The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, has reported two more visits to its headquarters by foreign Islamic leaders sponsored by the US Department of State International Visitor Program. According to the first report:
A delegation of seven Saudi and Egyptian scholars visited IIIT on Friday, January 16, 2009. The visit was part of the State Department International Visitor Program intended to promote mutual understanding of relations between religion and the State, the conditions of Muslims and their institutions in the US, and the American system of government and politics. The visiting delegation included Dr. Sami Angawi – expert on Islamic Architecture in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Saleh Almani – Dean of the College of Law and Political Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Sadig Malki – Assistant professor of Political Science, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Mr. Abou Elele Mady – founder and chairman of the centrist political party al Wasat in Egypt, Dr. Manar Shorbagy – senior consultant on US affairs with The Arab Center for Development and Future Studies, Dr. Said Sadek – political sociologist specializing in intermarriage, feminism, social change, media and public opinion in Arab societies, and Dr. Soraya Alturki – Professor of Anthropology in the American University, Cairo, Egypt. The group was addressed by Dr. Jamal Barzinji, Vice President of IIIT , who briefed them on IIIT mission, its history, its current activities and future plans. He also presented the challenges that face the American Muslim community and how IIIT is responding to them. Dr. Abubaker al Shingeiti briefed the delegation on the research work at IIIT focusing on Fiqh al Aqaliyaat, Maqasid al Shari’ah, and IIIT research project on Islamic Studies in American universities. He also presented IIIT support for Interfaith work and the engagement project with the US government and the American society at large.
The second report describes another visit by Turkish Imams:
As part of the US Department of State International Visitor Program, seven Imams from Turkey visited Washington on Tuesday, February 3, 2009, and met with leaders of American Muslim organizations as well as representatives of the Interfaith community in the metropolitan Washington area. The meeting was held at the Islamic Center of Washington, DC, and focused on the role of American Muslim organizations, particularly in the area of interfaith relations. Participants in the round table discussion included the following Turkish Imams: Mr. Mustafa Copursuz, Mr. Mustafa Demir, Mr. Suat Koca, Mr. Ramazan Kutlu, Mr. Mahmut Sevket Ozturk, Mr. Hafiz Osman Sahin, Mr. Ali Topal. Others from the US included: Imam Yahya al Hindi, Reverend Mark Hoelter, Reverend Jane Homes Dixon, and Dr. Abubaker al Shingeiti.Dr. Abubaker al Shingeiti, Regional Director of IIIT, briefed the Imams on IIIT, its mission, history, current research and publication work and its support for interfaith activities.
IIIT 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 have withdrawn from public view following the 2003 raids and although a report in the Washington Post from June 2007 indicated that IIIT and the SAAR Foundation were still under investigation by the Justice Department, IIIT seems to be enjoying a renaissance of late. Previous posts have discussed other visits by foreign Muslims to IIIT sponsored by the U.S. State Department, a relationship between IIIT and George Mason University, and the role of IIIT in working with a probably Pentagon subcontractor in Iraq. Another post discussed plans by IIIT to construct colleges in Bosnia and Lebanon.