Three organizations tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood have announced a conference titled “The Future Of Faith In The Age Of Globalisation” to be held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina from September 18-19, 2010. The conference is described as:
The phenomenon of globalisation has unleashed unprecedented forces in the spheres of politics, culture, economics, science and technology, and international relations. First and foremost, the evolution of the nation-state and its institutions as the most dAhmet Alibaši?,ominant dynamic in global politics and economics – and with national and international security as its overriding interest or motive – poses a major challenge to faith communities around the world. Second, dynamics such as the homogenisation of culture, the operation of market forces and the con- tinuous advent and proliferation of new technologies, particularly in the sphere of communication, have created a new form of consumerism that is global in scope, with its own logic of operation and its own secularised value system. These unprecedented dynamics pose multi- faceted challenges to faith communities around the world, and arguably, to the future of faith in a new, globalised world. This conference is set to address these challenges.
The conference is organized by the Association Of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS UK), the Faculty Of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo, and the International Institute Of Islamic Thought (IIIT) in cooperation with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre Of Islamic Studies, University Of Cambridge, The Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, and the Center for Advanced Studies in Sarajevo.
According to a Hudson Institute report, IIIIT was founded in the US. in 1980 by US 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 and both organizations had been under investigation at that time by the US 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 The organization appeared to have withdrawn from public view following the 2002 raids but seems to be enjoying a renaissance of late. 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 ISNA,
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 Lebanon and, interestingly, in Bosnia. An earlier post discussed an announcement by IIIT that it wanted to act as a consultant to a proposed new University in Bosnia and that Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric (aka Siric) wanted to train imams from Europe in Bosnia under his supervision. According to that announcement:
Dr. Jamal Barzinji, VP of IIIT, accompanied by Dr. Anas al-Sheikh Ali, Director of IIIT London, visited Dr. Mustafa Siric, chief of Religious Scholars of Bosnia/Herzegovina. The meeting addressed issues of training imams from Europe in Bosnia, under the supervision of Dr. Siric and a proposal to establish a new University in Bosnia. IIIT will act as a consultant.
Dr. Anas al-Sheikh Ali is also the head of AMSSUK, one of the other sponsors of the conference. AMSSUK, in turn, is the UK branch of the American organization by the same name which is headquartered at IIIT and Dr. Ceric is a member of the AMSSUK Advisory Board. Other well-known AMSSUK individuals associated in various ways with the global Brotherhood include
- Khurshid Ahmed (Islamic Foundation)
- Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens)
- Charles Butterworth (University of Maryland)
- Sophie Gilliat-Ray (Cardiff University)
The Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo, the third conference sponsor, has been described by a German academic as:
… not only the oldest institute of its kind in Europe, it is also the continent’s most important seat of Islamic higher education, training, research and teaching. Although it was only established in its present form as the Islamic Theological Faculty in 1977 by the Islamic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, its history goes back much, much further than that, reaching back to the second half of the fifteenth century and to the earlier period of Ottoman rule in Bosnia.
The likely point of contact for the global Muslim Brotherhood at the Faculty of Islamic Studies is Ahmet Alibasic who is a lecturer at the institution. A 2008 bio describe Dr. Alibasic as follows:
Ahmet Alibasic, M.A., is a lecturer at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Sarajevo and at the International University of Sarajevo, teaching Islamic culture and history of civilization courses. He was educated in Riyadh (Arabic Language) and Kuala Lumpur (BA in Islamic Studies and Political Sciences and MA in Islamic Civilization). He is currently working on a Ph. D. at the University of Sarajevo. He is actively involved in inter-religious dialogue and currently heads the Interreligious Institute jointly established by the Islamic Community, Serbian Orthodox Church, Catholic Church and Jewish Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 2003-2007 he served as Deputy President of the Association of Islamic Scholars in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dr. Alibasic’s other ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood include as a member of the European Muslim Network, headed by global Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan. He has also attended several important global Brotherhood conferences such as the 2006 Muslims of Europe conference held in Istanbul.