The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) hosted their first annual workshop for Junior Faculty of Islamic Studies on May 25 and May 26, 2016, at the IIIT office in Herndon, VA. The workshop was designed to provide a forum and support for junior faculty in Islamic Studies and related disciplines, and to help them navigate the straits of tenure-track and junior faculty life - both personally and professionally. Dr. Ermin Sinanović, IIIT’s Director of Research and Academic Programs, and former IIIT Resident Fellow, SherAli Tareen, coordinated the workshop. There were four faculty mentors who provided support and suggestions for the junior faculty through their academic journeys. The faculty mentors were: Dr. Asma Sayeed, Associate Professor at UCLA, Dr. Jamillah Karim, former Associate Professor at Spelman College, Dr. Jonathan Brown, Associate Professor at Georgetown University, and Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina, IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies at George Mason University.
A posthumous Honorary Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, was awarded to Dr. Jamal Barzinji, who passed away in 2015, at Hartford Seminary’s graduation on May 13, 2016.
DDr. Barzinji was a pioneer in Muslim American circles. Born in Iraq, he had a PhD. and MSc. in Chemical Engineering, with a minor in Management, from Louisiana State University and a BSc. in Chemical Engineering & Fuel Technology from the University of Sheffield, England. Among many accomplishments, he served as President of the Muslim Students Association, was on the board of the Islamic Society of North America, and was a founding member of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), where he was a Trustee and previously Vice President for Research and Publications. He was also the founding general manager of North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and a founding member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) as well as the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE).
International Institute of Islamic Thought and Its Role in Promoting Islamic Studies at Theological Seminaries
An essay on IIIT's role in promoting Islamic studies at theological seminaries by Dr. Ermin Sinanovic, Director of Research at IIIT, has been included in the latest issues of "Spotlight on Theological Education," a newsletter published by Theological Education section of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). The essays in this issue are a product of the very successful panel IIIT organized at last year's annual AAR convention.
For the essay: http://rsn.aarweb.org/spotlight-on/theo-ed/islamic-theology/international-institute-islamic-thought-and-its-role-promoting-islamic-studies
Full newsletter is available here: http://rsn.aarweb.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/SOTE/April%202016%20Spotlight%20on%20Theological%20Education.pdf
In early May 2016, The Fairfax Institute, in partnership with ICNAB (Islamic Community of North American Bosniaks) co-hosted the first ever leadership training program for Bosnian Imams from around the United States. The seminar took place from May 3 to May 4 at IIIT headquarters.Topics included, amongst others:
Dr. Asaad Al-Saleh, of Indiana University, delivered a talk titled, “ISIS and Islam: How a Terrorist Ideology Twists Religion,” on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Dr. Al-Saleh is currently a Resident Fellow at IIIT, working on a book in Arabic on the same topic.
Dr. Al-Saleh is Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature, Comparative Literature, and Cultural Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University. He teaches Arabic Literature courses and classical Islamic texts in Arabic and English, with expertise in Arab Spring, Autobiography, and Literary Theory. In addition to scholarly writing, he contributes opinion pieces in Arabic on political, cultural, and religious issues in war-torn Syria, where he was born and raised.
The Hartford Seminary Board of Trustees approved unanimously to grant the late Dr. Jamal Barzinji the Honorary Doctor of Ministry degree (DMin) in recognition of his contributions to the enhancement of Christian -Muslim relations and his support for Hartford Seminary programs. The award will be presented during the May 2016 graduation at the Hartford Seminary, Hartford, CT.
On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Union Theological Seminary (UTS) launched Islam, Social Justice and Interreligious Engagement (ISJIE) program in New York City with a panel discussion on Muslim women leadership. Ermin Sinanović, IIIT’s Director of Research and Academic Programs, attended the event on behalf of IIIT and delivered introductory welcoming remarks. He stressed the importance of social justice and interfaith engagement in Islam, and remarked on IIIT’s support for the program. ISJIE is co-funded by Union Theological Seminary, the Luce Foundation, and the IIIT.
IIIT mourns the death of Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari who passed away on April 24th. Dr. Ansari was the Academic Advisor to the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Pakistan. He was a scholar of Islamic Studies and the Director General of the Islamic Research Institute of the International Islamic University. Previously, he was the President of the International Islamic University Islamabad.
Dr. Ermin Sinanovic, Director of Research at the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), attended the 2-day conference organized by the British Association of Islamic Studies (BRAIS). He also presented the paper, "Localizing Islam in a Globalizing World: Case Studies of Indonesia and Bosnia-Herzegovina." The conference was held at the Senate House, University of London, UK.
The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) invited Dr. Paul Shore, Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Regina, Canada, to deliver a lecture titled, “The Cleric, The Cardinal, and the Qur’an: A Little-known Chapter in the History of Christian Engagement with Islam” on Thursday, April 6, 2016.
The IIIT family is deeply saddened with the passing away of Dr. Mumtaz Ahmed. He was the Executive Director of Iqbal International Institute for Research & Dialogue, associated with the International Islamic University Islamabad, since 2007. He was a Professor of Political Science at Hampton University, VA, USA. He received an M.A in Political Science from Karachi University, an M.A. in Development Administration from the American University of Beirut, and Ph.D in Political Science from the University of Chicago.
He has served as: member of "Islam and Social Change Project" of the University of Chicago; Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C; Senior Fulbright Fellow in Bangladesh and Pakistan; Fellow of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Sudan, Pakistan and Malaysia; American Institute of Bangladesh Studies Fellow; American Institute of Pakistan Studies Fellow; member of the "Fundamentalism Project" of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences/University of Chicago; and Senior Consultant for the "Muslims in American Public Square" Project of Georgetown University. He is currently President of the South Asian Muslim Studies Association (SAMSA), an affiliate of the Association of Asian Studies (AAS) and Vice-President of Centre for Islam and Public Policy (CIPP), Washington, D.C.
In 2009, Dr. Ahmed, together with Dr. Sulayman Nyang and Dr. Zahid Bukhari, completed a project commissioned by IIIT on "The State of Islamic Studies in American Universities."
The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) invited Dr. Ellen McLarney on Mar. 10, 2016, to discuss her book Soft Force: Women in Egypt’s Islamic Awakening, which was inspired by Heba Raouf Ezzat’s al-Mar’a wa-l- ‘Amal al-Siyasi: Ru’ya Islamiyya [Woman and Political Work: An Islamic Vision], published by IIIT in 1995. Dr. McLarney highlighted this connection and expressed her happiness at the opportunity to visit IIIT.
In collaboration with Istanbul University, IIIT is holding an international conference of scholars and experts this month in Istanbul, Turkey to address issues and possibilities related to the state of education, with emphasis on higher education, in Muslim societies around the world. This conference follows from a series of seminars and workshops to present, discuss and document ideas and initiatives that may help raise the level of education in Muslim societies.
Proceedings of this conference will be posted on this web page after the conference has concluded.
Check IIIT's page on Reform of Education in Muslim Societies
Dear IIIT Community,
With immense grief, we announce the passing of Dr. Taha Jabir Al-Alwani, one of IIIT founders, past presidents, and great leaders. May Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, forgive him and grant him a place in Paradise. Ameen.
Sheikh Taha’s demise is an enormous loss not only for his immediate family but for the larger IIIT family around the world, for the American Muslim community, and the Muslim Ummah.
His remarkable intellectual contributions to the reform and revival of Islamic Thought are an enduring legacy he leaves behind in the form of many books that he wrote, including Islamic Thought: An Approach to Reform, Source Methodology in Islamic Jurisprudence, The Ethics of Disagreement in Islam, and The Qur’an and the Sunnah: The Time-Space Factor.
His intellectual contributions will continue to guide our work at IIIT and that of generations of Muslim scholars and intellectuals throughout the world.
We ask Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, for sabr and strength in this time of grief for his family, friends, and his IIIT colleagues. Please remember him in your du’as.
Details about the janaza prayer, which will be held at ADAMS Sterling, will be sent soon, insha’Allah.
The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) invited Dr. Zahra Seif-Amirhosseini Rafie, Associate Professor of Sociology at Northern Virginia Community College, to deliver a lecture titled, “Growing Trend of Homeschooling in the Washington Metropolitan Area Muslim Community,” on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.