The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) has reported on a recent conference that brought together leaders of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood with representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to the announcement :
The University of Delaware Center for Islamic Studies organized a conference on “The American Muslim Community and the US Government: the Need for Constructive Engagement”, on Tuesday, April 28th at the main campus of the University of Delaware.The conference – which was moderated by Professor Muqtedar Khan, Director of the Islamic Studies Program – brought together several Muslim community leaders from organizations such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society (MAS Freedom ), and the American Muslims for Constructive Engagement (AMCE); beside representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The presentations by US government representatives focused on the law enforcement function on one hand, and the effort to reach out to the Muslim community on the other. Muslim community leaders pointed out to violations of civil rights, mistreatment of Muslims, Islamophobia, and prejudice in the media. Many expressed optimism regarding some of the steps that the Obama administration has taken, but demanded more focused attention and concrete and swift actions by the US government, both at the State and federal levels.
Both CAIR and the MAS have been identified as components of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood in a recent report published by the Hudson Institute. As previous posts have noted, the AMCE leadership is a Who’s Who of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood representing almost the entire U.S Brotherhood network including IIIT, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Council for Islamic American Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a former executive of the SAAR Foundation and others. The AMCE appears to have grown out of an earlier relationship between IIIT, the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD), and the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), also discussed in earlier posts.
The IIIT announcement contains information about the proposed role of the AMCE in any future relationship between the U.S. Brotherhood and the U.S. government:
Dr. Abubaker al Shingieti, President of the American Muslims for Constructive Engagement (AMCE) shared with the group the pioneering work of AMCE which was established specifically to address the need for constructive engagement between the American Muslim community and the US government. He cited some of the recommendations of the conferences and meetings organized by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) during the past three years. Some of the examples presented include, the establishment of a USG Inter Agency Task Force which will meet regularly with Muslim community leaders and experts to discuss issues of common concern and how to work together to address them. Another recommendation presented is a deliberate policy of recruiting qualified Muslims to senior positions at the federal and state levels. A third is the enhancement of the bridge building function through the establishment of expert groups of Muslim professionals who would provide advice and direct assistance in USG efforts to support Muslim countries. Dr. Shingieti noted that some of the recommendations, such as the Directory of Muslim Experts, have already been implemented by AMCE and its partners.
The suggested enhancement of the role played by the AMCE is in line with the increasing visibility of another coalition of U.S. known as the American Muslim Taskforce (AMT) which recently issued a threat to suspend outreach efforts with the FBI over alleged agency “abuses.” The AMT statement also mentioned the recent FBI decision to disengage with CAIR on the basis of CAIR’s origins in the Hamas infrastructure in the U.S. It would appear that the shift by the U.S. Brotherhood to acting in coalitions would dilute the negative publicity attached at any point in time to any of it constituent groups such as CAIR.
Aside from his position at the University of Delaware, conference moderator Muqtedar Khan is also tied to the U.lS. Muslim Brotherhood as one of the founders of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), an organization initiated by leaders of the IIIT together with Georgetown University academic John Esposito, and his service as an important leader in Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) which,is also affiliated with IIIT. IIIT, in turn, 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 March 2002 in connection with the financing of terrorism. The organization appeared to have withdrawn from public view following the 2002 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 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.