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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

15 YEARS AFTER: Who is Stephen Auden Schwartz?
AKA Ashk Sylejman

Laura Secor  •  December 6, 2017  •  The Boston Globe




[We offer this profile of our founder 15 years after its publication on 15 December 2002. Not one step back. Zana]


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Earthly Beauty
Statement on Mass Martyrdom of Egyptian Sufis

Ashk Sylejman  •  November 26, 2017  •

Our founder grants permission to post this poem in response to the mass martyrdom of Sufis in Egypt. Please review our guidance here

Luciana Zana Trëndafilazezë

International Director




Swans knocked at my door, and I answered

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At The Tomb of the Prophet Samuel (Nabi Samwil)
A Poem

Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  November 21, 2017  •  CIP

For Rexroth, again


Frightened by my dreams, I fled my bed.

For the soft green earth, filled with embraces;

A map as my blanket.

I have walked the mountains of Alberta,

California, and Nayarit; of Bosnia-Hercegovina,

Montenegro and Albania—and the slopes of Tien Shan,

The mountains of heaven. How often I wish I could tell you,


About them, peaks on the western border of China.

I am 57, and live only to tell that story,

Beginning in Mill Valley when I read about Samarqand,

And then read Kerouac, and Snyder, and you.

My first time in Croatia, in 1990,

The only fruit juice in the hotel bar

Was cherry – sok višniju – and for months afterward

Back in California, I sought out cherry juice

To remind me of White Zagreb, my new love.

In Bosnia the forest world begins again;

But they have gone, those giants

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10 Theses on the Coup in Saudi Arabia

Luciana Zana Trëndafilazezë and Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  November 5, 2017  •  CIP

The Centre for Islamic Pluralism offers 10 provisional theses on the recent coup in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

1. We interpret the Saudi coup as a restoration of control over the state by the Sudairi faction of the royal family and the extreme Wahhabi element in the clerical class (ulema).

2. The reform programme initiated by the late H.R.H. King Abdullah, may Allah almighty be well-pleased with him, has ended.

3. The coup reflects panic over the instability of U.S. President Donald J. Trump amid demands for accelerated internal change.

4. Hard Wahhabis have regained control of Saudi religious life.

5. Ultra-Wahhabi strictures and practices will be reinforced.

6. More money, volunteers, and weapons will be furnished by KSA to the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

7. The KSA will withdraw from confrontation with Iran.

8. Regional influence by Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood will diminish almost totally.

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Against Fascism, CIP Publishes on Muslim Jewish Life

Luciana Zana Trëndafilazezë  •  October 30, 2017  •  CIP


The Centre for Islamic Pluralism calls on Muslims, Jews, and Christians to unite NOW! This is our jihad!Death to Russian imperialism! Remember Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Azerbaycan, Vainakh, the Balkans, Crimea!STOP Putin inciting China against Uygurs and Rohingyas!RUSSIANS! RISE UP! YOUR ENEMY IS IN YOUR OWN HOUSE! SLAV IMPERIALISM ENSLAVES YOU!Let the images of your great ancestors — Alexander Nevsky, Dimitry Donskoy, Kuzma Minin, Dimitry Pozharsky, Alexander Suvorov and Mikhail Kutuzov -- inspire you in this struggle!The enemy is not so strong as some frightened intellectuals picture him!The devil is not so terrible as he is painted!

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'Fake News' Regarding Antiquities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Luciana Zana Trëndafilazezë and Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  October 24, 2017  •  CIP

Since our establishment following the atrocities of 11 September 2001 the Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP) has stood for religious pluralism, social justice, and public transparency in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). CIP builds on a long commitment by our cadre to defense of cultural heritage – Christian, Muslim, Jewish – in the wartorn Balkans.

In this context CIP stands for new and expansive measures for preservation of antiquities in the KSA.

We consider this to be crucial for the welfare of Islam.

Recently, following an extensive, publicly-funded investigation, CIP determined that the KSA has been targeted by Iran for a multidecade campaign of 'fake news' regarding cultural preservation and a wide variety of other problems.

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We STILL Accuse!

Luciana Zana Trëndafilazezë and Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  September 6, 2017  •  CIP

In the aftermath of Russian manipulation of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, new scrutiny has disclosed the permanent nature of Moscow aggression against America.

The Russian bandit and spy nest masquerading as a consulate in San Francisco was closed on 2 September in an elementary act of social hygiene.

We accuse fascist Russia of a global conspiracy against the Western democratic alliance.

We will assist in rooting out Russian agents at every level.

We call for a real people's front that will fight Russian imperialism, mobilizing all enemies of fascism, whatever their other issues.

We call for direct action against Russia by all lovers of freedom.

Let us march separately and strike together!

Down with Putin! Death to Fascism! Freedom for the People!

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What Next? After Antifa
Writings of Obscure American Leftist Drive Kurdish Forces in Syria

Sirwan Kajjo  •  September 3, 2017  •  VOA News

[CIP Note: This reportage appeared on January 16, 2017 but, in our view, remains significant for an understanding of Kurdish issues and the history of Antifa. -- Zana].

Murray Bookchin. (Photo courtesy Janet Biehl)


Could the writings of a little-known leftist from a rural American state help to reshape the political structure of the nation that emerges from the Syrian civil war?

That could be the case if the Kurdish YPG — one of the most effective forces in the U.S.-backed struggle against Islamic State extremists — succeeds in its goal of carving out a self-governing entity in the areas it controls in northern Syria.

FILE - Kurdish female fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG), operating alongside with the Syria Democratic Forces, walk in northern province of Raqqa, Syria, May 27, 2016.

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Greetings for an Antifascist Bajram
We Are Allah's Social Justice Warriors!

Luciana Zana Trëndafilazezë  •  September 1, 2017  •  Illyria [New York]

[From CIP Executive Director Sylejman Schwartz: Luciana Trëndafilazezë has replaced I. Al-Alawi as International Director of CIP. Luciana was born in Gjakova, Kosova, and was raised in Albania and Romania as a Bektashi adherent. She works as a primary school teacher in northern Albania. She is completing a study of the translation of modern English and American poets into Albanian as well as her doctoral work on Balkan linguistics. Luciana is CIP's "first daughter" and we welcome her. Please join us in wishing her "all the best, ejvallah!"]

# # #

"Beloved Kurban Bajram has arrived/For all creation is alive/Beautiful Kurban Bajram is here/All creation knows heaven is near/All creation dances and sings/Earthly Beauty within all things/Lovely Kurban Bajram has come/For all creation we know is one" – Refika

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'Designating' Antifa a Terrorist Organization Is a Bad Idea

Andrew C. McCarthy  •  August 31, 2017  •  National Review

[Please note: This post does not reflect the views of CIP, but is featured to stimulate debate. In north Western Europe, CIP coordinates with Antifa.]

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This Is Our Barcelona

Various  •  August 21, 2017  •  Center for Islamic Pluralism

Three Poems By John Cornford

For Margot Heinemann

Heart of the heartless world,
Dear heart, the thought of you
Is the pain at my side,
The shadow that chills my view.

The wind rises in the evening,
Reminds that autumn is near.
I am afraid to lose you,
I am afraid of my fear.

On the last mile to Huesca,
The last fence for our pride,
Think so kindly, dear, that I
Sense you at my side.

And if bad luck should lay my strength
Into the shallow grave,
Remember all the good you can;
Don't forget my love.

A Letter From Aragon

This is a quiet sector of a quiet front.

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Homage to Barcelona -- Homenatge a Barcelona -- Amb text en català.

Stephen Schwartz  •  August 16, 2017  •  Center for Islamic Pluralism


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What you need to know about antifa
The group that fought white supremacists in Charlottesville

Ben Sales  •  August 16, 2017  •  Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Is it OK to punch a Nazi in the face?

That's the question animating much of the discussion of Saturday's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which quickly devolved into a brawl between rally-goers and a contingent of anti-fascist counterprotesters known as antifa. Following the clashes, a white supremacist rammed his car into the counterprotest, killing Heather Heyer, 32.

Leaders and activists across the spectrum — except President Donald Trump — have unequivocally condemned the racist, anti-Semitic rally. But they are divided on whether physically attacking white supremacists is justified simply because they are white supremacists.

Some have celebrated the antifa activists for standing up to hate. But others have condemned them alongside neo-Nazis for engaging in violence. And on Tuesday, Trump appeared to equate them with the rabble of white supremacists, branding antifa the "alt-left" and saying "there's blame on both sides."

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Why are religious conservatives embracing transgender rights?

T. M. Murray  •  August 16, 2017  •  Transformation -- WHERE LOVE MEETS SOCIAL JUSTICE!

[Note: This article is posted to CIP as an invitation to dialogue on an important Islamic issue. Nevertheless, (((Brother Schwartz))) wishes it known that he has always been a PROUD SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR. He is now thoroughly experienced in such matters, and speaks Albanian (think about it...) PROBLEM WITH THAT???? CIP supports Charlie, head of the Anuran Liberation Army, in a righteous jihad against Pepesqueak. Frogs ain't fascist toads! Recommended music while reading this: HOLD UP! by The Queen! If you're stuck in the '60s, The Stones' STREET FIGHTING MAN!

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CIP Executive Director Schwartz on Antifascist Defense -- UPDATE 3

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  August 16, 2017  •  Illyria [New York]


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Virginia Imam Shaker Elsayed Endorses Female Circumcision (FGM): It Prevents Girls from Becoming Hypersexually Active

MEMRI  •  June 2, 2017  •  MEMRI

During a sermon in Fairfax County, Virginia, Imam Shaker Elsayed endorsed the practice of female circumcision, saying that it was "the honorable thing for girls" in cases when it is necessary in order to prevent hypersexuality. "A Muslim gynecologist can tell you if you need to or not," he said, adding that the practice damages the woman's sexuality only if more is cut off than necessary. The Egyptian-born Shaker Elsayed, who has been the resident imam at Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center since June 2005 and served as Secretary-General of the Muslim American Society in 2000-2005, further warned that "in societies where circumcision of girls is completely prohibited, hypersexuality takes over the entire society, and a woman is not satisfied with one person, or two, or three." For another sermon by Imam Elsayed, in which he said that the children of Israel had slayed prophets, see MEMRI TV clip 5989. Dar Al-Hijrah was the mosque where top Al-Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki served as imam, including on 9/11.

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Syria Has Effectively Ceased to Exist

Jonathan Spyer  •  May 19, 2017  •  Foreign Policy

DAMASCUS, Syria — On my last night in Damascus, some younger members of the Information Ministry-sponsored delegation in which I was taking part decided to have a drink. It was late April, and the bars and restaurants were doing good business in the cool and breezy evenings. An inebriated Russian journalist, accompanied by a uniformed Russian soldier, entered the bar opposite our hotel in the Old City where my colleagues were sitting. Words were exchanged. An altercation began.

At a certain point, the Russian journalist produced a pistol and aimed it at the forehead of one of the delegation's participants. He then entered our hotel and threatened one of the employees there, all with his uniformed colleague silently accompanying him.

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Assad's Hollow Crown

Jonathan Spyer  •  May 9, 2017  •  The Rubin Center

The mortar shells came early in the morning. At about 5. At regular intervals. Solemn and sinister. They were a reminder of how close it all was. We were in the Damascus Old City. There was still fighting in Jobar, about two kilometers away. The rebels had also counter-attacked from the east, from the suburbs in eastern Ghouta, in the previous week. A shell had landed in the precinct of the Umayyad Mosque. This was not in accordance with the line being promoted by the regime, according to which the rebellion was on the verge of defeat. But there it was.

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China: Open East Turkestan to Independent Overseas Media

The Uyghur Human Rights Project  •  May 2, 2017  •  The Uyghur Human Rights Project

On World Press Freedom Day 2017, the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) calls on the Chinese government to substantiate claims it is facing an unprecedented security threat in East Turkestan. UHRP challenges the authorities in Urumqi and Beijing to permit independent overseas journalists unfettered access to East Turkestan in order to assess Chinese government statements regarding unrest and counter-terror measures.

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The Birth Anniversary of al-Abbas ibn Ali (p)

Liaison Office of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani in North America  •  April 30, 2017  •  Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya

[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism reposts this announcement in honor of Albanian Bektashi Sufi veneration of Abaz Aliu (as he is known in Albanian.)]

Monday, May 1st, 2017, marks the Birth Anniversary of al-Abbas ibn Ali (p), 4th of Sha'ban, 1438 A.H.

Name: Abbas

Title: Qamar Bani Hashim (Moon of the Hashemites)

Kunya: Abu al-Fadl

Father: Ali ibn Abi Talib (Peace be upon them)

Mother: Fatimah bint Hizam al-Qilabiyyah (Umm al-Baneen)

Born: 4th Shaban, 26 AH/647 CE in Madinah, Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula

Died: 10th Muharram, 61 AH/680 CE, after being martyred in the Battle of Karbala

Age at Martyrdom: 33

Buried: Karbala, Iraq

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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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