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Global recognition for PM’s science adviser Zakri

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Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, the Science Adviser to the Prime Minister, has been appointed to the governing council of a planned United Nations (UN) Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries.

The appointment of Zakri, who is also joint chairman of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), was made by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

The Technology Bank is an outcome of a UN General Assembly resolution which requested the secretary-general to launch and operationalise a science, technology and innovation support mechanism for least developed countries.

“The governing council will help the secretary-general undertake necessary steps to operationalise the Technology Bank.

“In particular, it will formulate principles and policies governing its activities and operations and prepare its charter for consideration and adoption by the General Assembly,” MIGHT said in a statement here Sunday.

The Technology Bank idea originated in the 2011 Istanbul Programme of Action and was confirmed in both the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda and in Sustainable Development Goal 17.

The Government of Turkey has offered to host the Technology Bank in Gebze, Turkey.

In another development, the Washington DC-based Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC) has appointed Zakri as a Distinguished Fellow in recognition of his exemplary public service and expertise on matters affecting global competitiveness, science and sustainability.

The GFCC is a global network of 30 competitiveness councils and economic/business development organisations representing countries from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Zakri has also been elected as a member of the governing board of the Global Research Council, representing the Asia-Pacific region.

Founded in 2012, the Global Research Council is a virtual organisation comprising heads of science and engineering funding agencies worldwide, and is dedicated to promoting the sharing of data and best practices for high-quality collaboration among funding agencies worldwide.

Islam and Science

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The Muslim World Science Initiative (Muslim-Science.Com) proudly announces the Launch of its Report of the Task Force on Islam and Science.

The Launch Event was organised under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya Bint El-Hasan of Jordan, the President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan on Thursday 5 May 2016.

“Muslim Perspectives on Science’s Big Questions” – The International Conference on Islam and Science was co-hosted by Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) and the UN-ESCWA Technology Center/ Amman (ETC) on 5 May 2016.

The Report may be downloaded for free at:

Jordan’s Prince El Hassan bin Talal on Vatican visit

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The two day closed-door meeting 3-4 May was organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and included Christian and Muslim delegates.  His Royal Highness, as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Institute of Interfaith Studies (RIIFS), headed a delegation of men and women involved in interfaith dialogue.

RIIFS is a non-profit, non-governmental organization which offers a space for the interdisciplinary study of intercultural and interreligious issues with the aim of reducing tensions and promoting peace at regional and global levels.

Prince El Hassan was one of thirty members of RIIFS received in audience Wednesday by Pope Francis.  In speaking to them, the Pope recalled “with great joy” his visit to Jordan and said the group’s work “is a task of construction” that comes at a time “in which we are accustomed to the destruction wrought by war.”  And, he urged them to continue on the “journey” of dialogue “and of bringing people together” which “always helps us to construct.”

A journey of Interfaith dialogue

“I believe that rising to the higher values referred to by His Holiness Pope Francis on Wednesday is my expectation of this dialogue. To rise to constructive values …simply put.  Broadly put: psychological and physical rebuilding of our mindset towards the issue which is an issue of territoriality, identity and migration worldwide as I see it, is the challenge that we face: how to look at human dignity without discrimination and without silos,” he said.

“What I mean by silos,” Prince El Hassan added,  “is that there are international organizations that deal on a binary basis with this organization or that organization, with this group of beneficiaries, migrants, refugees, stateless persons – we’ve even now entered into the immoral reference to some groups of people as ‘un-people.’”

“And I think in this regard, stripping people of their nationality is not going to improve the chances of losing large numbers of young people who join radical groups simply because they feel they do not have any other option or because they feel that the incentives are the way they are.  So I think that this dialogue – and we announced a decalogue of dialogue in 2014 in Amman – is actually achieving certain objectives.  And among those objectives is the practical work being done by the monitoring facilities of academics who are looking at the Arab Christian and Muslim image vis-a-vis the world in which we live and correspondingly, asking those who are concerned with projecting the European concerns or the Western concerns: how can we meet in a middle ground whereby we look at liberties in the context of a good neighborhood policy on the one side, and the Eurasian policy on the other?”

Asked if enough is being done in the region to foster citizenship and diversity, His Royal Highness stressed:

“In the case of Jordan we were supposed to be 2 and a half million people in 1991.  Today we are over 9 million people.  We’ve had a war practically every decade since 1948, ’56, ’67, ’73 and the list goes on to include the Iraq wars and the Iraq-Iran war.  And every war has meant that Jordan and Lebanon for example, have paid the price with the forced migration and of course before that, the Palestinian forced migration. So the question of citizenship is a question of pluralism, a question of recognizing the identity of the other on the basis of respect.”

“The question of identity is one of recognizing the other, recognizing that the Christian population is dwindling in the region as a whole which is quite alarming…” added the Prince.

Jordan shelters hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees

Jordan has generously offered refuge to hundreds of thousands of Syrians who fled the war in their country. Asked if the international community has assumed its fair share of the burden, Prince El Hassan said he looks “forward to the realization of the pledges and the delivery of those pledges as they were made in the [recent] London conference – on assisting the countries that have suffered the consequences of the Syrian debacle and the Syrian civil war.”

The 4 February 2016 conference set itself ambitious goals on education and economic opportunities to transform the lives of refugees caught up in the Syrian crisis – and to support the countries hosting them.   Over US$ 11 billion was raised in pledges – $5.8 billion for 2016 and a further $5.4 billion for 2017-20.

“These consequences, I believe – whether in infrastructure, education, jobs, economy -should be looked at in terms of a regional stabilization plan. In that regard, I am quite impressed by the statement of [U.S.] Senator Lindsey Graham calling for a Marshall Plan.  I hope he is taken seriously as indeed I hope that the Bretton Woods, the World Bank and the IMF are taken seriously in their call for a stabilization fund.  But to be pro-active, I think that a regional bank for reconstruction and development should be encouraged. I can’t understand why our region is the only region in the world where we don’t have a regional bank where we have to respond to the initiative taken by others beyond our region,”  stated His Royal Highness.

“I think that a time may come when we begin to recognize refugees as they truly are: as victims rather than as perpetrators of violence.  I think it’s too much to ask of the poorest countries in the region, the non-oil producing countries in particular, to bear the greatest burden of the folly of others.”

ماهية الاختلاف بين الدين والعلم

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خالد الدخيل

الأحد، ٢ أغسطس/ آب ٢٠١٥ (٠١:٠ – بتوقيت غرينتش)

هناك فرق بين من يقرأ أي نص، ولنقل هنا النص الديني، بخلفية معرفية دينية وحسب، وبين من يقرأ هذا النص بخلفية معرفية علمية حديثة صرفة، وثالث يقرأه بخلفية معرفية دينية تختلط معها معرفة علمية حديثة. قراءة الأول ستكون على الأرجح خاضعة لسلطة المرجعية الدينية، مع استبعاد أي مرجعية أخرى، علمية أو غيرها. قراءة الثاني ستنطلق في الغالب من المرجعية العلمية الحديثة، مع استبعاد أي مرجعية أخرى، دينية أو غيرها. أما قراءة الثالث، فستحاول على الأرجح التوفيق بين المرجعيتين الدينية والعلمية. السؤال في هذه الحال: هل تعكس اختلافات القراءة هذه لنص ديني، اختلافات في درجة الإيمان والتدين، وبالتالي عمق الانتماء إلى دين، ولنقل هنا الدين الإسلامي؟ من الممكن جداً أن الثلاثة ينتمون مثلاً إلى الدين نفسه (الإسلام مثلاً)، وبالتالي يؤمنون بالشهادة وكل مقتضياتها، ورغم ذلك قد يصل كل واحد منهم، وهذا هو الأرجح، إلى نتيجة تختلف بهذه الدرجة أو تلك عن النتيجة التي وصل إليها الآخر من قراءة النص نفسه.

بل إن هذا الاختلاف يحصل في حال انتماء الثلاثة ليس إلى الدين نفسه فحسب، بل إلى الرؤية العقدية نفسها والمدرسة الفقهية ذاتها. والأمثلة على ذلك أكثر من أن تحصى. لكن خذ مثالاً اختلاف الشيخ محمد بن عبدالوهاب عن إمام المذهب الذي ينتمي إليه أحمد بن حنبل في موضوع علاقة رجل الدين أو الفقيه بالسلطة السياسية. اشتهر عن ابن حنبل (توفي 241هـ/855م) زهده السياسي واعتزاله الخلفاء وأصحاب السلطة. واختلف ابن عبدالوهاب عن إمامه في هذه المسألة. لكنه مثل إمامه، لم يكن طامعاً في سلطة سياسية، وهو ما يؤكده تاريخه وتاريخ الحركة التي أطلقها في منتصف القرن الثاني عشر من الهجرة (الثامن عشر من الميلاد). كلاهما يتفق على وجوب طاعة ولي الأمر، ما يدل على أن موقف ابن حنبل من الخلفاء لم يكن تعبيراً مبطناً عن معارضة جذرية لهم، بقدر ما أنه كان تعبيراً عن وجل ديني أفضى به إلى زهد سياسي. في حين أن ابن عبدالوهاب (توفي 1206هـ/1792م) الذي ظهر بعد ابن حنبل بنحو تسعة قرون، أي في بيئة اجتماعية وسياسية مختلفة تماماً، كان ناشطاً سياسياً إلى جانب دوره الديني، وبالتالي نظر إلى الموضوع من زاوية مختلفة، وقرأ النصوص المتعلقة به من زاوية مختلفة أيضاً، انطلاقاً من اختلاف الظروف والأعراف والمصالح. من هذه الزاوية، اتفق ابن عبدالوهاب مع إمامه في شيء، واختلف معه في شيء آخر، وهي اختلافات تنتمي طبعاً إلى فروع المذهب لا إلى أصوله.

بل إن الشخص نفسه قد تتغير قراءته للنص ويتغير رأيه بتغير مرحلته العمرية وتجربته وتغير البيئة التي يعيش فيها. ولعل قصة الإمام الشافعي من أشهر الأمثلة في التاريخ الإسلامي على ذلك، إذ إن رؤيته الفقهية عندما كان في العراق تغيرت بعدما انتقل إلى مصر. يقول الشيخ محمود أبو زهرة في هذا الموضوع عن الشافعي إنه «نسخ… بكتابه (الفقهي) المصري كتابه البغدادي». وينقل عنه قوله: «لا أجعل في حل من روى عني كتابي البغدادي» (تاريخ المذاهب الإسلامية، ص477).

هذا في ما يتعلق بالاختلاف وإمكانه داخل إطار معرفي واحد هو إطار الفكر الديني. ولعل من الواضح أنه إذا كان اختلاف البيئة والظروف والتجربة يقود إلى اختلافات بين من ينتمون إلى الدين نفسه، فما بالك بمن ينتمون إلى عوالم فكرية ومنهجية مختلفة، بل ومتناقضة أحياناً. سيقال إنه مع التسليم بذلك فإن إمكان الاختلاف داخل الدين الواحد دليل آخر على أن الدين لا يختلف عن العلم في شيء. وهو قول منافٍ للواقع ولطبيعة كلٍّ من الدين والعلم، ويخلط بين المقدمة والنتيجة التي قادت إليها. الفيصل هنا هو المنهج، وليس الاختلاف في حد ذاته. لأن الاختلافات التي أشرنا إلى بعضها داخل الفكر الديني إنما هي تعبير عن الطبيعة البشرية: اختلاف الأفراد ومشاربهم، واختلاف المجتمعات والبيئات التي ينتمون إليها، واختلاف مراحلهم الزمنية، أكثر منه تعبيراً عن اختلاف المنهج المستخدم في هذه الحال، وإلا فالدين كمنهج معرفي ينطلق من منطق خاص به يبقى شيئاً مختلفاً عن العلم، وأعني بذلك العلم بمعناه الحديث، وليس كما هو شائع في الثقافة الإسلامية («الحياة»، 13/11/2013). وعلى هذا الأساس فإن الاختلافات بين العلم والدين هي في الأساس وأكثر من أي شيء آخر، اختلافات في المنهج والمنطلقات، وفي المنطق الذي يصدر عنه كل واحد منهما.

طبعاً هذا لا يعني بأي حال نفي حضور العقل وفعاليته في الدين، وبالتالي في الفكر الديني. لكن الحقيقة هي أن هذا العقل خاضع أخيراً لسلطة الوحي، وبالتالي لسلطة النص الذي جاء به. ونتيجة لذلك يبقى العقل خاضعاً لسلطة التقليد المترتبة عن سلطة النص. أما في المنهج العلمي، فالأمر ليس كذلك. لأن العقل في هذا المنهج غير خاضع لسلطة خارجة عنه. من هنا، فالعلم بمعناه الحديث هو في نهاية المطاف إعمال للعقل، بآليات وضوابط علمية (لا فلسفية ولا دينية) للحصول على المعرفة: معرفة الطبيعة والنواميس التي تخضع لها، ومعرفة الإنسان باعتباره جزءاً من هذه الطبيعة، والبيئة الاجتماعية التي ينتمي إليها.

الغريب أن كثيرين من أصحاب الفكر الديني يعتبرون أن تصادم المنهج العلمي مع منهجهم مؤشر على تصادم مع الإرادة الإلهية. وفي الوقت نفسه يصرون، كما أشرت، على أن الدين لا يختلف عن هذا العلم في شيء. لكن بما أن العقل، كمرجعية نهائية للعلم، بعمله وآلياته من خلق الله، وأنه بذلك جزء من الطبيعة بنواميسها التي هي أيضاً من خلق الله، وكموضوع وحيد للعلم، ألا يكون العلم في هذه الحال تعبيراً عن إرادة الله؟ هل يمكن أن يكون العلم تعبيراً عن هذه الإرادة ومناهضاً لها في الآن ذاته؟

Future of Muslim world is in science, not reminiscence, scholars say

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By Dana Al Emam – May 05,1Islam and Science2016

HRH Princess Sumaya delivers a speech at the International Seminar on Islam and Science in Amman on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Royal Scientific Society)

AMMAN — A scientific renaissance in the Muslim world requires a move from boasting about historical achievements to a better employment of science and technology, experts said on Thursday.

Scholars from various parts of the Muslim world participating in the International Seminar on Islam and Science, held at the Royal Scientific Society (RSS), reiterated Islam’s encouragement of reading, researching and critical thinking.

Speaking at the opening of the seminar, RSS President HRH Princess Sumaya highlighted the need for a “peaceful reconciliation of progress with faith” despite the difficulties and possible controversy, adding that mediating the friction between faith and future development through science and innovation determines the future.

“If we are to be true to our heritage and our faith, then we must acknowledge one inalienable truth: Knowledge must be free. It must be sought honestly and analysed wisely. It must be unshackle13173711_10153435304282032_9167434408063403514_nd by those who seek ownership of minds through misinterpretation of religion,” she said.

Princess Sumaya cited the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, whose centennial Jordan is currently celebrating, as an event that “drew on the power of ideas and the understanding of context that flowed from Al Nahda [renaissance], when great minds poured new life into our interpretation of faith, culture and nation”.

Also speaking at the seminar, Athar Osama, founder of Muslim World Science Initiative and director of the Taskforce on Islam and Science project, said there is “very little debate” in the Muslim world around science, “not just the social contract of science, but critical issues at the intersection of science, religion, and society”.

“The taskforce project is an attempt to catalyse the important conversation between religion and science, which adopt two ways of knowing the world and its creator,” Osama said, highlighting the need for this debate to be 13147288_10153435303407032_7898557696224633246_ogenerated from within the Muslim world rather than being imposed from outside.

UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia’s Technology Centre Director Fouad Mrad highlighted the role of the Amman-based centre in technology transfer and development in 18 Arab countries, adding that he centre works towards regional integration and cooperation in technology and innovation.

Mrad commended Jordan’s leadership, government and people, saying the Kingdom offers a “precious” platform for calm dialogue.

For his part, Moneef Zoubi, director general of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences, said organisations concerned with bridging the gap between science and faith tend to “pay lip service to the intellectual quality of the scientists of the past and the milieu in which they excelled”.

He added that a key challenge facing member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and scholars today is “how to develop a viewpoint on modern science that is in harmony with Islam [and] yet projects the capacity of modern science to address problems and catalyse socioeconomic development”.

– See more at:…/future-muslim-world-science-no…

International Seminar on Islamic Perspectives on Science’s Big Questions

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Report Launch-4 May

The Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) and the UN-ESCWA Technology Center/ Amman (ETC) are organizing International Seminar on Islam and Science entitled: ‘Islamic Perspective on Science’s Big Questions;’ an event which will be held today 5 May 2016 under the patronage of HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society (RSS). The Seminar will start at 09:15 and conclude at 18.00, and will be held at the Royal Scientific Society, Presidential Building, Hashemites’ Auditorium, Jordan.

The theme of the seminar is based on a recent report published’s Task Force; the same can be downloaded from:

Muslim-science.Com’s Task Forces Initiative seeks to jumpstart a dialogue, disclosure, and debate on critical issues at the intersection of science and religion within the Islamic Community and hence continue to a process of scientific revival within the Islamic World.

The Seminar is jointly organized by the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS), the UN-ESCWA Technology Center (ETC), the Royal Scientific Society (RSS), John Templeton Foundation, the Muslim World Science Initiative and the Turkish Society for the History of Science (TBTK).

Datin Paduka Dr. Aini Ideris FIAS appointed Vice-Chancellor of a top Malaysian University; UPM

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Prof. Datin Paduka Dr. Aini Ideris FIAS has been appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for a duration of two years; effective January 1, 2016 until December 31, 2017.

Graduated with Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree in 1979 from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia – UPM (currently, Universiti Putra Malaysia). She pursued her postgraduate study, at the University of Liverpool, England, receiving Masters in Veterinary Science (MVSc) degree in Avian Medicine, in 1981, and obtained PhD degree in Avian Medicine, in 1989 from UPM. She continued with her postdoctoral training at the University of California, Davis, USA (1990-1992), and at Cornell University, USA, in 1993 (under Asian Development Bank Fellowship), where she was involved in molecular pathogenesis research.

She was formerly elected a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, Founding Fellow of Malaysian College of Veterinary Specialists (FMCVS) and Fellow of the Malaysian Scientific Association (FMSA). In October 2011, she was elected as Fellow of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (FIAS); the global academy of Sciences affiliated to the OIC.

Aini is also former deputy vice-chancellor (academic and international), chairperson of Veterinary Teaching Hospital, deputy dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, dean, School of Graduate Studies, Malaysian Post-graduate Deans Council chairperson including chairperson of UPM Holdings board of directors.

In addition, her expertise in the veterinary field had gained her recognition to represent various committees at the KPT, Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry.

IAS Council Members, Fellows and staff congratulate Prof Datin Paduka Dr. Aini Idris on her appointment.

Professor Mostafa El-Sayed Wins 2016 Priestley Medal

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153614bd272The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, has announced Georgia Tech Professor Mostafa El-Sayed as the winner of its highest honor, the 2016 Priestley Medal for distinguished service in the field of Chemistry.

After moving from his native Egypt to the United States for Ph.D. and postdoctoral studies, Dr. El-Sayed began his independent research career at UCLA in 1961, coming to Georgia Tech more than twenty years ago. These two periods were marked by distinguished contributions to two diverse but important areas of research, molecular electronic energy relaxation, and the science and technology of nanoscale objects. In the past several years, he has managed to knit these topics together in pioneering the biological application of nano-plasmonic phenomena and materials. His accomplishments over this 54-year career span the range from the most exciting of fundamental discoveries to the most selfless and creative service to his fellow scientists and the public.

Among many other honors, Prof. El-Sayed was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2007, and continues to serve on the President’s National Medal of Science Selection Committee.  An elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as well as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Prof. El-Sayed was Editor-in-Chief of the Jounal of Physical Chemistry for an astounding 24 years, guiding this journal to its preeminent status and helping to shape the entire field. At Georgia Tech, he has anchored the continued development of an internationally renowned physical chemistry division while embodying the Institute’s dedication to interdisciplinary science and technology. He even has a spectroscopy rule named after him!

More than 70 students have earned their Ph.D. degrees in the El-Sayed laboratory, and more than 80 postdoctoral scientists, research scientists, and visiting professors have done research under his direction.  The El-Sayed group has been supported by over $18 million in external funding, publishing more than 680 papers.  Incredibly, more than half of the 65,000+ citations to his work in the scientific and patent literature have occurred in the past five years, a testament to the cutting-edge nature and practical relevance of his research at Georgia Tech. He currently directs research on nanoparticle-based anticancer therapy in both the U.S. and Egypt.

Professor El-Sayed is Regents’ Professor, Julius Brown Chair of Chemistry, and the Director of the Laser Dynamics Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology. We congratulate him on this well-deserved honor and look forward to his contributions, insight, and boundless enthusiasm for many years to come.