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

Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World

ICMES held its first Annual Ibrahim Abu-Rabi’ Commemorative Lecture on Wednesday, May 7, 4:30 PM 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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Shari‘ah and Halakhah in History and Intellectual Thought

On October 22, 2013, ICMES and the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut hosted a comparative discussion about historico-political understandings within Judaism and Islam. Presenters were ICMES Secretary Issam Michael Saliba, legal expert on Islamic law and the laws of Middle Eastern and North African countries at the Law Library of Congress, and Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, Scholar-in-Residence, Chabad House at Harvard University. Umar Moghul, attorney, Hartford Seminary Trustee, and Lecturer in Law at the University of Connecticut Law School, moderated the proceedings. [see flyer]

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Past ICMES Events

Two Years into the Arab Spring: Islam, Elections, and Democratic Transformation

An-Naim[click image to view entire program]

On April 4, 2013 ICMES and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) hosted a jointly sponsored program, “Two Years into the Arab Spring: Islam, Elections, & Democratic Transformation,” on at IFES headquarters in Washington, D.C. Zeinab Abdelkarim of IFES introduced the panel with a short discussion of the process and technicalities involved in elections. ICMES Secretary Issam M. Saliba, Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im (pictured above), the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University, and Professor Daniel Brumberg, Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, followed as speakers and discussed elections and constitution writing within the context of Islam, Islamic law and Islamic societies. ICMES President Norton Mezvinsky served as moderator. [see flyer]

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Constitutionalism and Human Rights in Tunisia: The Islamist-led Democratic Transition Post-Arab Spring

In coordination with The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, and The Maghreb Center, ICMES hosted a one-day conference, “Constitutionalism and Human Rights in Tunisia: The Islamist-led Democratic Transition Post-Arab Spring,” on March 5, 2013 at Johns Hopkins’ Kenney Auditorium. The conference was organized by ICMES Secretary Issam M. Saliba, Dr. Mohamed Mattar, Executive Director of The Protection Project at SAIS, and Dr. Nejib Ayachi, President, The Maghreb Center. Participants included Dr. Alaya Allani, Professor of History, Manouba University, Tunis; Dr. Ghazi Gherairi, Law Professor, University of Tunis and Secretary General, The International Academy for Constitutional Law, Tunis; and Ms. Naziha Réjiba, journalist, human rights activist, and 2009 Recipient of the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Tunis. [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]