Posted on October 24, 2011

The 18th Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) Conference opened here on Saturday under the theme of "The Islamic World and the West: Rebuilding Bridges through Science and Technology."

The three-day event aims at discussing the impact of the current events in the Islamic World and ascertain how they interact with the S&T scene. In his keynote address, HE the Deputy Premier and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud said the State of Qatar is proud to host and sponsor this annual global scientific community gathering, which coincides with the IAS 25th anniversary.

He underlined the strong emphasis on the value of knowledge in the Islamic faith, explaining how the Holley Qur'an encourages Muslims to learn and to acquire knowledge. HE Al Mahmoud reaffirmed Qatar's keenness to promote science under the enlightened wise leadership of HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, referring to the Education City, a part of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP ), which represents the national agency charged with executing applied research and delivering.

The State of Qatar allocates a large part of the national income to support scientific research and development, said Al Mahmoud. 

President of the Islamic World Academy of Sciences Prof Abdul Salam Al Majali delivered a speech in which he greeted HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani for his continuous support to the Academy and extended his thanks and gratitude to HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani.

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He said the Conference's theme of The Islamic World and the West: Rebuilding Bridges through Science and Technology was chosen by the Academy as an attempt to build relationships between the two sides. He explained that the goals of the Conference were to present the views of scientists and academics from both sides on ways to bridge the rift between the east and west through scientific and technological cooperation and to address a series of questions relating to Islamic history and spiritual aspect to find out to what extent there is a similarity between them in this regard.

He called for the separation of political differences from religion, considering this as a vital issue and can contribute to the convergence of views between the East and the West. Al Majali also touched on the so-called Arab spring, which began in Tunisia in mid-December last year, and widened in scope to include a number of Arab countries, where people of the region expressed their anger at the situation that prevailed in and showed their frustration at the policies of their rulers, pointing out that this frustration has been accompanying Arab and Islamic peoples for a long period of time because of failure to achieve peace between Israel and the Arab world.

He added that the failure to reach a solution to the Palestinian question led to a paralysis of thought, especially among Arab leaders. He touched on the vital role of science in this regard, saying that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's states lack scientific research in various areas of science  except for some of them, besides most of the countries of the Organization are not a source of technology.

Al Majali said one of the challenges is how to apply knowledge in the development policies to boost the economy in the member states as well as use it in addressing the developmental issues faced by these countries, including the problems of water and health.

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