Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, April 17, 2008

OA for Muslim scientific history

Editorial: Muslim Heritage, Arab News, April 15, 2008.  Excerpt:

In an age when heritage in so many parts of the world is either ignored, Disneyized into theme parks or, worse still, subjected to the destructive onslaught of the bulldozer and the developer, it is encouraging to learn that the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the US Library of Congress plan to digitize all Arab and Muslim scientific records. The information, showing clearly the great achievements of Arab Muslim civilization, will be available free of charge on the Internet through the World Digital Library.

This is very significant and important news. One of the aims of the library, to be launched by UNESCO early next year, is the promotion of international and intercultural understanding. Access, at the touch of a mouse, to proof of past Arab scientific prowess will promote just that. For Arabs and Muslims, it will be cause for pride and should help strip away the destructive sense of intellectual inferiority to Western culture that has been such a debilitating element in much of Arab thinking over the past century. For non-Muslims, especially those who through blindness or malevolence continue to regard Muslims as backward and ignorant, it should be an eye-opener and thus do much to improve relations between the two groups

Quite simply, the story of Arab and Muslim scientific excellence centuries ago is not the private property of only Arabs and Muslims. It is one for the entire world, Muslim and non-Muslim, to celebrate....