A Middle Eastern news portal has announced that US academic John Esposito was scheduled to have appeared in last week at public panels in Beirut co-sponsored by the Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centers and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). According to the announcement:
As part of the Second Annual Meeting of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centers (March 9-10), the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) at the American University of Beirut, in collaboration with Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation and The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) will hold two public panels on March 10: – “Perspectives on Islamic Studies and American Studies” from 2:00-4:00 pm at Bathish Auditorium, and- “Building Bridges for Better Understanding Between the Arab/Muslim Worlds and the West” from 6:00-8:00 pm at Issam Fares Hall The annual meeting will bring to AUB participants from six Alwaleed centers worldwide to discuss over two days possible interaction and networking among the centers, in order to promote further understanding and public dialogue between the Islamic and Western worlds. The two-day meeting will start with business meetings on Tuesday, March 9 on AUB campus. These events will include speakers from each of the six Al Waleed Centers: The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University, The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University, The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Islamic Studies at Cambridge University, The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World at Edinburgh University, The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for American Studies and Rsearch (CASAR) at the American University of Beirut, and The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) at the American University in Cairo. The directors of the six Alwaleed centers will be the main speakers at both public panels: Dr. John Esposito of Georgetown University, Dr. Roy Parviz Mottahedeh of Harvard University, Dr. Yasir Suleiman of Cambridge University, Dr. Hugh Phillip Goddard of Edinburgh University, Dr. Robert Myers of the American University of Beirut and Dr. Jerry Wayne Leach of the American University in Cairo. Both panels which are to be held at Bathish Auditorium and Issam Fares Hall respectively, will be open to students and the public free of charge. The Center for American Studies and Research was launched in 2003 with a major gift from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud. It is an independent academic center that seeks to promote better understanding between the people of United States and those of the Arab world through teaching, research and outreach efforts.
Dr. Esposito has espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990’s was known for his claims that Islamic fundamentalism was, in fact, democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Dr. Esposito has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations including having served on the advisory boards of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the U.K, enjoyed a close relationship with the United Association for Studies and Research in the U.S., and has served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi on the Steering Committee of the Circle of Tradition and Progress. In 2005, Saudi prince Alaweed bin Talal, a financial supporter of the global Muslim Brotherhood donated $20 million to the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown, headed by Dr. Esposito.
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 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 and both organizations had been under investigation at that time by the U.S. Justice Department until at least mid 2007. 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. Previous posts have discussed the Council of Scholars recently established by IIIT that includes prominent US. Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
(Source: “AUB to hold two public panels on March 10 promoting Islamic-Western understanding” Al-Bawaba March 8, 2010 Monday 11:09 AM EST BYLINE: By Al-Bawaba Reporters)