ICMES Mission

The mission of ICMES is to inform and enlighten American citizens and the West concerning current states of mind in the Middle East and to inform and apprise governments, non-governmental organizations, and citizens of present and current dangers, hazards, and threats of concern to the Middle East and global communities.

Organizational Goals

ICMES will serve in support of education and conflict resolution roles that will pursue, promote and provide peaceful solutions and outcomes to Middle East social, political, economic, cultural, and educational problems and concerns. ICMES will strive to provide people with a better understanding of major religious and non-religious beliefs that are relevant to the Middle East. [read more]

ICMES Conversations With...

Continuing the Palestinian Struggle:
An Interview with Fouzi El-Asmar

For over 50 years, Fouzi El-Asmar was one of the most important public intellectuals of the Palestinian liberation struggle. He was most well known as the author of the landmark autobiographical work, To Be an Arab in Israel (1975), and as a prolific journalist specializing in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with particular focus on the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Less well-known is the fact that Dr. El-Asmar earned a doctorate in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter, with a dissertation on Hebrew children's literature published subsequently as Through the Hebrew Looking-Glass: Arab Stereotypes in Children's Literature (1986), and that he also published several collections of poetry as well as collective works theorizing a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. ICMES Board member Terri Ginsberg sat and talked with Dr. El-Asmar about his writing, his activism, and his present views about the Israeli situation and the Palestinian struggle. [read more]

Recent & Upcoming ICMES Events

Islam and the Role of Intellect

On September 28-29, 2016, ICMES will co-sponsor a conference entitled “Islam and the Role of the Intellect,” to be held in Seville, Spain. ICMES has organized this conference with the University of Seville and the Three Cultures Foundation, the latter of which will be hosting the conference. The conference speakers and the titles of their presentations are: Abdullahi An-Naim, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law and Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion of Emory University – “The Intellectual Anchor of Communal Practice of Muslims: Then and Now”; Issam Saliba, an expert on Islamic law at the Law Library of Congress – “Can Sharia Renew its Law?”; Zouhair Louassini, writer and journalist at RAI News – “Interviewing Some Arab Intellectuals on the Role of Islam Today”; and Ziauddin Sardar, journalist and writer, Chair of the Muslim Institute and editor of Critical Muslim – “What Makes a Muslim Intellectual?” Introductory remarks will be delivered by Jose Manuel Cervera Gragera, Director of the Three Cultures Foundation; Lola Ferro, General Director of Universities, Regional Government of Andalucia; and Norton Mezvinsky, President of ICMES. The opening speech, titled “Historical Contributions of Islam,” will be delivered by widely published historian Professor Emilio Gonzales Ferrin of the University of Seville. [see flyer]

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A Conversation with Ghada Karmi

On Thursday, November 5, 2015 from 4:00-6:00 PM, ICMES hosted an intimate conversation about Israel and Palestine with Dr. Ghada Karmi, at the International Law Institute. Ghada Karmi was born in Jerusalem and trained as a medical doctor at Bristol University. She established the first British-Palestinian medical charity in 1972 and was an associate fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs. Her previous books include: Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process?, The Palestinian Exodus 1948-1998, Married to Another Man and In Search of Fatima. Dr. Karmi discussed her latest book, Return, A Palestine Memoir. Dr. Norton Mezvinsky and Ms. Randa Fahmy conducted a dialogue with Dr. Karmi, followed by questions from the audience. Dr. Mezvinsky is president of ICMES and Emeritus Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. Randa Fahmy is President and CEO of Fahmy Hudome International (FHI), and was Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy in the Bush Administration, after serving as Counselor to U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham.

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The Roots of ISIS and Prospects of its Humane Alternative

On September 30, 2015, Prof. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im of Emory University spoke about ISIS at the International Law Institute for ICMES’s second annual Ibrahim Abu-Rabi‘ Memorial Lecture. Dr. An-Na‘im argued that the effective and sustainable eradication of radical Salafism, commonly referred to as ISIS, in the MENA region and beyond calls for dynamic understanding of multiple sources and factors, but that nothing can be achieved without candid and honest confrontation of the theological and juridical roots of arbitrary and anarchical political violence in the history of Muslim societies. In his view, radical Salafism must be purged from the individual psyche and collective consciousness of Muslims everywhere in order for it to be militarily defeated in fields of Iraq and Syria, and deserts of North and West Africa. [read more]

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Past ICMES Events

ISIS Between Saddam’s Iraq and Iraq Today

Amatzia Baram

[Click image to view entire program.]

On Tuesday, June 30, 2015 ICMES hosted Dr. Amatzia Baram, a Professor Emeritus of History and Director for Iraq Studies at the University of Haifa. Dr. Baram was a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and at the U.S. Institute for Peace. He served at the Brookings Institute, was a senior fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Center, and taught as the Goldman Chair Professor at Georgetown University. He has advised the Israeli government since 1980 and advised the U.S. government about Iraq and the Gulf and has written four books. [read more]

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Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World

ICMES held its first Annual Ibrahim Abu-Rabi’ Commemorative Lecture on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at the International Law Institute, 1055 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, Suite 100, Washington, D.C. The lecture was delivered by Dr. Carl W. Ernst, the W. R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, and Co-Director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Ernst is the author of several books on Islam, including The Shambhala Guide to Sufism and Following Muhammad (which has been translated into Arabic, Persian, Turkish, German, and Korean.)

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Ongoing ICMES Projects

Religion and State in and on the Periphery of the Contemporary Middle East: A Close Examination of Five Separate Countries

This ground-breaking book, edited by Issam M. Saliba and sponsored by ICMES, will contain sophisticated essays that compare the relationship between religion and state in five Muslim majority countries:  Iran, Turkey,  Sudan,  Palestine and Mauritania. An introductory chapter will discuss the theoretical formulation of Islam and the state. Numerous perspectives and arguments, rarely heard in the West, will be presented. Most of the contributors to this scholarly collection are indigenous scholars and writers from the designated countries. This book promises to be not only a contribution itself but also a model for further study. [read more]