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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

An Anti-Terror Success Story
ISIS, Kosova, and the New York Times.

Stephen Schwartz  •  July 4, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard

Prishtina, Kosova

Late last month, the New York Times published a lengthy report from the Balkan republic of Kosova. Under the byline of an experienced correspondent in the region, Carlotta Gall, and totaling almost 4,000 words, the article was titled "How Kosovo Was Turned into Fertile Ground for ISIS." As if that declaration were not alarming enough, the subhed proclaimed that "a once-tolerant Muslim society" had become "a font of extremism."

With all the weight typically ascribed to Times coverage, the story seemed destined to bury the reputation of the Kosovar Albanians. Kosova is roughly 90 percent Muslim. Efforts by Islamic radicals to convert the locals to various stripes of extremism are not new. Gall recorded that in the aftermath of the 1999 NATO air intervention that rescued Kosova from Serbian terrorism, Wahhabi preachers from Saudi Arabia wasted no time in arriving in the country.

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A Faint Ray Of Light Through The Darkness

Stephen Schwartz  •  June 21, 2016  •  The Huffington Post

In the aftermath of the hideous massacre in Orlando on June 12, relations between Muslims and Westerners seem to have reached their lowest point in decades, if not centuries. The so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) employs what the Italian Holocaust writer Primo Levi called "the weapons of night" — terror bombings, mass murder, sadistic tortures and executions.

At moments like Orlando, moderate Muslims feel no less dismayed and discouraged than do non-Muslims. Even the kindest and best-intentioned non-Muslims look at the Muslim believers with understandable fear.

So many Muslims have rallied to the spurious appeal of ISIS it seems often, to both moderate Muslims and sympathetic non-Muslims, that the voice of rationality has been stilled within Islam. Global media have failed to identify and explain to humanity how Muslim moderates fight against terror. Muslim leaders have been deficient in presenting their histories and arguments.

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Red tide shakes main parties in India's Kerala State
A victory for secularism

Muhammad Shafeeque  •  June 21, 2016  •  CIP

A political storm caused by public anger against the incumbent Oommen Chandy state administration has swept the United Democratic Front (UDF), led by the secularist and modernist Congress party, out of power in the southwest Indian state of Kerala. Kerala has the country's highest literacy rate, 93.91 percent in the 2011 census, and the highest life expectancy at 77 years.

A sweeping victory for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), in the assembly elections held on 16 May 2016, showed that the appeal by the Congress party for "continuity for development" was rejected by the people of the state in the aftermath of corruption scandals involving the governing party.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) it controls campaigned with the slogan "Kerala lost its way and the BJP will show the way." But the BJP made little impact in the electorate.

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Brother Muhammad Ali As I Will Remember Him

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  June 10, 2016  •  The Huffington Post

The passing of Brother Muhammad Ali, at 74, will doubtless stimulate recollections and reflections in many Americans, non-Muslim no less than Muslim. Yet aside from boxing fans and the African-American public, the rest of us baby-boomers (I am 67) may preserve our most vital vision of him as a supreme sports hero who refused to participate in the Vietnam War.

On Vietnam, his was the unsurpassable example of a voice that could not be stilled - about that, he was indeed, for so many people, "The Greatest." Writers, actors, singers, and philosophers who condemned the war could be ignored or otherwise marginalized.

For Brother Muhammad Ali, suppression of his views was impossible - period. His challenge to the war and the draft was infused with unmistakable moral force. His statements and interviews were electrifying.

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Ramadan Greetings From Indian Sufis for 2016 CE, 1437 AH

Haji Syed Salman Chishty  •  June 8, 2016  •  Chishty Foundation

There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness.

We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.

The fog clears, and new energy makes you run up the steps in front of you. When you fast, good habits gather like friends who want to help.

Its table is set beyond day and night.

So what is fasting? An invitation to a secret feast....... - Hz. Rumi's Book of Masnavi Sharif.

Welcome to the month of secret spiritual feasts - Have a blessed sublime month of Ramadan mubarak.

Duas and Blessings from Ajmer Sharif, India - the blessed seat of the Chishty Sufi order in South Asia for the last 800 years....

"Love towards All, Malice towards None"

Sultan ul Hind Gharib Nawaz Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (r.a.) -

Haji Syed Salman Chishty

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CIP Ramadan Greetings for 2016 CE, 1437 AH

CIP  •  June 7, 2016  •  CIP

The Islamic fasting month of Ramadan began during the night of June 6-7, according to the common calendar. Ramadan offers a period of spiritual sacrifice, meditation on our deeds and fate, and assistance to those, Muslims and others, whose conditions of life are difficult. Muslims will refrain from eating, beverages including water, smoking, and sexual relations during each day of the holy month.

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review of The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise

Stephen Schwartz  •  June 6, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard

The author of this volume—a professor of Spanish and Portuguese studies at Northwestern—wrote it with provocative intent. But whether The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise will stimulate the academic and media debate he desires cannot be predicted. Darío Fernández-Morera's arguments are undermined by the stridency of some of them, the novelty of others, and, for close readers, his failure to resolve ambiguities in Spanish Islamic history. He promises not to "pass judgment on today's Muslims, Jews, or Christians, or on their religions," a pledge coming after his opening promise to "demystify Islamic Spain." And he "advises readers to be cautious and keep in mind the differences that exist between the medieval and the modern worlds of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity." But he fails to do so himself.

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Repressive laws demonstrate unwillingness of Xi Jinping to embrace lessons of Tiananmen Square Massacre
Xi Jinping must meet present-day calls for democratic reform and freedom as embodied by the student movement of 1989

The Uyghur Human Rights Project  •  May 31, 2016  •  The Uyghur Human Rights Project

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

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) extends its sympathies to the families of the victims of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. UHRP urges the Chinese government to offer a transparent account of the events in Beijing and to punish officials responsible for human rights violations committed against Chinese citizens.

UHRP is concerned the current Chinese administration has not internalized the lessons of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Instead of listening to the legitimate grievances of the Chinese people, Xi Jinping's government has adopted a number of laws curbing a wide range of freedoms. UHRP believes such restrictions only escalate tensions and do not generate stability.

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Western Integration vs. Putinism in the Balkans and Ukraine

Stephen Schwartz  •  May 25, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

On May 19, Montenegro, smallest of the Balkan states with only about 650,000 people, signed the accession protocol beginning its process of membership in NATO. If the agreement is ratified by all the countries of the Atlantic alliance, which seems probable, Montenegro will become its 29th affiliate. It will be the fourth western Balkan nation in NATO, following the admission of two other ex-Yugoslav lands—Slovenia in 2004 and Croatia in 2009—and Albania, also in 2009.

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Islamic Management
A new option for business empowerment

Muhammad Shafeeque  •  May 19, 2016  •  CIP

'He it is who has made the earth subservient to you (i.e. easy to walk, to live and to pursue agriculture on); so walk in the path thereof and eat of his provision. And to him will be the resurrection' [Qur'an, Sura 67:16, Al-Mulk].

Wealth is an inevitable element in human life. Almighty Allah calls on people to work hard to attain the highest wealth. Islam expounds vividly on the need to undertake migration in search of wealth. If we lack sources of prosperity in our native home we can travel to other lands. Islam imbued in people the ambition to acquire maximum riches for securing a peaceful life. Allah explores the value of money in the verse [Qur'an, Sura 4:6, Al-Nisa] 'And give not to the immature your property which Allah has made a means of support for you'

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Mother Teresa's Worlds

Stephen Schwartz  •  June-July 2016  •  First Things

Since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, Mother Teresa has been a global symbol of mercy and charity embodied in the selfless worship of God. Her renown is likely to grow in the next year if the canonization process that commenced almost twenty years ago is completed. Following her death at eighty-seven in 1997, she was ­beatified. Pope John Paul II waived the normal five-year waiting period before a "cause" leading to canonization may commence, and allowed the process to begin in 1999. Already in 2000, Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim believers joined Catholics in Kolkata to pray for her canonization to proceed.

In 2002, John Paul recognized the first miracle associated with Mother Teresa: the disappearance of a large abdominal tumor from the body of a non-Christian Indian woman for whom the Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded, were praying. That led to Mother Teresa's ­designation as "Blessed" in the following year.

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Vatican Recognizes 38 Albanian Christian Clergy Martyred by Communism

Stephen Schwartz  •  May 6, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

On April 26, Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of 38 Albanian Christian church leaders killed during the Communist terror of Enver Hoxha, who ruled the small and poor Balkan country from 1944 until his death in 1985. Ecclesiastical affirmation of their martyrdom is an important step toward their sainthood. The "cause" favoring their canonization was initiated in 2002, under Pope John Paul II.

Communism ended in 1991 in Albania, which Hoxha had declared the first officially atheist state in the world in 1967, seeking to emulate the "cultural revolution" of his foreign patron of the time, Mao Zedong. Thousands of churches, mosques, Sufi shrines, and other religious monuments were turned over for secular use (as basketball courts, cinemas, and warehouses), and clerics were murdered.

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review of Christianity and Freedom: Vol. II, Contemporary Perspectives

Stephen Schwartz  •  May 6, 2016  •  First Things Blog

This volume accompanies another substantial collection, Christianity and Freedom: Volume 1, Historical Perspectives, prepared by the same editors. Professor Hertzke is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences as well as the faculty of the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Shah is a staff member at Georgetown. So monumental a work was funded by the John Templeton and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundations, with academic support from Baylor University and the Religious Freedom Research Project at Georgetown.

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Reviving the Spirit of Water Conservation in Islam

Muhammad Shafeeque  •  May 4, 2016  •  CIP

"And the earth he has put down (laid) for creatures, there are fruits and date palms producing sheathed fruit-stalks (enclosing dates) in it " [Qur'an, Sura 55:10-11, Al-Rahman]. This verse describes some of God's blessings upon all creatures, especially for humankind. These are ways to attain food, a basic necessity of human life. For our survival, water is an inevitable factor. Beyond doubt, all creatures seek water for their satisfaction. There are creatures in the earth that rely only on water for long periods. Fundamentally, if water plays a major role in a person's life, it further serves as a foundation to attain such basic amenities as food, shelter and purity. For a believer, water is crucial for ritual purposes like ablution, personal cleansing, etc. From such a context, we can conclude that human life relies totally upon water.

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New Light on Bosnian Jews During World War II

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 21, 2016  •  The Huffington Post

The fate of Bosnian Jews during the Holocaust has attracted significant attention from historians and other commentators. According to a standard work, Bosnia: A Short History, published in 1994 by the distinguished British scholar Noel Malcolm, 12,000 out of 14,000 Jews living in Bosnia-Hercegovina before the German invasion of 1941 were liquidated by the Germans and their local allies, mainly the Croatian ultra-nationalist Ustaša movement.

Bosnian Muslims have been drawn into discussion of the mass murder of the Bosnian Jews mostly because of the interference in the country, during the German occupation, of Haj Amin Al-Husseini, an enthusiast of Hitler who hoped to rally the Muslims of the world to the side of Berlin.

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Bosnia Seeks Stiffer Penalty for Local ISIS Recruiter

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 12, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Authorities in Bosnia-Hercegovina have initiated a new proceeding against Husein Bilal Bosnić, a prominent local Wahhabi preacher, reports the Sarajevo daily of record, Oslobođenje [Liberation]. Bosnić is already behind bars, convicted of organizing groups to join the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS).

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Meet America's Foremost Advocate of Islamic Pluralism
Stephen Schwartz heads the Center for Islamic Pluralism and is the author of several books on Islam and Saudi sponsorship of Wahhabist extremism

Elliot Friedland  •  April 12, 2016  •  Clarion Project

[Note: Biographical Information and Illustrations included at the Clarion website with this interview may be accessed by clicking the "Clarion Project" link above.]

1. Clarion Project: What first drew you to Islam?

Stephen Schwartz: Paradoxically, my interest in Islam – in which literary and historical concerns were intertwined – began with my search for the roots of California, where I grew up.

California's half-Anglo-American and half-Hispanic heritage pushed me toward Latin America, then to Spain. I published one major book on California history beginning with the first Spanish explorations, as well as two books on the struggle of Latin American intellectuals to free themselves from the influence of the radical left.

I additionally published an important book on Soviet interference in the Spanish civil war of 1936-39.

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@TalkToMe: Stephen Schwartz Interviewed On Islam By His Son Matthew Schwartz

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz and Matthew Schwartz  •  April 8, 2016  •  The Huffington Post/Facebook/#TalkToMe

#TalkToMe: Stephen Schwartz of the Center for Islamic Pluralism interviewed on why he became Muslim by his son Matthew Schwartz for the Facebook/Huffington Post #TalkToMe project.

https://youtu.be/AtCfKzyQC6w

 

Now it's undeniable: Deobandi mosques radicalise Britain's Muslims

Irfan Al-Alawi  •  April 6, 2016  •  Lapido Media [London]

At the end of March, UK media revealed that the Islamic Tarbiyah Academy, a private school in the Yorkshire city of Dewsbury, was under investigation by the Department for Education for radical teachings.

The school has 140 primary students, who attend an after-school madrassah for ten hours per week, as well as full-time classes for pupils above age 16 and adults, according to Sky News.

The academy was established by Mufti Zubair Dudha, a representative of the Deobandi sect.

Originating in India in the mid-1800s, Deobandism is the doctrine that inspired the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, whose imams trained at the [Deoband] school in Uttar Pradesh, northeast of Delhi.

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The Uyghur Human Rights Project calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Patigul Ghulam
Uyghur mother targeted for seeking information on her son forcibly disappeared by Chinese police after Urumchi unrest in 2009

The Uyghur Human Rights Project  •  April 4, 2016  •  The Uyghur Human Rights Project

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

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) is extremely concerned about the pending trial of Patigul Ghulam and urges concerned governments and human rights organizations to call on China for her immediate and unconditional release.

Citing a source close to Patigul's family, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported the trial is scheduled for April 7, 2016. According to the March 30, 2016 RFA article, Patigul has been charged with leaking state secrets for discussing her son's case with overseas media.

Patigul Ghulam has faced continued harassment from Chinese officials in her determination to discover the fate of her son, Imammemet Eli, who was forcibly disappeared in the days following unrest in Urumchi on July 5, 2009.

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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

© 2016 Center for Islamic Pluralism.

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