ISTANBUL and ISLAMABAD, February 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
By resolving the perceived conflict between Muslim faith and Science, the Muslim world can embark upon a new scientific awakening or renaissance, proposed a group of scholars - scientists, historians, and theologians - meeting to discuss Big Questions at the intersection of Islam and Science. The scholars put forth new ideas on navigating the religious and ethical questions posed by Science, such as, how Muslim scientists can produce scientific research and remain people of faith; and from the origins of the Universe to human evolution, how people of faith must reconcile their beliefs with cutting-edge scientific developments.
Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the former Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and a noted thinker and scholar of Islam and Science kicked off the discussion as the Chair of the Muslim-Science.com Task Force Meeting on Islam's Response to Science's Big Questions.
"Muslims over the centuries have helped develop science and its underlying foundations but today the scientific enterprise in the Islamic World has almost come to standstill. On the one hand, this Task Force seeks to dispel the impression that Islam and Science are necessarily in conflict with each other. On the other hand, it also identifies some critical factors that we, Muslims, must pay attention to if we want to successfully navigate in these exciting scientific times and utilize science for the benefit of Islamic countries and the World at large, " Prof. Ihsanoglu said.
Among the 12 scholars on the Task Force are Usama Hasan, a scientist and a traditionally trained religious scholar, who is the Convenor of the Task Force, Prof. Nidhal Guessoum the author of Islam's Quantum Question, Sheikh Afifi Al-Akiti a noted Malaysian Theologan, and Prof. Mehdi Golshani an Iranian Philosopher of Science, among others. The Task Force is sponsored by Templeton Foundation and hosted by the Turkish Society of the History of Science.
The Task Force members noted that Islam has followed a very different historical trajectory vis-a-vis its support and tolerance for scientific ideas and developments in its early days as compared to other major world faiths such as Christianity or Judaism. When scientists were being burnt at the stake in the Christian World, Science in Muslim lands was thriving under the patronage of competing Caliphs. However, with the passage of time, this tolerance and support has waned with the resultant decline in the scientific fortunes of the Islamic World.
Addressing some of these questions is critical to the future of the Islamic Project and its ability to embrace modernity - in particular free thinking and critical inquiry that is so instrumental to robust scientific development - and hence address the myriad of challenges it faces to provide for the socio-economic salvation of more than 1.5 billion people worldwide.
"This is critical to creating a tolerant and moderate Islamic World at peace with itself and its place in the World," noted Usama Hasan, the Convenor of the Task Force.
"In answering these questions, the task force also seeks to reclaim the narrative of science within the Islamic Community - a narrative that in the recent years has been imposed from outside rather than created from inside - and hence begin an inside-out process of scientific revival within the Islamic World," said Dr. Athar Osama, the founder of Muslim-Science.Com and the Director of the Task Forces Initiative.
Muslim-Science.com will formally release the report of the Task Force in July 2015 and to seek to work with partners to advance this important discourse within the Islamic World.
List of Task Force Members
1) Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, former Secretary General of OIC; Founding Director, IRCICA; Chairman of the Turkish Society for the History of Science; Laureate of Alexandre Koyré Medal for History of Science, and Chair of the Muslim-Science.Com Task Force on Islam and Science.
2) Dr. Usama Hasan, Senior Researcher in Islamic Studies, Quilliam Foundation, United Kingdom and Convenor of the Muslim-Science.Com Task Force on Islam and Science.
3) Prof. Tuncay Zorlu, Secretary General of the Turkish Society of the History of Science and Faculty of Science and Letters, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Istanbul Technical University
4) Nidhal Guessoum, Professor of Physics at American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
5) Dr. Bruno Guiderdoni, Director of the Observatory of Lyon, France
6) Dr Mehdi Golshani, FIAS, Distinguished Professor of Physics, Sharif University of Technology, Iran
7) Dr. Farid Panjwani, Senior Lecturer and Director, Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education, University of London, United Kingdom
8) Prof. Mohammed Ghaly, Faculty Member, Centre for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) at Qatar Faculty for Islamic Studies (QFIS), Qatar
9) Prof. Mohammed Hazim Shah, Deputy Director International Institute of Public Policy and Management (INPUMA), University of Malaya
10) Prof. Mohammed Basil Altaie, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Yarmouk University, Jordan
11) Sheikh Dr. Afifi Al-Akiti, KFAS Fellow in Islamic Studies at the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies, Oxford University
12) Dr. Rana Dajani, Associate Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at Hashemite University, Jordan
13) Prof. Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor of Theology at Claremont School of Theology, United States, External Expert to the Muslim-Science.Com Task Force on Islam and Science.
14) Prof. Willem B. Drees, Dean of School of Humanities, Tilburg University, and editor-in-chief of Zygon, Journal of Religion & Science, External Expert to the Muslim-Science.Com Task Force on Islam and Science
15) Dr. Athar Osama, Founder and Managing Editor of Muslim-Science.Com; Fellow of the World Technology Network and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum; and Project Director of the Muslim-Science.Com Task Force on Science Education
Terms of Reference of Task Force
A number of issues will be an integral part of this task force's agenda. These include, among others:
- What does Science and Islam have to say to each other?
- What perspectives and frameworks can underpin this conversation within the Islamic World?
- What are the informed Muslim responses to the atheist arguments based on Science?
- How can Muslim Scientists remain people of faith?
- From Origins of Life to Human Evolution, how are these understood through faith in the divine?
- What are the implications of this well-informed science - religion reconciliation on practice life - policy as well as societal ethics?
Muslim-Science.Com is an online platform and portal dedicated to a revival of science and a scientific culture within the Islamic World. Muslim-Science.Com seeks to go beyond historical facts and comparisons to spotlight and address contemporary issues of policy and practice of science and innovation within the Islamic World that may not receive adequate attention in the international (western) scientific media. It also seeks to address specific challenges emanating from religious, cultural, or historical factors.
Muslim-Science.Com has planned and launched a number of signature initiatives, the Task Forces Initiative being one of them, for the promotion of Science in the society and to create a culture of dialogue, discourse, and critical inquiry that is crucial to the development of a scientific culture in the Islamic World.
Muslim-Science.Com Website: http://muslim-science.com/task-force/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MuslimScienceCom
Twitter: @MuslimScience #MSTF15
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Dr. Athar Osama
Founding Editor and Publisher, Muslim-Science.Com
and Project Director, Muslim-Science.Com Task Forces Initiative
e: [email protected]im-science.com
t: +92-305-2266810 and +90-536-928 6567
Dr. Usama Hasan
Convenor of the Task Force on Islam and Science
e: [email protected]