The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) has announced the appointment of Abdulaziz Sachedina as the IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies at the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, George Mason University. According to the announcement:
May 04, 2012 Professor Abdulaziz Sachedina has been appointed to take the IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies at the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, George Mason University. He is currently professor Religious Studies at University of Virginia, Charolttesville. Prof. Sachedina has done extensive research on classical Islamic sources and has written on contemporary issues such as human rights (Human Rights and the Conflicts of Culture, Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights), democracy (The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism), biomedical ethics (Islamic Biomedical Ethics). In a press release on April 25th, Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies said: ‘Mason is proud to attract scholars of this caliber, a testament to the university’s commitment to become a global center of excellence for teaching, research, and outreach in Islamic studies.’ IIIT welcomed the appointment as a major contribution to the enhancement of Islamic Studies in general, and IIIT’s cooperation with GMU in the study of the global presence of Islam.Prof. Sachedina has studied in India, Iraq, Iran, and Canada, and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He will arrive at GMU in January 2013 from the University of Virginia, Charolttesville, VA where he is currently professor of Religious Studies.
According to his resume, Dr. Sachedina is a former Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), founded in 1998 largely by the efforts of Georgetown University academic Dr. Esposito who during the 1990’s served in the State Department as a “foreign affairs analyst” and who has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations. Many members of the early CSID board were associated with IIIT, the American Muslim Council, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). For example, past CSID board members included Jamal Barzinji and Taha Al-Alwani, both associated with IIIT and both important leaders in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood who helped to establish many of the most important U.S. Brotherhood organizations. Antony Sullivan, the current CSID Vice-Chair, has many ties to U.S. Brotherhood groups including the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), the United Association for Studies and Research (USAR), and the Circle of Tradition and Progress (COTP), a group whose other founding members included Youssef Qaradawi, the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood. From its inception, CSID has argued that the U.S. government should support Islamist movements in foreign countries and has received financial support from the U.S. State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy and the United States Institute of Peace.
A Hudson Institute report details how the 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 Ismail Al-Faruqi 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 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, posts have discussed plans by IIIT to construct colleges in Bosnia and Lebanon.
Posts from November 2008 reported on the award of a $1.5 million grant from the IIIT to George Mason University for an endowed Chair in Islamic Studies.