Stephen Suleyman Schwartz

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Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, San Francisco, 2013.jpg
Schwartz in 2013.
Stephen Schwartz

(1948-09-09) September 9, 1948 (age 72)
OccupationJournalist, writer

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz (born September 9, 1948) is an American Sufi[1] journalist, columnist, and author. He has been published in a variety of media, including The Wall Street Journal.[2] He is the founder and executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Islamic Pluralism. In 2011–2012 he was a member of Folks Magazine's Editorial Board.[3]

He has been an adherent of the Hanafi school of Islam since 1997.[1] His criticism of Islamic Fundamentalism, especially the Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam, has attracted controversy.

Early life[edit]

Schwartz was born in Columbus, Ohio to Horace Schwartz, a Jewish independent bookseller. His mother, the daughter of a Protestant preacher, was a career social services worker. Schwartz later described both of his parents as "radical leftists and quite antireligious",[4] his father a "fellow traveller", his mother a member of the Communist Party. He was baptized in the Presbyterian church as an infant.[4]

The family moved to San Francisco when he was young, where his father Horace became a literary agent.[5] At Lowell High School[5] Schwartz made his first serious writing attempts, focusing initially on poetry.[6] He became affiliated with Leninist communism until 1984.[4]

Labor activism and literary career[edit]

After college, Schwartz became a member of the Sailors' Union of the Pacific. With others, he founded a small semi-Trotskyist group FOCUS.[7] In 1985, the S.U.P. commissioned Schwartz to write Brotherhood of the Sea: A History of the Sailors' Union of the Pacific as part of its of 100th anniversary commemoration.

In the 1990s, Schwartz spent a decade as a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. He was a member of the local union at the Chronicle, a branch of the Newspaper Guild.

At the end of 1997, he converted to Islam.[4] In 1999, Schwartz left the Chronicle, and moved to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he lived for the next 18 months.[8]

Schwartz supported the Iraq War.[9]

On March 25, 2005, Schwartz launched the Center for Islamic Pluralism. The center is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., with Schwartz as executive director.

Political career[edit]

In 2020, under the name Stephen (Lulu) Schwartz, Schwartz ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in District 3. He came in fourth, with 1,374 votes (4.82 percent of the vote). The winner was Aaron Peskin.[10]

Published works[edit]


  • A Sleepwalker’s Guide to San Francisco: Poems from Three Lustra, 1966–1981. San Francisco: La Santa Espina, 1983.
  • Brotherhood of the Sea: A History of the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1986. ISBN 0-88738-121-9.
  • Spanish Marxism vs. Soviet Communism: A History of the P.O.U.M (with Victor Alba). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1988. ISBN 0-88738-198-7.
  • A Strange Silence: The Emergence of Democracy in Nicaragua. San Francisco: ICS Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55815-071-4.
  • From West to East: California and the Making of the American Mind. New York: The Free Press, 1998. ISBN 0-684-83134-1.
  • Kosovo: Background to a War. London: Anthem Press, 2000. ISBN 1-898855-56-0
  • Intellectuals and Assassins: Writings at the End of Soviet Communism. New York: Anthem Press, 2001. ISBN 1-898855-55-2.
  • The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror. New York: Doubleday, 2002. ISBN 0-385-50692-9.[11]
  • An Activist's Guide to Arab and Muslim Campus and Community Organizations in North America Los Angeles: Center for the Study of Popular Culture, 2003 ISBN 9781886442344
  • Sarajevo Rose: A Balkan Jewish Notebook. London: Saqi Books, 2005. ISBN 0-86356-592-1.
  • Is It Good for the Jews?: The Crisis of America's Israel Lobby. New York: Doubleday, 2006. ISBN 0-385-51025-X.
  • The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony. New York: Doubleday, 2008. ISBN 0-385-51819-6.


  • "Defeating Wahhabism". FrontPage Magazine, October 25, 2002.
  • "A Different Kind of Filial Piety". Wall Street Journal, February 10, 1999.
  • "Ground Zero and the Saudi Connection". The Spectator, September 22, 2001.
  • "Spanish Revision". The Weekly Standard, June 1, 2009.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "About Us". Center for Islamic Pluralism.
  2. ^ E.g., see Schwartz's Intellectuals and Assassins (2001).
  3. ^ Magazine, Folks. "Folks Magazine". Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Schwartz, Stephen (2007-02-19). "Why I Chose Islam Instead of Judaism". Jewcy. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
  5. ^ a b Reidel, James (2002). "Ex-Libris Weldon Kees". The Cortland Review (Fall 2002).
  6. ^ Schwartz, Stephen (2003-02-20). "Remembering an SLA Terrorist". FrontPage Magazine. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
  7. ^ Alexander, Robert International Trotskyism: a documented analysis of the world movement Durham, Duke University Press 1991 p. 943
  8. ^ Schwartz, Stephen. "Behind the Balkan Curtain". San Francisco Faith, May 2000.
  9. ^ Bacon, Katie (April 2003). "The Real Islam". The Atlantic. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  10. ^ City and County of San Francisco. November 3, 2020 Election Results - Summary. (Retrieved November 13, 2020.)
  11. ^ Note: The subtitle on the paperback version was changed to Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism.

External links[edit]