|Clockwise from L.: Raed Salah, Paul Corkum, Ferenc Krausz, Douglas Coleman and Jeffrey Friedman|
Sheikh Raed Salah, a Palestinian activist with Israeli citizenship, has donated half the endowment of $200,000 he received this week for winning the 2013 King Faisal International Prize (FFIP) for “Service to Islam” to “the children, bereaved mothers and widows in Syria.”
He earmarked the other half of the cash prize to “set up an international trust to support (East) Jerusalem and the Holy al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The Syrian National Coalition has just published a “Thank You” note to Sheikh Raed Salah on its Facebook page.
FFIPs were awarded in three other categories this year:
-- The prize for “Arabic Language and Literature” went to the Arabic Language Academy in Cairo for its contributions over the past 80 years, including publication of a large collection of specialized dictionaries.
-- The prize for “Medicine” was shared by Jeffrey Michael Friedman of Rockefeller University in New York and Douglas Leonard Coleman of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, for their discovery of the leptin pathway and its role in regulating bodyweight.
-- Two physicists shared the prize for “Science”: Paul B. Corkum of the University of Ottawa and Ferenc Krausz of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. They are recognized for their independent pioneering work, which made it possible to capture the incredibly fast motion of electrons in atoms and molecules with a time resolution down to attoseconds. For context, an attosecond is to a second what a second is to about 31.71 billion years, or twice the age of the universe.
Prizewinners received their awards from Saudi Crown Prince Salman at a gala ceremony in Riyadh last Saturday night.
The King Faisal International Foundation says on its website its prize for Sheikh Raed Salah were in recognition of his following services to Islam:
- Being a preeminent founding member of the Islamic Movement in occupied Palestinian territories in 1948.
- Pursuing distinctive reforms and social services during his chairmanship of the Islamic Movement between 1996-2001.
- Serving as Chairman of al-Aqsa Foundation for the Refurbishment of Revered Islamic Places and Chairman of the Humanitarian Relief Organization in Occupied Palestine.
- Being one of the pioneers who have led many projects in al-Aqsa Mosque, in collaboration with the Islamic Endowment Organization in al-Quds and the Committee for the conservation of the revered al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
- Being the first to discover the tunnel dug under al-Aqsa Mosque by the occupiers.
- Serving his countrymen by working and succeeding, together with al-Rawha Peoples Committee, in preventing the confiscation of al-Rawha land in 1998.
- Organizing regular events titled “al-Aqsa is in Danger” which attract thousands of Palestinians in the occupied territories and help boost their morale.