at the same time, be it through theoretical work or political practice, fosters  the establishment of a modern Arab state.   

Any member of the public may nominate a candidate (other than themselves). The candidate’s immediate sphere of activity should be the Arab World.
An independent jury will select the winner of the Ibn Rushd Prize for 2014 from amongst the nominees.
The prize, which includes 2500 Euro award, is financed exclusively by the Ibn Rushd Fund members’ fees and donations.

Please complete the nomination form  on our website including a justification and a short biography of the candidate. Submit these data via email to nominationibn-rushdorg,  or by post or fax to the address of the fund.
Nominations may be written in Arabic, German, French, or English. The deadline for nominations is May 31, 2014.
* The Ibn Rushd Fund is unable to accept nominations which are not submitted on the form provided.

The Ibn Rushd Prize will be presented in a public ceremony at the end of November 2014 in Berlin.

Previous winners of the Ibn Rushd Prize.