US media is reporting about an academic conference in Turkey called “Challenging Apartheid in Palestine,” featuring prominent Islamist and Turkish figures as well as US academics as speakers. According to the Algemeiner report:
June 27, 2021, An recent online conference in Turkey featured anti-Israel scholars from prominent American universities. The fact that the conference was hosted by an organization led by a convicted leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) did not deter these American scholars from participating. The week-long conference, “Challenging Apartheid in Palestine: Reclaiming the Narrative, Formulating a Vision,” was organized by Sami Al-Arian‘s Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). Al-Arian pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiring to make or receive contributions of funds, goods, or services to or for the benefit of PIJ. Records show Al-Arian was a longtime member of the PIJ Shura, or governing council. He was deported to Turkey in 2015 as part of his plea agreement, and he now heads CIGA at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University.
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The conferences’ sponsors include the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and schools at the University of Exeter and the University of Denver. Its speakers include several individuals involved in the Global Muslim Brotherhood:
- Muhammad Akram Adlouni (leader in the US Muslim Brotherhood, former secretary-general of the Al-Quds International Foundation, sanctioned by the US Treasury for its affiliation with Hamas).
- Huwaida Arraf (leader in the Free Gaza Movement, a lead organization in the Gaza Flotilla)
- Salman Sayyid (Al-Sharq Forum)
There were also speakers connected to the Turkish government or Turkish President Erdoğan’s AKP party:
- Necmeddin Bilal Erdoğan (President Erdoğan’s son)
- Berdal Aral (a professor who has spoken at a TRTWorld event and has published articles praising Turkey for the SETA Foundation’s academic journal)
Other notable speakers were:
- Shawan Jabarin (convicted of recruiting and arranging training for members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and former board member of Defense for Children International, whose leadership has PFLP ties)
Other relevant GIOR reporting has included:
- In June 2021, we reported about a virtual conference that brought together a British Global Muslim Brotherhood leader, former high-level politicians, a Western academic, and the Chief Advisor to the Turkish President.
- In January 2021, we reported that two prominent US academics supported a prominent Austrian Islamophobia researcher who wrote an Islamophobia report for the SETA Foundation and was a target of police raids involving Islamic organizations and individuals suspected of ties to terrorist and criminal organizations.
- In October 2020, we reported on a US Muslim Brotherhood umbrella organization meeting with President Erdoğan at the Turkish presidential complex.