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

CIP Protests Report Saudi Blogger Will Be Flogged by Center for Islamic Pluralism

CIP January 8, 2015

Our brother Raif Badawi. Please remember him in your duas.

The Center for Islamic Pluralism protests against news that the Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi will receive the first 50 lashes of a 1,000-lash sentence on Friday, January 9, 2015, in the kingdom’s commercial capital, Jeddah.

Badawi, as reported in the London Guardian, operated an online forum, Free Saudi Liberals. Badawi was arrested in June 2012 and, according to Reuters, charged with a range of alleged offenses, from disobedience to his father to cyber crime and apostasy, or abandoning the faith of Islam.

He was found guilty originally and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. CIP reported on Badawi’s case in 2013, stating then, “We pray that reform elements in the Saudi leadership will show mercy by vacating the sentence against Badawi.”

Continue reading CIP Protests Report Saudi Blogger Will Be Flogged by Center for Islamic Pluralism

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Religious Police’ Reforms by Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz

The Weekly Standard Blog October 9, 2012

The Shrine of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahualeyisalem, in Medina.

In the seven years since King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz assumed the throne of Saudi Arabia, the absolute monarch, whose reformist aspirations are widely believed to be sincere, has attempted to curb some of the outrageous human rights violations for which the desert kingdom is known. Many of these have involved the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), the ubiquitous “moral guardians” that patrolled Saudi Arabian public space and occasionally raided private homes. But change has been obstructed by members of the royal family, state officials, and clerics representing the ultra-fundamentalist Wahhabi sect that is the official Islamic interpretation in the country and dominates it in a marriage-based alliance with the Al-Saud family.

At the beginning of October, Saudi Arabia announced reforms in the activities of the CPVPV that could mark a turn in the evolution of Saudi Arabia toward normality as a society.

Westerners call the CPVPV “the religious police,” although they have lacked law-enforcement training or other professional characteristics of public-order bodies. Saudi subjects and foreign Muslims who visit Saudi Arabia refer to them as the “hai’a” (commission), or the “mutawiyin“—the latter meaning “the pious,” “the devotees,” or “the volunteers” but with a strong implication of vigilantism. Dressed in white robes and red-checkered headscarves, they remain feared and hated by the Saudi populace.

Continue reading Saudi Arabia’s ‘Religious Police’ Reforms by Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz

Arab Spring vs. Women’s Rights by Raheel Raza

Gatestone Institute June 21, 2012

In the “Arab Spring” countries in transition, women are now marginalized or excluded entirely from political bodies. Denial of one’s fundamental right to participate in the democratic process in one’s own country is one form of violence. Yet it is not, unfortunately, alone in the pattern of violence involving restrictions on women.

In much of the Muslim world today, when a Muslim woman speaks out or is qualified to take a leadership role, she is called “militant.” In a propaganda trap doubtlessly intended to cripple one politically – like so many others of its kind, such as “racist” – if a woman speaks in ways expected of a woman, she is seen as an inadequate leader; if she speaks in ways expected of a leader, she is seen as an inadequate woman. If you can dismiss the person, you can dismiss the issue.

During the revolutions and uprisings across the Arab world, violence targeting women has been reported frequently as committed by police, soldiers, and militia. There have even been accounts of violence against women by demonstrators.

Continue reading Arab Spring vs. Women’s Rights by Raheel Raza

Top Saudi Cleric: Ban Christian Churches in Arabia

Let Girls Marry at 10 by Irfan Al-Alawi

Gatestone Institute May 23, 2012

In late April of this year, the Wahhabi grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdullah Aal Ash-Sheikh, who controls all Sunni Muslim clerics in the desert kingdom, announced that girls could be forced into marriage at age 10 or 12, without their consent, by contractual arrangement between families.

Aal Ash-Sheikh delivered this opinion in an address to faculty at the Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh – known to ordinary Saudis as “the terrorist factory.” Aal Ash-Sheikh said, “Our mothers and grandmothers got married when they were barely 12. Good upbringing makes a girl ready to perform all marital duties at that age.”

The Saudi chief cleric then proceeded to conflict with repeated promises of the Saudi King, Abdullah, to foster interfaith respect and dialogue, by calling, in mid-March, for the destruction of all Christian churches in the Arabian Peninsula. Responding to a query in Kuwait by Muslim clerics affiliated with the “Revival of Islamic Heritage Society,” favorable to Wahhabism, Aal Ash-Sheikh based his argument on a weakly-transmitted hadith, or oral commentary from the life of Muhammad, in which the Prophet allegedly mandated that there should not be “two religions” in Arabia.

“How could the grand mufti issue a fatwa of such importance behind the back of his king? We see a contradiction between the dialogue being practiced, the efforts of the king and those of his top mufti,” said leaders of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Vienna, where, with the cooperation of Austria and Spain, Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal had inaugurated the “King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue” in 2011.

Continue reading Top Saudi Cleric: Ban Christian Churches in Arabia

Let Girls Marry at 10

by Irfan Al-Alawi

The Saudi Twitter ‘Blasphemy’ Case by Stephen Schwartz

The Weekly Standard Blog February 21, 2012

Riyadh, 2011.

The case of Hamza Kashgari, the 23-year-old ex-columnist for the Saudi Arabian daily newspaper Al-Bilad (The Land), has exposed the convoluted internal situation in the desert kingdom. The controversy began on the birthday of Muhammad, when Kashgari wrote an imaginary dialogue with the Muslim progenitor in three tweets.

In the first, Kashgari declared, “On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.” In the second, he continued, “On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.” In the third he wrote, “On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.”

Kashgari’s comments were met with nearly 30,000 tweets condemning him for blasphemy and threatening him. He deleted his tweets about Muhammad within six hours, renouncing them in a lengthy public apology, and then tweeted, “I have made a mistake, and I hope Allah and all those whom I have offended will forgive me.” Nevertheless, a Facebook page was established, titled, “The Saudi people demand the execution of Hamza Kashgari,” and quickly gained 20,000 supporters.

Continue reading The Saudi Twitter ‘Blasphemy’ Case by Stephen Schwartz

Egyptian Islamists Demand “Morals Patrols” by Irfan Al-Alawi

Stonegate Institute [New York] January 12, 2012

The radical Islamist Nour party, or “Party of the Light,” has captured more than a quarter of votes in the post-Mubarak Egyptian elections. Nour, which ran second to the Muslim Brotherhood in the polling, is a Wahhabi party, reproducing the ideology of the rulers of Saudi Arabia, under the label of “Salafism.” Its rhetoric presents “Salafism” as pure Islam unchanged by 14 centuries of Muslim history in differing lands and cultures worldwide. Nour is hostile to non-Wahhabi Muslims, repressive of women’s rights, and discriminatory against non-Muslims.

The Saudi mutawiyin or “morals patrols” – sometimes miscalled a “religious police” – coordinated by the “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV),” are one of the most criticized institutions in the Saudi kingdom. Known as the “mutawiyin” or “volunteers,” and as the “hai’a” or “the Commission,” this militia is composed of at least 5,000 full-time members, assisted by thousands of more ordinary Saudis. Armed with thin, leather-covered sticks, they patrol Saudi cities enforcing the strictures of Wahhabi ideology. They descend on and harass women who are not fully covered below the ankle by the black cloak or abaya, and who go out in public without a face veil or niqab. They interfere with couples whom they suspect of being unmarried or otherwise unrelated. They prevent women from driving motor vehicles. They raid private homes looking for evidence of alcohol consumption. And not least, they disturb the prayers of Shias and Sunni Sufi Muslims whose forms of devotion are disapproved of by the Wahhabis.

Continue reading Egyptian Islamists Demand “Morals Patrols” by Irfan Al-Alawi

Saudi King’s Reform Step vs. Crown Prince’s Ambitious Wahhabism by Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz

The Weekly Standard Blog January 3, 2012

The Saudi Arabian monarchy is now led by two counterposed figures: the reforming King Abdullah and the fanatical Wahhabi crown prince Nayef. Recent incidents in the kingdom, although at first glance minor, may indicate the approach of a significant confrontation between modernizing and retrogressive tendencies in the royal family.

On December 28, the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan announced that by order of King Abdullah, women wishing to run as candidates or to vote in municipal elections scheduled for 2015 will not require approval of a male relative, designated a “guardian” or mehram.

Fahad Al-Anzi, a member of the all-male Shura Council, an appointed consultative body that serves currently as Saudi Arabia’s approximation of a parliament, said the decision was a royal decree. It cannot be challenged. But as noted by the Associated Press, “Despite the historic decision by the king to allow women the right to participate in the country’s only open elections, male guardian laws in Saudi Arabia remain largely unchanged. Women cannot travel, work, study abroad, marry, get divorced, or gain admittance to a public hospital without permission from a male guardian.”

While abolition of a requirement for male guardianship in elections removes only one impediment to Saudi women’s equality, it is an obstacle at the top of the system. Once women can vote and compete for public office without the consent of a guardian, similar restrictions on their lives presumably could be rescinded more easily.

Continue reading Saudi King’s Reform Step vs. Crown Prince’s Ambitious Wahhabism by Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz

Saudi Arabia – The Shadow of Prince Nayef by Irfan Al-Alawi

Hudson Institute New York October 24, 2011

With the death of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan Ibn Abd Al-Aziz early October 22 in a New York hospital, his brother, Saudi interior minister and second deputy prime minister Prince Nayef Ibn Abd Al-Aziz, now looms large in the world’s attention as a possible successor to Saudi Arabia’s current ruler, King Abdullah, who is now 87.

Prince Nayef is a committed adherent of the hardliners in the Wahhabi sect and has resisted the cautious moves by King Abdullah to restrict Wahhabi dominance in the kingdom, which was founded in a marriage alliance of the Al-Saud family and the descendants of Muhammad Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, for which the radical doctrine is named. To this day, the head Islamic cleric in the kingdom is Abd Al-Aziz Al Ash-Sheikh, a descendant of Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab.

The aging King Abdullah’s limited reforms have included increased freedom of expression; appointment of representatives of the Saudi Shia minority, which is concentrated in the oil-bearing Eastern Province, to the consultative Shura council, which advises the king; measures for more participation of women in society, including announcement of limited electoral rights for women last month; separation of educational and religious authorities; dismissal of ultra-Wahhabi judges from the Saudi court system, and cuts in financing for the institution most despised by the Saudi public, the mutawiyin or morals militia, officially titled the ‘Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,’ and often mis-called a morals police.

Continue reading Saudi Arabia – The Shadow of Prince Nayef by Irfan Al-Alawi

Saudi Arabia and the Spectre of Protest by Irfan Al-Alawi

Lapido Media [London], March 3, 2011

For the countries and immigrant communities professing Sunni Islam, Saudi Arabia remains the most influential power in economic and political affairs, notwithstanding the retrograde nature of its social relationships. Mass movements for structural reform overthrew the Tunisian government, forced the resignation of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, inaugurated civil protests in Bahrain, and fell victim to bloody civil war imposed by Muammar Al-Ghadafi in Libya. But through all the turmoil of recent weeks moderate Muslims around the world have been drawn automatically to wonder how the spread of institutional change will affect the Saudi kingdom – land of the two holy cities, Mecca and Medina, and the country all believing Muslims hope to visit for the hajj pilgrimage.

The martyrdom of Libyan patriots slain by Al-Ghadafi’s loyalists and mercenaries has had a dampening effect on the ardour that seized the West, no less than the Arab countries and Iran, with the fall of Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. Partisans of reform in Morocco, Algeria, and other states with well-entrenched ruling castes and no apparent disaffection in their militaries must recognize that some dictators are weaker than others, and that not all tyrants or their armed cohorts may be swept away by demonstrations and social networking.

Nevertheless, the Egyptian Revolution has given heart to the Green opposition movement in Iran, even as the Iranian clerical overlords have attempted to claim that the North African unrest heralded a thrust toward radical Islamist ideology similar to that of Khomeini. The regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei proved its own propaganda false when it not only prohibited Green leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi – both veteran servants of the Iranian Islamic Republic – from leading demonstrations to support the Egyptian movement, but put both men under house arrest and installed steel gates to impede visitors to Mousavi’s home.

Continue reading Saudi Arabia and the Spectre of Protest by Irfan Al-Alawi

Wael Ghonim: Egypt’s Bourgeois Revolutionary by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz

NewsGram [India], February 18, 2011

Today’s February 17, 2011 and as I embark upon this column the theater of the New Muslim Revolt has shifted – this time it’s Bahrain. This island kingdom has an unusual significance. Ruled by Sunni Muslims, the country has a Shia majority. This uprising, therefore, may play a dual role, namely: linking Arab reform activists with protesters in Iran, on one side, and stimulating similar developments in Saudi Arabia, on the other.

The well-known causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain allows millions of Saudis to escape frequently from the abuses of Wahhabism Wahhabism to the ‘crescent of normality.’ These are the states between Kuwait and Oman is where women are free dress as they wish and can drive automobiles, where non-Muslim religious institutions are open and free, including Christian churches and Hindu and Buddhist temples, and above all, where the hated Saudi morals patrols or Mutawiyin are absent.

At the other end of the ‘crescent’, protests continues. In Yemen, which, like Bahrain, includes a mixed population of Sunnis and Shias, though the Yemeni proportion reverses that of Bahrain – Yemen has a Sunni majority and a Shia minority. And demonstrations, along with deaths at the hands of police, have been reported in Algeria and Libya, as well as in Bahrain and Yemen.

Continue reading Wael Ghonim: Egypt’s Bourgeois Revolutionary by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz