Uyghur Human Rights Project and Uyghur American Association August 27, 2014
[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Uyghur American Association.]
The flag of East Turkestan.
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.
“There are a number of disturbing aspects to Mr. Ayup’s case. Reports he was denied family visits and accounts of his deteriorating health in custody should set off alarms that the conditions of his detention fell far below international standards and may have influenced the case,” said UAA president, Alim Seytoff in a statement from Washington, DC.
“The Chinese government’s assault on the Uyghur language has been systematic with the establishment of so-called bilingual education in East Turkestan public schools. Now it seems that even individual and private initiatives to protect the Uyghur language are a threat to the Chinese authorities’ assimilative process.”
Mr. Seytoff added: “Punishing peaceful Uyghur scholars, like Abduweli Ayup and Ilham Tohti, who have worked within the Chinese system and entirely within the confines of China’s laws, will not foster trust or good relations between the Chinese state and Uyghur people.”
Continue reading Sentencing of Uyghur linguist Abduweli Ayup politically motivated Highlights Chinese government assault on Uyghur language by The Uyghur American Association
The Weekly Standard Blog August 26, 2014
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.”
On August 23, the English-language website “Russia Behind the Headlines” reported that Perm-36 is no longer open, and that its directors, Tatyana Kursina and Viktor Shmirov, had been fired. The pair was replaced, according to the website, by “an official from the Perm Ministry of Culture, Natalya Semakova, who had had no prior relationship to the museum. In July, after a series of unsuccessful attempts to restore the status quo, the non-governmental organization Perm-36 officially announced its termination of cooperation with the museum. It is currently preparing to collect all of its property – literally all of the museum’s collections. It is unclear what will be displayed in their place at the museum.”
Continue reading Putin and the Perm-36 Gulag Monument by Stephen Schwartz
Chinese Central Television August 19, 201
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
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 http://english.cntv.cn/2014/08/19/VIDE1408428003965645.shtml. Schwartz’s remarks begin at minute 22:26 and conclude the show.
Islamidades [Brazil-México] August 18, 2014
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.
Islamidades: In your book The Two Faces of Islam you expose the historical genesis of Islamic fundamentalism. More than a praxis of terror, the essence of current fundamentalism is a radical reform of the Muslim perspective. Wahhabism converts anachronism into orthodoxy and leaves as a trail the destruction of the whole legacy of Islamic civilization. Union with the House of Saud gave force to the thinking of Muhammad Ibn Al-Wahhab. Analyzing this historical scenario and its contemporary consequences, is it possible to “cure” Islam of this “syphilis,” using the term you put forward?
Continue reading Curing Wahhabism, The “Syphilis of Islam” Interview by Pedro Ravazzano by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
The Huffington Post August 12, 2014
The flag of the Albanian nation.
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.
On Monday, August 11, authorities in the Kosova Republic – among the most pro-Western Muslim-majority states in the world – announced the detention of 40 Kosovar citizens suspected of participation in terrorism in Iraq and Syria. The arrests came after raids at 60 locations in the Balkan country, and were carried out under procedures established by the Kosova Penal Code protecting “constitutional order and security in the Republic.”
Continue reading ISIS and the Kosovar Albanians by Stephen Schwartz
Gatestone Institute August 4, 2014
he wreckage of the destroyed Shrine of Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq.
On July 24, as reported by media around the world including the London Guardian, members of the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), which now calls itself simply the “Islamic State,” blew up the tomb and shrine of the prophet Jonah in Mosul.
Iraq’s second-biggest city, Mosul has been occupied by ISIS since the first week of June. Muslim believers were ordered to leave the shrine before it was destroyed.
Jonah, known as Yonah in Judaism and Yunus in Islam, is a significant figure in the theologies of all three Abrahamic religions. The Shrine of Jonah was erected at an archeological site believed to date from the eighth century B.C.E. [Before Common Era].
Continue reading Extreme Wahhabism on Display in Shrine Destruction in Mosul by Irfan Al-Alawi
Koha Ditore [Prishtina, Kosova] August 3, 2014
Introductory note by Koha Ditore: The Palestinian war resembles that of the Kosovar Albanians – it has nothing to do with religion, but with the state. Hamas, as a branch of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, “dresses itself in Islamic costume and employs Islamic vocabulary to present the war as a conflict between differing believers, but it has never been that,” said Stephen Sylejman Schwartz, a scholar of Islam and executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, based in Washington, DC, USA.
Schwartz, in an exclusive e-mail interview given to Koha Ditore, discussed the context of the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas, and the consequences of its influence in the region and in the world – including debates in Kosovar society.
Efforts to present the war as directed against Muslims, according to Schwartz, reflect the penetration of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kosova. He spoke about Prishtina’s position on this issue and the Kosovar approach to a Palestinian state.
Schwartz, a well-known American journalist (who in 1997 became a Hanafi Muslim), is the author of many books, among them several about Kosovar Albanians. His book The Other Islam [Islami Tjetër] was issued recently in Albanian by the Koha publishing house.
Continue reading Schwartz: The Palestinian War is About Politics, not Religion by Brikenda Rexhepi
The Weekly Standard Blog July 29, 2014
Ayatollah Seyed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi in his prison cell.
Ayatollah Seyed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi has been incarcerated, mainly in Tehran’s ignominious Evin Prison, since 2006. He is accused of “combat against God” for his criticisms of the Iranian clerical dictatorship, and is serving an 11-year sentence. Now kept in the “special clerical ward,” he has suffered numerous ailments, has accused his jailers of torture, and is among the most famous Iranian prisoners of conscience.
Boroujerdi was born in 1958, an heir to a distinguished Shia clerical family prominent before the Khomeini revolution of 1979. He studied at the theological center in Qom but rejected the ideology of Khomeini. He was arrested in 1995 and 2001 because of his popularity with Iranian believers. His father, Ayatollah Seyed Mohammad Ali Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, was executed by the regime in 2002.
Continue reading Dissident Iranian Ayatollah Again Denounces Tehran from Prison by Stephen Schwartz
The Huffington Post July 28, 2014
The flag of Ukraine. Every Muslim should stand up against Russian imperialism.
On July 25, the London Financial Times published a lengthy and fascinating report dealing with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Courtney Weaver, a Moscow staffer for the newspaper, described how Konstantin V. Malofeev, a Russian Orthodox Christian billionaire little known in the West, travelled to Sevastopol, on the southwest coast of the Crimean Peninsula, in January of this year. Malofeev had gone to the Crimean port and naval base unintentionally, when his airplane was forced to land in bad weather.
Malofeev went to Sevastopol some weeks prior to the arrival there of Russian soldiers. In March, Crimea was annexed by Russia. According to the Financial Times, Malofeev is “a key figure linking the pro-Russia forces on the ground in Ukraine and the political establishment in Moscow.”
Continue reading Russian Oligarch’s Balkan-Style Gambit in Ukraine by Stephen Schwartz