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Press Releases

An Interesting View of Qaradawi and US Entities
The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), one of the main entities under federal investigation in Northern Virginia, is hosting its annual conference this year in Cape Town, South Africa.

What is interesting is that the press release from the National Awqaf Foundation announcing the event lists Yousef Qaradawi, the leading theologian of the Muslim Brotherhood, as an important affiliate of IIIT, something that has not been publicly stated before.

The official statement, from Awqaf, which is co-hosting the event, says:

The IIIT board and executive members comprises of the foremost scholars, academics and intellectuals in the Muslim World, including the Leading Islamic Theologian Dr. Yusuf Al-Qardawi, the former Finance Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Anwar Ebrahim, the exiled Iraqi leader Dr. Ahmad Totonjie and the Founder and Rector of the International Islamic University (IIU) in Kuala Lumpur, Professor Dr. Abdul Hamid Ahmad Abu Sulayman, to name a few.

The State Department and other continue to host IIIT and embrace them in the outreach program, in large part because no charges have been filed against the group in almost-six years since the raids on their offices in Herndon, Virginia. The group has consistently denied any ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

IIIT, founded in 1980 and, the press release says, is a "platform for the Islamization of Knowledge paradigm, the Institute has become a forum through which Muslim scholars have rekindled an ongoing debate on Islamic intellectual endeavour and thought.

"The Institute is committed to the development of Islamic scholarship in contemporary social sciences and humanities and is dedicated to the revival and reform of Islamic thought. Its methodology is to help Muslims deal effectively with modern social challenges and ultimately contribute to the progress of civilization, by giving it a specific meaning and direction derived from Divine guidance."

But Qaradawi's possible involvement with IIIT would cast the prominent Islamist think tank in a different light. His work is not unknown to IIIT, whose website lists several books by the theologian in its "Books" section.

Qaradawi is banned from entering the United States for his strong anti-Semitism and his blessing to those seeking to kill American troops in Iraq.

For a reprise of some of Qaradawi's statements, see my previous posting here.

One of the highlights is this, from last year:

Our religion commands us, we are fighting in the name of religion, in the name of Islam, which makes this jihad an individual duty in which the entire nation takes part, and whoever is killed in this (Jihad) is a martyr. That is why I ruled that martyrdom operations are permitted, because he commits martyrdom for the sake of Allah and sacrifices his soul for the sake of Allah.”

The press release also states that:

The delegation will be hosted in South Africa by the Office of Ebrahim Jadwat (a long standing associate of the IIIT), Awqaf South Africa and the Muslim Students’ Association of the Cape.

Jadwat's online biography lauds his long-standing association and admiration for Sheikh Ahmed Deedat, who "continues to serve as a source of inspiration."

Deedat, who died in 2005, was well-known for his public anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and anti-Hindu stances. The New York Times in 2004 called Deedat a "a vocal anti-Semite and ardent backer of Osama bin Laden."

I am not sure what conclusions one can draw from this, but IIIT appears to have interesting friends in interesting places.

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