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Muslims who have Won Nobel Prizes

Muhammad Anwar El Sadat, Egyptian president (1970 to 1981), met with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to seek a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Egyptian conflict. The result was the Camp David Peace Accords. From this came the 1979 Israeli-Egypt Peace Treaty which meant the withdrawal of Israeli military and civilians from Sinai Pennisula, free passage for Israeli ships through Suez Canal, and Strait of Tiran and Gulf of Aqaba to be considered as international waterways. For their efforts these two leaders received the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.

Abdus Salam, Pakistani theoretical physicist, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979 for his collaboration with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg (also 1979 awardees) and contributions to the Electro-Weak Theory (the unification of weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles).

Naguib Mahfouz, Egyptian novelist, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. He is also known for his efforts to modernize Arabic literature, and is regarded as one of the first writers of Arabic literature to explore the theme of existentialism. Existentialism is the philosophy that people, not deities or authorities, create the meaning and essence of their own lives.

Yasser Arafat, Palestinian leader, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), president of the Palestinian National Authority, and leader of the Fatah Political Party, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, for peace negotiations at Oslo. The 1993 Oslo Accords were negotiations with Israel to end the Israeli-PLO conflict.

Ahmad Hassan Zewail, Egyptian-American scientist, was award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1999 for his work on femtochemistry (a science that studies chemical reactions on very short timescales).

Shirin Ebadi, Iranian lawyer, human rights activist, and founder of the Children’s Rights Support Association in Iran, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her dedication and work towards democracy and human rights, in particular, women and children’s.

Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was awarded, along with the IAEA, the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. The IAEA is an international organization dedicated to promoting the non-military and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Ferit Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and Comparative Literature professor at Columbia University, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 2006. He is one of Turkey’s most famous novelists and has received numerous national and international literary awards. His work has been translated into fifty languages.

Muhammad Yunus, Bangladesh banker and economist, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, along with the Grameen Bank, which he founded. He is credited for his work in creating economic and social development by the successful application of micro credit (small loan extensions for poor entrepreneurs who cannot qualify for traditional bank loans).