Stephen Suleyman Schwartz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, San Francisco, 2013.jpg
Schwartz in 2013.
Stephen Schwartz

(1948-09-09) September 9, 1948 (age 70)
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.

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.[10]
  • 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. "The Real Islam". The Atlantic. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  10. ^ Note: The subtitle on the paperback version was changed to Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism.

External links[edit]