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. IIIT 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). 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 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 The organization appeared to have withdrawn from public view following the 2002 raids but seems to be enjoying a renaissance of late.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.
According to Virginia state records, the following individuals are directors of IIIT:
- Abdulhamid Abusulayman Chairman (important Global Muslim Brotherhood leader, former Rector International Islamic University Malaysia)
- Jamal Barzinji Vice-President/Secretary (one of the founders of the US Muslim Brotherhood)
- Hisham Altalib Treasurer (one of the founders of the US Muslim Brotherhood)
- Ishaq Ahmad Farhan Director (Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood)
- Anwar Ibrahim Director (Malaysian opposition politician, close to the Global Muslim Brotherhood)
In 2008, a South African Islamic organization described Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi as a member of the board of IIIT.