The U.S. Department of State has sponsored three Muslim professionals from Germany in a visit to the headquarters of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. According to an IIIT announcement :
A delegation of three Muslim professionals from Germany, who are visiting the US under the US Department of State International Visitor Program, visited IIIT on Wednesday, January 14, 2009. The topic of the three hour discussion was on the integration of Muslim immigrants into Western society, with a focus on the American Muslim community and Muslim immigrants to Germany. The visitors included Ms. Emel Cyelan Rochdi, Teacher trainee and Graduate Assistant at the Interdisciplinary Center for Islamic Religious Education at the Freidrich-Alexander University; Ms. Honey Deihimi, Commissioner for Integration in Lower Saxony; and Ms. Emel Akbulut, Recruitment Officer for the Frankfurt Police. Dr. Jamal Barzinji, Vice President of IIIT, briefed the group on the mission of IIIT, its vision and objectives, its current activities and future plans. He also presented the major features of the historical experiences of American Muslims, their unique characteristics as compared to Muslims in Europe and the institutional responses it developed within the American context particularly in the areas of education, civil and economic activities. Dr. Iqbal Unus, Director of Administration of IIIT, elaborated on Islamic education in the US, and the implications of the separation of Church and State on Islamic schools, and how the Muslim community is responding to it. Dr. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad briefed the group on the mission of the Association of Muslim Social Scientist (AMSS) and his organization, the Minaret of Freedom Institute. Dr. Abubaker Al-Shingieti, IIIT’s Regional Director in charge of research spoke about current research work and publications on the subject of Fiqh al Aqaliyyat, Maqasid al Shari’ah, and Islamic Studies in American Universities. The group showed particular interest in IIIT’s scholarly work. They were also briefed by Jay Willoughby, Copy-Editor of AJISS – American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, on the Journal, its evolutions and its current emphasis.
Numerous prior posts have discussed the role of the State Department in supporting exchange programs involving U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations. Most of these have involved the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) which was founded in the U.S. in 1980 by important members of the Global Muslim Brotherhood who wished to promote the “Islamization of Knowledge.” IIIT was associated with the now defunct SAAR Foundation, a network of Islamic organizations located in Northern Virginia that was raided by the Federal government in 2003 in connection with the financing of terrorism. The organization appeared to withdrawn from public view following the 2003 raids, but seems to be enjoying a renaissance of late. IIIT has a network of affiliates located in Europe, Africa, the MIddle East, and Asia. Although little is known about the activities of these IIIT affiliates, recent posts have discussed plans by IIIT to construct colleges in Bosnia and Lebanon. A report in the Washington Post from June 2007 indicated that IIIT and the SAAR Foundation were still under investigation by the Justice Department.
The AMSS was founded in 1972 as an outgrowth of the Muslim Student Association by important members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood including Jamal Barzinji, currently a leader of IIIT, and the late Ismail Faruqi, a pivotal figure in the “Islamization of Knowledge” project. AMSS has sponsored annual conferences and publishes a journal entitled American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (AJISS) in conjunction with IIIT which plays host to the AMSS.
The Minaret of Freedom Institute a lesser known group tied to the U.S Brotherhood and whose leadership includes Omar Altalib, likely a relative of Hisham Altalib, one of the original leaders of IIIT and the SAAR Foundation.