IIIT Research Director Settles In At New Position; Ermin Sinanovic Is Also A US Naval Academy Instructor


The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) has reported on the recent activities of Ermin Sinanovic, the organization’s new Research director who also serves as an instructor at the US Naval Academy. According to one report:

Ermin Sinanovic
Ermin Sinanovic

On Wednesday, November 20, 2013, Dr. Mohamed Nimer, assistant professor at American University in Washington, DC, and eight of his students who are attending a semester in Washington program came to the IIIT for an academic visit and a discussion on Islamic revival and role of Islam in politics of the Muslim world. The students come from various universities in the United States, as well as from Germany. They are enrolled in Dr. Nimer’s course, ‘Conflict Resolution in the Middle East and Beyond,’ at American University in DC.

The discussion was led by Ermin Sinanovic, IIIT’s Director of Research and Academic Programs, who explained to students the background to contemporary Islamic revival. He also contextualized the rise of Islamic movements and political parties in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. After his opening remarks, the students engaged in an extended discussion and Q&A. The discussion continued over lunch, until 1:30pm.

According to a second report:

November 26, 2013 :: 6 Views   The IIIT hosted a reception in conjunction with American Academy of Religion’s Annual Convention at Holiday Inn Inner Harbor in Baltimore on Saturday, November 23, 2013. The reception was organized to showcase IIIT’s work, present research and study opportunities at IIIT to attendees, and to serve as a networking event. About 25 people attended the reception, including prominent scholars, such as Prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina and Prof. Ingrid Mattson, both of whom occupy IIIT-endowed chair positions at George Mason University and Huron College at Western University in Canada, respectively. IIIT’s Student Fellows, Mohammad Syifa Widigdo (doctoral student in religion at Indiana University-Bloomington) and Aamir Bashir (MA student in religion at Washington University in St. Louis), also attended the event.

Ermin Sinanovic, Director of Research and Academic Programs at IIIT, welcomed the attendees and explained possibility for research opportunities at the Institute. He also invited the attending scholars and graduate students to apply for IIIT’s summer programs. Prof. Timur Yuskaev of Hartford Seminary talked about the IIIT-Hartford Seminary cooperation and Imam training programs. He was followed by Prof. Lucinda Mosher, also of Hartford, who discussed upcoming programs between IIIT and Hartford Seminary. The Director of Marketing and Publications then took the floor and explained IIIT’s publication programs, including book publishing and two refereed journals published by IIIT, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences and Islamiyah al-Ma’rifah.

Read the rest here.

The GMBDW reported in October on the appointment of Dr. Sinanovic at IIIT and his participation in a youth leadership program that featured figures from the US Muslim Brotherhood. Dr. Sinanovic has also been featured at other IIIT events and as reported by the GMBDW in May, the  IIIT announced that he would be teaching at a summer school from 24 August – 7 September 2013 in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.  A flyer about the program indicated that the major speaker at the IIIT Bosnian summer school would be Global Muslim Brotherhood figure Tariq Ramadan. Our report also noted that one of the other instructors at the IIIT summer program would be US Muslim Brotherhood leader Louay Safi who was the subject of a pending criminal inquiry following the shooting at Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas on November 5, 2009 in the worst shooting ever to take place on an American military base. The inquiry followed revelations  that the US Defense Department had brought Dr. Safi to Fort Hood as an instructor and that he had been lecturing on Islam to troops in Fort Hood who were about to deploy to Afghanistan. Another instructor at the summer program was to be Jasser Aouda (aka Jasser Auda), a member of the IIIT Academic Council and a close associate of Youssef Qaradawi as well as Tariq Ramadan.

According to his IIIT bio, Ermin Sinanovic is:

…an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, USA. He studied for an MA and a PhD in Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Prof. Sinanovic obtained two BAs (one in Qur’an and Sunnah Studies, the other in Political Science) and an MA (Islamic Civilization) from the International Islamic University Malaysia. His research interests include transnational Islamic revival, Southeast Asian politics, Islamic movements, Middle East politics, Islamic political thought, and Islam and politics in general. At the Naval Academy, Prof. Sinanovic teaches courses on Southeast Asian politics, Middle East politics, and Islam and politics. He speaks Bosnian, English, Arabic, and Malay. “

Dr. Sinanovic is also one of the founding members of the Bosniak Academy of Sciences and Arts, closely associated with Mustafa Ceric, the former Grand Mufti of Bosnia and an associate of  Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. In September 2008, IIIT met with Dr. Ceric to discuss a proposal to a new University in Bosnia with IIIT acting as a consultant.

The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) describes itself as “a private, non-profit, academic, cultural and educational institution, concerned with general issues of Islamic thought and education” and using the slogan “Towards Islamization of Knowledge and Reform of Islamic Thought.”  The concept for IIIT was developed at a meeting held in Lugano, Switzerland that was attended by many luminaries of the Global Muslim Brotherhood including Youssef Qaradawi. IIIIT was founded in the U.S. in 1980 by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders including Iraqi-born 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). A1991 internal document of the US Muslim Brotherhood, introduced as evidence in the holy Land Foundation trial, included IIIT in “a list of our organizations and organizations of our friends.” 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. The IIIT Council of Scholars includes a number of important individuals from the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood such as Ingrid Mattson, the former President of ISNA. IIIT has a network of affiliates located in Europe, Africa, the MIddle East, and Asia and is heavily involved with publishing and promoting publications by Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders including Youssef Qaradawi who, according to one source, serves as an IIIT trustee.

As noted when we first reported Dr. Sinanovic’s relationship with IIIT:

While there is no evidence to date suggesting any improper behavior on the part of Professor Sinanovic, the GMBDW wonders about the propriety of an instructor for the US military being so closely associated with an organization that is intimately tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and to its putative global leader Youssef Qaradawi, a virulent anti-Semite and the head of an organization declared a terrorist entity by the US government who has called for attacks on US troops and civilians in Iraq and for the collapse of the US itself. Teaching alongside Louay Safi, depending on the state of the criminal inquiry into his activities, may also be a serious issue.

The GMBDW continues to believe that an individual serving as both an official of a US Muslim Brotherhood organization as well as a US military instructor is a matter of ongoing concern.

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