A delegation of seven Saudi and Egyptian scholars visited IIIT on Friday, January 16, 2009. The visit was part of the State Department International Visitor Program intended to promote mutual understanding of relations between religion and the State, the conditions of Muslims and their institutions in the US, and the American system of government and politics.
The visiting delegation included Dr. Sami Angawi - expert on Islamic Architecture in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Saleh Almani – Dean of the College of Law and Political Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Sadig Malki – Assistant professor of Political Science, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Mr. Abou Elele Mady – founder and chairman of the centrist political party al Wasat in Egypt, Dr. Manar Shorbagy – senior consultant on US affairs with The Arab Center for Development and Future Studies, Dr. Said Sadek – political sociologist specializing in intermarriage, feminism, social change, media and public opinion in Arab societies, and Dr. Soraya Alturki – Professor of Anthropology in the American University, Cairo, Egypt.
The group was addressed by Dr. Jamal Barzinji, Vice President of IIIT , who briefed them on IIIT mission, its history, its current activities and future plans. He also presented the challenges that face the American Muslim community and how IIIT is responding to them.
Dr. Abubaker al Shingeiti briefed the delegation on the research work at IIIT focusing on Fiqh al Aqaliyaat, Maqasid al Shari’ah, and IIIT research project on Islamic Studies in American universities. He also presented IIIT support for Interfaith work and the engagement project with the US government and the American society at large.
Dr. Iqbal Unus presented the visitors with the overview of the status of Islamic education in the US and the challenges facing Islamic schools particularly in relations to the separation of religion and the State.
Dr. Hisham Altalib focused on the history of IIIT, its relationship with MSA (Muslim Student Association) and AMSS (Association of Muslim Social Scientists). He emphasized how these organizations were connected historically and intellectually and how they depended on each other.
In the afternoon and after the group performed Jumu’a prayer at the ADAMS center, they were invited to a dialogue session with the Interfaith leaders from the Metropolitan Washington area. The visitors shared their views on interfaith issues and listened to insightful presentations by Christian, Jewish and Muslims community leaders who are engaged in interfaith activity.
IIIT presented the visitors with samples of its recent publications at the end of their visit.