In what appears to be the continuance of a U.S. tour, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) has announced that Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric, along with a Turkish government official and the Egyptian Grand Mufti, visited the IIIT offices on Friday. According to the announcement:
IIIT hosted the Grand Mufti of Egypt Shaykh Ali Goma and The Grand Mufti of Bosnia Shaykh Mustafa Ceric at its office on Friday, October 9. The two distinguished guests were met by IIIT officers and staff at lunch. Their visit followed their participation in the international Muslim-Christian conference on “A Common Word” at Georgetown University’s Prince Waleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU). IIIT Board member Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim addressed the conference during the opening session on October 7. After their visit, Grand Mufti Ceric delivered the Friday Khutbah at the nearby ADAMS Center. Dr. Ibrahim Kalin, chief foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister of Turkey paid an informal visit to IIIT on the following day, October 10. Dr. Kalin, an assistant professor on leave from Georgetown University, was a co-organizer of the conference with Professor John Esposito, director of CMCU. According to the program handout, “A Common Word, the largest Muslim interfaith initiative towards Christians, has provided Muslims and Christians with a framework to address religious, historical, social and political issues between two world communities. Muslims and Christian make up roughly 55% of the world’s population; world peace depends to a great extent on establishing peace between these groups.” Following conferences at Yale University, the University of Cambridge, and the Vatican, this was the fourth conference of A Common Word initiative.
As discussed in a post from earlier this week, Dr. Ceric had earlier been in St. Louis where he addressed the St. Louis Muslim community.
Considered by some to be a leading “liberal” Islamic leader, Mustafa Ceric is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood through his membership in the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), headed by Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and by his participation in the U.K.-based “Radical Middle Way” consisting of a wide range of associated scholars representing the global Muslim Brotherhood. Several earlier posts have discussed Dr. Ceric’s increasing visibility and importance within the global Muslim Brotherhood, noting that Ceric sees himself as a possible future leader of a “European Islam.” Another previous post discussed Dr. Ceric’s role in diverting Saudi funds donated for war victims to the creation of an investment bank controlled by the Bosnian Islamic Community which he heads. A recent report carried on a Bosnian public television statement features an accusation by Sarajevo Islamic Studies students that Dr. Ceric was intending to occupy a 10 million mark ($6.6 million) residence built by the donations of wealthy Bosnians. Dr. Ceric recently compared the Iranian Revolution with the French Revolution and Iranian media reported that Dr. Ceric recently told former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a meeting that he considers Iran a “good friend” of his country.”
According to a recent Hudson Institute report, IIIIT was founded in the U.S. in 1980 by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders including Jamal Barzinji and Hisham Al-Talib who wished to promote the “Islamization of Knowledge” as promoted by Ismail Faruqi. 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. IIIT 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.