The Ibn Rushd Award 2010 Goes to the
Arab Internet Forum al-Hewar
The Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought is delighted to declare the Internet platform al-Hewar al-Mutamaddin the winner of the 12th Ibn Rushd Award. Since 1998, the Ibn Rushd Fund has been honouring people or organizations that have rendered outstanding services to Freedom of Thought in the Arabic World. The honorary award will be presented on November 26, 2010 in the Museum for Islamic Art (Berlin) which has cooperated with the Ibn Rushd Fund this year.
The forum al-Hewar al-Mutamaddin (www.ahewar.org) was founded in 2001 by the Iraqi Internet activist Rezgar Akrawi. By now, around 550 million people have read articles published here, and al-Hewar has become one of the most active platforms in the Arab World with over 300 million hits. Every day, more people visit this website than those of renowned Arab newspapers. Today, the political activist Akrawi is supported by numerous editors in various countries, and they, like him, work unpaid, as do all of Al Hewar’s freelance writers. Altogether, almost 16,000 authors have published articles on this website, among them well-known names such as Nawal El Saadawi, Bourhan Ghalioune, Tarek Heggy, Kadhim Habib or Amel Grami.
As the name ‘al-Hewar al-Mutamaddin’ indicates, it is a forum for modern dialogue, a civilised way to discuss topics relevant to today’s society. Al-Hewar strives to promote modern secular forces, and to facilitate networking and collaboration between groups who share the aim of establishing civil, secular, and democratic societies in the Arab World. It is al-Hewar’s chief concern to support and promote women’s rights, and to fight injustice in general, as well as any kind of radicalism. Even al-Hewar’s own leftist political orientation is open to debate. Unfortunately, it is almost to be expected that this degree of openness will meet with opposition, and as a consequence al-Hewar is forbidden in a considerable number of countries; its authors also often have to contend with restrictions to their personal freedom.
The winner of the Ibn Rushd Award was elected by a jury appointed by the Ibn Rushd Fund. The members of this jury are distinguished by their knowledge of the issue of ‘Freedom of Expression in the Internet in the Arab World’, and their own publications on the subject, and have worked for the Fund in an honorary capacity. They are Ahmed Ashour (Al Jazeera Talk Net, Qatar), Dr. Khaled Hroub (Director of the Arab Media Project, University of Cambridge), Eman Al Nafjan (Blogger, Saudi Arabia), and Naziha Rjiba (Journalist and human rights activist, Tunisia).
The Ibn Rushd Fund was founded in Germany and has members from and in numerous Arab and Western countries. Named after the philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroes, 1126-1198), it seeks to promote Freedom of Thought and democratic forces in the Arab World by bestowing the Ibn Rushd Award once a year. The sub-theme varies from year to year, and has so far covered journalism, women’s rights, the reform of Islam, literature and film, Arab enlightenment, and economics. To determine the main theme, each January the Ibn Rushd Fund calls upon its members to choose the award category for the year from a list of topics. Anyone interested can then nominate candidates, and an independent jury well-versed in the subject is appointed by the Ibn Rushd Fund to select the winner from among the nominations. The award of the Ibn Rushd Prize 2010 went to an “Internet Activist / Weblogger, who fundamentally enriches and advances public discourse.”
Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought
Tel. +49 (0) 30 32664-721
Fax +49 (0) 30 32664-722
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