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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

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

[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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Europe's Muslims: Can We Have a Common Template?

Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  May 24, 2014  •  Illyria [New York]

Remarks to Second Kosova Interfaith Conference, Prizren, Kosova Republic

Selamalejkum warahmetallahuh wabarakatuh,

Bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim,

Greetings,

While I am an American by birth, I accepted Islam in Bosnia-Hercegovina in 1997, at age 49. For this reason, and because so much of the work of the organization I founded, the Center for Islamic Pluralism, has been carried out in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe, I believe I can answer adequately the question of whether Europe's Muslims can develop a common "template."

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German Alevi Muslims Vs. Wahhabis at Macedonian Bektashi Shrine

Center for Islamic Pluralism  •  May 23, 2014  •  Illyria [New York]

This note is excerpted by the Center for Islamic Pluralism from a reportage on a visit by German Turkish and Kurdish Alevi-Bektashi youth to the Harabati Baba Beltashi teqe on April 18, 2014.

The original reportage, in Turkish, appears here: http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/id/25514552/.

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Schools in East Turkestan Suppress Doppa Festival

Greg Fay, Manager, Uyghur Human Rights Project  •  May 16, 2014  •  Uyghur Human Rights Project and Uyghur American Association

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

Listen: UHRP interviews a Uyghur student about suppression of the Doppa festival

May 5, 2014 marked the fifth celebration of the annual Doppa festival, a day to celebrate Uyghur culture on which Uyghurs wear their doppa, a four-cornered hat that is an essential part of Uyghurs' traditional ethnic clothing. UHRP interviewed a young Uyghur student about his experience of the Doppa festival and its suppression in recent years, which can be heard by hitting play on the SoundCloud link above.

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Solidarity Against Female Genital Mutilation

Irfan Al-Alawi  •  May 7, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

Late in March, British authorities undertook their first prosecutions against female genital mutilation, which has been prohibited in the United Kingdom since 2003. As revealed by BBC News on March 21, "Dr. Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, of Ilford, east London, will be prosecuted for an alleged offence while working at the Whittington Hospital in London. Hasan Mohamed, 40, of Holloway, north London, faces a charge of intentionally encouraging female genital mutilation."

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Harsh Repression Continues Against Iranian Dissidents

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

April 17, 2014, has come to be known among Iranian dissidents as "Black Thursday." On that day, at least 100 Iranian riot police, members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, soldiers, and officers of the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security joined prison guards in raiding Ward 350 of Tehran's infamous Evin House of Detention. Numerous political prisoners and heterodox Muslims from the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi Sufi order are held at Evin.

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A "Wadjda" for Kosova

Visar Duriqi  •  April 21, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

Saudi Arabia, a male-dominated country, is changing slowly. One example of its cautious new openness is the 2012 movie Wadjda, Saudi Arabia's first feature film, by its first female director, Haifaa Al-Mansour.

My country, the Balkan republic of Kosova, more than 90% Muslim, is likewise male-controlled and also appears to be changing.

That impression, however, is created by Kosova having a woman president, Atifete Jahjaga, and is false.

President Atifete Jahjaga does not belong in the same category as Wadjda, the female protagonist of the Saudi film. We need a Wadjda for our country – both a female with the spirit of the cinema character, and a movie like it. We need many Wadjdas.

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Teaching the Judeo-Spanish Heritage to Chicago Seventh Graders

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 16, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

During the Jewish and Christian holidays of Passover and Easter, it is well to think back on histories of inter-communal goodwill between these two Peoples of the Book and Muslims. One outstanding example involves the rich heritage of Sephardic Jewish life in the former Turkish empire, including the Balkans.

Some weeks ago, I traveled to Chicago to address parents affiliated with a multifaith private school, which serves Jewish and Catholic pupils, about Islam and its influence on Jewish and Catholic mysticism. The night before my talk to the parents, I was the guest of a kind, Bangladeshi Muslim couple living in the suburbs. There, I was introduced to Faith Laux, a seventh-grade teacher of Spanish at Carleton Washburn School in Winnetka, Ill.

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CIP Greetings to People of the Book on Their Holidays

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  April 14, 2014  •  CIP

The Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP), an international network of Muslim scholars, clerics, authors, journalists, Sufi shaykhs, and other believers, active in 32 Muslim-majority countries and Muslim-minority communities, extends greetings to our Jewish and Christian neighbors and friends on the occasion of their sacred holidays, the Jewish Passover (Pesach), which begins at sundown on Monday, April 14, and the Christian Easter, celebrated on Sunday, April 20.

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CIP Endorses Condemnation of Chinese Extrajudicial Killing of Uyghur Youth Abdulbasit Ablimit

The Uyghur American Association  •  April 14, 2014  •  Uyghur Human Rights Project and Uyghur American Association

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

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) condemns the extrajudicial killing of 17-year-old Uyghur student Abdulbasit Ablimit by police in Kelpin county, Aksu prefecture. Ablimit was shot alongside two companions after an apparent traffic violation, and police allegedly beat and detained relatives of the victims and local Uyghurs who protested the killing. UAA calls on the international community to remain vigilant to China's unlawful killing of Uyghurs, which has increased alarmingly in the past year.

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Balkan Lessons
Only Putin learned them.

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 14, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard

Vladimir Putin learned lessons from the Balkan wars of the 1990s that the rest of the world ignored or has forgotten. He invokes an obviously false parallel between the NATO bombing of Serbia and liberation of Kosova in 1999, and his own annexation of Crimea. In his speech of March 18, Putin sought to justify the Crimean "referendum" for unification with Russia on "the well-known Kosovo precedent—a precedent our Western colleagues created with their own hands in a very similar situation, when they agreed that the unilateral separation of Kosovo from Serbia, exactly what Crimea is doing now, was legitimate and did not require any permission from the country's central authorities."

Numerous Western commentators have refuted the alleged similarity between the seizure of Crimea and the separation of Kosova from Serbia. But there is a wider context to Putin's use of the Balkan bloodshed.

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Tracing Russian Economic Assets – and Targets for More Sanctions

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 2, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Travelling from Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Hercegovina, to Mostar, a city almost midway toward Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Coast, one drives through a stunningly-beautiful landscape of mountains, forests, and rivers. On a recent trip, however, I observed a surprising sight: four gas stations owned by Gazprom, the Russian energy giant.

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Erdoğan's Twitter Slip on Ukraine - An Affinity for Putin?

Veli Sirin  •  March 31, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

Update: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a reported 45 percent of votes in the March 30 municipal election.

Daniel Dombey of the London Financial Times on March 24 recounted a curious detail of the recent offensive against Twitter, the online mini-blogging service, by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Dombey wrote that Erdoğan "accused Twitter of fomenting unrest in Ukraine." Russian president Vladimir Putin and his supporters in the seizure of Crimea, both uniformed and in civilian disguise, have not been known for using social media to coordinate their activities, while Ukrainian revolutionaries are adept at employment of Twitter and similar media. One might therefore conclude that Erdoğan feels an affinity with Putin in opposing the Ukrainian protestors.

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Center for Islamic Pluralism Greetings on Sulltan Nevruz
One Year Since the Death of Rahmetli Senad Mičijević

Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  March 20, 2014  •  Illyria [New York]

In Muslim communities from the Balkans through Central Asia, celebration of the festival of Nevruz, also known as Nowruz, Nouruz, Nauryz, and by other spellings, has begun. Nevruz commenced in Iran on March 20, 2014 CE, which is the 19th day of Jumaada-L'Ula, 1434, in the hijri calendar, and the 29th of Esfand, 1392, by the Persian solar calendar.

Sultan Nevruz will be observed as an official Islamic holiday in Bosnia-Hercegovina on March 21. In Albania, where the Bektashi Sufi tradition is influential, Sulltan Nevruz is a national holiday, and will be held on Saturday, March 22. For Bektashis, Sulltan Nevruz marks the birthday of Imam Ali, Peace Be Upon Him. The occasion will be accompanied by pilgrimages to shrines in the Albanian cities of Kruja (the Haxhi Ismail Baba teqe), Cakranit-Fier (the Hambaraj teqe), and the Kapaj-Mallakastër teqe.

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Islamist Terror Challenge Continues in Britain

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

As Britain continues to wrestle with the challenge of radical Islam and its product, terrorism, on March 2, 2014, London Mayor Boris Johnson contributed a column to one of Britain's leading journals, The Sunday Telegraph, "The children taught at home about murder and bombings."

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Bosnian Sephardic Jews - Few But Influential

Stephen Schwartz  •  March 18, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

Sarajevo

Sephardic Jews were brought to the Balkans after their expulsion by the Spanish and Portuguese Christian authorities, beginning in 1492. They were rescued by the Turkish Sultan Bayazet II, who lived from 1447 to 1512 and ruled the Ottoman empire from 1481 until his death.

At the Sultan's command, tens of thousands of Iberian Jews were conveyed eastward across the Mediterranean. Most settled throughout western Turkey and the Balkans. The port of Salonika in northern Greece became the Ottoman Sephardic capital, but their communities thrived in Constantinople and Sarajevo, and many points between.

Under Ottoman governance, they kept their Judeo-Spanish language, flavored here and there with Portuguese. As the centuries passed, the idiom borrowed many words from Turkish.

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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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