About Stephen Schwartz

Stephen Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, DC and author of the bestselling The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role In Terrorism (Doubleday).

He was born in 1948, and has pursued a long literary and journalistic career, having published seven books on modern political history, with special attention to extremism.   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 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.  

 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.  His writings in Balkan Jews were collected in the 2005 volume Sarajevo Rose:  A Balkan Jewish Notebook (Saqi/Palgrave Macmillan).

Castro’s 12

By December 25, 2008

Often in the chronicles of human endeavor, what appears a great beginning, or at least a revival, in a political or ideological movement, in reality represents its final, decadent stage.  Some fireworks burn brightest as they die,  Thus it was … Read More

Joan Marsé, Novelist Who Wrote on POUM, Receives Highest Spanish Literary Prize

By December 2, 2008

In furtherance of an ongoing interest in the historiography of the Spanish civil war, I note with delight that the Catalan novelist Joan Marsé, born in Barcelona in 1933, has been awarded Spain’s highest literary honor, the Cervantes Prize.  While … Read More

The Cheapest Transaction

By November 25, 2008

“In the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona, the day before I joined the militia, I saw an Italian militiaman standing in front of the officers’ table.” Such is the famous opening of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, recognized in Catalonia itself, … Read More

The Revolutionary Kitsch of Barcelona

By November 17, 2008

Greetings from Barcelona where there is now a Passeig Andreu Nin (Passeig being Catalan for Paseo).  It is quite an impressive item, especially since it is the location of what I believe to be the most overwhelming, overbearing, over-the-top shopping … Read More

Saudi King Calls For Interfaith Dialogue

By March 25, 2008

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has announced plans to organize an "interfaith conference" among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. He invites "representatives of all the monotheistic religions to meet with their brothers in faith" in Saudi Arabia, in order to foster … Read More

Kosovo: Serbs Lie, People Die

By February 21, 2008

[Editor's note: Earlier today, a mass anti-American and anti-Kosovar protest broke out in Belgrade. Protesters set fire to the US embassy.] Now that Kosovo has declared independence and returned to the center of world news, it is instructive, if also … Read More

The Leftist Debate Over “Islamofascism”

By November 2, 2007

[Note: This post is Stephen Schwartz's take on an ongoing Jewcy debate between Jamie Kirchick and Ali Eteraz about the legitimacy of the term "Islamofascism." Read Kirchick's original post; Eteraz's reply to it; Kirchick's second post; Eteraz's reply to it.] … Read More

The Kingdom Breaks Through the (Smoke) Screen

By October 21, 2007

(Welcome, Stumblers!) The Kingdom, still playing in major movie houses, may be the most important recent contribution to the public discussion of U.S.-Saudi relations. Surprisingly and even hearteningly for those who follow developments in the desert monarchy, the film begins … Read More