Stop demonising Arabs, says Ahmed Zewail

David Dickson

Aisling Irwin
News and features editor, SciDev.Net

Ahmed Zewail was the star speaker here today. He is not just a Nobel prizewinner in chemistry but an intellectual at ease in both the Middle East and the West. So he took the opportunity to berate those journalists who represent the latter for the West’s negative perception of the Islamic world.

“Arabs are demonised,” he said, saying they are generally depicted as violent and anti-American. The Egyptians demonstrating “civility in their uprising” in Tahrir Square show this image is wrong, he said.

More relevant to science journalists, the common believe that Islam is in conflict with progress, is wrong, he said.

“There is nothing fundamental in Islam that is against science.”

And as for the “conflict of civilisations” theory that has gained currency, thanks to academics at Harvard University, United States, he said: “I don’t see any physics in such theories.

“The bottom line is that people want liberty and a good life to live.”

2 Responses to Stop demonising Arabs, says Ahmed Zewail

  1. Harvey Leifert says:

    I hope Zewail’s talk was not as simplistic as this report suggests. Ask our colleague Lara Logan to help round it out a bit.

  2. brenda zulu says:

    Nice info on religion and science. Hoping to meet you in person as am at the #WCSJ2011 event as well. I like the key note speech because it emphasis on the need for new media to be embraced. by the media.

    For Africa the future is mobile. The power lies in our hands. There is a lot of innovation in terms of the use of the mobile phone in Africa for both the SMS facility and the smart phones.

    It is amazing that at least each village in Africa has a mobile phone for communication purposes though the issues of access to mobile networks is still an issue in some rural areas.

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