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"Surely, those who believe, and the Jews and the Christians and the Sabians, whoever have faith with true hearts in Allah and in the Last-day and do good deeds, their reward is with their Lord, and there shall be no fear for them nor any grief."

— Qur'an 2:62

Latest from CIP

Sentencing of Uyghur linguist Abduweli Ayup politically motivated
Highlights Chinese government assault on Uyghur language

The Uyghur American Association  •  August 27, 2014  •  Uyghur Human Rights Project and Uyghur American Association

[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Uyghur American Association.]

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) condemns the sentencing of Uyghur linguist Abduweli Ayup on charges of "illegal fundraising." Mr. Ayup was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined approximately USD13,000, according to a relative cited in a Radio Free Asia (RFA) article. The sentence was passed on August 21, 2014 after a one-day trial held on July 11, 2014. Based on the verdict, the sentence extends from the date of detention last August.

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Putin and the Perm-36 Gulag Monument

Stephen Schwartz  •  August 26, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Perm-36, also known as ITK-6, is the only intact facility remaining in Russia from the Soviet-era gulag system of political prisons and labor camps. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Perm-36 was turned into a Gulag Museum, "to promote democratic values and civic consciousness in contemporary Russia through preservation of the last Soviet political camp as a living reminder of repression and as an important historical and cultural monument."

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Schwartz on CCTV Refutes "Islamic State"

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  August 19, 2014  •  Chinese Central Television

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014, Chinese Central Television's feature program 'The Heat" broadcast a commentary by Center for Islamic Pluralism Executive Director Stephen Suleyman Schwartz identifying the extreme Wahhabism, and refuting the pretensions, of the so-called "Islamic State" in Syria and Iraq. The segment may be watched at Schwartz's remarks begin at minute 22:26 and conclude the show.


Curing Wahhabism, The "Syphilis of Islam"
Interview by Pedro Ravazzano

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  August 18, 2014  •  Islamidades [Brazil-México]

The blog Islamidades begins a series of interviews with various representatives of the Muslim world and also with scholars of Islam.

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz is an American journalist, columnist and author with articles published in several newspapers: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Toronto Globe and Mail, etc. He describes himself as "a student of Sufism since the late 1960s and an adherent of the Hanafi school of Islam since 1997."

As executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, he is one of the sharpest critics of Wahhabi fundamentalism. His book The Two Faces of Islam is a renowned publication about Muslim radicalism.

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ISIS and the Kosovar Albanians

Stephen Schwartz  •  August 12, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

U.S. air strikes continue against the terrorists of the so-called "Islamic State" – formerly the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" or ISIS – in the borderlands of Iraqi Kurdistan. American military action has been impelled by the genocidal ISIS threat to Christians and various small Kurdish and other religious minorities, including Yezidis, whose faith is linked to Zoroastrianism, and the ancient monotheistic community of Mandaeans. Meanwhile, questions about the extremist movement and its foreign recruits have spread throughout the Muslim lands and the Muslim minority communities in the West, from Belgium to Australia.

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Iranians vs. "Hanging Judges"

Stephen Schwartz  •  August 5, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Abulghasem Salavati, who heads Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, is known as one of Iran's "hanging judges." As the London Guardian reported recently, Salavati and his colleague, Mohammad Moghiseh, are most prominent judges in a drive to suppress independent journalists and political dissenters. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), a professional organization based in Brussels, denounced Iran on July 29 for keeping 27 journalists locked up.

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Extreme Wahhabism on Display in Shrine Destruction in Mosul

Irfan Al-Alawi  •  August 4, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

On July 24, as reported by media around the world including the London Guardian, members of the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), which now calls itself simply the "Islamic State," blew up the tomb and shrine of the prophet Jonah in Mosul.

Iraq's second-biggest city, Mosul has been occupied by ISIS since the first week of June. Muslim believers were ordered to leave the shrine before it was destroyed.

Jonah, known as Yonah in Judaism and Yunus in Islam, is a significant figure in the theologies of all three Abrahamic religions. The Shrine of Jonah was erected at an archeological site believed to date from the eighth century B.C.E. [Before the Common Era].

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Schwartz: The Palestinian War is About Politics, Not Religion

Brikenda Rexhepi  •  August 3, 2014  •  Koha Ditore [Prishtina, Kosova]

Introductory note by Koha Ditore: The Palestinian war resembles that of the Kosovar Albanians – it has nothing to do with religion, but with the state. Hamas, as a branch of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, "dresses itself in Islamic costume and employs Islamic vocabulary to present the war as a conflict between differing believers, but it has never been that," said Stephen Sylejman Schwartz, a scholar of Islam and executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, based in Washington, DC, USA.

Schwartz, in an exclusive e-mail interview given to Koha Ditore, discussed the context of the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas, and the consequences of its influence in the region and in the world – including debates in Kosovar society.

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Dissident Iranian Ayatollah Again Denounces Tehran from Prison

Stephen Schwartz  •  July 29, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Ayatollah Seyed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi has been incarcerated, mainly in Tehran's ignominious Evin Prison, since 2006. He is accused of "combat against God" for his criticisms of the Iranian clerical dictatorship, and is serving an 11-year sentence. Now kept in the "special clerical ward," he has suffered numerous ailments, has accused his jailers of torture, and is among the most famous Iranian prisoners of conscience.

Boroujerdi was born in 1958, an heir to a distinguished Shia clerical family prominent before the Khomeini revolution of 1979. He studied at the theological center in Qom but rejected the ideology of Khomeini. He was arrested in 1995 and 2001 because of his popularity with Iranian believers. His father, Ayatollah Seyed Mohammad Ali Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, was executed by the regime in 2002.

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Russian Oligarch's Balkan-Style Gambit in Ukraine

Stephen Schwartz  •  July 28, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

On July 25, the London Financial Times published a lengthy and fascinating report dealing with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Courtney Weaver, a Moscow staffer for the newspaper, described how Konstantin V. Malofeev, a Russian Orthodox Christian billionaire little known in the West, travelled to Sevastopol, on the southwest coast of the Crimean Peninsula, in January of this year. Malofeev had gone to the Crimean port and naval base unintentionally, when his airplane was forced to land in bad weather.

Malofeev went to Sevastopol some weeks prior to the arrival there of Russian soldiers. In March, Crimea was annexed by Russia. According to the Financial Times, Malofeev is "a key figure linking the pro-Russia forces on the ground in Ukraine and the political establishment in Moscow."

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The Coming of Eid al-Fitr

Stephen Schwartz  •  July 24, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

The final day of the Islamic fasting and prayer month of Ramadan will arrive on midnight, Sunday, July 27, followed by Eid al-Fitr, the holiday of feasting, on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, given the proper sightings of the moon and differing geographical locations. Eid al-Fitr will continue for up to three days.

Eid al-Fitr has different names around the Muslim world. Having sojourned in the Balkans, I know it best by its Turkish, Balkan, and Persian name: Ramadan Bayram. In contrast, among Muslims of those and some related cultures, Eid al-Adha, marking the end of Zu'l Hijjah, the month of hajj pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina, is a second, later "Bayram." The hajj month will commence as the third after the end of Ramadan, and will conclude the Islamic lunar year.

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Sunni Muslims Must Reject ISIS "Caliphate"

Irfan Al-Alawi  •  July 20, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

At the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this year, coinciding with the end of the Western month of June, a new caliphate, or Islamic religious and political order, was proclaimed on the borderland of Iraq and Syria. As described by international media, the news was included in a "declaration of war" released as an online audio statement by Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, a representative of the purported "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" or ISIS (also known as ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, based on differing English translations of "Sham," the Arabic name for Greater Syria, which long included all the lands on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean). ISIS is now to be deemed simply "the Islamic State."

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Netherlands Found Liable for More Than 300 Deaths in Srebrenica

Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina  •  July 18, 2014  •  Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina

[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina.]

July 18, 2014 - Washington, D.C. - Two days ago, The District Court in The Hague ruled that the Netherlands is liable for more than 300 men who were deported by the Bosnian Serbs from the Dutchbat compound in Potocari on the afternoon of July 13, 1995 - the majority of which was then killed. This historic court decision will enable the relatives of the victims to claim compensation from the Dutch state.

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Kudos to the Iraqi Kurds

Stephen Schwartz  •  July 16, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

On Friday, July 11, as reported at the Kurdish English-language news portal Rudaw [Events], combat fighters representing the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, known as Peshmerga, occupied oil fields in Hassan and Makhmour, near the ethnically-mixed city of Kirkuk that the KRG occupied in mid-June. Rudaw asserted the KRG's claim to the oil fields based on investment in and construction of the facilities by the regional authority. But the Kurdish source also argued it was necessary to protect the assets from the Baghdad government of prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, which has challenged the right of the Kurds to extract and sell their oil for their own benefit.

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Remembering the Srebrenica Genocide: 19 Years Later

Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina  •  July 11, 2014  •  Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina

[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina.]

July 11, 2014 - Washington, D.C. - Today, 175 victims will be laid to rest in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. The mass funeral takes place each year on July 11th - the anniversary of the genocide. In the past year alone, over 700 victims have been identified, however, over 500 families are waiting for more remains to turn up before they lay their loved ones to rest. The Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) marks the 19th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide with grief and sorrow and stands in solidarity with all of those who lost loved ones and continue to seek justice and accountability.

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Ramadan Amid the New Middle East Crisis

Stephen Schwartz  •  June 27, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

In 2014 the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, for the Islamic year 1435, is to begin on the night of Saturday, June 28, and end on July 27, once the dates are confirmed by moon sightings. Ramadan will be followed by a celebration of the feast of fast-breaking (Eid al-Fitr). Ramadan is a defining annual religious event for more than a billion believers worldwide, celebrated as the month in which the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. It comprises fasting through the daytime and prayer before, during, and after the fast.

Ramadan is an occasion for generosity and introspection, leading to purification as the participant recites the daily prayers. The practice of fasting is rigorous: It includes a ban on drinking water, smoking, and sexual relations during the daylight hours. Self-control by those honoring Ramadan should encompass refraining from and refusing to hear ill-intended speech.

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UK: How We Want to Stop Radical Islam

Irfan Al-Alawi  •  June 24, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

Anti-radical Muslims must break their silence to oppose the revived for building a Tablighi Jamaat [TJ] mega-mosque in the West Ham neighbourhood of London. Mobilisation against the mega-mosque should include Muslims of all interpretations who are moderate, traditional, conventional and even conservative, in all locations where TJ is active. TJ cadres are mainly present in South Asia, the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America.

The mega-mosque proposal had been perceived as ruled out of consideration after Newham Council, which governs the borough in which West Ham is located, rejected the application for its construction in December 2012. The previous year, Newham Council had heard and turned down a petition for placement of a mosque at the site.

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review of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty

Stephen Schwartz  •  Summer 2014  •  Middle East Quarterly

The Failure of the "Turkish Model"

The publication of this book, three years ago, was received in the West with some enthusiasm. The volume seemed to promise that the dream of numerous observers of the Muslim world—that a "moderate" Islamist ideology could emerge and that it would be paired with an opening to free-market economics—would be realized after many decades, if not centuries. Unfortunately, the flow of history since 2011, especially in the author's native Turkey, has discredited such fancies. Democratization of the Arab countries and liberalization of Turkey have nearly disappeared from dialogue on the future of Islam. The "Arab Spring" now resembles a sad joke, and Turkish democracy is an object of rebuke.

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CIP Endorses Uyghur Stand With Chinese Democrats
As the World Mourns the Dead of Tiananmen Square

The Uyghur American Association  •  June 2, 2014  •  Uyghur Human Rights Project and Uyghur American Association

[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Uyghur American Association.]

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) stands with Chinese democrats on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings to express its support for the ideal of freedom voiced by the ordinary citizens of China 25 years ago.

UAA repeats its call to the Chinese government to embrace democratic reforms and respect the rights of all Chinese citizens. Until the Chinese government provides a full and fair account of the events of June 4, there will be no foundation for the pursuit of freedom and democracy in China today.

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Kosova Widens Its International Interfaith Scope

Stephen Schwartz  •  May 27, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

The Muslim-majority Kosova Republic has taken a leading initiative in promoting international interfaith dialogue, in a Balkan setting. The Kosova government has committed notably to public reconciliation efforts bringing official Albanian Muslim clerical authorities together with representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

In the long period of civil confrontation in Kosova, which entered an acute phase in 1987 and culminated in NATO military intervention in 1999, Serbian Orthodox religious leaders were more prominent as political actors than Albanian Muslim and Catholic faith representatives. Supporters of Serbian demagogue Slobodan Miloševiċ portrayed the struggle in Kosova as a Serbian response to Islamist jihadism.

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The Sheikh AlIslam Fil-Balad Al-Haram Al-Sharif
The Sheikh Al-Islam Fil-Balad Al-Haram Al-Sharif

Salaat ul-janaza [Funeral service] of Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi Al Maliki, The Grand Mosque in Mecca, October 2004
Salaat ul-janaza [Funeral service] of Sayyid Muhammad ibn Alawi Al Maliki, The Grand Mosque in Mecca, October 2004

Islam's past
Islam Past: Turkish mosque in Romania
Turkish mosque in Romania
Photos: Stephen Schwartz

Islam's present
Islam the Present Wahhabi vandalism at mosque in Kosova
Wahhabi vandalism at mosque in Kosova

Islam's future
Islam's Future: New mosque in Kazakhstan
New mosque in Kazakhstan

Audio Presentation
Yasawi Shrine
Seek healing in Sufism
by Yasawi Sufi Saparbai Kushkarov of Uzbekistan,
in Uzbek, Russian,
English, and Arabic

Video Presentation
Bin Yilin Turkusu - Saga of the Millennium
Bin Yilin Turkusu
(Saga of the Millennium)

Homage to Seyed Khalil Alinejad
"Homage to Seyed Khalil Alinejad"
Artwork © Jennifer Pawlak
No reproduction or reposting without permission of CIP.

Marje Sistani
Obey your country's laws, Marje Ali Sistani urges Muslims in West.

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz:
Why I Serve as Executive Director of CIP

© 2014 Center for Islamic Pluralism.

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