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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

Robert Conquest, Stalinism, and the Soviet Muslims

(0) 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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Malice in Dallas

(13) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 4:26 PM

As predicted by many, a horrifying new outrage has been added to the annals of radical Islam. In Garland, Texas, a Dallas suburb, on Sunday, May 3, two men were killed by police after the pair fired at an event summoned to promote cartooning of Prophet Muhammad. Elton Simpson, a...

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A "Great Fear" in Kosovo

(70) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 3:31 PM

The global Muslim community is suffering a deep crisis. The failure of the "Arab Spring" led, most prominently, to horrendous bloodletting in Syria. In this carnage, both the Damascus dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad, which is supported by the Iranian regime, and the ultra-Wahhabi "Islamic State" that opposes the civil resistance...

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Zakir Naik, Radical Islamist Video Evangelist

(18) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 7:19 AM

Zakir Naik, 49, an Indian Muslim by birth, and a medical doctor by education, is known widely in the Arab and South Asian Muslim communities. He represents a style of radical Islamist television preaching that most non-Muslims might identify with Christianity. Naik is an ostentatious caller to Islam who alleges...

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Libraries Burning: From Sarajevo to Mosul

(2) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 8:39 AM

I have been involved with words throughout my life. My father was a writer, publisher, and bookseller. I have been a writer, publisher, and bookseller. I have worked my way through three collections of rare books: one on Communism, one on literary and artistic modernism, one on Islam (with a...

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Putin, Al-Sisi, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Holocaust Remembrance

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 11:15 AM

In another of his pleasant encounters with world leaders, Russian president Vladimir Putin went to Egypt on February 8, staying until February 10. Meeting with Cairo's military strongman Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Putin bestowed on his host a macabre but perhaps characteristic gift: a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle. According to

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Syriza in Athens and Putin in Moscow: An Unholy Alliance?

(3) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 5:48 AM

The sensational victory of the radical leftist Syriza movement in the January 25 Greek elections, with the populist coalition winning 149 of 300 parliamentary seats, has raised numerous questions across Europe and the world. Most of the controversy about this episode focuses on whether Greece will default on its debt,...

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Paris Terror Harms France, Islam, and the World

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 1:43 PM

On January 8, Stéphane Charbonnier, editor of the Paris satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, along with seven of his journalist colleagues and two policemen, a maintenance worker, and a visitor, were assassinated in an Islamist terror raid.

Three more people were injured. The brutal atrocity came only days after...

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Germany, Anti-Islam, and Vladimir Putin

(38) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 8:02 PM

On Monday, December 15, as reported by the German news service Deutsche Welle (DW), some 15,000 people massed in Dresden, Germany, under the banner of a new and seemingly informal movement calling itself Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West -- PEGIDA by its German-language acronym. The...

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Putin's 'Yugoslavian Scenario' Threatens Balkan Interfaith Relations

(6) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 1:57 PM

Vladimir Putin has, it seems, followed many parallels between his policy in Ukraine -- with, by implication, his regime's previous interference in Georgia -- and the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. Like the terror wrought then by Christian Orthodox-majority Serbians and Montenegrins against Catholic-majority Croatia, Muslim-plurality Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Muslim-majority Kosovo,...

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Should U.S. Facilitate Tourism in Turkmenistan?

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2014 | 11:55 AM

The Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) is a branch of the U.S. State Department. Since 2001, AFCP has granted millions of dollars to countries around the world, for conservation of historic religious and other structures and institutions. The Fund was established by Congress under Public Law 106-553...

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Ashura In the Shadow of New Terrorism

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 2:17 PM

The Muslim religious observance of Ashura - the 10th day of Muharram, the month that commences the Islamic lunar year - began on the evening of Sunday, November 2, 2014, and extends through Monday, November 3, by Western reckoning.

Ashura marks the death at the battle of Karbala, in Iraq...

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Malala Yousafzai and the Future of Islam

(2) Comments | Posted October 15, 2014 | 8:57 AM

The award of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year old Pakistani female and youngest-ever Nobel laureate, in tandem with India's Kailash Satyarthi, 60, a prominent activist for children's rights in his own country, has various contexts.

One such involves Pakistani-Indian conciliation in the...

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Jews and Muslims Share a Holy Week

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 11:16 AM

This year -- 2014 in the Common Era (C.E.) calendar, 5774-75 in the Hebrew calendar, and the Islamic lunar year 1435-36 -- saw a coincidence between the Jewish and Muslim holy days. The 10 Jewish "Days of Awe" were observed from Rosh Hashanah on September 24 to the fast of...

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