An international conference on “Ismail Raji Al Faruqi: His Legacy, Thought and Institution” will be held on June 6-7, 2010 at the Westminster University. It will be organized joinly by the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminister, UK, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown, University, USA, and International Institute of Islamic Thought, UK and USA.
The conference is further evidence of the growing ties between IIIT, the Georgetown Center headed by long-time Muslim Brotherhood advocate John Esposito who received his PHD from Temple University under the supervision of Ismail Al-Faruqi., and UK University centers such as Westminster. An earlier post discussed another conference scheduled in Bosnia for September being sponsored by the same organizations along with the Center for the Study of Islamic and Democracy (CSID).
A Hudson Institute report explains that Al-Faruqi, a Temple University professor who had been an activist with the Muslim Student Association (MSA), played a pivotal role in the founding of IIIT and that that it was al-Faruqi who secured $25 million from the Saudi Islamic Development Bank in order to establish IIIT. Al-Faruqi is probably best known for his concept of the “Islamization of Knowledge” described as follows:
Al-Faruqi attempted to articulate an Islamic worldview by fortifying it with ration- al and scientific arguments. In the latter part of his career, he became more and more concerned with the spiritual aspects of Islam. He advocated a radical Islam- ization of new knowledge. He recognized that the crisis of the modern world was the crisis of knowledge. And this crisis, al-Faruqi thought, could only be cured via a new synthesis of all knowledge in an Islamic epistemological framework. The “Islamization of Knowledge” project sought to arouse Muslims to become active participants in intellectual life and contribute to it from an Islamic perspective.
According to the Hudson 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 as conceived by Al-Faruqi 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.