2013 IIIT Highlights

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2013 Monthly Seminar Presenters
Reform of Higher Education in Muslim Societies

As part of its ongoing efforts to address the multi-faceted crisis of education in the Muslim world, IIIT organized a two day symposium entitled "Reform of Higher Education in Muslim Societies". The symposium was held in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC and took place at the Wilson Center's headquarters on December 9th and at IIIT headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, on Dec 10th, 2013. The main objectives of the symposium were: 1) to identify the root causes of the crisis of higher education in Muslim societies, 2) to examine the current manifestations of the crisis and its implications for socioeconomic development in Muslim countries, and 3) to discuss possible pathways to reform that involves governments, institutes of higher learning and other civil society organizations. About thirty scholars, experts and opinion leaders from different backgrounds and institutions participated in the roundtable discussions that extended between Dec 9th and Dec 10th, 2013. The topics discussed in the eight sessions of the symposium were:

  • Reform of Higher Education in Muslim Societies: The Context. - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim & Prof Heidi Hadsell
  • The Challenges of Globalization - Prof Heidi Hadsell & Dr. Ermin Sinanovic
  • IIUM & Motherhood University: Examples for Reform? - Dr. Nizar Alani
  • Economics of Education, the Public-Private Sector Divide and the Issues of Governance - Dr. Vanda McMurtry
  • The Traditional System of Islamic Education and the Challenges of Reform - Prof Jonathan Brown & Dr. Mahan Mirza
  • The Case of African Islamic Universities - Prof Mbaye Bashir Lo & Prof Ismail Gyagenda
  • Science, Technology & Innovation: Teaching & Application - Dr. Imad ad Dean Ahmad & Imrana Omar
  • Women in Higher Education - Prof Nizar Alani & Prof Zainab Alalwani

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) organized a special Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at the St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Herndon, Virginia. The central feature of the event was the ADAMS Award to Dr. Jamal Barzinji for his lifelong distinguished service to the American Muslim community and for the ADAMS community, in particular. Another award was presented to IIIT for its key and formative role in the establishing and continued support for ADAMS on its activities.  

The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) presented its Distinguished Scholar Award to Dr. Sulayman Nyang, Professor of African and Afro-American History at Howard University, Washington, D.C. in recognition of his outstanding scholarly achievements and lifelong community service.
Professor Nyang is a member of IIIT Council of Scholars. He was the founding editor of the American Journal of Islamic Studies, now known as the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences. He was also a founding member and President of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS).
Dr. Nyang received a PhD degree in Government from the University of Virginia in 1974. Before he joined Howard University in 1972, he served as deputy Ambassador to Saudi Arabia representing his home country Gambia.

IIIT organized six panels at its Hospitality Suite at the ISNA National Convention 2013 held at the Washington Convention Center during the Labor Day weekend.


Topics ranged from Jihad and Martyrdom by Asma Afsaruddin, The Arab Awakening by Tariq Ramadan, Parent Child Relations by Hisham Altalib, Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman and Omar Altalib, Apostasy in Islam by Taha Jabir Alalwani, Apostates, Islam and Freedom of Religion by Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman, the Qur'anic Principle of Shura by Ahmad Al-Raysuni, and the Astronomical Calculations and Ramadan by Zulfiqar Ali Shah. More than twenty prominent speakers participated in the discussions as presenters of their own work or as discussants or moderators including: Prof. Tariq Ramadan, Ambassador Ibrahim Rasool, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Prof. Asma Afsaruddin, Dr. Hisham Altalib, Prof. Sulayman Nyang, Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Dr. Imad ad Dean Ahmad, Dr. Zahid Bukhari, Dr. Abdalla Al Sheikh Sidahmad, Dr. Muhammad Adem Al Sheikh, Dr. Daoud Nassimi, Dr. Anwar Haddam, Dr. Mohammad Rida Bashir, and Ustaz Wael Khairo

On Wednesday, July 17, 2013, IIIT held its annual Iftar/Dinner for the Friends of IIIT at its headquarters in Herndon, VA. The event was attended by more than 100 guests and friends, including the IIIT staff. The guests included elected politicians, academicians, community leaders and activists, and business people.

The highlight of the evening was al-Faruqi Memorial Lecture, "What good is the knowledge if it does not bring benefit to society?," delivered by Prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina, the IIIT Chair of Islamic Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. In his lecture, Prof. Sachedina emphasized the link between knowledge and practice, criticizing at the same time those academicians who see themselves as detached from the real world, all in the name of supposed objectivity. He stressed the importance of bringing values into the academic world. An ideal professor is the one who believes in what he or she teaches, and serves not only as a repository of knowledge for his or her students, but also as an important referential point when it comes to values and praxis. He issued a special call to Muslim academicians in the United States to serve as bridges of understanding, so that their non-Muslim students could gain a better appreciation of Islam, both in theory and in practice.
IIIT's 7th annual Summer Students Program began on Monday May 27, 2012.  The program is comprised of three main activities: a) core courses, b) directed research, and c) seminars. The core courses include Quran and Sunna, Islamic Jurisprudence, Contemporary Islamic thought, Muslim world affairs, and Islamic history and civilization.

Monday, June 24th saw the opening of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) 2013 Summer Institute for Scholars, focusing on the theme of looking at "Islamic Reform Movements after the Arab Spring."
Summaries of lectures and proceedings will be posted as the program continues and IIIT will be publishing a volume in the future featuring the scholars' papers. 
Parent-Child Relations

The long-awaited guide on parenting by Dr. Hisham Altalib, Dr. AbdulHamid AbuSulayman and Dr. Omar Altalib has been released in 2013. Parent-Child Relations: A Guide to Raising Children is an easy-to-read, comprehensive guide which contains what you need to know on how to parent with confidence. Packed with advice and powerful tips, using the latest research on child development and parenting techniques, it offers a mine of information on how to let children flourish, take the frustration out of parenting and develop happy family relations. Authors provide guidance on developing character, knowledge, values, and skills, as well as a faith-based outlook in children, benefiting parents with kids of all ages. The many strategies and techniques offered include: teaching children how to problem-solve, make decisions, and develop self-esteem. Raising God conscious, moral, successful children, with a sense of civic responsibility in today s world is not easy. It is also not impossible. Effective parenting is the key.
American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (AJISS)

Four issues of AJISS were published in 2013. A special issue titled "Islamist Spring? Islamists and the State: New Paradigms and Engagements" was published in Fall 2013, Vol. 30 No. 4.
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