It has just been announced that Karima Bennoune has won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction for her book “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism”. This is a huge achievement, and we at TEDxExeter are so excited for her!
The Dayton Literary Peace Prize honors writers whose work uses the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding. Launched in 2006, it has already established itself as one of the world’s most prestigious literary honors, and is the only literary peace prize awarded in the United States. As an offshoot of the Dayton Peace Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize awards a $10,000 cash prize each year to one fiction and one nonfiction author whose work advances peace as a solution to conflict, and leads readers to a better understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view.
In accepting the prize, Karima said: “Winning the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction for Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism is deeply meaningful – especially now – because the prize recognizes the unfathomable courage shown by so many people of Muslim heritage around the world – from Iraq to my father’s home country Algeria and beyond – in their often life-threatening struggles against extremism. These are the stories told in the book, and in our turbulent times such critical voices of tolerance and hope from Muslim majority societies must be heard internationally, but often are not. The DLPP is making an invaluable contribution to changing that. Given the mission of the prize, there is no other award that would mean more to me or to so many of those in the book – victims of terror who organized against its perpetrators, women who filled bomb craters with flowers, journalists who defied machine guns armed only with pens, artists who could not be censored by death threats (or worse), feminists who demanded the right to have human rights, secularists who spoke out, mullahs who risked their lives to revive the enlightened Islam of our grandparents. I share the prize with all of them. For me, the award is ultimately a much-needed recognition that fundamentalism is a threat to peace, and that those who challenge extremism and jihadist violence in their own communities are waging a battle for true peace, and deserve global recognition and support. That is the message I tried to get across in Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here. I am sincerely grateful to the selection committee and to the organizers of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for helping to share this message by selecting the book, and I am honored to receive this very special prize.”