Wednesday, April 08, 2009 By Maryam
From Publishers Weekly
Schwartz, a journalist and convert to Islam, offers Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, as an aid to the United States' efforts to fight extremism. He provides an incomparable history of Sufism, covering in one short book all the major Sufi saints, schools, and the persecution of Sufis by Wahhabis. Deeply anti-Wahhabi, Schwartz encourages U.S. policymakers to ally with Sufis to undermine the Wahhabi influence. Schwartz believes the Wahhabi philosophy, which is literal and extreme in its interpretation of the Islamic faith, to be the motivation behind Muslim terrorism, with Wahhabi Saudis providing the financing. Wahhabis abhor Sufis for centuries-old traditions they label as idolatrous. Schwartz critiques the Western media for inaccurately dismissing Wahhabi attacks on Sufis, including the insurgency in Iraq, as Sunni-Shia disputes. In reality, Schwartz argues, they are part of the centuries-long Wahhabi campaign to destroy Sufism and moderate Islam. Schwartz's opinion—that Sufis are the natural allies of the U.S. in the ongoing war on terror—is well presented and worth considering. (Sept. 16) ""
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Advance Praise for The Other Islam
Stephen Schwartz is internationally known as a serious student of Islam and its mysticism and as a special friend of the Bektashi Sufi order. The Other Islam is an important work that will, I sincerely hope, open the minds of non-Muslims as well as Muslims to the heritage and present reality of spiritual Islam. Let this book help spread the message and enlightenment of Hajji Bektash Veli throughout the world. —H.E. Hajji Dedebaba Reshat Bardhi, World Supreme Head of the Bektashi community
The Other Islam is more than an engaging introduction to Sufism in full. Stephen Schwartz has also sketched a suggestive roadmap for the kind of inter-religious dialogue that can move the world beyond the clash of civilizations to a mutually enriching encounter of noble religious traditions. Schwartz’s Sufi-inspired conviction that it is, finally, God’s world, not one in which nihilism married to distorted monotheism will have the final word, can and should be embraced by serious Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. —George S. Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, and biographer of Pope John Paul II
The Other Islam presents a different side of the Muslim world and Islam, at a time when Islam is identified in the West with militancy, violence, radicalism, and terrorism. Stephen Schwartz gives readers a good picture of how we should look at Islam’s full spectrum of doctrines and interpretations, and understand that Jihad can be interpreted and implemented by peaceful and spiritual ways. His contribution to the understanding of the other dimensions of this worldwide religion and culture, especially now, is very significant. We should all wish for a greater role for the various Sufi orders in the socio-political culture of the Muslim world. —Reuven Paz, Director, Project for the Research of Islamist Movements (PRISM) of The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel
This book can be found at www.amazon.com