Akbar Ahmed


According to his biography, Dr. Ahmed is a former Pakistan High Commissioner (Ambassador) to the UK and Ireland and currently the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington DC. He is frequently described as a prominent Islamic moderate who has received numerous awards and accolades. However, Dr. Ahmed also has a long association with the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) established in 1980 by some of the most important figures in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

Dr. Ahmed’s association with IIIT appears to have begun with an association with with Ismail Faruqi who Dr. Ahmed said appointed him to both IIIT and the Islamic Institute of Advanced Studies, previously known as the Graduate School of Islamic & Social Sciences (GSISS), an organization once sanctioned to certify Muslim chaplains for the U.S. military and also associated with the US Muslim Brotherhood:

Later from his base in Temple University, where he headed the Islamic Studies Department, [Dr. Faruqi] embarked on the serious and gigantic task of re-thinking the fundamental concepts of modern social sciences within an Islamic framework. He called it  ?the ‘Islamization of Knowledge’. This was his vision and it became his passion. Towards this end he helped set up the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and, recently, the Islamic Institute of Advanced Studies, both in the USA. (My name was placed on the faculty of the two Institutes thanks to him.)

Other close of ties of Dr. Ahmed to IIIT include:

  • Dr. Ahmed wrote a book published by IIIT and described by Ismail Faruqi as “the first of a series of works which the International Institute of Islamic Thought presents to the reader in fulfillment of its program for the Islamization of the sciences. Dr. Ahmed was honored by IIIT in 2001, partially in consideration of his book.

  • Dr. Ahmed has been a member of the advisory board of the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, the publication of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists, another part of the U.S. Brotherhood and headquartered at IIIT . 

Dr. Ahmed is also currently an adjunct scholar at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a think tank whose other scholars include many individuals tied to the US Muslim Brotherhood including Louay Safi, a former Research Director at IIIT and important US Muslim Brotherhood leader.

None of these associations are mentioned in Dr. Ahmed’s most current CV.

A brief review of Dr. Ahmed’s positions on suicide bombings indicate that he has staked out a position similar to that of Tariq Ramadan, a global Muslim Brotherhood leader and grandson of the Brotherhood’s founder, with whom he has jointly signed lat least one  letter. That is, while condemning such terrorism as “un-Islamic”, Dr. Ahmed attempts to contextualize the phenomenon, blaming it on social/political circumstances rather than religious incitement. 

A 2007 newspaper article suggested that Dr. Ahmed was one of four Muslim-Americans that played a role in crafting a Department of Homeland Security memo urging employees not to use terms including ‘jihad,’ ‘jihadist’ or ‘Islamic terrorist’ in describing Islamic terrorists.

In a 2008 TV interview with Iranian TV (no longer available), Dr. Ahmed suggested that the “Zionist movement” was behind the effort to stereotype and “demonize” Muslims:

I am thinking of primarily of things like the neo-conservative movement; I am thinking of the Zionist movement, people who have certain policies they want to get in the United States especially but the Western world in general behind and in order to mobilize towards that they have a convenient tool in this stereotyping/ demonization of Muslims. For example, it is much easier for example to defend the war in Iraq if you take in assumption that all Muslims should be treated in a stereotypical movement.

At the end of the show, Dr. Ahmed compared the Israeli treatment of Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews stating “that doesn’t justify them perpetrating the same kind of violence on the Palestinians.” 

In September 2008, US media reported that Dr. Ahmed would be joining the U.S. Naval Academy to fill a new chair for Middle East Studies and would be teaching courses, advise midshipmen and faculty, and assist in research projects. According to his CV, he served as First Distinguished Chair for Middle East/Islamic Studies at the US Naval Academy from 2008-2009.