Malaysia’s prestigious university of Putra Malaysia is hosting the Science and Technology Exchange Program among Muslim Countries (STEP). The five-day event, which started on December 19th, seems to have provided a proper ground for boosting cooperation among different Muslim countries.
MSTF Media reports:
The gathering looks very much like an OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) session, but no word on politics is mentioned here. It is all about science and technology. 30 scientists and more than 150 faculty members, researchers, and scholars from Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey have gathered in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to participate in a forum dubbed the Science and Technology Exchange Program among Muslim Countries, or shortly, STEP.
The event is co-organized by the Mustafa(pbuh) Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF) and the university of UPM.
The objective as explained by the organizers is to provide a platform for Muslim scientists to interact with each other, and bring back Islam’s “Golden Age” in science.
The delegates have bright backgrounds. Many of them teach in world-renowned universities, including Jordanian-American chemist Omar Yaghi who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.
Omar Yaghi won the 2015 Mustafa(pbuh) Prize in the category of Nano-science and Nanotechnology.
All such tech giants are now seeking a way out of the bottleneck Muslim scientists are stuck in.
Addressing other delegates at the STEP forum, Professor Yaghi said “very few articles [are published] by 57 [Muslim] countries.”
Whatever his yardstick is, Professor Yaghi was right. Statistics show that 41 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) account for less than 5 percent of the world’s scientific output.
Javed Ali, an Indian researcher on pharmaceutics, cites “global fear and emotions” as a major hurdle keeping Muslim scientists from pursuing their scientific activities.
Some of the delegates believe that Muslim scientists are performing very well individually, but their accomplishments are not recognized by the international concerned institutions.
Professor Ali Murat Guler, a physicist from Turkey, says Muslim scientists need to communicate to improve. “We have to push our funding agencies and start a framework for making database, through which we interact more together,” he says.
The MSTF believes that the STEP forum is aimed at creating this “link” among Muslim scientists, which has already helped at least figure out where the problem emanates from, and the next step is to find a solution accordingly.