CIP, May 15, 2013
Destruction of the Abdallah Al-Shaab Mausoleum, Tripoli, Libya, August 25, 2012.
The following statement was released today, May 15, in connection with the Hudson Institute seminar, “Islamist Repression of Sufis and Other Religious Minorities,” held in Washington, DC. Information on the seminar is available here. Further signatures are welcomed and should be transmitted to CIP.
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As scholars of religion, we appeal to the United Nations (UN), its Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and member states, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to undertake urgent action to end the current global wave of violence against the holy sites, shrines, and houses of worship of all religions.
In the most recent period, we note that Islamic Sufi shrines have been targeted for terror and vandalism in countries as diverse as India, Macedonia, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and Mali. To cite the most prominent examples:
Continue reading An Appeal to International Organisations Against Attacks and Atrocities At Sacred Sites by Center for Islamic Pluralism
CIP May 7, 2013
Imam Talal Eid of the Islamic Institute of Boston, a former member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, has refused to provide Muslim burial services for [...]
CIP April 19, 2013
Preliminary news reports state that the YouTube account of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two brothers accused of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, and subsequent violent [...]
Folksmagazine [India] April 24, 2012
Is Pakistani radical Islamist Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, at 61 years of age, the most powerful man in the world? Observing events of the past month, one might be justified in thinking so.
Early in April, the United States government offered USD 10 million for the capture of Saeed, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the so-called “Army of the Righteous.” LeT is an ally of Al-Qaida supported by the Pakistani military and intelligence services as a jihadist force against Kashmir. It has been involved in numerous terrorist conspiracies and atrocities over the years since September 11, 2001. These have included recruitment of American Muslims to fight against India, planning of the 2006 explosive chemical plot aimed at U.S. and British air traffic, and, most significantly, the deadly 2008 attack on Mumbai.
Pakistan arrested and held Saeed for six months after the Mumbai massacre, and LeT reinvented itself as a supposed charity, Jama’t ud-Da’wah (JuD), the “Community of Preaching.” Islamabad authorities claimed they lacked sufficient evidence to try Saeed. After announcing that Jama’t ud-Da’wah would be suppressed, Pakistani officials failed to carry through the ban. But the radical ideology of Saeed’s following has not changed. Saeed is a key leader of the “Defense of Pakistan Council,” which has agitated the country against the West and India. LeT was designated a terrorist entity by the U.S., and JuD was outlawed by the United Nations after the Mumbai raid. The organization is similarly prohibited in India, the UK, the European Union, and Australia.
Continue reading How Powerful is Hafiz Saeed? by Stephen Schwartz and Irfan Al-Alawi
The Weekly Standard Blog March 19, 2012
The flag of the Albanian Nation.
The great majority of Kosovar Albanians take pride in their reputation as the most pro-American Muslims in the world. Their Sunni Islam is conventional and moderate, and spiritual Sufism is a powerful force among the believers. Since 2009, however, a serious effort has been visible in the Balkan republic to turn Kosovar Islam in the direction of Wahhabism, the ultrafundamentalist sect that inspires al Qaeda. The meddling is coming mainly from neighboring Macedonia, where Albanians and Muslims are recognized officially as minorities, and the Islamic clerical apparatus has come under Arab control.
Kosovo defines itself constitutionally as a secular state, and female students are forbidden to wear headscarves in public schools, with religious instruction barred from state-subsidized primary and secondary education. But anti-extremist imams and professors of Islamic theology have been physically attacked and fired from Islamic teaching at the university level.
On March 8, Kosovo saw a new front open against radical Islam, in the beautiful region of Kaçanik near the Macedonian border. The town of Kaçanik has special resonance for Kosovars. In 1990, Kosovo Albanians met there to adopt a constitution proclaiming their independence from a collapsing Yugoslavia. The document was memorable for bearing the Statue of Liberty on its printed cover. Kaçanik is also known for its historic and graceful Gazi Sinan Pasha mosque, erected in the 16th century at the order of an Albanian grand vizier of the Ottoman empire.
Continue reading Kosovo Continues Fight Against Wahhabi Infiltration by Stephen Schwartz
Toronto Sun March 3, 2012
In apologizing for the inadvertent burning of the Qur’an by American soldiers, U.S. President Barack Obama has put on display yet again how abjectly craven he is when dealing with the Muslim world.
Any reasonable person knows well it is not American policy to abuse, harm, injure or insult Muslims intentionally, nor burn or demolish any thing that Muslims hold sacred as part of their belief.
It is also known much too well by Muslims residing in the U.S., and in countries of the West, that they live better in freedom with their faith flourishing and secure than they would anywhere inside the Arab-Muslim world.
So why does an American president show contrition when responding to the newest outrage by Muslim mobs directed at the U.S. and its personnel due to grievance of little merit? The apology, according to the explanation given, was to defuse a highly volatile situation.
The problem with such a craven apology is it does not work, and for the same reason as appeasing an extortionist does not work.
The situation is made worse by the silence of Muslims — both of Muslim officialdom in Muslim-majority countries and of Muslims residing in the West — in not flatly condemning these organized rituals of mayhem and murder for the purposes of spreading fear and intimidation.
Continue reading Outrage merits condemnation, not apology by Salim Mansur
Folksmagazine [India] March 1, 2012
UPDATE: On Tuesday, February 28, 16 Shia Muslims were murdered by uniformed members of the terrorist Jundullah, or so-called “Army of God,” after being removed from a bus proceeding from Rawalpindi to Gilgit in Pakistan. This crime follows on those described below.
Pakistan continues its slide downward to definitive failure as a state. At the heart of its crisis, the Pakistani Taliban and their fanatical allies, claiming the mantle of Sunni Islam, maintain a homicidal offensive against conventional Sunnis, spiritual Sufis, and Shia Muslims, as well as Hindus and Christians. The various entities that carry on this atrocious campaign enjoy, as every honest commentator on South Asia knows, protection from the Pakistani armed forces and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) apparatus. Similar patronage is extended by Islamabad to the Afghan Taliban.
Since the May 2011 liquidation of Osama Bin Laden, as the terrorist chief benefited from shelter by the Pakistani authorities, relations between Pakistan and the U.S. have been stalemated. Islamabad chose to interpret the U.S. military raid that eliminated Bin Laden as a violation of its sovereignty. As these words are written, the former Bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, the city where Pakistan’s elite Military Academy is located, has been demolished. Pakistan still refuses to break with its posture of laxity toward the Taliban and other jihadists.
The U.S. presidential administration of Barack Obama professes to believe that it can abate the Taliban problem in Afghanistan by diplomacy. Put plainly, the U.S. government seems intent on handing over Afghanistan, or a large share of its territory, to the Taliban, on the pretext of peace. An “agreement” with the Afghan fundamentalists would allow the U.S. to withdraw 22,000 troops, out of a current total of 90,000, from the mountainous redoubt by the end of this year, in line with the goal of general disengagement by the end of 2014. But, we are told, some NATO troops will stay in Afghanistan after 2014. Political overtures include the almost-unbelievable effort by Washington and Islamabad to help the Afghan Taliban establish a political office in Qatar. Pakistan appears committed to the Qatar scheme notwithstanding the irritation of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who resents visibly being bypassed by the U.S. and Pakistan in their dealings with the Taliban.
Continue reading Shia Muslims Massacred in Pakistan by Stephen Schwartz
Folksmagazine [India] February 20, 2012
Ajmer Dargah Sharif, India's most beloved Sufi shrine, dedicated to Khwaja Mo'inuddin Chishti, constructed 16th c. CE — Photograph by Singh92karan, 2010, Via Wikimedia Commons.
British-born Muslim Anjem Choudary and the Syrian Omar Bakri Muhammad are two of the most flamboyant and provocative radical Islamist agitators to have afflicted the West. Choudary, who remains based in Britain, describes himself as the “Manager of the Shariah Court of the UK and former spokesman for Al-Muhajiroun.” The latter group, with an Arabic name meaning “the religious emigrants,” and its front organization, “Shariah4UK,” were proscribed by British authorities in 2010 under legislation for the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism. This dangerous and disreputable crew had faced prohibition under UK law previously in 2004 and 2005. But ever versatile in its efforts to disrupt British civil society, both non-Muslim and Muslim, the network has also been styled “Al-Ghurabaa” (meaning “The Strangers”), The Saved or Saviour Sect, Call to Submission, Islam4UK, Islamic Path, and the London School of Sharia.
Omar Bakri Muhammad, widely known as OBM, was the founder of Al-Muhajiroun, after several years’ involvement with the radical Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT or Liberation Party). HuT is an aberrant movement based originally in pan-Islamic ideology but which adopted radical leftist shadings (and, reportedly, recruited some former Marxists). The program of HuT is notable in its claim that restoration of a global caliphate (khilafat) would create a kind of Islamic welfare state. HuT has employed this idiom particularly in the Central Asian former Soviet republics, where nostalgia for the dictatorial stability, guaranteed employment and other services afforded by Russian communism is strong. Although it is banned in such Muslim countries as Jordan, where it was founded by a Palestinian Islamic jurist, Taqiuddin Al-Nabhani (1909-77), and in non-Muslim lands like Germany, HuT is legal in Indonesia.
Continue reading Loudmouth Lunatics on the Loose in Indian Shariah Campaign by Stephen Schwartz