FSTC Chairman at Uniday, Germany

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, Chairman of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) and 1001 Inventions, was one of the keynote speakers at the Uniday (Students Day) conference on 22nd of October 2011 at Stadthalle in Bielefeld, Germany.

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Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, Chairman of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) and 1001 Inventions, was one of the keynote speakers at the Uniday (Students Day) conference on 22nd of October 2011 at Stadthalle in Bielefeld, Germany.

There were more than 3000 people at the event, predominantly young German Turks. Amongst the special guests that spoke at the event we mention Prof. Mahmud Erol Kiliç, world expert on Sufism, poet Serdar Tuncer and musician Göksel Baktagir. According to IGMG, the symposium is a formal meeting in which scholars and researchers gather to discuss topics ranging from current affairs to those of an intellectual basis. In particular, these conventions seek to define the process behind perceptions between "myself" and the "other." Also, elucidating the process of change within these perceptions by associating the hardships that Muslims living in Europe face on a daily basis with the theoretical issues causing these hardships.

The slogan of the event was ‘Our dreams rely on the past'. Celal Tüter, Chairman of IGMG Student Department, explains that: "Earlier our slogan was "The future is intertwined with tradition" and "Those who do not repeat cannot renew". With steadfastness, we continue on this path of personal development. We strive to build our futures based on our rich traditions for it is within our broad history that we may find the horizon from which our future rises".

Introducing Professor Salim Al-Hassani by the Master of Ceremonies

In 1999, Professor Salim Al-Hassani and other colleagues founded the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC), and he continues to be the Chairman of the Foundation. FSTC is a not-for-profit educational foundation which aims to generate social cohesion, inter-cultural appreciation, and to promote science and learning as an alternative to negative and extremist behaviour. It does this by illuminating the shared scientific heritage of humanity, with its initial efforts centring on uncovering the very significant scientific contributions by the Muslim Civilisation. In its various projects, from books to lectures, seminars, exhibitions, films and electronic publications, FSTC is supported by a large network of historians of science, academics, writers and intellectuals.

The projects carried on by FSTC are a compilation of stories that tell the history of science, technology and culture dating back to a thousand years, which school books, particularly in the West, lack. This thousand year time frame corresponds to a period after the fall of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the Renaissance in Europe, the period commonly known as the ‘Dark Ages.' This is a misnomer as this period was not really dark, and outside of Europe people were living in a golden age, in the sense that the age of discovery and science had never really ceased. This period also corresponds to a time when the Muslim civilization was flourishing. Yet, when we look at European sources on mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, physics, technology and medicine, we find a one thousand year gap. Does this mean that the readers who derive their knowledge from these sources suffer from a thousand years of amnesia? This amnesia is of a dangerous type, in that it both feeds the superiority complex, and introduces an inferiority complex among other nations, particularly within young Muslims.

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Highlights of Prof. Salim T S Al-Hassani's Speech

  • Prof. Salim greeted the cheering crowd in Turkish, German, Arabic and in English. Then he showed the 13 mins "Library of secrets" film which was interrupted with cheers and ovation.
  • In his lecture, he pointed out how the 1000 years amnesia (in the minds of people and in school textbooks) encourage two dangerous trends in society. The first is that it engenders a feeling of superiority amongst westerners, and Europeans in particular, as they do not see any names from other non-European cultures in the books of science and technology which jump over 1000years of history, calling them the Dark Ages. At the same time, this 1000years amnesia is exported to other cultures, through translations of school texts, particularly to Muslims. This causes the reverse trend, generating an inferiority complex. These trends result in a huge gap between Muslims and the rest of society in Europe, and at the same time generate a gap between Muslim countries and Western nations. The gap breeds imbalance, hostility and misunderstanding.
  • Prof. Al-Hassani questioned: Why shouldn't Muslims be allowed their right to own some of the great discoveries of Mankind? He addressed the audience by these strong words: "You people are the children of great men and women - scientists and inventors. If you look at the 1001inventions book and website you will see what I mean. You will find we are surrounded by their inventions and innovation.
  • "I am sure if you tell this to your non-Muslim German colleagues, they will appreciate you, but more important is that you take those great people as your role models. They were principled people, they wanted to improve the quality of life through dedicated research and innovation. They were exemplary in their behaviour. They worked alongside non-Muslims. Christians, Jews and Sabeans worked shoulder to shoulder in Science and Technology (S&T) in the early years of Muslim civilisation."

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