The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) has announced that American University students have been visiting IIIT as part of public policy and religious study programs. According to the IIIT announcement:
The students were very interested in the perspectives … on Islam and its role both within the U.S., and within the broader global community of scholars and scholarship,” said Dr. Nimai Mehta, professor and director of the Washington Semester program at American University in Washington, D.C. He led a group of his Washington Semester class of 19 students, studying economic public policy, on a visit to IIIT on September 28. Earlier in the month, Professor Mohamed Nimer’s class of 13 students studying Contemporary Islam in the Washington Semester program had visited IIIT on September 15 as part of their learning experience. Both student groups spent several hours listening to and interacting with IIIT executives and other presenters on a variety of subjects from the vision and mission of IIIT to Islamic finance and banking, with good conversation over lunch. Later they visited All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center to experience a Muslim community worship and activity hub. The discussion at IIIT was very helpful and the topics covered were very relevant to what the students have been studying in class, according to both Dr. Nimer and Dr. Mehta. Students asked significant questions and benefitted from the depth and breadth of responses. Dr. Nimer pointed out the students appreciated IIIT’s critical analysis of, and open-minded approach to, issues of the day from an Islamic perspective. Dr. Mehta said, “You will be pleased to know that one of my students has decided to do his research project on Islamic Banking after learning about it during his visit to IIIT.”
The Anti-Defamation League has the following profile of American University Professor Mohamed NImer:
Mohamed Nimer, CAIR’s director of research between 1995 and 2007, worked for the United Association for Studies and Research (USAR) hduring the early nineties. In 1993 he spent a month in Lebanon at a camp of mostly Hamas activists who were deported by Israel. Nimer later described the camp in an IAP article as a blueprint for “the type of society which Islamists hope to bring about on a larger level.”
The ADL notes that the USAR was a think-tank that operated in Virginia until 2005 and was established by Hamas political leader Musa Abu Marzuq in 1989. A previous post documents that the USAR was part of the Palestine Committee of the US Muslim Brotherhood which also included the founders of CAIR
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.