A Swiss news portal has reported that the French office of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) is the co-sponsor of the first Swiss course offered to imams and Muslim community leaders on Swiss society. According to the report:
Fribourg University is to be the first Swiss institution to offer a course to imams and Muslim community leaders on understanding how Swiss society works. The vocational training is also open to non-Muslims with the purpose of fostering cross-cultural knowledge. It has largely been welcomed by the Islamic community.The course will start in October and is organised by the university, the Group of Researchers on Islam in Switzerland (GRIS) and the Paris-based International Institute of Islamic Thought. Stéphane Lathion, GRIS head and director of the “Islam, Muslims and Civil Society” course, said there are currently no practical studies on Islam and society in Switzerland. “The idea is to offer some answers to the federal and cantonal authorities which in recent years have had to deal with problems linked to the Muslim community, such as people not keeping to the principles of Swiss democracy,” he told swissinfo. “So there’s the problem of how to be sure that imams and community leaders know about Swiss society and on the other hand, Muslims themselves are calling for their leaders to be better trained about the Swiss situation.”…The course will encompass modules on history of religion and European and Swiss society, as well as elements of Muslim theology adapted to the European context. Vocational modules, which can be taken separately by health or social work professionals on job-related issues, will be a first in Europe, says Lathion. Headscarves, for example, might be tackled in the health module where wearing the veil at hospital would be discussed. More than 50 experts, including many from the Muslim community, will help teach the course, which runs until June 2010.
A post from last June, discussed comments made by the director of IIIT in France implying that “Islamization” of Europe is hindered only by the lack of influence by European Muslims.
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 in March 2002 in connection with the financing of terrorism. The organization appeared to withdrawn from public view following the 2002 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.
A recent post discussed the latest in a series of programs funded by the U.S. State Department which bring foreign Muslims to IIIT headquarters in the U.S.