EXCLUSIVE: US State Department Adviser Visits UK Islamic Center Headed By Saudi Islamist LeaderBy
According to her Twitter feed, US State Department Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith has received a tour of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in the UK where she had lunch with whom she described as “Fellows at Oxford Centre.” The Oxford Centre describes itself on its website as:
…a Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford. It was established in 1985 to encourage the scholarly study of Islam and the Islamic world. HRH The Prince of Wales is the Patron of the Centre. It is governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of scholars and statesmen from different parts of the world, alongside representatives of the University of Oxford.
The Oxford Centere has numerous ties to Saudi Arabia and the global Muslim Brotherhood. For example, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Centre is Abdullah Omar Naseef who has held important positions in Saudi Arabia including serving as Vice-President of the Kingdom’s Shura Council, President of King Abdul Aziz University, and was Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) from 1983-1993. In addition to his role as Oxford Centre Board Chairman, Dr. Naseef has also been associated with other UK Islamist organizations including the Islamic Foundation and the Markfield Institute for Advanced Studies. Other Oxford Centre Trustees of note include:
- Prince Turki Al-Faisal (former head of Saudi intelligence and former Saudi ambassador to the US)
- Abdullah Gul (Prime Minister of Turkey, recently awarded the King Faisal International Prize in Jeddah)
- Ali A Mazrui (US scholar with connections to the US Muslim Brotherhood)
Until 2006, global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi also served as an Oxford Centre Trustee.
The Oxford Centre has also been listed as a UK affiliate (see note below) of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi religious organization close to the global Muslim Brotherhood that is believed to have helped spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India. Oxford Centre Fellow Basil Mustafa is known to have served as an adviser to the Europe Trust, the funding/endowment arm of the Federation of Islamic Organizations In Europe (FIOE), representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.
Ms. Pandith was one of the organizers of a March 2006 conference in Belgium called “Muslim Communities Participating in Society: A Belgian-U.S. Dialogue.” The conference brought together the US Muslim Brotherhood with its Belgian/European counterparts and the participating American organizations included all of the major U.S. Brotherhood organizations- the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Muslim Students Association of the US and Canada (MSA). A State Department Bulletin further announced that ISNA had used the conference to engage in networking with its Belgian counterparts and initiatives between FEMYSO, the youth arm of FIOE, and MSA were also announced at a follow-up to the conference. The State Department further announced that the conference was part of an effort intended to promote networking between the U.S. and European organizations. In the interview, Ms. Pandith stated that Secretary of State Clinton wanted her to “leverage the kinds of things we were doing in Europe around the world.”
As discussed in an earlier post, Ms. Pandith opened the State Department’s 2009 annual iftar dinner which was attended by over 230 people including US Muslim Brotherhood figures Salam Al-Marayati (director Muslim Public Affairs Council), Dr. Sherman Jackson (Fiqh Council of North America), and Imam Mohamed Magid (Vice President Islamic Society of North America). Ms. Pandith is also scheduled to attend the upcomming conference of the Center for the Study of Islamic and Democracy (CSID) which will feature global Muslim Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan as well as Muslim Brotherhood leaders from Jordan and Bahrain.
A previous post also discussed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to a Saudi Arabian college associated with a designated terrorist with ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood. As noted by that post, the Vice Dean of that college is Saleha M. Abedin , the mother of Huma Abedin, a Deputy Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton. Saleha Abedin, along with her late husband Syed Z. Abedin, were also founders of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a London organization that is known to have been close to the Saudi Muslim World League (MWL) at one time. Recent posts have also discussed the opening of the new Florida office of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), a Saudi charity affiliated with the MWL whose Indonesian and Philippine offices have been designated by the US Treasury in connection with the financing of Al Qaeda. The new IIRO Florida office is associated with the Muslim World College, headed by Oxford Centre board chairman Abdullah Omar Naseef who, as noted above, is also a former Secretary-General of the MWL.
(Note: WAMY UK is blocking access by the Internet Archive so this reference is no longer available online)