Center for Islamic PluralismCenter for Islamic PluralismCenter for Islamic Pluralism

About Us

Our Mission

Founded in Washington, DC in 2004, the Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP) is a think tank that challenges the dominance of American Muslim life by militant Islamist groups. Specifically, our mission is to:

  • Foster, develop, defend, protect, and further mobilize moderate American Muslims in their progress toward integration as an equal and respected religious community in the American interfaith environment;

  • Define the future of Islam in America as a community opposed to the politicization of our religion, its radicalization, and its marginalization, which has taken place because of the imposition on Muslims of attitudes opposed to American values, traditions, and policies;

  • Educate the broader American public about the reality of moderate Islam and the threat to moderate Muslims and non-Muslim Americans represented by militant, political, radical, and adversarial tendencies.

Activities

CIP activities include:

  • Media activity in print, websites, radio and television;

  • Conferences bringing together outstanding representatives of moderate Islam from throughout the Western world;

  • Publications, including papers, newsletters, books, videos, and, eventually, a regular journal;

  • Maintenance of a website: www.islamicpluralism.org;

  • Outreach to the international Muslim community.

Contact Information

Please direct inquiries to Stephen Suleyman Schwartz.
Email: schwartz@islamicpluralism.org
Tel: 1.415.956.9296
Fax: 1.866.792.9439 (toll-free)
Webmaster email: webmaster@islamicpluralism.org

Center for Islamic Pluralism
1718 M Street NW #260
Washington, DC 20036 USA

Contributions and Membership

The Center for Islamic Pluralism is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity. Contributions are deductible under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code. It is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers, and gifts under sections 2055, 2106, or 2622 of the code. For further information, please contact us.

Staff

Kemal Silay

Professor of Ottoman and Modern Turkish Culture at Indiana University (affiliation for identification only)

Professor Silay is current President of CIP. He was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1964 to a middle-class family, educated in public schools from the elementary to the university level. After completing his B.A. from the Department of Turkology at Ankara University in 1988, he was awarded a governmental scholarship to study abroad. Arriving in New York in May 1988, he completed English language training and then began his graduate education at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he received a M.A. in Turkish Studies from the Department of Central Eurasian Studies in 1990 and a Ph.D. in 1993 from the same institution.

Stephen Schwartz

CIP Executive Director Stephen Schwartz Recites Fatiha at the Temporary Grave of Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović, Sarajevo, 2004. Photograph by Joshua Mensch

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, DC and author of the 2008 book The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony (Doubleday). In 2002, he published the bestselling The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role In Terrorism (Doubleday). He is also author of Sarajevo Rose: A Balkan Jewish Notebook, published in the U.S. by Routledge Macmillan and in Britain by The Bosnian Institute and Saqi Books. He is a Fellow of the Middle East Forum.

The Two Faces of Islam has been translated into Bosnian (Dva Lica Islama), Albanian (Dy Ftyrat e Islamit), Farsi (Du Chehrhe Az-Islam), and Indonesian (Dua Wajah Islam). As of 2013, Hindi and Urdu editions are forthcoming. The Other Islam has been published in Albanian (Islami Tjetër) and Bosnian (Jedan Drugačiji Islam). Sarajevo Rose has been published in Bosnian (Sarajevska Ruža).

Stephen Schwartz was born in 1948, and has pursued a long literary and journalistic career. He was a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle for 10 years and was secretary of the Northern California Newspaper Guild, AFL-CIO. In 2004-06 he was an institutional historian at the National Endowment for the Arts, a U.S. federal agency.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, his extensive and authoritative writings on the phenomenon of Wahhabism established him as one of the leading global experts on Islam, its internal divisions, and its relations with other faiths.

His articles have been printed in the world's major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Toronto Globe and Mail, and many more. He is a regular contributor to The Weekly Standard and The Huffington Post as well as to leading periodicals in the Balkans.

He began a serious examination of Islam in 1990, when he first visited Yugoslavia. Researching the approaching collapse of that state and the history of Jews in the Balkans – for articles published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jewish Forward and other periodicals – he developed close relations with Balkan Islamic intellectual, religious and political leaders.

During the 1990s he continued his intensive study of Balkan comparative religion, supplementing his reporting on the region with work as an editor for the Albanian Catholic Institute in San Francisco. He also completed missions in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kosova, Croatia, and Slovenia for the International Federation of Journalists, the Council of Europe, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Crisis Group, the Soros Fund for an Open Society, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and the U.S. Department of State.

In 1999, with the Kosova intervention, Mr. Schwartz retired from the San Francisco Chronicle and moved to the Balkans..

He wrote a weekly foreign affairs column for the Sarajevo daily Oslobođenje, a weekly opinion column in the Kosova newspaper Dita, and reportage for the Bosnian Islamic weekly, Ljiljan. In 2000, he published a book in Bosnian and English on Muslim identity and media issues in the Balkans, "A Dishonest 20th Century Comedy" (Forum of the Congress of Bosnian Muslim Intellectuals, Sarajevo).

He has returned to the Balkans at least once yearly since 2003.

He has been a student of Sufism since the late 1960s and an adherent of the Hanafi school of Islam since 1997.

Related Publications

Religion in Kosovo, International Crisis Group, Brussels/Washington/Kosova, 2001 (unsigned). (See www.crisisweb.org)

Kosovo: Background to a War, Anthem Press, London, 2000, introduction by Christopher Hitchens. Includes a thorough description of Islam in Kosova. Described as "an interesting book by one of the few Westerners who knew Kosovo well before the war" by Timothy Garton Ash in The New York Review of Books, September 21, 2000, and has been put at the top of its list of recommended books on Kosova by the International Rescue Committee (see www.intrescom.org.) Also published in Albanian (Kosova: Prejardhja e Nji Lufte).

El Libro de Adem Kahriman, by Nedžad Ibrišimović, translated into Spanish with Antonio Saborit, Mexico City, Breve Fondo Editorial, 2000. By a Bosnian Muslim author. Honored as Book of the Year in Translation for 2000 by the Mexican daily Reforma.

Citations from Schwartz's work on Jewish-Muslim relations in the Balkans appear in Yugoslav Jewry: Aspects of Post-World War II and Post-Yugoslav Developments, by Ari Kerkkanen, Helsinki, Finnish Oriental Society, 2001 and Turkish Jewish Encounters, edited by Mehmet Tutuncu, Haarlem (Netherlands), SOTA, 2001.

Other Books:

Ëndërrimi në shqip/Dreaming in Albanian, Skopje/Shkup [Macedonia], Fakti, 2003.

Intellectuals and Assassins, London, Anthem Press, 2000.

From West to East: California and the Making of the American Mind, New York, The Free Press, Inc., 1998.

A Strange Silence: The Emergence of Democracy in Nicaragua, introduction by Víctor Alba, San Francisco, ICS Press, 1992.

Spanish Marxism vs. Soviet Communism: A History of the P.O.U.M. (with Víctor Alba), New Brunswick, Transaction Books, 1988.

The Transition: From Authoritarianism to Democracy in the Hispanic World, San Francisco, ICS Press, 1987 (Ed., with essays by Octavio Paz, Heberto Padilla, and others).

Brotherhood of the Sea: A History of the Sailors' Union of the Pacific, 1885-1985, New Brunswick, Transaction Books, 1986. (See www.sailors.org/history.html)

The founders of the Center for Islamic Pluralism were (affiliations for identification only):

  • Kemal Silay, CIP President, Professor of Ottoman and modern Turkish culture at Indiana University
  • Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, CIP Executive Director
  • Nawab Agha, CIP Shia Affairs Director, Chairman, American Muslim Congress
  • Zuhdi Jasser, Chairman, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
  • Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Former professor, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, author of Penalty of Apostasy: A Study of Islamic Law
  • Salim Mansur, CIP Canadian Director, Professor of Political Science, University of Western Ontario, columnist, Toronto Sun
  • Khaleel Mohammed, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at San Diego State University
  • Tashbih Sayyed, Publisher, Muslim World Today (deceased)

CIP staff now includes:

  • Dr. Irfan Al-Alawi, CIP International Director
  • Murat Muftari, CIP U.S. National Director
  • Veli Sirin, CIP Germany Director
  • Kamal Hasani, CIP General Studies Director
  • Daut Dauti, CIP UK Research Director
  • Jalal Zuberi, CIP Southern U.S. Director
  • Imaad Malik, CIP Prison Outreach Director [on leave]

Affiliates

In 2014, CIP has active groups and correspondents in 32 Muslim-majority countries and Muslim-minority communities.

© 2014 Center for Islamic Pluralism.

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