Based on recent developments, it appears that Shenandoah University, a private university in Winchester, Virginia, has become a new center of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US. In 2007, the GMDW reported that the University had entered into an academic partnership with the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a longstanding institution of the US Brotherhood. Twelve years later, in March 2019, Shenandoah University reported on its new “Barzinji Project” named after the late Jamal Barzinji, one of the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US:
Shenandoah University recently partnered with Bridgewater College and two universities in Muslim-majority countries to learn how to provide better opportunities for civil discourse within higher education. The Barzinji Project is an initiative funded by the friends and family of Jamal Barzinji, who was a Muslim scholar with a passion for higher education. The Barzinji Project focuses on best practices in higher education, and this year’s specific focus was the topic of civil discourse. Delegates traveled across the globe to visit each partner school and exchange best practices, explore the idea of civil discourse, and discover how it is facilitated on each campus.
Among those schools identified as Barzinji Project Partner Schools are the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), perhaps the most important university for the Global Muslim Brotherhood. According to a history of the US Muslim Brotherhood (USMB), authored by the GMBDW editor:
Three individuals—Ahmad al-Haj Totonji, Dr. Jamal al-Din Barzinji, and Dr. Hisham Yahya al-Talib—played key roles in the founding and development of MSA. All were born in the Kurdish, northern part of Iraq, and may have met there or possibly later in Britain, where all three received their undergraduate education in engineering An FBI memo has identified Barzinji and al-Talib as members of the Muslim Brotherhood prior to establishing a residence in the USThe Washington Post adds that [Barzinji] fled Iraq in 1969 when the Ba’athist regime started executing fellow Islamists. After completion of their studies in Britain, the three came to the United States, ostensibly for graduate study but also to continue organizing Muslim youth activities
The history goes on to explain how Dr. Barzinji subsequently became a founding member of the Saudi World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), said by US government agencies and officials to have helped spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India. Following his role in founding WAMY, Dr. Barzinji began working for Youssef Nada in Saudi Arabia. Nada, in turn, has described himself as the former “foreign minister” of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Dr. Barzinji was also an official of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) which 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 US in 1980 by US 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). A 1991 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 US Justice Department until at least mid-2007. Identified as Scholar-in-Residence and Director of the Barzinji Project is Younus Mirza, the son of M. Yaqub Mirza, a Pakistani native and another officer of the SAAR Foundation,
In addition to the Barzinji Project, Shenandoah University has established the Center for Islam in the Contemporary World (CICW), described by the University as follows:
Center for Islam in the Contemporary World (CICW) at Shenandoah University is an independent, privately funded, academic center engaged in research, teaching, training, and outreach on issues related to Islam and Muslims in contemporary contexts. CICW utilizes inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches from diverse academic specializations. It engages in inter-faith education and outreach, connecting Shenandoah University to local, national, and global Muslim communities.
The executive director of the CCIW is identified as Ermin Sinanović, the Research Director for IIIT and, as first reported by the GMBDW in 2013, a former instructor for the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. 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. In September 2019, Dr. Sinanovic authored a rather tortured article concerning a recent gay pride parade in downtown Sarajevo where he both congratulated the local Islamic community for showing restraint while at the same time expressing opposition to the LGBTI “lifestyle.”