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The Ibn Rushd Prize 2018 calls for:

a caricaturist who criticizes or ridicules political, religious or social leaders and authorities.

A caricature is an exaggerating drawing highlighting the negative characteristics of what it depicts in order to criticize it. This way of criticizing seems to be deeply rooted in the human mind – historians argue that the art of caricature started as early as the stone ages. Ancient Egyptians were the first to apply their critical imagery on paper (or papyrus), and are thus considered the pioneers of political cartoons, but caricatures were also found in drawings of Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Sumerians and Assyrians.

Caricatures in newspapers as we know them today, however, were first known in Europe after the invention of the printing press which magnified their impact. One of the  first caricaturists was Leonardo da Vinci, and Martin Luther fought the power of the Vatican also by ridiculing it through caricatures. But it took the French revolution to boost the importance of political cartoons for spreading liberal ideas throughout Europe. This short historical outline shows how closely related caricaturing is to democracy and its development.

In the Arab World, the Ottoman and Western colonization delayed the spread of the printing press and with it caricatures. It was in the Egypt of 1877 that Yaqoub Suno introduced caricature to the Arab press through “Abu Ndara“, a magazine full of sarcastic drawings ridiculing the rule of Khedive Ismail and his son Tawfiq.  Other magazines publishing cartoons followed during the British occupation of Egypt until the 1919 revolution, when the British banned them all; other waves followed in the early 1930s, after Egypt’s political independence, and after the Arab defeat in the war of 1967. The political cartoon spread throughout all of the Arab world: Syria’s most important magazine printing caricatures was the “Weeping Comedian“, published until 1966. The magazines “Aldbor” in Lebanon, and “Haysbuz” in Iraq  were of significant  importance due to their role in political life and the lives of common people.

Caricaturists are triggered by the political, economic circumstances and social needs. In the Arab World, the Israeli-Arab conflict has been one of the key topics, but also women’s and children’s rights, and voicing opposition to oppressive social norms or political and religious authorities.
Freedom of speech is rare in the Arab World, and opposing dominant views and regimes is severely sanctioned; caricaturists work under severe pressure, and risk their freedom, or even their life. Many of them have experienced detention and torture or have even been executed for their views.

The Ibn Rushd Prize 2018 therefore calls for:

a caricaturist who currently criticizes or ridicules political, religious or social leaders and authorities, focusing on their repressive, authoritarian, sectarian, and/or discriminatory stances, thoughts and/or behavior.

By doing so, the caricaturist intends to promote ideas pertaining to humanism, human rights and freedom of thought. The caricatures must have a high reach.

Anyone can nominate a candidate (other than themselves; one nomination per person, no nominations of deceased people). The candidate’s immediate sphere of activity should lie in the Arab World.
An independent jury will select the winner of the Ibn Rushd Prize** 2018 from the incoming nominees.
To nominate, please use the form* (link) and send your proposal to nomination @ Please provide a justification. Candidates can be nominated until October 30, 2018. Nominations can be written in Arabic, German, French, or English.

* The Ibn Rushd Fund can only process nominations submitted with a nomination form.

**The prize money amounts to € 2500, which, just like the entire prize, is financed exclusively by contributions and donations from members and supporters of the Ibn Rushd Fund.

If you want to know more about previous winners of the Ibn Rushd Prize, please go to: Ibn Rushd Prize

Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought
13357 Berlin
Tel. +49 (0) 30 296 06 85
Fax +49 (0) 30 32664-722

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