Conferences, Seminars & Events

IISA has convened international seminars and conferences and aims to convene many international conferences across the Islamic-world. Through theses events, IISA seeks wherever possible to bring government officials, academic and parties in conflict together on important strategic and socio-political subjects. Under the auspices of the IISA, it will be easier to arrange for both open and discreet contacts to take place between differing parties i.e. government officials who wish to meet, but to do so unofficially and behind the door.

IISA will ensure that any specialists and non-specialists conferences and track I or Track II dialogues employ local models and formulas that work in the Islamic-world. In doing so we will create an alternative platform for parties that otherwise feel uncomfortable by working with outside models alien to the Islamic-world. In all cases the contribution from IISA will make it easier for both local actors and those foreign actors whom wish to engage with them, to conduct dialogue in a more productive and conclusive manner.

Our advisers, experts and staff will create a viable environment for productive dialogue to take place and will lend expert advice if and as required. In doing above IISA will open a necessary space crucially needed for conducive and productive dialogue. Because of our exclusive focus on the Islamic-world in totality and global character, we will be better placed than any other think-tank to plan such events in the strategic, socio-political, foreign policy and security fields.

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Sahel & Libya Round Table Report, March 2016

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neo jihadism event updated

SPEAKERS: Usama Butt, Abdullah Anas, Dr Rizwaan Sabir

CHAIR: Myriam Francois-Cerrah

DATE: 23rd January 2015

TIME: 18:30 – 20:30

VENUE: Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, London W1C 2DJ

TICKETS: £10 –

IISA & the City Circle present a debate and analysis of the rise of IS and its neo-jihadist narrative.

Recent developments in Syria and Iraq i.e. spread of the ‘Islamic State’ (IS) and a re-launch of a US backed air campaign has once again brought both the Middle East and jihadism to the fore.

The event will explore with IISA the root and genesis of this new phenomenon  and the various geopolitical and economic forces at play enabling its startling advances.  At the heart of the debate is the issue of defining the laws and ethics of jihad under Islamic law and the difference between traditional jihad and neo-jihadism with its geo-strategic implications. This neo-Jihadist analysis will be conducted by Usama Butt, the director of IISA, and Abdullah Anas, a veteran and son in law of the defacto reviver of modern jihad from the soviet Afghan war, Abdullah Azzam.

In addition City Circle will investigate the motivations and drive of young British men fighting for IS in Syria and Iraq. From this expert analysis, the debate will turn to formulating strategies for responding to this threat regionally as well as for western countries.

We welcome you to a thought provoking debate and panel discussion hosted by journalist and writer, Myriam Francois-Cerrah. She is currently a correspondent for Huffington Post US and a regular contributor to the New Statesman, Middle East Eye and Al Jazeera English.


Usama Butt is the founder and executive director of the ‘Institute for Islamic Strategic Affairs’ (IISA). His academic interests mainly focus on the Islamic-world and global security, US foreign policy, foreign policies of different Islamic governments and emerging global powers , Inter Islamic  & intra-Islamic conflicts, Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), civil military relations, conflict transformation & peace building, post conflict reconstruction, Jihadism and intelligence studies etc. He has conducted field researches in the Middle East, North and West Africa and South Asia on conflict resolution, humanitarian analyses, SSR/DDR and conflict resolution.  He has been involved – directly and indirectly – in some reconciliatory efforts and has advised governments and international organisations and groups.

Abdullah Anas is a former senior Afghan Mujahideen commander who lived in Afghanistan during the peak of Afghan Jihad; against the Soviet Union. He is also the son of law of Abdullah Azzam who is considered to be a leading figure in modern Jihadism. Abdullah Anas now advises different think-tanks and organisations on issues relating to Jihadism and regional stability.

Dr Rizwaan Sabir completed his undergraduate degree in Politics from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2007 and a Masters in International Relations from the University of Nottingham in 2009. He was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Bath in 2014. He has also been a Research Assistant at City University of New York, the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), and a Research Fellow at the University of Leiden. All three projects involved the study of security, political Islam and counter-terrorism. In September 2014, he took up the role of Lecturer in Social Sciences at Edge Hill. Dr Rizwaan specialises in counter-terrorism, counterinsurgency, and political and militant Islam. His current research examines the synergy between counter-terrorism policy and counterinsurgency practice in the UK’s domestic ‘War on Terror’.


Myriam Francois-Cerrah is a writer and broadcaster with a focus on current affairs, France and the Middle East. She is currently a columnist for the New Statesman and Middle East Eye, and a correspondent for Huffington Post US.
Former assistant editor of emel magazine, she has had articles featured in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the New Statesman, Salon, The Independent, Al Jazeera English, The New Internationalist, Middle East Eye, Your Middle East, The London Paper, Index on Censorship, and others.

Myriam regularly contributes to public debates on Sky News, BBC Newsnight, the BBC Big Questions and Channel 4 news. Currently a PhD (DPhil) researcher at Oxford University, focusing on Islamic movements in Morocco, she tutors in Middle East politics at the Oxford university department for Politics and International Relations.