Alija Izetbegoviç was born in Bosanki Samac in northern Bosnia in 1925 and moved during his childhood with his family to Sarajevo where he grew up and received his formal education. After World War II, he graduated with degrees in economics and law from the University of Sarajevo. He was an urbane and thoughtful politician who spoke English, French and German, in addition to Serbocroatian. He served for 25 years as legal advisor in different establishments, including the University of Sarjevo, and became the first President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1990-1996 and member of the Presidency until his retirement in 2000.
Dr. Izetbegoviç’s political strife dates back to the 1940s when he became an active member of the Muslim Youth Organization. He was jailed twice for his brave opposition to communist oppression of Muslims in former Yugoslavia. In 1989 he formed an Islamic political party that led Bosnian Muslims to their independence. Izetbegoviç was also a distinguished scholar, author and philosopher. His intellectual pursuits include the publication of several books including Islamic Manifesto (translated into English, Arabic and Albanian), Problems of Islamic Awakening and Islam Between East and West; the last-mentioned book was translated into English, Spanish, Turkish, Malay and Urdu, and was described by reviewers as one of the most important books published in Europe in the 1980s.
Dr. Izetbegoviç was president from 1990-1996. He died in 2003, and will be remembered for many years to come for his leadership of Bosnian Muslims in their heroic struggle to preserve their identity during the bloody war with Serbia.
Professor AI-Saati has been awarded the prize in recognition of his distinguished efforts during the past 40 years to interpret social science within an Islamic framework. In a field dominated by Western thought, Professor Al-Saati’s far- reaching attempts to absorb theoretical issues have been coupled with a fine awareness of the realistic workings of society. All of this has qualified him to be a pioneer in authenticating sociology from an Islamic perspective. Professor Al-Saati has given sociology an Islamic validity, especially in the area of translating terminology, definitions, and concepts. In addition, his studies in the fields of family and criminology show an impressive ability to combine theory with practical application.