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Stephen Schwartz
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Stephen Suleyman Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, D.C. and author of the 2008 book The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony (Doubleday). In 2002, he published the bestselling The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role In Terrorism (Doubleday). He is also author of Sarajevo Rose: A Balkan Jewish Notebook, published in the U.S. by Routledge Macmillan and in Britain by The Bosnian Institute and Saqi Books.

The Two Faces of Islam has been translated into Bosnian (Dva Lica Islama), Albanian (Dy Ftyrat e Islamit) and Indonesian (Dua Wajah Islam). As of 2010, Persian, Hindi and Urdu editions are forthcoming. The Other Islam has been published in Albanian (Islami Tjetër) and Bosnian (Jedan Drugaciji Islam). Sarajevo Rose has been published in Bosnian (Sarajevska Ruža).

Schwartz was born in 1948 and has pursued a long literary and journalistic career. He was a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle for 10 years and was secretary of the Northern California Newspaper Guild, AFL-CIO.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, his extensive and authoritative writings on the phenomenon of Wahhabism established him as one of the leading global experts on Islam, its internal divisions and its relations with other faiths.

His articles have been printed in the world's major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Toronto Globe and Mail and Reforma in Mexico City, as well as leading periodicals in the Balkans.

He began a serious examination of Islam in 1990, when he first visited Yugoslavia. Researching the history of Jews in the Balkans –- for articles published in the Jewish Forward and other periodicals –- he developed close relations with Balkan Islamic intellectual, religious and political leaders.

During the 1990s he continued his intensive study of Balkan comparative religion while working as an editor for the Albanian Catholic Institute in San Francisco (this aside from his work for the San Francisco Chronicle). He also completed short missions in Bosnia-Hercegovina for the International Federation of Journalists and the Council of Europe, as well as a USAID-funded program.

In 1999, with the Kosovo intervention, Mr. Schwartz retired from the San Francisco Chronicle. Moving to Sarajevo, he worked for leading NGOs, including the Soros Fund for an Open Society and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, as well as USAID. He has returned to the Balkans at least once yearly since 2003.

He has been a student of Sufism since the late 1960s and an adherent of the Hanafi school of Islam since 1997.

Entries by Stephen Schwartz

A Faint Ray Of Light Through The Darkness

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2016 | 7:44 AM

In the aftermath of the hideous massacre in Orlando on June 12, relations between Muslims and Westerners seem to have reached their lowest point in decades, if not centuries. The so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) employs what the Italian Holocaust writer Primo Levi called "the weapons of night" -- terror bombings,...

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Brother Muhammad Ali As I Will Remember Him

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2016 | 12:59 PM

The passing of Brother Muhammad Ali, at 74, will doubtless stimulate recollections and reflections in many Americans, non-Muslim no less than Muslim. Yet aside from boxing fans and the African-American public, the rest of us baby-boomers (I am 67) may preserve our most vital vision of him as a supreme...

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New Light on Bosnian Jews During World War II

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2016 | 1:56 AM

The fate of Bosnian Jews during the Holocaust has attracted significant attention from historians and other commentators. According to a standard work, Bosnia: A Short History, published in 1994 by the distinguished British scholar Noel Malcolm, 12,000 out of 14,000 Jews living in Bosnia-Herzegovina before the German invasion of 1941...

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@TalkToMe: Stephen Schwartz Interviewed On Islam By His Son Matthew Schwartz

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2016 | 4:16 PM

#TalkToMe: Stephen Schwartz of the Center for Islamic Pluralism [] interviewed on why he became Muslim by his son Matthew Schwartz for the Facebook/Huffington Post #TalkToMe project.

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An Interfaith Example for the Holiday Season

(1) Comments | Posted December 21, 2015 | 1:09 AM

Early this year, coinciding with the celebration of Christmas on January 7, by Egyptian Coptic, Ethiopian, most Slavic Orthodox, and Georgian Orthodox churches, with some Greek Orthodox faithful, I wrote in the blog of the religious journal First Things on the adoption of the holiday honoring the birth...

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America's Response to Mass Shootings Is Always Insufficient

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2015 | 12:38 PM

On the morning of Wednesday, December 2, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27, burst into a conference-room holiday party in the federally-funded Inland Regional Center at San Bernardino, CA, where Faroook was employed. They killed 14 people and injured 21, armed with two assault rifles and...

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Islamist Politics and Turkey's Disunity

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2015 | 11:22 PM

This post was co-authored by Veli Sirin, European director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.

The Islamist atrocities in Paris on November 13 have overshadowed a different but relevant crisis in radical Muslim politics. In Turkey, on November 1, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan...

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The New Paris Horror and the Putin Trap

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 11:33 PM

(This commentary was written with Irfan Al-Alawi, International Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.)

The November 13 terrorist assault on Paris, which left at least 129 dead and 451 injured, has had a similar aftermath as its predecessors. The September 11, 2001 attack on New York and Washington, the...

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Blood and Ballots in Turkey

(2) Comments | Posted October 26, 2015 | 12:19 PM

This post was co-authored by Veli Sirin, European director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.

The Turkish Republic will hold new parliamentary elections for the second time this year on November 1, following the failure of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to maintain...

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A Rendezvous in Belarus

(1) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 11:52 AM

On November 8, the Nobel Prize for literature was bestowed on the Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich, aged 67. It was among the few instances in which the work of the laureate was focused outside the traditional areas of poetry, fiction, and drama.

The literary Nobel, which is awarded by the...

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Macedonian Filmmaker Revives Memory of Earlier Refugees

(4) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 1:06 PM

The Balkan Republic of Macedonia, with two million residents, has a slender profile in world affairs. Although it went through a bruising internal political struggle earlier this year, as the months passed by, it has made international news only as a way station for the refugee flood from the Middle...

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When Jewish and Islamic Holy Days Coincide

(3) Comments | Posted September 14, 2015 | 5:27 PM

This year - 2015 by the common era (C.E.) calendar - includes an alignment at mid-September of the main holy days in the Jewish and Islamic calendars. At sundown on September 13, Jews observed the first of their High Holy Days, and their recognized commencement of the new year, Rosh...

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The Crimes at Palmyra

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2015 | 5:18 PM

(This commentary was written with Irfan Al-Alawi, International Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.)

The world, and especially moderate, traditional, spiritual, conventional and even conservative -- but few radical -- Muslims have watched in dismay as the spurious "Islamic State" (ISIS) has undertaken the systematic destruction of the pre-Islamic...

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Robert Conquest, Stalinism, and the Soviet Muslims

(1) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 3:05 AM

On August 3, the Anglo-American poet and historian Robert Conquest died in California at 98. According to The Daily Telegraph in London, Conquest's father Roger was an American from Virginia, while his mother Rosamund was English, and Robert was born in the West Midlands of England.

Conquest was a genuine...

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The Writings of Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 1:18 AM

(This commentary was written with Irfan Al-Alawi, International Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.)

In 2012, Raif Badawi, a blogger in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) who is now 31, was arrested in his native land and charged with offenses ranging from parental disobedience to cyber-crime and apostasy...

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Turkey: Hope and Fear

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2015 | 2:58 AM

(Co-authored by Veli Sirin, European director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.)

Two weeks have passed since the legislative elections of June 7 marked a major shift in the recent history of Turkey. The Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP in Turkish), headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, lost its...

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The Yezidi Sect: ISIS Targets for Death

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 8:07 AM

(Co-authored by Christopher Bilardi, an expert on the Yezidi faith and an associate member of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.)

Until the tragedy that came early in August 2014, the people who call themselves the Dâseni were little known to Westerners. These are the Yezidis, who mainly live in Iraq....

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Kosovo Fights Extremism With Social Media

(3) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 11:19 PM

The Balkan republic of Kosovo, with an overwhelming Muslim majority and a median age of 27, has committed itself to a consequential struggle against radical Islam. While some Kosovo Muslims are numbered in the ranks of the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS), the Kosovo government has criminalized participation in and recruitment...

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Iran's Kurdish Rebellion

(6) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 7:05 PM

Violent protests by Iranian Kurds have taken the world by surprise, and mainstream reporting on them is sparse. That is doubtless explained by the general absence of decent journalism under the regime of the Islamic Republic, including restrictions in entry of foreign correspondents. Yet the events in Mahabad, a city...

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A Model for Moderate Muslims

(1) Comments | Posted May 11, 2015 | 10:06 AM

Continuing terrorism by Islamist radicals in the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S has led numerous commentators to argue for solutions that nearly always involve revision of the foundations of the religion, especially the Quran. Some born Muslims claim the title of "apostate" proudly. Others, betraying a superficial knowledge of...

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