The Ibn-Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought made his foundation public on December 10, 1998 on the occasion of a press conference held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the World's Cultures) in Berlin, Germany. December 10, 1998 was deliberately chosen since it combines the 800th anniversary of the death of the great Arab philosopher Ibn Rushd (a.k.a. Averroes) and the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
The fund's name was selected in recognition of the philosopher's intellectual achievements, his independent interpretation of Islamic ideas, his tolerance of convictions and cultures differing from his own.
Carrying Ibn Rushd's ideas on into the 21st century, the Ibn-Rushd-Fund encourages and supports freedom of thought, creativity and innovation in the Arab World. These features are characteristic and indispensable to a veritable democracy guaranteeing freedom, equality, and social justice. The "Fund" supports the free dialogue among controversial political trends in a democratic atmosphere. The founding members ascertain that democracy may not be imposed from above, but has to start with the individual, and from there expand to a wide basis, and that it has to be excercised gradually and carefully. (For further information on the Fund's basic positions, see Principles and Goals and Convictions and Beliefs.)
The Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought is a charitable society, registered in Germany and subject to the German laws on societies. The founding members are in the majority citizens of different Arab Countries, who live in Germany. The range of the Fund's activities will concentrate on the whole Arab World. The Ibn Rushd Fund awards to those who have contributed in their field of specialization to advance freedom and democracy in the Arab World.