Friday, September 18, 2009

Spanish theologian Juan José Tamayo wins International Islamic Studies Prize


Tunis, Sept. 17 (EFE)— Spanish theologian Juan José Tamayo won the Eighth President of the Republic of Tunisia International Prize for Islamic Studies. Tamayo was one of 28 candidates from 13 different countries, official sources said.

Tamayo picked up the award from Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, during a ceremony last night after dinner breaking the fast of Ramadan (iftar) held in the palace of Carthage.

Tamayo, a professor of theology at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, won the award for his book Islam: Culture, Religion and Politics" published in Spanish.

It also found that the book "enriches the thought and work of ijtihad (creative interpretation of the Koran and Islam), which is based on dialogue and openness, rejecting a defense of the status quo and self-absorption.

Tamayo told EFE that "after devoting more than 50 books to liberation theology and critique of the fundamentalism of the Catholic hierarchy, it was necessary to venture into Islam because of the great historical momentum that it has had in recent years" in the international arena.

The theologian stated that in the West "there is a social imagination that deems Islam to be a sexist, patriarchal and fundamentally violent religion.

"The book that is receiving this award examines these and other stereotypes and prejudices that are not part of the essence of Islam, but they are useful to a West that always needs an enemy. After the defeat of Communism, criticisms are now being hurled against this religion," said the author.


  1. My friend, I am sure that your book is very well researched and geared towards the understanding of both cultures, but don’t forget 800 years of “reconquista” and Madrid 03, 11, 2004.
    While some are working towards understanding and cultural co-existence, others are plotting towards imposing and conquering. Well said about the need of religious democratization but somehow I don’t expect this to happend to much, especially in Islam.
    About this statement: “The theologian stated that in the West "there is a social imagination that deems Islam to be a sexist, patriarchal and fundamentally violent religion.”
    I just wonder where this imagining comes from…just read the news, what happens to a woman that dears to wear jeans or show too much face on the street.Of coursenot everywhere, countries like Tunisia are more open minded.
    Great video, one thing that is remarkable and sounds odd even to me, is the way in which this young journalist interviews professor Tamayo a well know scholar in Spain and many years his senior.
    He’s using the “tu” instead of the respectful form “Usted”; this would be unthinkable twenty years ago. That shows how much Spanish society has change, in many ways.

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