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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

Is Latvia Putin's New Target?

Stephen Schwartz  •  October 22, 2014  •  First Things Online

In May 2014, I attended an interfaith conference in Kosova where I met Janīs Priede, an associate professor in the department of Oriental Studies at the University of Latvia, located in the national capital, Riga. Having watched, from the Balkans, the Russian annexation of Crimea and further attempted partition of Ukraine during the first half of the year, I expressed my concern to Prof. Priede that Latvia, a member of the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), could be the next object of aggression by Vladimir Putin. He agreed.

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Saudi Wahhabism and ISIS Wahhabism: The Difference

Stephen Schwartz  •  October 21, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Recently, some media commentators have argued that, rather than the product of a simple confrontation between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Syria and Iraq, the rise of the so-called "Islamic State" should be perceived as an eruption into those countries of Wahhabism, the only interpretation of Islam recognized as official in Saudi Arabia.

David Gardner of the Financial Times, for instance, blamed Saudi Arabia indirectly for the growth of ISIS, writing, "Jihadi extremism does present a threat to the kingdom. But in doctrinal terms it is hard to see in what way it 'deviates' from Wahhabi orthodoxy." Others have implied or alleged that Saudi Arabia helps finance ISIS.

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review of Mecca: The Sacred City

Stephen Schwartz  •  October 20, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard

Since Islam emerged more than 14 centuries ago, Mecca, near the western coast of the Arabian peninsula, has drawn the interest of the world. For Muslim believers, the city and its sacred mosque—which encompasses a high, cubical structure, the Kaaba—are the focus of spiritual devotion as the qibla, or direction of prayer, and a destination for pilgrimages. For non-Muslims, Mecca has long been enigmatic, as it has been closed to them since early in Islamic history. Ziauddin Sardar, a British Muslim of Pakistani background, has written an extensive history of Mecca. His panorama is somewhat limited, with attention focused on the great mosque and the Kaaba.

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Malala Yousafzai and the Future of Islam

Stephen Schwartz  •  October 16, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

The award of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year old Pakistani female and youngest-ever Nobel laureate, in tandem with India's Kailash Satyarthi, 60, a prominent activist for children's rights in his own country, has various contexts.

One such involves Pakistani-Indian conciliation in the face of shared challenges. As the Nobel Committee affirmed, it "regards [the dual Prize] as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism."

"Extremism" touches on a wider aspect of the 2014 Peace Prize: the future of millions of women in the Muslim global community, or umma.

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Jews and Muslims Share A Holy Week

Stephen Schwartz  •  October 6, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

This year – 2014 in the Common Era (C.E.) calendar, 5774-75 in the Hebrew calendar, and the Islamic lunar year 1435-36 – saw a coincidence between the Jewish and Muslim holy days. The 10 Jewish "Days of Awe" were observed from Rosh Hashanah on September 24 to the fast of Yom Kippur on the night of October 3-4. The Muslim observance of the Hajj pilgrimage commenced in Mecca on October 1-2 and the beginning of four days of Eid Al-Adha – the "feast of sacrifice" at the end of the Hajj – was set on the same night as Yom Kippur, October 3-4.

In the "northern" Islamic tier between the Balkans and Central Asia, Eid Al-Adha is known as Kurban Bayram, a translation of "feast of sacrifice."

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On Interfaith Dialogue
Interview with Yoginder Sikand, Author from India

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  October 1, 2014  •  CIP

Sikand: What, in your view, should be the basis of interfaith dialogue — the basic common consensus that brings people of different faiths together to dialogue in the first place?

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Pope Francis in Albania: Four Lessons

Stephen Schwartz  •  September 26, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

On September 21, Pope Francis made a one-day visit to Albania, a short air trip across the Adriatic Sea from Rome but a land neglected typically by global leaders. The excursion was the first by the Pope to a European country since his elevation, according to the Catholic News Service (CNS). He has gone to Brazil in 2013, the Holy Land in May 2014, and South Korea in August 2014.

Four lessons deserve to be gleaned from the Pope's Albanian visit.

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#BurnISISFlagChallenge in Kosova

Stephen Sylejman Schwartz  •  September 25, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

On September 8, about 20 members of the Kosova Democratic Youth, a wing of the Democratic Party of Kosova (known by its Albanian initials as the PDK), set fire to an "Islamic State" [IS] flag in Prishtina, the country's capital. In doing so, they participated in a campaign that began in Lebanon and has swept Arab countries, called the #BurnISISFlagChallenge, and inspired apparently by the "ice-bucket challenge" to support medical research. The PDK is the dominant political force in the Balkan republic, and is led by veterans of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1998-99 war.

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Uyghur American Association condemns harsh sentencing of Ilham Tohti
International community should call for Ilham Tohti's immediate release

The Uyghur American Association  •  September 24, 2014  •  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) condemns in the strongest terms the life sentencing of Uyghur economist Ilham Tohti and considers the verdict and punishment handed down to Mr. Tohti a clear indicator of China's derision for international standards of justice. UAA asks all concerned governments to strongly protest Mr. Tohti's treatment and to pressure China for his immediate release.

UAA believes the sentencing is intended to silence peaceful Uyghur dissenters to Chinese state repression and confirms the government's disregard for meaningful Uyghur participation in solving regional tensions.

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Indian Sufis Welcome Statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Al-Zawahiri

All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board  •  September 20, 2014  •  All India Ulema and Mashaikh Board

The All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) has welcomed cautiously the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said in an interview on Friday, September 19, that he was confident the Al Qaida conspiracy to establish a South Asia wing, i.e. through Qaedat Al-Jihad, will fail in India, as Indian Muslims would never dance to the tune of and never accept the philosophy of the terror group.

Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Kichowchhwi said in a statement released from the central office of AIUMB that in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Prime Minister Modi said rightly that the terror groups do not target a community but humanity as a whole.

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More Arbitrary Repression in Iran

Stephen Schwartz  •  September 16, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

The Islamic Republic of Iran remains the worst global example of capricious interference by Muslim theocrats in the personal and spiritual lives of its citizens. On September 9, as reported by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), seven young Iranians went on trial. Their supposed crime? Producing a dance video of the Pharrell Williams's pop hit "Happy" and uploading it to YouTube.

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Turkish President Erdoğan's Expansive Ambitions

Veli Sirin  •  September 9, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected Turkey's first directly elected President on August 10, representing the Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish initials as AKP). He had served the Islamist AKP as Turkey's Prime Minister continuously since 2003. He was sworn in as President on August 28.

As pointed out by Daniel Dombey reporting from Istanbul in London's Financial Times and published the day the Erdoğan presidency began, "Mr. Erdoğan remained prime minister right up until taking the office of president: both offices provide their holder with immunity from prosecution. Turkey's official register also held off publishing the results of his election as president -- which according to some of his opponents would have necessitated his resignation as prime minister -- until the day of his inauguration."

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Reporters Without Borders Demands Protection for Kosovar Investigative Journalist
Visar Duriqi Targeted by Islamists

Stephen Schwartz  •  September 5, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

The atrocious murders of American journalists James Foyle and Steven Sotloff exemplify the strategy of global terror pursued by the so-called "Islamic State" (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS or ISIL).

On Wednesday, September 3, the worldwide monitor of media freedom, Reporters Without Borders, based in France, demanded that authorities in the Kosova Republic protect Visar Duriqi, a well-known Kosovar investigative reporter, from a similar menace.

Kosova has a Muslim majority but is a secular state, and its Islamic tradition is moderate. Yet it has been targeted by radical preachers and their financial patrons.

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Schwartz Letter to Financial Times: "Wahhabism Exists"

Stephen Schwartz  •  September 3, 2014  •  Financial Times [London]

Wahhabi comments are biased

From Mr Stephen Schwartz.

Sir, The assurances of the Saudi ambassador to the UK, Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, (Letters, August 28), that the kingdom of the two Islamic holy sanctuaries, Mecca and Medina, is "fighting extremism" are welcome. But his comments about the official Saudi Wahhabi sect of Islam are opaque and biased, especially to Muslim observers.

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Sentencing of Uyghur linguist Abduweli Ayup politically motivated
Highlights Chinese government assault on Uyghur language

The Uyghur American Association  •  August 27, 2014  •  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) condemns the sentencing of Uyghur linguist Abduweli Ayup on charges of "illegal fundraising." Mr. Ayup was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined approximately USD13,000, according to a relative cited in a Radio Free Asia (RFA) article. The sentence was passed on August 21, 2014 after a one-day trial held on July 11, 2014. Based on the verdict, the sentence extends from the date of detention last August.

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Putin and the Perm-36 Gulag Monument

Stephen Schwartz  •  August 26, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Perm-36, also known as ITK-6, is the only intact facility remaining in Russia from the Soviet-era gulag system of political prisons and labor camps. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Perm-36 was turned into a Gulag Museum, "to promote democratic values and civic consciousness in contemporary Russia through preservation of the last Soviet political camp as a living reminder of repression and as an important historical and cultural monument."

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Schwartz on CCTV Refutes "Islamic State"

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  August 19, 2014  •  Chinese Central Television

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014, Chinese Central Television's feature program 'The Heat" broadcast a commentary by Center for Islamic Pluralism Executive Director Stephen Suleyman Schwartz identifying the extreme Wahhabism, and refuting the pretensions, of the so-called "Islamic State" in Syria and Iraq. The segment may be watched at Schwartz's remarks begin at minute 22:26 and conclude the show.


Curing Wahhabism, The "Syphilis of Islam"
Interview by Pedro Ravazzano

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz  •  August 18, 2014  •  Islamidades [Brazil-México]

The blog Islamidades begins a series of interviews with various representatives of the Muslim world and also with scholars of Islam.

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz is an American journalist, columnist and author with articles published in several newspapers: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Toronto Globe and Mail, etc. He describes himself as "a student of Sufism since the late 1960s and an adherent of the Hanafi school of Islam since 1997."

As executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, he is one of the sharpest critics of Wahhabi fundamentalism. His book The Two Faces of Islam is a renowned publication about Muslim radicalism.

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ISIS and the Kosovar Albanians

Stephen Schwartz  •  August 12, 2014  •  The Huffington Post

U.S. air strikes continue against the terrorists of the so-called "Islamic State" – formerly the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" or ISIS – in the borderlands of Iraqi Kurdistan. American military action has been impelled by the genocidal ISIS threat to Christians and various small Kurdish and other religious minorities, including Yezidis, whose faith is linked to Zoroastrianism, and the ancient monotheistic community of Mandaeans. Meanwhile, questions about the extremist movement and its foreign recruits have spread throughout the Muslim lands and the Muslim minority communities in the West, from Belgium to Australia.

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Iranians vs. "Hanging Judges"

Stephen Schwartz  •  August 5, 2014  •  The Weekly Standard Blog

Abulghasem Salavati, who heads Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, is known as one of Iran's "hanging judges." As the London Guardian reported recently, Salavati and his colleague, Mohammad Moghiseh, are most prominent judges in a drive to suppress independent journalists and political dissenters. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), a professional organization based in Brussels, denounced Iran on July 29 for keeping 27 journalists locked up.

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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

© 2014 Center for Islamic Pluralism.

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