Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi (January 1, 1921 – May 27, 1986) was a Palestinian-American philosopher who spent several years at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, then taught at several universities in North America, most notably at Temple University where he founded and chaired the Islamic Studies program. Al-Faruqi and his wife, Lois Lamya al-Faruqi, were stabbed to death in their home in Wyncote, Pennsylvania on May 27, 1986. A Hudson Institute report authored by the GMBDW editor explains that Al-Faruqi, a Temple University professor who had been an activist with the Muslim Student Association (MSA), played a pivotal role in the founding of IIIT and that that it was al-Faruqi who secured $25 million from the Saudi Islamic Development Bank in order to establish IIIT. Al-Faruqi is probably best known for his concept of the “Islamization of Knowledge” described as follows:
Al-Faruqi attempted to articulate an Islamic worldview by fortifying it with ration- al and scientific arguments. In the latter part of his career, he became more and more concerned with the spiritual aspects of Islam. He advocated a radical Islamization of new knowledge. He recognized that the crisis of the modern world was the crisis of knowledge. And this crisis, al-Faruqi thought, could only be cured via a new synthesis of all knowledge in an Islamic epistemological framework. The “Islamization of Knowledge” project sought to arouse Muslims to become active participants in intellectual life and contribute to it from an Islamic perspective.
In 1980, the symposium Dimensions of Islam in North America was held at the University of Alberta (Edmonton). Ismail Faruqi spoke at the event. His lecture was entitled Islamic Ideals in North America. It focused on the mission that he envisioned for Muslim immigrants. According to Faruqi, Muslims immigrants have two duties:
1. Calling non-Muslims to Islam;
2. Transforming the North American reality so that it conforms to Islamic standards.
According to Faruqi, peoples already living in the West must be ‘turn(ed) away from their past evil.’ He concluded by saying that ‘Nothing would be greater than these (…) peoples of the West marching forward under the banner of Allahu Akbar!’ Faruqi’s goal was nothing less than the Islamization of North America. In 1977, Faruqi, Youssef Qaradawi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders met in Lugano (Switzerland) to establish the basis of what would become the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) four years later. Since then, the IIIT has become the main Muslim Brotherhood research institute in the West. Based in Herndon (Pennsylvania), IIIT provides Islamist operatives in North America and elsewhere the theoretical resources to implement sharia in their non-Muslim environment and transform the institutions where they live in accordance with Islamic standards. When Faruqi mentions that Muslim immigrants should consider their new country as their own Medina, he alludes to the fact that, according to Muslim historians, at the beginning of Islam, Muhammad and his supporters had to migrate from Mecca to Medina before being able to substantially increase their influence and conquer territories. Nowadays, asking a Muslim to consider his new country like a Medina is a metaphor for asking him to Islamize the area where he lives and its surroundings. In these circumstances, when Western government agencies rely on Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations and subsidize them to ‘integrate’ Muslim immigrants, they accomplish exactly the opposite. They encourage the ghettoisation of new immigrants and the Islamization of their own countries.
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Scholar Martin Kramer has written about the role played by Dr. Faruqi is developing one line of contemporary Muslim Brotherhood thinking on Jews:
Faruqi regarded anti-Semitism as one more European disease which Muslims had caught by sleeping with the West, and which a return to true Islam would eradicate. “There cannot be any doubt that the Jew is a sufferer of injustice at the hands of the Christian West,” admitted Faruqi, rejecting the idea that the Jews were everywhere evil and deserving of retribution. As Faruqi saw it, “Islam offers a perfect solution to the Jewish problem which has beset the Jews and the West for two millennia,” since it would allow Jews complete communal and religious autonomy, and the right to reside anywhere in the ideal Islamic state. Of course, Faruqi went on to add a crucial punch line: “The Islamic position leaves no chance for the Zionist state but to be dismantled and destroyed, and its wealth confiscated to pay off its liabilities.” But Faruqi never would have conceived of the conflict with Israel as entailing a global struggle between Islam and Judaism.
In June 2012, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) announced that it was holding an international conference on Ismail Faruqi.