Stephen Schwartz

Executive Director, Center for Islamic Pluralism

Stephen (Suleyman) Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism 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. He is a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow of the Middle East Forum. "The Two Faces of Islam" has been translated into Bosnian (Dva Lica Islama), Albanian (Dy Ftyrat e Islamit), Farsi (Du Chehrhe Az-Islam), and Indonesian (Dua Wajah Islam). As of 2016, Hindi and Urdu editions are forthcoming. The Other Islam has been published in Albanian (Islami Tjetër) and Bosnian (Jedan Drugačiji Islam). Sarajevo Rose has been published in Bosnian (Sarajevska Ruža). Stephen 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 2004-06 he was an institutional historian at the National Endowment for the Arts, a U.S. federal agency. In the aftermath of September 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 many more. He is a regular contributor to The Weekly Standard and The Huffington Post as well as to leading periodicals in the Balkans. He began a serious examination of Islam in 1990, when he first visited Yugoslavia. Researching the approaching collapse of that state and the history of Jews in the Balkans – for articles published in the San Francisco Chronicle, 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, supplementing his reporting on the region with work as an editor for the Albanian Catholic Institute in San Francisco. He also completed missions in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, and Slovenia for the International Federation of Journalists, the Council of Europe, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Crisis Group, the Soros Fund for an Open Society, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and the U.S. Department of State. In 1999, with the Kosovo intervention, Mr. Schwartz retired from the San Francisco Chronicle and moved to the Balkans.. He wrote a weekly foreign affairs column for the Sarajevo daily Oslobođenje, a weekly opinion column in the Kosovo newspaper Dita, and reportage for the Bosnian Islamic weekly, Ljiljan. In 2000, he published a book in Bosnian and English on Muslim identity and media issues in the Balkans, "A Dishonest 20th Century Comedy" (Forum of the Congress of Bosnian Muslim Intellectuals, Sarajevo). 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.