Center for Islamic PluralismCenter for Islamic PluralismCenter for Islamic Pluralism

"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

Who are the Sufis and why does ISIS see them as threatening?

Peter Gottschalk  •  April 28, 2017  •  The

On Feb. 16, 2017, a bomb ripped through a crowd assembled at the tomb of a Sufi saint, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in southeastern Pakistan. Soon thereafter, the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

In recent times, such attacks have targeted a variety of cherished sites and individuals in Pakistan. These have ranged from the 2010 bombing of the tomb of another Sufi saint, Data Ganj Bakhsh, to the murder of a popular Sufi singer, Amjad Sabri, in 2016.

Continue Reading


The Syrian Sarin Attacks of August 2013 and April 2017

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham  •  April 26, 2017  •  The Besa Center

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 452, April 26, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The sarin attacks in Syria of August 2013 and April 2017 resemble one another closely. They reflect a strategic mode that might be repeated yet again by Assad, as long as he remains fully backed by Russia and Iran. At the same time, the geopolitical shift suggested by the recent US military response in Syria marks a desirable turn with consequential implications regarding the ongoing relationships among the US, Syria, Russia, and Iran.

Although the accumulating evidence is not yet formally conclusive, it appears that chemical weapons (CW) containing the sarin nerve agent were employed by the Syrian regime's air force against Khan Shaykhun during the massacre of April 4.

Continue Reading


Replies to Questions About Sufism From A High School Teacher in Columbia, Missouri, USA

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  April 22, 2017  •  CIP

Instructor Gregory Soden writes -- As an American in Missouri, I grew up in one of the most religiously devout and politically conservative regions of the United States. Such an existence just never seemed quite satisfying, or as if 'this is it for me.' Saul Bellow, the great American writer, has a line in The Dean's December in which the main character is listening to a dog bark frantically and a moment of epiphany strikes him, 'For God's sake, the dog is saying, 'open the universe a little more!' "

The opportunity presented itself to work abroad and I went to open my universe.

Continue Reading


Should men found guilty of rape be hanged?

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 21, 2017  •

I have a somewhat different perspective on this.

In Sarajevo in 1997 I heard about a young man who had allegedly been raped repeatedly by Serb terrorists in the concentration camp at Omarshka. The young man heard that I was one of few people who had carried out a serious campaign to disclose and denounce this.

(No name of the victim, please.)

A speech I gave in Berkeley about rape of women and men in Bosnia-Hercegovina was published in a Croatian and Bosnian newspaper read everywhere outside the Serb areas, and in Serb media I was denounced as an American homosexual media fabricator of what would now be called "fake news" against the heavenly Serbs.

It is dangerous for me to go openly to Serbia. I had a near miss in 2004 when I had to come back from Central Asia via Belgrade.

Continue Reading


Five Americans Who Are Standing Up Against Radical Islam

Elliot Friedland  •  April 20, 2017  •  Clarion Project

Sarah Haider, co-founder of Ex-Muslims of North America. (Photo: Screenshot from video)

Who is doing the ground work in the struggle against Islamist extremism? A lot of the people tackling radical Islam don't get as much press time as the jihadists they oppose. We want to introduce you to five Americans who are making a difference.

Anila Ali

Anila Ali is the founder of the American Muslim Women's Empowerment Council, which works on the ground with law enforcement and interfaithleaders to counter radicalization. The goal is to build capacity in the Muslim community so they can be the first line of defense against radicalization.

Continue Reading


What do all Muslims think of progressive (liberal) Islam?

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 20, 2017  •

I cannot speak for all Muslims but I would reply as follows —

I became Muslim in the Balkans, among the Bosniaks and Albanians.

Their Islam was somewhat discounted during the horrific Balkan wars. A common theme among Westerners was that local Muslims in that region follow a kind of "Islam lite."

Balkan Islam is indeed very modern and European.

A conundrum with which I must deal frequently is that while Russian and Balkan communism imposed certain social reforms, they did so out of economic self-interest.

Marx argued, to paraphrase, that liberation of women from the bonds of family life would be conditioned by the need of industrial capitalism for more workers.

And so we find that in the Balkans, to cite the most important example I know, Muslim women have every right granted around the world, since women workers are crucial for production.

Continue Reading


Soviet Disinformation During Periods Of Relaxed East-West Tension, 1959-1979
Prepared under contract for the United States Information Agency Office of Research, January 1988

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 18, 2017  •  U.S. Information Agency

[Note: This document, although nearly 30 years old, is posted as a contribution to the current debate over "fake news," disinformation, and Russian influence in foreign governments. For "Soviet," please substitute mentally "Russian imperialism," since the goals of the Kremlin are unchanged. Editing conforms to CIP style.]

The purpose of this study is to examine whether Soviet disinformation activities historically have ceased during periods of relaxation in tension between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Continue Reading


George Soros's Contributions to a Cannabis Hotbed

Victor Gaetan  •  April 18, 2017  •  The American Spectator

Albania's socialist prime minister, Edi Rama, is the only foreign leader who came to the U.S. to trash talk Donald J. Trump last year, possibly at the behest of his close friend, George Soros.

"God forbid" Trump wins the Republican nomination Rama told CNN's Richard Quest.

Trump's election would "harm a lot America and it would harm a lot the world," predicted the 52-year-old professional artist.

Yet, Rama continues to benefit from a massive USAID program managed by his second wife (of four) and to manipulate a sympathetic U.S. embassy, even as he runs the country into the ground while fomenting chaos in neighboring Macedonia.

U.S. policy needs to make a U-Turn in Albania, assuming it's even on the radar in Foggy Bottom.

Tirana Update

Simply put: Albania is a mess.

Continue Reading


Is It True We Did Not Go To the Moon?

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 16, 2017  •

Is it true we did not go to the moon?

The U.S. did not land a team on the moon.

The Japanese did not attack Pearl Harbor.

Hitler is alive.

Stalin was the greatest revolutionary in history.

Trotsky was an agent of Hitler and the emperor of Japan.

The victims in the Great Purges were all guilty.

The Spanish Republic was a Communist front.

Israel is anti-Muslim and anti-Arab.

The Bosnians killed their own people and blamed the Serbs.

Albanians are born with tails that must be removed surgically.

Kosovar Albanians are all Islamic fundamentalists.

Croats are all Nazis.

The Kosovo battle of 1389 is the touchstone of Balkan history.

Ukrainians are all Nazis.

Continue Reading


What are the greatest quotes which changed your life?

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 2, 2017  •

[CIP Executive Director Schwartz has reached nearly 20k hits on Quora.]

I ask forgiveness for having gone rogue here. I am an old man now, and have read and seen a great deal. This is a compendium of quotations that changed my life. I have always been a compiler and purchaser of Commonplace Books. I don't usually do repetitive edits.

Signposts of a biography.

In order of encounter:

"If Mr. Harbison owned a slave named Bull, Tom would have spoken of him as 'Harbison's Bull,' but a son or a dog of that name was Bull Harbison." — Twain

"Woman is sacred. The woman one loves is holy." — Dumas

"Property is theft." — Proudhon

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it." — Marx

"The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today!" — Spies

Continue Reading


Why an American Became Muslim

James Campbell  •  April 1, 2017  •  Elite Daily

[Brother James Campbell is a new contributor to CIP, alhamdulillah!]

First things first: I am white, and thoroughly American.

I am a registered and informed Democrat, I like dirty jokes and I speak with a vague Long Island accent. And, in a little over a week, I will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of my conversion to Islam.

Coming to Islam felt entirely natural. The famous scholar and convert, Muhammad Asad, described his first impression of Islam as "a perfect work of architecture," its every pillar and crossbeam serving a practical, healthful end.

Continue Reading


CIP Greetings on International Day of Solidarity With Working Women
[The original name of International Women's Day]

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  March 8, 2017  •

The Center for Islamic Pluralism has always stood first, among Muslim activists, with the women combatants of Kurdistan, the victims of and fighters against the scourge of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and women organizing for their rights in Saudi Arabia.

"If women are educated for dependence; that is, to act according to the will of another fallible being, and submit, right or wrong, to power, where are we to stop?"

-- Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792

Continue Reading


Are atheists offended when a theist says "I will pray for you," "God help you," etc?

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  February 26, 2017  •

Once again, very personal, this time straying genuinely into TMI territory. I crave pardon.

I knew Christopher Hitchens extremely well. I saw him the day before he suffered the attack that revealed his terminal illness, and I attended his funeral per the invitation of his widow, Carol Blue.

I mention this only to demonstrate that my public credentials in this area are substantial.

I was brought up as a militant atheist and enemy of religion — at least from my father's, Jewish side. My mother, who was Christian, was equally and on some issues more radical than my father. But she softened, as he did not.

Both my parents had been deeply disappointed by religion and especially by the Holocaust. Communism was the religion they adopted to fill the void.

Continue Reading


review of Smart Jews: The Construction of the Image of Jewish Superior Intelligence

Lauren Weiner  •  February 21, 2017  •  Society

[CIP Note: In the current global crisis, Muslims of all descriptions must contend with stereotyping as uniformly extreme, and self-hatred on the part of those who try to appease prejudice by distorting the heritage of Islam and the issues facing us. In this context, as in so many others, it is important to study and learn from the history of the Jewish people living in the West. While this article by our non-Muslim colleague Lauren Weiner appeared in May-June 1998, almost 20 years ago, it remains, in our estimation, an important presentation of the problem of self-hatred. -- Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, Executive Director, CIP.]

Continue Reading


Which parts of Qur'an touch your heart the most?

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  February 18, 2017  •

Greetings to all people of sincerity. I am 68 years old and will reach 20 years as a Muslim in a few months, alhamdulillah! I began studying Sufism (Islamic spirituality) through Catalan Catholic sources at 18. I had no formal religious education in childhood. My mother was Christian and my father was Jewish but they were radical leftists and that ideology was their religion and, at least publicly, mine until 1984(!), when I was 35. In breaking with the radical left I came out regarding a long-standing fascination with religion. In 1997, at 48, I became Muslim. I pray and fast and read Qur'an daily.

I think every believing Muslim would want to be asked and to answer this question. The message of Qur'an defines Islam. We love it as the infinite expression of divine generosity. We are enjoined not to treat it as a literary product notwithstanding its beauty, which is that of Allah, the only source of glory.

Continue Reading


Questions About the 'Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council'

Stephen Schwartz  •  February 1, 2017  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

This evening, the Washington policy debate over radical Islam is promised a fresh interfaith effort. In the Dirksen Senate Office Building, beginning at 6 p.m., Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ben Cardin (D-Md) will cohost a reception honoring a new "Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council" (MJAC). The Council was formed in November by representatives of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the country's premier Jewish leadership group, and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

Continue Reading


20 Years After the Ghulja Massacre, Repression and Discrimination Still Feature in Uyghurs' Daily Lives

The Uyghur Human Rights Project  •  February 1, 2017  •  The Uyghur Human Rights Project

[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Uyghur Human Rights Project.]

On February 5, 1997, Uyghur demonstrators in Ghulja took part in a non-violent protest calling for an end to religious repression and ethnic discrimination in the city. After violently suppressing the demonstration, the Chinese authorities subsequently rounded up large numbers of Uyghurs suspected for their involvement.

On the twentieth anniversary of the Ghulja Massacre, the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) highlights the continuation of repressive and discriminatory Chinese government policies targeted at Uyghurs despite the state initiated violence in Ghulja.

Continue Reading


Remembering Kevin Starr, Catholic Historian (1940-2017)

Stephen Schwartz  •  January 18, 2017  •  First Things/First Thoughts Blog

The passing of Kevin Starr, the notable historian of California, is already being observed with predictable political correctness. For his series of popular surveys, beginning with the 1973 volume Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915, Starr has been noted as a paragon of the state's presumptive, if unacknowledged, secessionism. His breadth of research and easy style made him palatable to readers of all ideological tendencies, to whom he preached a kind of "California exceptionalism."

For most of his career, Starr viewed the California experiment benevolently, as a phenomenon balanced between utopia and reason. But he was an intense Catholic believer who seems finally to have despaired of California's grandiloquent and heartbreaking destiny.

Continue Reading


Meet Andrei Lugovoi, Putin's Bloodhound

Stephen Schwartz  •  January 12, 2017  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

In a decision separate from the U.S. inquiries into Russian political interference during the 2016 presidential contest, Washington announced on Monday, January 9, that five prominent individuals inside Russia would be sanctioned. The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added their names to the roster of Specially Designated Nationals under the 2012 Magnitsky Act. That legislation provides for identification of Russians believed involved in the 2009 death of Moscow lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and other serious human rights violations, barring them from holding financial assets in the U.S. and from visiting American soil.

Continue Reading


Putin's President -- Sorry, Precedent

Stephen Schwartz  •  January 9, 2017  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

On Sunday, January 8, an editorial in The Guardian pointed out correctly, "whatever else there is to say about Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 US election, do not make the mistake of saying that such a thing is unprecedented—because it is not." Indeed, anyone who thinks there is no parallel for the charge of foreign meddling against Vladimir Putin betrays a deep ignorance of modern history.

Continue Reading

Donate to CIP

The Center for Islamic Pluralism is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity. Contributions are deductible under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code. It is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers, and gifts under sections 2055, 2106, or 2622 of the code. Checks may be sent to:
Center for Islamic Pluralism
1288 Columbus Avenue #323
San Francisco, CA 94133
For further information, please contact us.

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

© 2017 Center for Islamic Pluralism.

home   |   articles   |   announcements   |   spoken   |   wahhabiwatch   |   about us   |   cip in the media   |   reports

external articles   |   bookstore   |   mailing list   |   contact us   |   @twitter   |   iraqi daily al-sabah al-jadid