The power of culture
current affairs
 november2004
nederlands
functiemenu
2003
current
themes
agendas
specials
archive
about this website

Erasmus Prize awarded to Islamic thinkers

In November, three Islamic thinkers were awarded the Erasmus Prize 2004. They are Sadik Jalal Al-Azm from Syria, Fatema Mernissi from Morocco and Abdulkarim Soroush from Iran. The theme of this year's award was 'Religion and modernity'. The prizewinners are all very involved in the modernisation processes going on within Islam.

Fatema Mernissi is famous for such works as her Beyond the veil book published in 1975 about the role of the woman in the Islamic world. She is an important figure in the Moroccan women's rights movement and for many years now has been organising writing workshops based on the Civil Society model. A major theme of her current work as a sociologist is the impact of satellite television and the Internet on Islamic society and on the woman's role in it.

Abdulkarim Soroush is an Islamic who champions cultural diversity, democracy and human rights from a religious perspective. For him, this does not mean secularism but instead a democratic society founded on religious principles. For instance, he does not oppose the sharia, advocating instead a new interpretation based on the principles of human rights. After years of exile he has now returned to Iran. He has been called 'the Martin Luther King of Islam'.

Sadik Jalal Al-Azm's field of activity is the area of tension between orthodox ideology and modern reality. He argues that in practice the Arabian world is very secular, but that this secularism lacks ideological underpinning and embedding in law. He sees today's extremism as a last-ditch stand against this secularism. Al-Azm is emeritus professor of Modern European Philosophy at the University of Damascus.

The Erasmus Prize is awarded each year to a person or institution that from a European perspective has made an extraordinarily important contribution in a cultural, social or socio-scientific field.

Alfred Marseille

Links for this article
bullet

Erasmus Prize

bullet

Fatema Mernissi, articles, bibliographies and the Synergie Civique project

bullet

Fatema Mernissi, The Satellite, the Prince, and Scheherazade: The Rise of Women as Communicators in Digital Islam bij Transnational Broadcasting Studies

bullet

Abdulkarim Soroush, lectures, articles, interviews and biography

bullet

Abdulkarim Soroush, Islam and the Concept of Secularity - video

bullet

Sadik Jalal Al-Azm, Is islam secularizable? at the Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society

 

Current, November 2004
bullet

Mozambican artists' collective aims to rejuvenate the local art scene

bullet

Imminent launch of international project on Hindu culture

bullet

Erasmus Prize awarded to Islamic thinkers

bullet

Arabian-Jewish journalistic project narrows gap between the different communities

bullet

A black and white get-together in People’s Front Rooms

 opinion 
 

Images of Iran: Aiding the Stereotypes

 policy by donor countries 
 

Great Britain

 review 
 

Documentary about Aids orphans leaves important questions unanswered

 worldsite 
 

Lemar-Aftaab

an English-language magazine about Afghan culture

 special 
 

Cinema in Africa

Five articles about African film

  
 

Archive Current Affairs

'Current Affairs' since september 2001

menu