IIIT Announces Lecture On The Circle of Tradition and Progress

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The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) has announced a lecture titled “The Circle of Tradition and Progress: The Past as Prologue?” According to the IIIT announcement:

Professor Antony Sullivan, Senior Fellow for Mediterranian & Near Eastern Programs, The Fund for American Studies, Washington DC, will present a lecture at IIIT titled: “The Circle of Tradition and Progress: The Past as Prologue?” on Friday, January 29, 2010 from 10:00AM – 12:30 PM at the IIIT Library, 2nd Floor, 500 Grove St., Herndon, VA 2010.

The Circle of Tradition and Progress (COTP) has been described by Dr. Sullivan as:

…unique international association was established in 1997 consisting of distinguished Christian and Muslim scholars of conservative or traditionalist inclination committed to a common investigation of the permanent things. The association, the Circle of Tradition and Progress, recently held its second international symposium in London. The objective of the research, conferences and publications which the Circle projects is to reintegrate Mediterranean and Arab Islam within that Western world of which it long constituted an important part.

Members of the COTP Steering Committee included among others:

  • Sheikh Youssef Qaradhawi (most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood)
  • John L. Esposito (Georgetown University academic and Muslim Brotherhood supporter)
  • Rachid Ghannoushi (Tunisian Islamist associated with Brotherhood networks)
  • Bashir Nafi (Palestinian Islamic Jihad)
  • Antony T. Sullivan (Center for Study of Islam and Democracy, Association of Muslim Social Scientists)
  • Taha Al-Alawani (Fiqh Council of North America, IIIT, Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences)
  • Louis Cantori (deceased, United Association for Studies and Research, Center for Study of Islam and Democracy)

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 Altalib who wished to promote the “Islamization of Knowledge” and who were also early leaders of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). 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 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, but given its recent visibility, it appears increasingly unlikely that any prosecution is imminent.

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