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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

Iran's Kurdish Rebellion

Stephen Schwartz  •  May 22, 2015  •  TheWorldPost [The Huffington Post and Berggruen Institute on Governance]

[Note: This commentary was written with Veli Sirin.]

Violent protests by Iranian Kurds have taken the world by surprise, and mainstream reporting on them is sparse. That is doubtless explained by the general absence of decent journalism under the regime of the Islamic Republic, including restrictions in entry of foreign correspondents. Yet the events in Mahabad, a city of up to 280,000 mainly-Kurdish inhabitants, in the Iranian province of Western Azerbaijan, has fascinating aspects to those who follow Kurdish (and Iranian) affairs.

The demographic profile of Iranian Azerbaijan reveals the ethnic diversity of Iran. The country is not entirely Persian, as many outsiders believe. Turkic, Kurdish, and other non-Farsi languages are spoken by large minorities.

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Uyghur Voices on Education
New report highlights China's assimilative language policy through firsthand accounts

The Uyghur American Association  •  May 20, 2015  •  Uyghur Human Rights Project and Uyghur American Association

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

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) announces the publication of Uyghur Voices on Education: China's Assimilative 'Bilingual Education' Policy in East Turkestan. Since UHRP's first report on bilingual education in 2007, the Chinese government has accelerated and expanded an education policy that has effectively marginalized the Uyghur language from the education system in East Turkestan.

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BDS vs. Israel – The True "Islamophobia"

Stephen Schwartz  •  May 19, 2015  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

"Islamophobia," which carries with it implications of viciousness, pain, and disease, is not considered a neutral term, either by Muslims who accuse others of it (including some moderate believers in Islam), or by those who supposedly spread it. "Islamophobia" suggests deliberate, if not deranged, hatred and cruelty toward Muslims.

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A Model for Moderate Muslims

Stephen Schwartz  •  May 12, 2015  •  The Huffington Post

Continuing terrorism by Islamist radicals in the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S has led numerous commentators to argue for solutions that nearly always involve revision of the foundations of the religion, especially Qur'an. Some born Muslims claim the title of "apostate" proudly. Others, betraying a superficial knowledge of Islamic theology, assert that Muslim thought ceased to be fruitful 800 years ago.

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My Second Father
20 Years Since the Death of Gjon Sinishta

Stephen Schwartz  •  May 8, 2015  •  Illyria [New York]

On Friday, May 8, 2015, a mass was announced at the grand and beautiful St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Gjon Sinishta, the indispensable intellectual guardian of the Albanian Catholic heritage in the diaspora.

Gjon was born in Podgoricë, Mal i Zi, in 1930 and died on May 9, 1995, in San Francisco. He worked for many years as sacristan of St. Ignatius while producing the encyclopedic, annual Buletini Katolik Shqiptar/Albanian Catholic Bulletin (ACB), finally under the rubric of the Albanian Catholic Institute named for Fr. Daniel Dajani, S.J. Dajani was martyred by the brutal Communist regime of Enver Hoxha in 1944. The entire series of the ACB is accessible online through the library of the University of San Francisco, where St. Ignatius Church is located, here.

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Malice in Dallas

Stephen Schwartz  •  May 5, 2015  •  The Huffington Post

As predicted by many, a horrifying new outrage has been added to the annals of radical Islam. In Garland, Texas, a Dallas suburb, on Sunday, May 3, two men were killed by police after the pair fired at an event summoned to promote cartooning of Prophet Muhammad. Elton Simpson, a convert to Islam, and Nadir Soofi, assaulted an event featuring the Dutch anti-Islam demagogue Geert Wilders, and hosted by the American agitator against Muslims, Pamela Geller.

There was the horror of Sept. 11, in New York and Washington; then the atrocity of the Boston Marathon, and now radical Islamist violence has struck the American heartland.

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Saudi King Salman Shuffles the Deck

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 30, 2015  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

On Wednesday, April 29, King Salman Bin Abd Al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia announced a set of changes to his cabinet. Salman, 79, assumed the throne after the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah Bin Abd Al-Aziz, in January. Abdullah, who was 90 or 91, earned a reputation as a reformer of the desert kingdom's harsh social and theological system, founded on the ultra-radical doctrines of the Wahhabi sect of Islam. Abdullah built large coeducational universities, relaxed limits on media, appointed 30 women to the unelected and previously all-male 150-member Shura Council, a national consultative body, and ordered that women be granted the right to run as candidates and vote in municipal elections scheduled for this year.

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Don't Believe the Hype about Zaytuna College

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 29, 2015  •  American Thinker

The accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) of tiny Zaytuna College, an Islamist project with seventeen professors and fifty students in Berkeley, California that has been called "America's first Muslim liberal arts college," has been lauded -- and misrepresented -- in the mainstream press. A Religion News Service article reprinted in the Washington Post and elsewhere, including the Christian Century, described Zaytuna as "A college that requires the study of both Wordsworth and the Quran for graduation... now the first fully accredited Islamic university in America."

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In Kosova, U.S.-Funded Study Gets Response to ISIS Wrong

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 20, 2015  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Last month the Kosovar Center for Security Studies (KCSS), a think-tank in the Balkan republic, published a "Report Inquiring Into the Causes and Consequences of Kosovo Citizens' Involvement as Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq." The survey was financed by the U.S. Embassy in Prishtina, the Kosova capital, and naturally carried a disclaimer: "The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the Author [Shpend Kursani, a Cambridge graduate] and the Kosovar Center for Security Studies and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of State."

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A "Great Fear" in Kosova

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 14, 2015  •  The Huffington Post

The global Muslim community is suffering a deep crisis. The failure of the "Arab Spring" led, most prominently, to horrendous bloodletting in Syria. In this carnage, both the Damascus dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad, which is supported by the Iranian regime, and the ultra-Wahhabi "Islamic State" that opposes the civil resistance to Bashar, are guilty.

Syrian, Iraqi, and Turkish Kurds, mainly leftists in politics, have offered the only effective direct resistance to the "Islamic State," although the Kurds are helped by U.S.-led bombing. Obsessed with its opposition to Kurdish political and cultural demands, Turkey has allowed aid to flow to the "Islamic State." Qatar is accused similarly of assisting jihadists in Syria.

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Center for Islamic Pluralism Greetings to People of the Book on Their Holidays

Stephen Schwartz  •  April 3, 2015  •  CIP

The Center for Islamic Pluralism, reflecting the traditional and spiritual Islamic guidance of respect for the People of the Book – and specifically Jews and Christians – extends its greetings to them on their sacred observances. These are Passover (Pesach), the Hebrew celebration of deliverance from Pharaoh, which falls on April 3, 2015 in the common calendar, and the Christian Easter Sunday on April 5, 2015.

Moses (Musa aleyhiselaam) and Jesus (Isa aleyhiselaam) are outstanding figures in Islam. The praise of Musa in Qur'an closely follows that in the Jewish Torah. While Muslims do not consider Isa the son of almighty Allah, we recognize his birth as miraculous and his mother Mary (Mariam) as chaste when Isa was born.

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Zakir Naik, Radical Islamist Video Evangelist

Stephen Schwartz  •  March 27, 2015  •  The Huffington Post

[Note: This commentary was written with Dr. Irfan Al-Alawi.]

Zakir Naik, 49, an Indian Muslim by birth, and a medical doctor by education, is known widely in the Arab and South Asian Muslim communities. He represents a style of radical Islamist television preaching that most non-Muslims might identify with Christianity. Naik is an ostentatious caller to Islam who alleges he can easily bring members of other faiths into the Muslim fold.

In multireligious India, such claims are inflammatory and may easily lead to violence. The year 2010 saw Britain, whose significant Muslim minority is overwhelmingly South Asian, ban Naik from entry to the country. Canada then imposed the same bar on Naik visiting for Islamist revival events.

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Center for Islamic Pluralism Greetings on Sulltan Nevruz

Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  March 20, 2015  •  CIP

Muslims from the Balkans to Central Asia began celebration of Sulltan Nevruz on the weekend of March 20-21. Among Bektashi Sufis in the Albanian lands, Sulltan Nevruz marks the birthday of Imam Ali rahmetullah, fourth of the righteous caliphs who succeeded Prophet Muhammad sallahaleyhisalaam.

Nevruz will be observed this year on the 29th of Jumaada al-Awal 1436 in the hijri calendar and the 29th of Esfand 1392 by the Persian solar calendar.

Notably in Kurdistan, Sulltan Nevruz is a new year observance associated with the beginning of spring.

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Iranian Propagandists in Kosova

Stephen Schwartz  •  March 19, 2015  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Kosova Albanians, overwhelmingly Muslim, love America—which rescued them from Serbian aggression in 1999—and desire diplomatic relations with Israel. Kosova does not recognize the Palestinian Authority and does not belong to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Islamic Republic of Iran, meanwhile, does not acknowledge Kosova's formal independence. How has it happened, then, that harsh voices are now detected against America and Israel, and for Iran, in the Balkan state?

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European Union Unblocks Membership Path for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina  •  March 17, 2015  •  Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina

[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The "Sejdić-Finci" decision referred to herein was the product of a complaint by Bosnian Roma representative Dervo Sejdić and Bosnian Jewish leader Jakob Finci against the imposition in the 1995 Dayton accords, which ended the war in Bosnia, of a restriction on executive political positions to members of the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim), Serbian, and Croatian ethnicities. CIP supports equal citizenship for all Bosnians and welcomes the confirmation of the "Sejdić-Finci" decision.]

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Uyghur democracy leader Ms. Rebiya Kadeer's tenth anniversary of freedom
An opportunity to refocus efforts in realizing human rights for the Uyghur people

The Uyghur American Association  •  March 16, 2015  •  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) honors the human rights work of Uyghur democracy leader Ms. Rebiya Kadeer on the tenth anniversary of her release from notorious Chinese prison Liudaowan. UAA also recognizes the tireless efforts of the United States government and human rights organizations in securing Ms. Kadeer's freedom.

Ms. Kadeer served as UAA president from 2006 to 2011 and is the president of the World Uyghur Congress. After her release, she founded the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation and has traveled worldwide communicating Uyghur human rights concerns.

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New Saudi King Displays Candor on Radical Islam
Unlike President Obama.

Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz  •  March 5, 2015  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

With the death of Saudi King Abdullah at the end of January, and the succession of his half-brother, now King Salman, 79, many observers of the desert monarchy have speculated on its future.

Almost immediately, King Salman has commenced an effort to clear the air regarding Islamist ideology and its association with terrorism. That's rather unlike President Obama. While he and some other Western leaders claim they are combating radical Islam, they habitually refuse to call it by its correct name. Instead, they employ euphemisms.

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Is Turkey's Erdoğan in Decline?

Veli Sirin  •  March 4, 2015  •  Gatestone Institute

Turkey's Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may have entered a decline after 11 years of increasing national political command.

Erdoğan proclaims Turkey to be a state of law and a defender of freedom of expression, even though its record in the persecution of journalists is among the world's worst, according to such international media monitors as Freedom House, in its 2014 survey, Democracy in Crisis: Corruption, Media, and Power in Turkey.

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U.S. expert: Involvement of Albanians in the Islamic State (IS) harms image of Kosova liberation war

Blerim Mustafa  •  February 27, 2015  •  Presheva Jonë [Presheva, Serbia]

The U.S. expert Stephen Sylejman Schwartz, Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, headquartered in Washington, states to the Albanian news agency Presheva Jonë that the involvement of ethnic Albanians in the Islamic State (IS) negatively affects the reputation of Albanians.

"It contributes to evil stereotypes and false claims that the Kosova liberation war was a jihadist effort.

"As in other instances, Islamist radicals are doing the work of Serbia in undermining the reputation of Albanians."

Kosova and Albania are among the few countries in Europe where the majority of the population belongs to the Islamic faith.

Following the emergence of IS, several Albanians have joined the ranks of IS seeking to establish a caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.

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Schwartz Letter to Financial Times: Countries with a claim to the role Turkey seeks

Stephen Schwartz  •  February 26, 2015  •  Financial Times [London]

Sir, Sinan Ülgen asserts, in his article on Turkish relations with the European Union, that Turkey is "the only mainly Muslim nation with a secular democracy" ("Amid a tide of extremism, a mutual embrace that will protect both Turkey and Europe", February 23).

This claim is inaccurate. Bosnia-Hercegovina, although partitioned (with a 45 per cent Muslim plurality), Kosova (80 per cent Muslim), and Albania (70 per cent Muslim) are multi-party, elected democracies with secular constitutions and vigorous, independent media.

None of these three European Muslim communities must contend with civil-military competition for power, interference with freedom of expression, persecution of minorities, or rising radical Islam, such as are seen in Turkey.

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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

© 2015 Center for Islamic Pluralism.

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