State: Minnesota

Address: Columbia Heights, MN, 55421-2955

Year Founded: 2004



Mishkah Islamic University of North America says it aspires “to be a leading global provider of authentic Islamic knowledge.” It is an online school offering degrees in Islamic studies with a regional office in Cairo, Egypt. It was originally named the Sharia Academy of America, but changed its name in 2011 when it merged with the International University of Latin America.[1]

Sheikh Salah Al-Sawy is the President of the University and one of its founders.[2] He is the Secretary-General of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA). Hatem Al-Haj, another AMJA scholar, is the dean of the College of Islamic Studies, English.[3] AMJA’s website is also listed under the “Useful Links” section of the University’s website. AMJA and the websites of Al-Sawy and Al-Haj are the only ones listed as sources for fatwas (religious edicts).[4]

Sheikh Omar Shahin is on the Board of Trustees.[5] He served as the imam of the Islamic Center of Tucson from 2000 to 2003.

Shahin raised money for the Al-Qaeda front called the Global Relief Foundation and the Hamas front called the Holy Land Foundation. He said he raised $7,000 for the Holy Land Foundation in November 2001 alone before it was closed down.[6] Shahin was also a representative for Kind Hearts, another charity that was shut down for financing Hamas. He also says that ICT hosted Islamic Association for Palestine conferences, a pro-Hamas creation of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.[7]

On October 4, 2002, Shahin said in a sermon, “Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him said: ‘You will keep on fighting with the Jews until the fight reaches the east of Jordan river then the stones and trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh (servant) slaves of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him …’”[8]

Shahin defended the mosque’s involvement with Bin Laden in the 1980s, saying “Osama bin Laden was made in America. Our government was sponsoring and supporting him. We are following our government.”[9] He also believes in 9/11 conspiracy theories saying, “I think the [9/11] investigation is not headed in the right direction. They are focusing on the Arabs, the Muslims. And all the evidence shows that the Muslims are not involved in this terrorist act.”[10] He suggested that the FBI and CIA staged the attacks.[11]

In 2006, Shahin was one of six imams that were removed from a flight for suspicious behavior. The imams then sued U.S. Airways for discrimination.[12]

[1] “About Us,” Mishkah Islamic University of North America website, http://www.mishkahuniversity.com/index.php/about-us/.

[2] “Dr. Salah AsSawy,” Mishkah Islamic University of North America website, http://www.mishkahuniversity.com/index.php/dr-salah-assawy/

[3] “Dr. Hatem Al-Haj,” Mishkah Islamic University of North America website, http://www.mishkahuniversity.com/?page_id=713.

[4] “Useful Links,” Mishkah Islamic University of North America website, http://www.mishkahuniversity.com/index.php/students/useful-links/

[5] “Board,” Mishkah Islamic University of North America website, http://www.mishkahuniversity.com/index.php/about-us/executive-team/

[6] Wichner, David, “Mosque aids group accused of Hamas tie,” Arizona Daily Star, November 18, 2001.

[7] Lisa Getter, Chuck Neaubauer and Robert J. Lopez. “Islamic American Nonprofits Face Increased Scrutiny in U.S.,” Los Angeles Times, November 4, 2001. http://articles.latimes.com/2001/nov/04/news/mn-79/2

[8] “Omar Shahin’s ICT Lectures,” Americans Against Hate, http://www.americansagainsthate.org/Omar_Shahin’s_ICT_Lectures.htm

[9] Getter, Neaubauer and. Lopez, 2001.

[10] Wagner, Dennis and Tom Zoellner. “U.S. Muslims Torn Between Love of Islam and America,” Arizona Republic, November 4, 2001.

[11] The Arizona Republic, Sept. 28, 2001, as reported in “Exposing the ‘Flying Imams” by M. Zuhdi Jasser, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2008, p. 3-11, http://www.meforum.org/1809/exposing-the-flying-imams

[12] Jasser, M. Zuhdi. “Exposing the ‘Flying Imams,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2008, p. 3-11, http://www.meforum.org/1809/exposing-the-flying-imams

[13] “Contact Us,” Mishkah Islamic University of North America website, http://www.mishkahuniversity.com/index.php/contacts/

Do you have any information on Extremism in the US?

By entering your email, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Emergency Afghan Rescue Project: Help save the lives of people who helped U.S. forces in Afghanistan.