The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) has announced that Ahmed Totonji, an important leader in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, attended a recent seminar in Jeddah on improving the performance of charitable organizations. According to the English announcement :
The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) organized a two-day seminar on “Specialization and Integration of Charitable Organizations” in Jeddah. The seminar, which concluded here on Sunday, adopted a number of important recommendations to strengthen charitable activities in the Kingdom and abroad. Dr. Muhammad Badahdah, assistant secretary-general of WAMY, said the seminar was aimed at improving the overall performance of charitable organizations. “It is a good opportunity to discuss issues related to the specialization of charitable work, making use of the experience of others in the field,” Badahdah said in his opening address at the seminar.
The Arab-language announcement identified Dr. Totonji as a participant in the seminar.
Dr. Totonji born in Iraqi and was active in U.K Muslim student organizations before he came to the U.S. in 1963 to study for his PHD in Petroleum Engineering . In January 1963, Dr. Totonji, along with other seventy other Muslim students, assembled at the University of Illinois and formed the Muslim Student Association (MSA) of the United States and Canada. One report indicates that Dr. Totonji envisioned a “worldwide network” of organizations patterned after the MSA that later became the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations (IIFSO) in 1966 and which he served as the second Secretary-General. Sometime after receiving his PHD, Dr. Totonji appears to have moved to Saudi Arabia and at some point received Saudi citizenship. He says he assisted in the establishment of the Department of Petroleum Engineering at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Totonji also served as the Deputy to the Secretary General of WAMY from 1973-1979. and said that he left WAMY headquarters in 1982. Dr. Totonji was instrumental in founding both the International Institute of Islamic Thought and the SAAR Foundation, a Northern Virginia Islamic charity that was thought to have been funded largely by the Al Rajhi family of Saudi Arabia. Both organizations received substantial attention in 2002 when many of the organizations linked to SAAR were raided by federal authorities in an investigation which continues until this day. Although he is no longer listed as an IIIT official, an earlier post discussed a press release by the IIIT South Africa office which described Dr. Totonji as an “exiled Iraqi leader” and identified him as of the IIIT board and executive members. Youssef Qaradawi, one of the most important leaders of the global Muslim Brotherhood, was also identified as affiliated with IIIT.
U.S. government agencies and officials have argued that WAMY has helped propagate Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India. Despite the ongoing investigation into IIIT and the connection to WAMY, numerous previous posts have discussed the support offered by the U.S. State Department to IIIT which has frequently sponsored foreign visits to the organization under the International Visitor Program. Other posts have discussed additional evidence that IIIT is enjoying increasing legitimacy with the U.S. government.