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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

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

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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.

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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.]

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kerala Muslims Host International Milad Conference
Celebrating the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

P.M. Muhammed Muhsin  •  January 7, 2017  •  CIP

The southernmost Indian state of Kerala recently welcomed lovers of Prophet Muhammad from all over India and abroad. On 25 December 2016, the 13th annual milad conference was celebrated in the city of Kozhikode [Calicut] on the shore of the Arabian Sea, known for its centuries-old culture and heritage built on peaceful cooperation and international trade. This year's conference, however, had much to do with significant challenges growing among the Muslim communities, and seemingly affecting their religious identity.

Unlike other Indian states, located in the world's largest democracy, Kerala has always possessed a rich history of interfaith harmony, social reciprocity, and religious freedom founded in democratic norms. Almost all the world's religions have established a presence in Kerala, thanks to frequent visits by foreign travellers, and merchants interested in spices.

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Muslim cleric banned in Pakistan is preaching in UK mosques
CIP International Director Dr. Irfan Al-Alawi interviewed

Jamie Doward  •  December 17, 2016  •  The Guardian/The Observer [London]

A Pakistani Muslim cleric who celebrated the murder of a popular politician is in Britain on a speaking tour of mosques. The news has alarmed social cohesion experts who fear such tours are promoting divisions in the Muslim community.

Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri has been banned from preaching in Pakistan because his sermons are considered too incendiary. However, he is due to visit a number of English mosques, in heavily promoted events where he is given star billing.

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White Supremacist and Radical Islamist Terror Against American Jews and Israelis

Stephen Schwartz  •  December 10, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Founded in 2007, the Community Security Service (CSS) is a low-profile, nonprofit organization based in New York City and concerned with protection of American Jewish institutions and public activities. CSS has trained thousands of volunteers in professional security methods, provides physical security where needed, and acts otherwise to improve public awareness of security issues

CSS has now prepared an 80-page report titled Terrorist Incidents and Attacks Against Jews and Israelis in the United States, 1969-2016. The study was authored by Yehudit Barsky, a leading counter-terrorism expert, and includes a foreword by Mitchell D. Silber, director of terrorism investigations in the New York Police Department's Intelligence Division from 2005 to 2012.

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Islamic Culture and India

Muhammad Shafeeque  •  December 4, 2016  •  CIP

Succeeding the civilizations of Babylonia and Egypt, Arabia was the major link between India and the Hellenistic world. Indo-Arab trade had an inevitable part in building the marvelously-diverse Indian culture. Jawaharlal Nehru, the 20th century political leader of India, stated in his 1946 book The Discovery of India: "This frequent intercourse inevitably led the Indians getting to know the new religion, Islam. Missionaries also came to spread this new faith and they were welcomed".

A Hindu king of the Chera Empire in Kerala, southwest India, is said to have embraced Islam after he went to Mecca and met Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Today Muslims are well-established in India, with 14.2 percent of the total population, or about 172 million people, enumerated in the 2011 census. According to academic sources, Muslims first raided India in 712 CE under the leadership of Muhammad Bin Qasim, in what was later known as the 'Arab conquest of Sindh'.

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In Putin's Shadow
Thoughts on Albanian Flag Day 2016

Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  November 28, 2016  •  Illyria [New York]

Viewed superficially, the Albanian and American nations have little in common. The United States is an immense tapestry of different origins and cultures, old and new, comprising 323 million people. Albanians in the Republic of Albania, the Kosova Republic, Western Macedonia, South Serbia, Mal i Zi, Greece, southern Italy and Sicily, and in the widespread diaspora, hew to ancient, if fascinatingly diverse traditions. They too stand between old and new. Yet Albanians of all varieties count fewer than 10 million.

Albanians, Albanian-Americans, and others in the U.S. are united by an affection little known to most non-Albanian Americans. Albanians look with devotion to America as the powerful state that helped preserve Albanian independence after the first world war, that opposed the extreme Communist tyranny of Enver Hoxha, and that protected the Kosovar Albanians from Serbian genocide in 1999.

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UK education authorities struggling to crack down on illegal Islamic schools

Irfan Al-Alawi  •  November 23, 2016  •  Lapido Media [London]

The UK Department of Education has attempted to shut down four Islamic schools with radical curricula – but is being stymied by the courts.

As disclosed in a Daily Mail investigation published on 6 November, based on findings by the Office of Standards for Education (Ofsted), heads of the four institutions concerned have launched a judicial review to obstruct the effort to close the schools.

According to the BBC, reporting on 8 November, one of the Islamic schools, identified only as 'School X' because of court procedures, was supported by a High Court decision barring release of an Ofsted report.

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Turkey's Erdoğan Continues Harsh Repression of Political Opponents

Stephen Schwartz and Veli Sirin  •  November 21, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Turkey's Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appears as the sole person in his country's politics who knows what he wants. Erdoğan seeks absolute power and acts against all obstacles to his ambitions. He is eager to identify new "enemies" whose purported conspiracies he believes justify his harsh rule.

Through the end of October and most of November, Erdoğan has carried out a spree of enhanced repressive measures. This latest onslaught reflects his current fixation on a referendum, proposed for spring 2017, to ratify or reject constitutional amendments that would provide a dramatic increase in his presidential powers.

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The jihadi godfather who is helping buy up New Jersey

Lapido Media Correspondent  •  November 2, 2016  •  Lapido Media [London]

The world's leading advocate of jihad is behind a campaign to sell 'sharia-compliant' house mortgages in America.

A US website called Ricochet exposed cleric Muhammad Taqi Usmani's connection with the Islamic property company, Guidance Financial, earlier this year.

Usmani who advocates jihad and is rated as the sixth most influential Muslim in the world, heads up the Sharia Board that advises the company.

His Islamising ambitions are described openly in his book Islam and Modernism as urging jihadists to lay in wait in Western countries until they have enough people to launch 'jihad with power'.

He wrote that jihadists should continue with jihad until the West submitted to his religion, Islam.

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Is Iran Ratcheting Up Influence-Peddling in American Universities?

Stephen Schwartz  •  October 22, 2016  •  American Thinker

The American academy, which has revealed itself to be markedly susceptible to the intrigues of the Saudi-based radical Wahhabi sect and the Muslim Brotherhood, now faces the challenge of an Iranian radical presence.

Since 2014, admission of Iranian students to U.S. colleges has been permitted by the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Iran has yet to flood the U.S. with its own professors. Nevertheless, there are indications that an Iranian wave may soon hit the American academic community. A network of apologists for the Iranian clerical regime already exists within the Middle East studies departments of American educational institutions. How much will this attitude grow in light of the Obama administration's turn toward Tehran?

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CIP Greetings on the Islamic Ashura and Jewish Yom Kippur
Two Holy Days Calling for Atonement

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  October 10, 2016  •  Illyria [New York]

The Center for Islamic Pluralism extends warm greetings to Muslim and Jewish believers on the intersection of Ashura, the Islamic commemoration of the death of Imam Husayn, may Allah be well-pleased with him – the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him – and the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Ashura and Yom Kippur will both fall on the 11th of October 2016, according to the Common Era (Christian and secular Jewish) calendar.

Ashura begins on the evening of the 10th of Muharram, Islamic hijri year 1438, which corresponds to the evening of the 10th of October 2016. Yom Kippur will commence on the next evening, the 9th of Tishrei, Hebrew year 5777, or the 11th of October 2016. Both continue through the following days.

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The Cosmopolitan Language of Sufism

Muhammad Ashraf  •  October 2, 2016  •  CIP

'O Humankind, we have made you from man and woman, as different tribes and peoples, so that you would know one another' – Qur'an, 49:13.

'We Are Devotees of Love; We Do Not Have Time for Enmity' – Said Nursi [1877-1960 CE], a Turkish Sufi Saint (Damascus Sermon)


I have been a serious researcher on Sufism, specializing in the Arabic and English versions of Sufi texts, for a long time. My conviction is that this spiritual path, which has supported and influenced almost all the faith traditions, as well as secular humanism, in our world, has helped, with its diverse forms in multiple languages, humans in acquiring a foundation of hope for reconciliation between different nations and cultures. Islamic Sufism has attracted adherents among secular humanists, Jews, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. Hence, Sufism has been considered by many as a compassionate life journey beyond religious and philosophical borders.

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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

© 2017 Center for Islamic Pluralism.

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