The Fairfax Institute
Expand Your Worldview


The Fairfax Institute
A School of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)
Presents a 3-week course
From Ataturk to Erdogan: The Transformation of Turkey
Instructor: Dr. Mustafa Gökçek
IIIT Resident Fellow and
Associate Professor of History, Niagara University
This course will provide a review of Turkish history from late Ottoman Empire to today. Many reforms to westernize the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century laid the groundwork for the early Republican revolutions. Ataturk and his reforms aimed to establish a European-style, homogenous, secular, nation state out of an Empire that cherished diversity. The second half of the twentieth century is characterized by democratic processes that were interrupted by military coups. Turgut Ozal's reforms in the 1980s, on the other hand, prepared the grounds for the Justice and Development Party under Erdogan to transform Turkey in numerous ways. Beyond the what question, we will seek answers to why. We will also attempt to understand social as well as political events in their own historical context, rather than judging them looking back from our time.
Dates and Titles for Each Class:
October 22, 7-9pm: Late Ottoman Empire from Abdulhamid II to the Young Turks
October 29, 7-9pm: Revolution and Resistance: Atatürk to Erbakan
November 5, 7-9pm: Islam and Politics in Turkey: From Özal to Erdoğan
Recommended Books:
Hanioğlu, M. ŞükrüA brief history of the late Ottoman empire. Princeton, N.J. ;Woodstock: Princeton University Press, 2010.
Yavuz, M. Hakan. Islamic Political Identity in Turkey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Zürcher, Erik J. Turkey: A Modern History. London [u.a.]: Tauris, 2010.
About the Instructor
Dr. Mustafa Gökçek is an Associate Professor of History at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in International Relations at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. Dr. Gökçek studied Russian language in Moscow and then pursued his Ph.D. in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation focused on Muslim intellectuals from Russia who migrated to Istanbul in early twentieth century and actively engaged in the intellectual discussions on Islam and Turkish nationalism. His research interest includes contemporary social movements in Muslim societies. Dr. Gökçek currently teaches courses on the history of the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East, Russia, and Central Asia. He is also the director of master’s program in Interdisciplinary Studies at Niagara University. Currently, Dr. Gökçek is IIIT Resident Fellow, September – December, 2014.
All classes are held at the Fairfax Institute, 500 Grove St (2nd Floor), Herndon, VA 20170
Registration is free but space is limited. To register, please email Zaynab Aden at









 Report: Campus Life and Muslim College Students Seminar

The Fairfax Institute held a half-day seminar, “Campus Life and Muslim College Students,” on August 18, 2014.  Featured lecturers included Professor Omid Safi (Duke University), Professor Jonathan Brown (Georgetown University) and Dr. Ermin Sinanovic (IIIT). The student panel included Omar Nassimi (George Mason University - GMU), Omama Altaleb, a student of GMU and founder of Layali Magazine (, and Abrar Omeish (Yale University). Twenty-one students from freshman to seniors attended the seminar.


Among the topics discussed during the lecture were how to seek Islamic education, addressing Muslims in the Media, and interfaith relations. Prof. Omid Safi encouraged students to engage in humanistic studies and liberal arts. He also advised the students to stand for social justice and fairness. Prof. Jonathan Brown and Dr. Ermin Sinanovic both relayed to students the importance of equipping themselves with facts and not relying on the media to shape their understanding of the Muslim-American narrative. The student panelists then shared their experiences in college, how they navigate the college experience, and shared their words of wisdom for making the best of the college years.


Omar Nassimi focused on the cultural and intellectual challenges of being Muslim in college, while Abrar Omeish focused on the significance of faith in college. Umama Altaleb shared 10 tips to successfully navigate campus life as a Muslim.


Students were thoroughly engaged in the discourse discussing issues of identity and shared their experiences of being Muslim in college. "Today was extremely intellectually stimulating and definitely stretched my thinking," while another said “I feel more confident to address negativity directed towards Islam now”. Many students also shared that the seminar challenged them to confront their own ideas about Islam.


Fawakih is pleased to announce a Qur'anic Arabic Course which will be offered Sept 2014-May 2015. Click here for the flyer.

For more information visit



MACCPAC Leadership Retreat 2014

MACCPAC (Muslim American Citizens Coalition & Public Affairs Council), a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to bridging the gap between the US Muslim community and the mainstream American society, is organizing a leadership retreat, in conjunction with The Fairfax Institute, from Auguts 3rd to 8th, 2014.

For  details of the program and to register, click here

Intensive Introduction to Arabic Calligraphy with Ustadh Abbas Baghdadi

The Fairfax Institute is pleased to announce a new course, Intensive Introduction to Arabic Calligraphy. 

This 3-week course will begin June 3rd and will end on June 19th, 2014. Classes will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm to 9pm. Registration fee is $50. Click here for more information. 

Summer Courses in Arabic Language

The Fairfax Institute (TFI) and Fawakih are offering summer courses in Arabic language. Two courses will be offered: Introduction to Arabic (for absolute beginners) and Muhadatha (Conversation). 

Click here for more information.

Summer Students Program - 2014

The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) will be hosting its 2014 Summer Students Program between Monday, May 19, and Tuesday, June 24, 2014 (five weeks).

Click here for more information.

Report: TFI Hadith Course with Dr. Jonathan Brown

The Fairfax Institute held a course, “Introduction to the Hadith Studies,” which was taught by Dr. Jonathan Brown of Georgetown University on April 25 and 26, 2014. This 8-hours course covered a variety of topics, including: the Quran, Sunnah, Hadith and Understanding Islam; Hadith Collection and Compilation; Hadith Criticism & Its Methods; Hadith Meaning and Isnad; Uses and Misuses of Hadith; and Case Studies in Authenticating Hadith.

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