Public statement by Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani, Chairman, Foundation for science, Technology and Civilisation
Today, 7 March 2007, marks the first anniversary of the launch of the "1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World" initiative in Manchester, UK. This groundbreaking educational initiative proclaims the Muslim contributions to science and technology through a basket of projects, all carrying the same name, including: an interactive touring exhibition, a illustrated coffee-table book, a teachers' pack, educational posters and a website ( www.1001inventions.com) with accompanying conferences, workshops and seminars.
The initiative has already won widespread praise, with UK support from such high profile bodies as the Home Office, the Department for Trade and Industry, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Wellcome Trust, the North West Development Agency and the University of Manchester and from international bodies including the Council of Europe and the Organisation of Islamic Conference.
"1001inventions" was launched to challenge the widespread popular misconception that science and technology went into decline during the period known as the ‘Dark Ages'. It also aimed to demonstrate that outstanding Muslims made scientific, engineering and medical discoveries including everyday items that are taken for granted in the modern world such as algebra, trigonometry, clocks, coffee, spectacles, the fountain pen, soap, carpets, hospitals, the circulation of the blood, distillation and many others. We see them today in our homes, schools, hospitals, towns, libraries, gardens, buildings and in our cafés and public houses. Even more surprising, we see them in the thousands of Arabic words in our language for example alcohol and cotton, the variety of the dishes we eat, the flowers such as tulips that we enjoy in our gardens and parks and in the architecture of our churches and heritage buildings.
The initiative was successful in promoting greater cohesion, respect and understanding between faiths and cultures. Its major value is not only in closing the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK and worldwide but also in promoting the concept of scientific and technological innovation as a positive and constructive channel for the personal expression of belief, as an alternative to religious isolationism and extremism and more particularly in facilitating greater understanding of the past positive role of Muslim women in society with particular emphasis on their participation in Science, Technology, Art and Culture. Furthermore it reveals a Muslim past when Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sabian and others worked closely together and in harmony to develop society.
During the past year, our www.muslimheritage.com website has received around 20 million page views from all over the world; more than 190,000 people have so far visited the exhibition in the UK (Manchester and Cardiff) and its success has had far reaching international impact. Over 160 serious requests to host the exhibition as a permanent or touring exhibition have been received from across the world, including most Muslim countries. The UK touring exhibition is now booked until mid-2008. The first edition of the book is sold out after gaining international acclaim. It has featured in photos of numerous Heads of State and Ministers and celebrities from around the world. The Teachers' Pack continues to attract teachers from schools and there is interest in using it to enrich the National Curriculum.
Today we have great pleasure in announcing our ambitious global expansion plans for the touring exhibition and all associated products including the publication of the second edition of the "1001inventions" book.
We have awarded a 15 year management contract to a new UK based company called 1001 Inventions Limited who will implement all aspects of the 1001 Inventions projects and its globalisation. 1001 Inventions Limited has inherited the same project management team that developed and launched the project in 2006. The same people will manage its tour including product development, all procurement and event management.
FSTC will oversee the company's project planning and detailed strategy. It will review and approve all new products to ensure the accuracy and high quality of the content. It will also provide speakers at launch events.
Elizabeth Woodcock, Managing Director of 1001 Inventions, said "The enormous success of 1001 Inventions has exceeded all our expectations, and it's with great pleasure that we announce our plans to go global".
On behalf of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization, I congratulate all those who contributed to and sponsored this fantastic initiative and to thank everybody for their tireless work and the sacrifice of their valuable time.
For more details about the content of the exhibition, please refer to www.1001inventions.com.For historical sources visit www.muslimheritage.com.