October 22, 2015 The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) initiated a vital dialogue on Oct. 19, 2015, by inviting representatives of Islamic higher education in the United States to discuss ways in which the institutions can collaborate and mutually benefit from one another.
Dr. Ermin Sinanovi?, IIIT’s Director of Research and Academic Program, conducted the day-long meeting, with active participation from Dr. Hisham Altalib, Dr. Abubaker Al-Shingieti, Dr. Iqbal Unus, and Dr. Yaqub Mirza.
The participants included Omer Awass, assistant professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the American Islamic College in Chicago, Ill.; Salma Kazmi, the Interim Executive Director of the American Islamic Institute based in Boston, Mass.; Jihad Turk, President, and Munir Shaikh, Director of Academic Affairs and Planning, of Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School in Claremont, Calif., and Mahan Mirza, Dean of Faculty, and Hatem Bazian, co-founder and Academic Affairs Chair, at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California.
Generally operating in isolation, this platform enabled these individuals to share their institutions’ successes and challenges with one another. In the process, they recognized common obstacles and offered advice based on their own experiences, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and community.
The intent of the Consortium is to establish a forum for Islamic higher education in North America to hold joint conferences, create faculty and student exchange programs, share library resources, provide professional development, design standardized curricula, among other activities.
The Consortium members agreed to join forces and meet regularly in order to transform their ideas into reality. The International Institute of Islamic Thought looks forward to hosting many such meetings and facilitating the cooperation among these institutions, insha’Allah.
The GMBDW has been reporting on Dr. Ermin Sinanovic since May 2013 when we first identified him in connection with his status as a United States Naval Academy professor, a status which is still confirmed by the Academy website. 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 who according to one source, serves as an IIIT trustee.
Hatem Bazian, identified in the IIIT announcement as one of dialogue participants, is a US professor who is the head of the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is a Palestinian advocacy group with strong ties to both the US Muslim Brotherhood and to the Hamas support infrastructure in the US. Video from an April 2004 antiwar rally shows Dr. Bazian calling for an “Intifada” in the US. More video from the same convention show Bazian talking about the “Arabs who are coming to help” in Iraq. Dr. Bazian later claimed that his remarks on a US Intifada were misunderstood.
According a Hudson Institute report authored by the GMBDW editor, IIIIT was founded in the U.S. in 1980 by U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders including the late 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,GMBDW posts have discussed plans by IIIT to construct colleges in Bosnia and Lebanon.
For more on IIIT, go here.