Executive Director Schwartz Meets With State Department-Sponsored German Muslim Delegation
Center for Islamic Pluralism Executive Director Stephen Suleyman Schwartz met in Washington, DC, on April 20, 2007, with a delegation of German Muslims and non-Muslims to discuss the situation of Islam in the U.S.
The visitors were invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. Their program is arranged by Meridian International Center.
A lively discussion included particular attention to the situation of Islam in the American prison system and the need for alternative means by which convicts drawn to Islam may be counselled and otherwise assisted in transforming their lives. This means helping Muslim convicts leave behind their involvement in criminal subcultures as well as the radical interpretation of Islam promoted in the prisons, typically through intimidation, by Wahhabi chaplains.
Schwartz emphasized the problem of the Wahhabi monopoly over prison chaplaincies at the federal, state, and local level, and the leading role of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in dealing with this issue.
Members of the delegation included a Sunni imam, an Alevi woman journalist, and two non-Muslim social workers.
CIP closely monitors the situation of Islam in Germany.