CIP Reports


Black America , Prisons, And Radical Islam


Scientific Training and Radical Islam


Islam and Communism in the 20th Century


A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology In Western Europe, 2007-2009


A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology In Western Europe - German edition

 

Muslim Women I Love Most

 

The Other Islam (PDF)

Habs-i-nafas1 and Pas-i anfas2 as Methods of Invocation

 

Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia

 

 

 

"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
Obey your country's laws, Marje Sistani urges Muslims in West
by Mohamed Ali | MONTREAL, Canada
Iraq's Al-Marje Al-Alaa Ali Sistani sent a message to Muslims in Western nations, urging them to obey the laws of the countries in which they live.The fatwa was delivered at a Montreal news conference of prominent Shia Muslims on behalf of Ayatullah Sayyed Ali As-Sistani "Muslims have undertaken to obey the laws of the country of their residence and thus they must be faithful to that undertaking," the statement read. It condemned all acts of violence and encouraged imams to keep a watchful eye on what's going on inside their mosques

Kosova Widens Its International Interfaith Scope by Stephen Schwartz

The Huffington Post May 27, 2014

Prizren, Kosova -- At center, the 17th c. CE Sinan Pasha mosque. Photograph Via Wikimedia Commons.

The Muslim-majority Kosova Republic has taken a leading initiative in promoting international interfaith dialogue, in a Balkan setting. The Kosova government has committed notably to public reconciliation efforts bringing official Albanian Muslim clerical authorities together with representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

In the long period of civil confrontation in Kosova, which entered an acute phase in 1987 and culminated in NATO military intervention in 1999, Serbian Orthodox religious leaders were more prominent as political actors than Albanian Muslim and Catholic faith representatives. Supporters of Serbian demagogue Slobodan Miloševiċ portrayed the struggle in Kosova as a Serbian response to Islamist jihadism.

That gambit by Miloševiċ and his minions echoed their earlier attempt, in the Bosnian war of 1992-95, to depict the Bosnian Muslims as Islamist fundamentalists. Yet the overwhelming majority of Bosnian Muslims fought, in the company of Catholic Croats, Serbian believers in a single Bosnia, Jews, and people of no religion, for the right to live in peace with their neighbors, rather than for Islamic supremacy.

Continue reading Kosova Widens Its International Interfaith Scope by Stephen Schwartz

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Europe’s Muslims: Can We Have a Common Template? by Stephen Sylejman Schwartz

The flag of the Albanian nation.

CIP May 24, 2014

Remarks to Second Kosova Interfaith Conference, Prizren, Kosova Republic

Selamalejkum warahmetallahuh wabarakatuh,

Bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim,

Greetings,

While I am an American by birth, I accepted Islam in Bosnia-Hercegovina in 1997, at age 49. For this reason, and because so much of the work of the organization I founded, the Center for Islamic Pluralism, has been carried out in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe, I believe I can answer adequately the question of whether Europe’s Muslims can develop a common “template.”

We are often preached to, by Islamic radicals, regarding the indissoluble unity of the Muslim global community or ummah. We are informed that there is one Allah subhanawata’la, one Prophet Muhammad sallallahualejhisalem, and one Qur’an al-qerim. All of which are true. There is, we are told, one Islam, in which local, cultural, and doctrinal differences disappear. This is questionable, to say the least.

Continue reading Europe’s Muslims: Can We Have a Common Template? by Stephen Sylejman Schwartz

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German Alevi Muslims Vs. Wahhabis at Macedonian Bektashi Shrine by Center for Islamic Pluralism

The flag of the Albanian nation.

CIP May 23, 2014

This note is excerpted by the Center for Islamic Pluralism from a reportage on a visit by German Turkish and Kurdish Alevi-Bektashi youth to the Harabati Baba Beltashi teqe on April 18, 2014.

The original reportage, in Turkish, appears here: http://www.ntvmsnbc.com/id/25514552/.

The Harabati Baba Bektashi Sufi teqe, Tetova, Macedonia, 2007 — Photograph by Stephen Sylejman Schwartz.

The Harabati Baba teqe/Dergah (shrine) of the Bektashi Sufi order is located in Tetova, western Macedonia. It was established in 1538 at the türbe (tomb) of the dervish Sersem Ali Baba. According to historical record, Sersem Ali was a vizier of the Ottoman Sultan Süleyman Kanuni (the Lawgiver, often called the Magnificent, lived 1494-1566) and brother of Mahidevran Sultan, the concubine of Süleyman Kanuni. Sersem Ali Baba abandoned his office after an illuminating dream and took to the path of the Sufism. The sultan reacted furiously, saying “If he wants to be a fool, he should go.” In Tetova, Sersem Ali Baba gathered many mystics around himself, including Harabati Baba, who built the türbe on the site of today’s teqe.

In 1945, with the establishment of the Tito Communist regime in the former Yugoslavia, the teqe was closed. It was set afire in 1948. Converted for tourist use, it housed at various times a hotel, a restaurant, and a discothèque. After the collapse of Yugoslavia the teqe was revived by the Bektashis. At present they are fighting to preserve this special place. Currently the sole dervish Abdylmytalip Beqiri maintains the teqe and receives guests. Dr. Arben Sulejmani looks after diplomatic matters. The Bektashis in 1993 sought recognition as a religious community, but this status has been refused by the Macedonian state.

Continue reading German Alevi Muslims Vs. Wahhabis at Macedonian Bektashi Shrine by Center for Islamic Pluralism

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Schools in East Turkestan Suppress Doppa Festival by Greg Fay, Manager, Uyghur Human Rights Project

Uyghur Human Rights Project and Uyghur American Association May 16, 2014

The flag of East Turkestan.

[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Uyghur Human Rights Project.]

Listen: UHRP interviews a Uyghur student about suppression of the Doppa festival

May 5, 2014 marked the fifth celebration of the annual Doppa festival, a day to celebrate Uyghur culture on which Uyghurs wear their doppa, a four-cornered hat that is an essential part of Uyghurs’ traditional ethnic clothing. UHRP interviewed a young Uyghur student about his experience of the Doppa festival and its suppression in recent years, which can be heard by hitting play on the SoundCloud link above.

In Washington, DC, UHRP and UAA staff wore doppa in front of the White House to celebrate the festival, as well as to highlight the freedom of cultural expression enjoyed outside of China. As the interview indicates, this is not a freedom shared by the Uyghurs in East Turkestan. (Image)

The doppa is a key expression of Uyghur cultural identity. The style of a doppa can signify gender or hometown, or reflect the artistic tradition in which the doppa was created. (This video, made for the 2011 Doppa festival, showcases the diversity of doppa designs.) Regardless of these specific designations, the doppa is a celebration of Uyghur cultural heritage. The etymology of the word is said to mean, “there is our group.”

The Doppa festival was founded by Uyghur students after the July 5, 2009 unrest in Urumqi as a means of celebrating Uyghur culture. The idea was simple – wear the doppa on May 5 to display pride in Uyghur culture. Publicized online on Uyghur websites, China’s state media also supported the festival in the first few years after it was created, with promotion from People’s Daily, China Daily, Xinhua, and China Ethnic News.

Continue reading Schools in East Turkestan Suppress Doppa Festival by Greg Fay, Manager, Uyghur Human Rights Project

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Solidarity Against Female Genital Mutilation by Irfan Al-Alawi

Gatestone Institute May 7, 2014

Late in March, British authorities undertook their first prosecutions against female genital mutilation, which has been prohibited in the United Kingdom since 2003. As revealed by BBC News on March 21, “Dr. Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, of Ilford, east London, will be prosecuted for an alleged offence while working at the Whittington Hospital in London. Hasan Mohamed, 40, of Holloway, north London, faces a charge of intentionally encouraging female genital mutilation.”

The two accused appeared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 15, were granted bail, and ordered to present themselves at Southwark Crown Court on May 2. According to the BBC, director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders said the Crown Prosecution Service was asked by the Metropolitan Police to examine allegations that “following a patient giving birth in November 2012, a doctor at the Whittington Hospital repaired female genital mutilation that had previously been performed on the woman, allegedly carrying out female genital mutilation himself.”

Continue reading Solidarity Against Female Genital Mutilation by Irfan Al-Alawi

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Harsh Repression Continues Against Iranian Dissidents by Stephen Schwartz

The Weekly Standard Blog April 29, 2014

Noorud'din Nimatullah Veli, 1330-1431 CE, may his mystery be sanctified, progenitor of Nimatullahi Sufism

April 17, 2014, has come to be known among Iranian dissidents as “Black Thursday.” On that day, at least 100 Iranian riot police, members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, soldiers, and officers of the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security joined prison guards in raiding Ward 350 of Tehran’s infamous Evin House of Detention. Numerous political prisoners and heterodox Muslims from the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi Sufi order are held at Evin.

Inmates of Ward 350 were assaulted brutally, with many injured seriously and their possessions destroyed, according to the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi website Majzooban Noor (The Alluring Light). Another Iranian opposition website, Kaleme, said the outburst by security personnel occurred during “an unprecedentedly long and aggressive inspection, [as] the prisoners protested.”

The Sufi source posted a letter on April 25 by Evin detainee Emad Bahavar, chairman of the youth branch of the Iranian Freedom Movement and a supporter of the unsuccessful 2009 opposition presidential candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi. Bahavar was arrested during the Green Movement that year. In 2010 Bahavar was sentenced by a revolutionary court to 10 years in jail.

Continue reading Harsh Repression Continues Against Iranian Dissidents by Stephen Schwartz

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A “Wadjda” for Kosova by Visar Duriqi

Gatestone Institute April 21, 2014

The flag of the Albanian nation.

Saudi Arabia, a male-dominated country, is changing slowly. One example of its cautious new openness is the 2012 movie Wadjda, Saudi Arabia’s first feature film, by its first female director, Haifaa Al-Mansour.

My country, the Balkan republic of Kosova, more than 90% Muslim, is likewise male-controlled and also appears to be changing.

That impression, however, is created by Kosova having a woman president, Atifete Jahjaga, and is false.

President Atifete Jahjaga does not belong in the same category as Wadjda, the female protagonist of the Saudi film. We need a Wadjda for our country – both a female with the spirit of the cinema character, and a movie like it. We need many Wadjdas.

Continue reading A “Wadjda” for Kosova by Visar Duriqi

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Teaching the Judeo-Spanish Heritage to Chicago Seventh Graders by Stephen Schwartz

The Huffington Post April 16, 2014

Postage stamp issued by the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina honoring the ca. 14th c. CE Sarajevo Haggadah. The manuscript was brought to the Balkans from the Iberian kingdom of Aragón and is considered a symbol of Bosnian interfaith cooperation.

During the Jewish and Christian holidays of Passover and Easter, it is well to think back on histories of inter-communal goodwill between these two Peoples of the Book and Muslims. One outstanding example involves the rich heritage of Sephardic Jewish life in the former Turkish empire, including the Balkans.

Some weeks ago, I traveled to Chicago to address parents affiliated with a multifaith private school, which serves Jewish and Catholic pupils, about Islam and its influence on Jewish and Catholic mysticism. The night before my talk to the parents, I was the guest of a kind, Bangladeshi Muslim couple living in the suburbs. There, I was introduced to Faith Laux, a seventh-grade teacher of Spanish at Carleton Washburn School in Winnetka, Ill.

Faith Laux and I spoke, after dinner, about the Spanish Jewish (Sephardic) language still found in the Balkans. She was surprised when I told her that spoken Judeo-Spanish (known as Ladino when it used in the Jewish liturgy) is comprehensible to any speaker of Spanish today. Many myths circulate about Judeo-Spanish. It is often described as a dying language, but I believe this is incorrect, since it is part of the great and wide Spanish linguistic sea, which counts more than 400 million speakers around the globe.

In my experience, Spanish is a conservative language. It has not changed greatly either in its written or spoken forms since the Renaissance, although it has spawned local dialects, such as that in Mexico, for “conventional” Spanish, or in the Balkans and Turkey, for Judeo-Spanish.

Continue reading Teaching the Judeo-Spanish Heritage to Chicago Seventh Graders by Stephen Schwartz

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CIP Greetings to People of the Book on Their Holidays by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz

CIP April 14, 2014

Postage stamp issued by the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina honoring the ca. 14th c. CE Sarajevo Haggadah. The manuscript was brought to the Balkans from the Iberian kingdom of Aragón and is considered a symbol of Bosnian interfaith cooperation.

The Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP), an international network of Muslim scholars, clerics, authors, journalists, Sufi shaykhs, and other believers, active in 32 Muslim-majority countries and Muslim-minority communities, extends greetings to our Jewish and Christian neighbors and friends on the occasion of their sacred holidays, the Jewish Passover (Pesach), which begins at sundown on Monday, April 14, and the Christian Easter, celebrated on Sunday, April 20.

We share the grief and outrage of Americans and others, Jewish and non-Jewish, at the terrorist attack on a Jewish Community Center and retirement home in Overland Park, Kan., on Sunday, April 13. This horror, in which three lives were lost, was carried out, allegedly, by a well-known paramilitary, neo-Nazi, and pagan figure. We warn our fellow-citizens that in the current, turbulent global economic and social environment, such incidents will proliferate. Neo-Nazi and related forms of prejudice strike homicidally at Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike.

The Jewish Passover marks the liberation of the House of Israel from oppression by the Egyptian Pharaoh. Moses, known to Muslims as Musa aleyhisalem, is seen by both Jews and Muslims as the only human being who spoke directly to the Creator, the all-powerful master of worlds. Jews hold family feasts, called a seder, at which a text recounting their deliverance from Pharaonic rule, the Haggadah, is read.

As moderate, traditional, conventional, spiritual, and even conservative (but not radical) Muslims, the members of CIP hold Moses/Musa a.s. and his struggle for the freedom of his people in high esteem. Qur’an teaches us to answer those who claim that the One God in which all Abrahamic religions believe “revealed nothing to any human being.” We are commanded to reply, “Who revealed the Scripture that Moses brought down as a light and guidance to humankind?” [Q 6:91]

Continue reading CIP Greetings to People of the Book on Their Holidays by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz

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CIP Endorses Condemnation of Chinese Extrajudicial Killing of Uyghur Youth Abdulbasit Ablimit by The Uyghur American Association

The flag of East Turkestan.

Uyghur Human Rights Project and Uyghur American Association April 14, 2014

[Note: The Center for Islamic Pluralism endorses this statement by the Uyghur Human Rights Project.]

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) condemns the extrajudicial killing of 17-year-old Uyghur student Abdulbasit Ablimit by police in Kelpin county, Aksu prefecture. Ablimit was shot alongside two companions after an apparent traffic violation, and police allegedly beat and detained relatives of the victims and local Uyghurs who protested the killing. UAA calls on the international community to remain vigilant to China’s unlawful killing of Uyghurs, which has increased alarmingly in the past year.

Uyghur American Association President Alim Seytoff said in a statement from Munich, Germany: “The unlawful killing of Abdulbasit Ablimit is not an isolated tragedy. As Ablimit’s family mourns his death, authorities have answered their call for justice with a merciless response. A clear pattern has emerged in East Turkestan in which Uyghurs are unlawfully killed by state agents with impunity, and anyone who questions this state brutality is punished. That a young man would lose his life over a traffic violation demonstrates the appallingly little regard China holds for the lives of its Uyghur citizens.”

Continue reading CIP Endorses Condemnation of Chinese Extrajudicial Killing of Uyghur Youth Abdulbasit Ablimit by The Uyghur American Association

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