The Hartford Seminary has announced that it has established a “Graduate Certificate in Imam and Muslim Community Leadership” to be offered in cooperation with the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). According to the announcement:
HARTFORD, CT (October 13, 2011) Recognizing the importance of educating Muslim leaders for leadership in the American context, Hartford Seminary is pleased to announce a Graduate Certificate in Imam and Muslim Community Leadership. The certificate, offered in cooperation with the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Herndon, VA., is the first formal education program offered specifically for imams and Muslim community leaders in the United States. The program is designed for already experienced imams and Muslim community leaders. It combines the Seminary’s expertise in congregational studies and religious leadership, through its Hartford Institute for Religion Research, with its expertise in Islam and interfaith relations. By the end of the program, students will be better prepared to encounter the theological, pastoral and organizational challenges of providing excellent religious leadership to the growing Muslim community in the United States. “Once again, Hartford Seminary is a pioneer in theological education and innovative partnerships,” President Heidi Hadsell said. “For more than 100 years we have offered education in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. In the last decade we have launched Islamic Chaplaincy and Building Abrahamic Partnerships programs. Now we are meeting the educational needs of imams and Muslim community leaders in the United States.” “It is vitally important to prepare religious leaders to lead their faith communities in the American context. Hartford Seminary is a key player in this effort, through our various interfaith initiatives and now through this certificate in community leadership,” Hadsell said.
Read the rest here.
An earlier post reported that IIIT had awarded one million dollars to the Hartford Seminary. Another earlier post discussed the beginning of an imam training program conducted by the Fairfax Institute, a part of IIIT, in cooperation with the Hartford Seminary. These programs along with the million dollar grant represent the growing links between IIIT and the Hartford Seminary where former Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) president Ingrid Mattson until recently was the Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. In 2008, IIIT attempted to endow a chair at Temple University on behalf of Dr. Ayoub but the offer was suspended pending a federal investigation into the role of IIIT in the financing of a Florida think-tank that served as a front for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Last December, IIIT announced the formation of its Council of Scholars which included Ms. Mattson as well as Dr. Ayoub and in February, IIIT held a joint open house with the Duncan Black Macdonald Center.
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.