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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

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)

Introduction

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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U.S. Sentences Kosovar Albanian ISIS Hacker Ardit Ferizi to 20 Years in Prison

Stephen Schwartz  •  September 27, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

On Friday, September 23, U.S. federal judge Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced Kosova-born Ardit Ferizi, a 21-year old citizen of that Balkan state, to 20 years in prison for hacking into an American-based retail company database and culling the names, email addresses, passwords, and other information, for some 1,350 U.S. government and military personnel. Ferizi provided the stolen data to the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) for publication on a "kill list." Ferizi also attempted to blackmail the victim company into paying for its stolen data, a common hacker practice.

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World Sufi Forum Decries Kashmir Terror Attack

Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichowchhwi  •  September 19, 2016  •  World Sufi Forum

In a deadly terror attack on the Indian Army at Uri, in Jammu & Kashmir, on Black Sunday, 18 September 2016, 17 Indian soldiers were martyred and many were seriously injured. The atrocity was, of course, deplorable. But it also rings an alarm bell to warn of great trouble and the need for action.

It's time India became aware of the menace of Wahhabism, which is detrimental to the internal security of the nation and the people. After the Kaluchak tragedy on 14 May 2002, which took the lives of 12 civilians and 22 security personnel, the Uri terror assault came as a bloody dance of destruction. It took place in the valley of Jammu & Kashmir which is in the acute grip of the Wahhabi ideology, eliminating the peaceful, pluralistic Rishi-Sufi tradition.

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ICC Ignores Ideological Motive in Timbuktu Crimes

Irfan Al-Alawi  •  September 17, 2016  •  CIP

On 24 August, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced the conclusion of its trial against Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, a radical fundamentalist Islamist charged with directing the demolition of Muslim shrines at the fabled city of Timbuktu in the African nation of Mali.

Timbuktu is renowned as a center of Islamic learning, with libraries dating from the 13th to the 17th centuries CE.

Alleged to have committed the war crime of "destruction of historic and religious monuments" in June and July 2012, Al Mahdi admitted his guilt in the case when the proceeding began on 22 August.

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CIP Greetings to Muslims on Kurban Bajram/Eid Al-Adha/Eid Ghorban, Islamic Hijri Year 1437

Center for Islamic Pluralism  •  September 12, 2016  •  CIP

The Center for Islamic Pluralism extends sincere greetings to hajj pilgrims and to other Muslims around the world on the festival of Kurban Bajram/Eid Al-Adha/Eid Ghorban, which, according to moon sightings, falls on the 12th of September 2016 by the Western calendar.

Kurban Bajram, the feast of sacrifice that concludes the hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, lasts for four days. The entire period of hajj is a time for reflection among Muslims, and this year, in particular, penitence for the atrocities committed by adherents to radical Islam.

The significance of Kurban Bajram is especially poignant this year because of its proximity to the 15th anniversary of the Al-Qaida attacks on the United States, on September 11, 2001.

The feast of sacrifice originates in the willingness of Ibrahim, the progenitor of monotheism, to obey God's command to kill Ibrahim's own son. God withdrew the command, showing mercy to Ibrahim and his offspring.

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review of Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War

Stephen Schwartz  •  September 12, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard

Adam Hochschild is a prominent San Francisco leftist, cofounder of Mother Jones, and the successful author of books on the British antislavery movement, the Belgian colonization of the Congo, World War I, and the legacy of Joseph Stalin. In assembling this volume, he faced a formidable challenge: to add something new to the immense and varied record of the Spanish conflict that preceded World War II.

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CIP Endorses September 11 Commemorative Statement by Uyghur Human Rights Project
UHRP marks fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks on the United States

The Uyghur Human Rights Project  •  September 8, 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) mourns the victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States and extends its sympathies to the families who lost their loved ones. As Uyghurs who aspire to the ideals of democracy and human rights, we stand with Americans in a firm commitment to these values in the fight against terrorism.

UHRP is unequivocally opposed to any form of violence and condemns all violent actions. Ongoing Chinese government violations of fundamental Uyghur human rights create the conditions for radicalization. UHRP calls on China to change repressive policies and to place genuine respect for international human rights standards at the center of counter-terror measures.

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Uzbekistan Dictator Islam Karimov Leaves a Complicated Legacy

Stephen Schwartz  •  September 5, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

The death of Islam Karimov, the 78-year old party boss and dictatorial president of Soviet and post-Soviet Uzbekistan, a key strategic power in Central Asia, was announced September 2 in official Uzbek media. The cause of his demise was reported to be a stroke, and rumors of it had circulated for days. He was buried in an Islamic service on September 3, in Samarqand, his birthplace, according to the BBC. Uzbekistan is about 90 percent Muslim, with a population of 29 million.

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Kosova Continues Confronting Radical Islam

Stephen Schwartz  •  August 16, 2016  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

The Islamic Republic of Iran does not recognize the independence of the Republic of Kosova. While the Balkan state of some 1.8 million people is 80 percent Muslim, few among them are Shia, save for some spiritual Sufis whose variety of Shiism is extremely heterodox when compared with Tehran's theocratic ideology.

Yet for some time Iran has maintained a web of "nongovernmental organizations" inside Kosova. At the end of July, as reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, an Iranian cleric, Hasan Azar Bejandi, was charged by Kosova authorities with terror financing and money laundering.

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Sufism in India Today

Stephen Schwartz and Muhammad Ashraf  •  August 9, 2016  •  The Huffington Post

Bloodshed has returned to Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is partitioned between India and Pakistan. Muslim leaders, and spiritual Sufis in particular, must be constantly wary of the penetration of Islam by trends that seek to increase instability in such difficult situations.

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İbrahim Kalın: Erdoğan's U.S.-Trained Enforcer

Stephen Schwartz  •  August 2, 2016  •  Independent Journal Review

A "weaponized academic" trained in the U.S. has risen to become Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "deputy undersecretary and senior advisor," yet another servant for Islamist ideology produced by the American Middle East studies industry.

İbrahim Kalın received his doctorate in Middle East Studies/Islamic Studies from George Washington University and is a senior fellow with the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University. He taught at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., from 2002 to 2005.

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review of The Teachings of the Bektashi Sufis [Nauk Bektašijskog Tarikata (In Bosnian)]

Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  July 27, 2016  •  Illyria [New York]

Senad Mičijević (1960-2013) was a resident of Mostar, the city in Bosnia-Hercegovina that, until the coming of war in 1992, was known for its multireligious coexistence. From then until 1995, Mostar was wracked by the aggression of Croatian and Serbian forces alike. The Croats were allied ostensibly with the so-called "Bosnian Muslim" fighters – the latter should better be called the soldiers of the Bosnian Republic, because they rejected a narrow religious identity.

But in their zeal to surpass the Serbian rebels in despoliation of the Muslims and others loyal to an ideal of Mostar's traditional identity, the Croats in 1993 destroyed the city's famous symbol, the 16th century CE Stari Most, or Old Bridge. The bridge had stood for 427 years. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2004.

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The Dilemma of the Turkish State

Irfan Al-Alawi  •  July 21, 2016  •  Lapido Media [London]

After the confusing coup attempt in Turkey the situation of that country remains fluid and unpredictable.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish president and, although unaffiliated with it by constitutional requirement, the unquestioned leader of the 'Islamic' Justice and Development Party (AKP), has apparently reinforced his power in the aftermath of the confrontation.

According to the BBC, a massive purge of public officials suspected of opposition to Erdoğan or sympathy with the coup is underway.

Some 50,000 government employees, including 35,000 military, police, and judicial officers, plus academics and media figures, have been fired, interned, or arrested.

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No Saudi Surprises In 9-11 Commission's '28 Pages'

Stephen Schwartz and Irfan Al-Alawi  •  July 20, 2016  •  The Huffington Post

On July 15, the U.S. Congress released the appendix, redacted since 2002, to the governmental inquiry regarding American intelligence failures in the period leading to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The "28 pages" kept out of the public eye for 14 years have stimulated widespread speculation. One thing, however, came to be accepted widely: that the 28 pages had to do with the involvement of Saudi Arabian subjects or officials in the terrorist atrocities.

Now that the controversial section of the 9/11 report is available for scrutiny, the suspicion that it dealt with Saudis is confirmed.

But the 28 pages do not offer significant evidence of official Saudi support or approval for Al-Qaida or the 9-11 conspiracy.

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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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