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
The Huffington Post July 24, 2014
The final day of the Islamic fasting and prayer month of Ramadan will arrive on midnight, Sunday, July 27, followed by Eid al-Fitr, the holiday of feasting, on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, given the proper sightings of the moon and differing geographical locations. Eid al-Fitr will continue for up to three days.
Eid al-Fitr has different names around the Muslim world. Having sojourned in the Balkans, I know it best by its Turkish, Balkan, and Persian name: Ramadan Bayram. In contrast, among Muslims of those and some related cultures, Eid al-Adha, marking the end of Zu’l Hijjah, the month of hajj pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina, is a second, later “Bayram.” The hajj month will commence as the third after the end of Ramadan, and will conclude the Islamic lunar year.
Ramadan this year began under the shadow of crisis in the Middle East, with the eruption of the so-called “Islamic State,” formerly calling itself the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or ISIS, across the border of Iraq. Several Muslim commentators appealed for peace during the holy month of fasting, when Muslims are called on to ponder their condition as believers, and to do good by helping the poor and otherwise disadvantaged.
Continue reading The Coming of Eid al-Fitr by Stephen Schwartz
Gatestone Institute July 20, 2014
At the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this year, coinciding with the end of the Western month of June, a new caliphate, or Islamic religious and political order, was proclaimed on the borderland of Iraq and Syria. As described by international media, the news was included in a “declaration of war” released as an online audio statement by Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, a representative of the purported “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or ISIS (also known as ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, based on differing English translations of “Sham,” the Arabic name for Greater Syria, which long included all the lands on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean). ISIS is now to be deemed simply “the Islamic State.”
Within days, the man who calls himself Abu Bakr Al-Husayni Al-Qurayshi Al-Baghdadi issued a declaration as head of the purported “Islamic State,” titled pompously, “A Message to the Mujahidin and the Muslim Ummah.”
Continue reading Sunni Muslims Must Reject ISIS “Caliphate” by Irfan Al-Alawi