Faisal Saeed Al Mutar is the founder of Ideas Beyond Borders and Bayt Al-Hikma 2.0, Global Secular Humanist Movement, and a columnist for Free Inquiry
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What should a North American audience, global audience, or Indian audience, know about Bay Al-Hikma 2.0? How can they replicate its efforts in advocating for science, humanism, and enlightenment values through translation projects – Arabic, Kurdish, etc.?
Faisal Saeed Al Mutar: One of the things that we function as is a bridge. One of my friends is a Princeton professor in South Asian Studies. He has helped to identify progressive voices there.
Many people in the Arab world do not know that they exist. When people look at the stuff that we translate from English writings of authors coming from South East Asia and Asia.
People, generally, the main thing that we always need to do to continue our translation project is funding and donations to keep the translation going. Also, if people have skills that we need, there are many people who help connect us to many people, e.g., graphic designers, audiovisual editing, video editing, and so on.
If people have skills in social media marketing, all of these things; we need these to help expand our project. When it comes to South Asia, as we expand more and more, and build more successful programs across the Arab world, and we focus on there because I am from there, we have the translators and all of that.
We plan to expand to Urdu. I heard of many of my friends from Pakistan. Many Pakistanis speak English and are educated, but much is coming from the British.
At the same time, there are many people in Bangladesh that do not speak English in a professional way or in an advanced way. So, that way, the knowledge that we care about in terms of Enlightenment values and others are not available for these people who speak only one language.
So, we have had a very successful program so far, with the Arab world. I hope it will be successful as we expand to Bengali and Urdu.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Faisal.