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 Modernity

ICMES and the Tres Culturas Fundación (Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation), with the collaboration of the Association Essaouira Mogador, will convene on September 14, 2017 at the headquarters of the Association Essaouira Mogador in Essaouira, Morocco, to analyze the relationship between Islam and modernity. The colloquium will be composed of two sessions, each of which will be comprised of a presenter and a respondent and will be followed by a corresponding round of debate. Among the issues to be discussed are the question of Islamic revival; the status and place of women in Islam; the challenges presented by a dual legal system; and the relationship between Islam and secular societies in the 21st century. Presenters will include Dr. Norton Mezvinsky, President of ICMES; Issam Saliba, expert on Islamic law at the U.S. Library of Congress (also of ICMES); Dr. Said Bensaid Al–Alaoui, Professor of Islamic Thought and Philosophy, University of Rabat; Dr. Gloria Morán, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Law, Religion and Public Policy in the Faculty of Law at the Universidade da Coruña (also of ICMES); Dr. Aicha El Hajjami, Professsor of Law and Researcher in Women and Family, University of Marrakech; and Dr. Emilio González Ferrín, Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Seville, and Chair Al-Andalus of the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation.

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Has Zionism Hijacked Judaism?

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 3:00 PM, ICMES hosted a speaking event featuring Rabbi Yakov Shapiro. The event was held at the International Law Institute in Washington, D.C. Rabbi Shapiro is the rabbi of a congregation in Queens, New York. He is best known for his outspoken stance defending the historic Orthodox Jewish position that rejects the concept of Jewish nationalism and therefore opposes Zionism and does not recognize Israel as the Jewish State. He has represented this position on behalf of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community throughout the world to a remarkable variety of audiences, including those in the United States, the state of Israel and the EU in Brussels. Rabbi Shapiro is the author of three books and numerous articles dealing with Jewish philosophy and law. He is currently completing a three-volume work on traditional Jewish opposition to Zionism. [read more]

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Past ICMES Events

Islam and the Role of Intellect

On September 28-29, 2016, ICMES co-sponsored a conference, “Islam and the Role of the Intellect,” in Seville, Spain. ICMES organized this conference with the University of Seville and the Three Cultures Foundation. Speakers were: Abdullahi An-Na’im, 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; Issam Saliba, an expert on Islamic law at the Law Library of Congress; Zouhair Louassini, writer and journalist at RAI News; and Ziauddin Sardar, journalist and writer, Chair of the Muslim Institute and editor of Critical Muslim. Introductory remarks were 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. [read more]

[afternoon session]

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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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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]