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Parliament Leaders Address Cities Interested to Host 2017 Parliament Event

Twenty international cities hailing from interfaith, municipal, and tourism institutions gathered to learn about the bidding process to host the 2017 Parliament on a webinar held July 10. Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid and Executive Director Dr. Mary Nelson addressed the group on the history of the Parliament, the growth of the Interfaith movement, what happens at a Parliament, and the logistics of building a local organizing team.

10,000 activists from around the world come to share their faith at the Parliament. Mujahid explained why this is an attractive prospect for cities wishing to increase social cohesion and global tourism. It was also noted in the presentation that Nobel Laureates, Bill Gates, Tony Blair, Pope Francis and more leaders are now publicly vocalizing strong support for the interfaith movement. Endorsements from leaders as such represent a growing interdependence between secular and religious institutions in social, governmental, and humanitarian endeavor.

While presenting a multi-million dollar international gathering is a large undertaking, Dr. Nelson shared ways that corporate and faith-based sponsorships combine with civic partnerships to creatively and financially bring the Parliament to life.

An overwhelming response, half from U.S. cities as well as half from first world and developing countries indicates the demand for interfaith is growing universally. Representatives shared their desire to become a Parliament city in efforts to diminish local tensions and build harmonious relationships.

A question and answer session with Dr. Nelson and Imam Mujahid also provided attendees the opportunity to engage both Parliament leaders on ways to submit an optimal bid. Cities are currently sharing letters of intent to submit full bids for the 2017 Parliament.

For more information on becoming a Parliament city, please contact Office Manager Stephen Avino at

Imam Mujahid Congratulates Rabbi Saperstein

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, preaches at a Washington, D.C., service in 2002. He says the Ten Commandments continue to be featured artistically in synagogues. Photo courtesy of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions Board Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid extends congratulations to Rabbi David Saperstein on his nomination by President Obama to lead the United States Department of State Office of International Religious Freedom. Saperstein who serves as Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism would become the first non-Christian to take the office now vacant for nine months.

Board Chair Mujahid welcomes the unprecedented move of the Obama Administration to advance a Jewish Rabbi to lead the office first established by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

Mujahid’s congratulatory letter highlights Saperstein’s “admirable record of touching humanity through faith-based justice,” and commends his expert leadership as an example of how progress can be achieved through engaging the guiding institutions.

In addressing the interfaith movement at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, Saperstein hosted an engagement session entitled “The State and Religious Freedom,” and was featured prolifically on panels including:

  • Poverty Must No Longer Be With Us with Huruhisa Handa, Jim Wallis, Katherine Marshall, Dr. A T Ariyaratne, Tim Costello, Sulak Sivaraksa and Sr. Joan Chittister
  • Democracy and Diversity in Global Perspective with Anwar Ibrahim, Pal Ahluwalia, Bishop Peter Elliott, Dr. M Din Syamsuddin, and Dr. Barabara McGraw
  • The Role of Religion and Spirituality in the Public Discourse with Archbishop Philip Freier

Designated in Newsweek’s 2009 list as the most influential rabbi in the country and described in a Washington Post profile as “the quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill,” Rabbi David Saperstein represents the national Reform Jewish Movement to Congress and the Administration as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The Center not only advocates on a broad range of social justice issues but provides extensive legislative and programmatic materials to synagogues nationwide, and coordinates social action education programs that train nearly 3,000 Jewish adults, youth, rabbinic and lay leaders each year.

Read more about Rabbi David Saperstein.




Morehouse Inducts Parliament Board into MLK Jr. Chapel Hall of Fame (PHOTOS)

The Board of Trustees of the Parliament are building new plans after meeting in the historic library of Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel during the soul-stirring 29th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. College of Ministers and Laity over April 2 and 3.

Surprise visitor Dr. Karen Armstrong stepped into the meeting and encouraged the Board to embrace an “uncomfortable” sense of Compassion – helping to frame the real, urgent, and measurable priorities at hand. Exciting happenings continued as Morehouse inducted the Board to the College’s Board of Preachers, Sponsors, and Colloquium of Scholars in a formal ceremony.

Dr. Karen Armstrong was keynote speaker and honoree of the prestigious Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Award, at the evening Interfaith “Celebration of Compassion” featuring presenters Chapel Dean Lawrence Carter (Parliament Trustee Emeritus), Martin Luther King III, a representative of the Gandhi family, and the special representative of Dr. Ikeda.

Celebrating the “glocal” Compassion movement turns the spotlight toward Chair Emeritus of the Parliament, Rev. Bob Thompson, who spearheaded the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta to recruit the Atlanta City Council to adopt a Compassionate City resolution. Thompson’s working approach to organizing grew out of the simple sentiment, “If you want to change a community, you have to change the conversation.”

The Parliament will build upon Atlanta’s achievements (thanks to Rev. Thompson) thrusting the Faiths Against Hate campaign into a new realm of possibility as the Parliament sustains its partnership with Compassionate Atlanta and the wider movement.

Seizing the moment, Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid co-conspiring with Charter for Compassion’s Executive Director Andrew Himes penned a joint agreement to strategically partner. The joint statement pledges to support action advancing the compassionate cities movement and was ceremoniously signed by Dr. Armstrong and Imam Mujahid in a conference reception.

The uncomfortable (and imperative) programming to be planned will keep the Board busy until its next retreat, but revitalized in its commitment to keep the Golden Rule central to the mission of the Parliament’s: a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Deepest appreciation to the Morehouse Martin Luther King Jr. Community and the Parliament’s partners in compassionate action worldwide is shared with all.

See all the photos of the Parliament Board in Atlanta. 

The Charter for Compassion and Parliament Sign Strategic Partnership (VIDEO)

The Parliament of the World’s Religions and the Charter for Compassion announce their strategic partnering for collaboratively supporting the Compassionate Cities movement around the world. Charter founder Dr. Karen Armstrong Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid signed the strategic partnership announcement April 3 in Atlanta, affirming:

Dr. Karen Armstrong, Author and Founder of the Charter for Compassion shakes hands with Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid to affirm a strategic partnership aiming to mutually support the Compassionate Cities movement worldwide.
Photo by Morehouse College, April 3, 2014, Atlanta, GA, USA

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and Charter for Compassion International today announce our strategic partnership aimed at supporting the emergence of the Compassionate Cities movement worldwide.

This Compassionate Cities movement is deeply aligned with the principles of the Parliament. The International Campaign for Compassionate Cities aims to affirm the principle of compassion in the behavior of hundreds of millions of people in thousands of communities around the globe. We believe compassion is a practical, measurable standard we can apply to specific outcomes, including the alleviation of poverty, hunger, and disease, the protection of human rights, the extension of democracy, the creation of a peaceful world, and dealing with the challenges of global climate change.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is the mother of the global interfaith movement. Its mission is to achieve a peaceful, just and sustainable world, and at the heart of that mission is the convening of the world’s largest interfaith gathering, each time in a different host city.

The first Parliament was held in 1893 in Chicago and brought Hinduism, Buddhism, the Jains, Sikhs, and other Eastern faiths to the United States.

Council of the Parliament will encourage Ambassadors of the Parliament as well as its members and affiliates around the world to join the Compassionate Cities Initiative and to engage their local communities with the movement. The Charter for Compassion will highlight the Parliament’s efforts to bring the principles of the Charter to life in projects and programs in every community.

Signed April 3, 2014 by Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid , Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Parliament, and  Dr. Karen Armstrong, Founder, Charter for Compassion International and the author of the Charter for Compassion.


A Reflection on Nelson Mandela from Imam Mujahid, Parliament Chair of the Board

We all knew of Nelson Mandela’s state and his age. Yet, his death is still a tremendous loss to all of us who learned to struggle against all odds from the man who put his trust in the humanity of his oppressors, the leaders of South Africa’s apartheid system. He wrote a new chapter on the power of dialogue which he, a helpless prisoner, initiated with his powerful captors. And he did all of this without losing his dignity, without compromising his principles, and without being intimidated by the power of the apartheid regime.

Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Parliament of the World’s Religions

It was because of the power of his non-violent struggle, as well as his compassion toward those who took almost all of his youth from him, that I went to South Africa, despite all odds, to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1999. It was my way of celebrating the power of peaceful struggle. Mandela may not be big on religion, but he sure was high on the ideals of humanity. That is where I made my personal commitment to the interfaith movement, which believes in and promotes the power of dialogue and human relationships.

I had the honor of meeting one of Nelson Mandela’s “comrades”, Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, at the Radio Islam studio in Chicago. He was among those imprisoned at Robben Island along with Mandela. It was after talking with him that I learned how Mandela transformed the life of this young rebel into positive energy for change. 

In today’s world, where hate is rising, the people of love and humanity, those of faith and the “nones”, need to rise as a force for positive human relationships.  In a world where one-third of humanity is obese while another third sleeps hungry, let’s share more and consume less.

Let us remember together as we mourn together, that “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.” Long Live Madiba!

Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

The Power of Listening: Chairman Mujahid Featured In New Interspirituality E-Zine

Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions Chair of the Board of Trustees, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

Joining an esteemed group of spiritual thinkers, luminaries of religion, and Interfaith leaders, Imam Malik Mujahid is featured in the newly released e-zine, “The Coming Interspiritual Age.” This 192-page digital magazine is a complement of the recently released book of the same title by Kurt Johnson and David Robert Ord forecasting an evolutionary interspiritual movement referenced by the writings of Brother Wayne Teasdale, a former Parliament trustee.

Chairman Mujahid’s stories in Namaste Publications’ “The Coming Interspiritual Age” disclose his personal perceptions of being a co-trustee with Bro. Wayne Teasdale on an Interfaith board reacting to September 11, 2001, the relevance and future of  Interfaith, and the role of Parliament.  From there, his views on global interspirituality, mysticism, and how the “Timeless Wisdom” is steeped in us all to encounter is explored in depth.


E-Zine Contributors: Eckhart Tolle, Ken Wilber, David Korten, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Charles Gibbs, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Ashok Gangadean, Mirabai Starr, Nancy Roof, Kurt Johnson, Constance Kellough, Alison van Dyk, Dena Merriam, Russill Paul, Thomas Huebl, Leo Semasko, M. Darrol Bryant, Ed Bastian, Diane Berke, Phillip Hellmich, Rupert Spira, Loch Kelly, Paul Chaffee, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Adam Bucko,Rory McEntee, Robert Toth, Ralph Singh, Gorakh Hayashi, Matthew Cobb, Janet Quinn, Maurizio and Zaya Benazzo, Neill Walker, Tim Miner, Cassandra Vieten, Jody Lotito-Levine, Kristin Hoffmann, Kenji Williams, Weston Pew, Bruce Schuman


The Power of Listening, Brother Teasdale & the Parliament of World Religions

By Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

I did not know him well. But he gave me a very important lesson in listening.

It was days after 9/11 when we were in a CPWR meeting. We were thinking about
the future. Everyone was coming up with good ideas. Interfaith people are so much
alike. Their smiles, their language, the way they carry themselves is quite similar. So
much so that I developed a level of skepticism toward the “interfaith people” as nice
people who hang out with the other nice people.

In the meeting, Brother Wayne Teasdale was quiet, listening attentively. And then
he spoke. It was the first time I heard him speak. What he had to say literally woke
everyone up from “just being nice”.

It is important, he said, that we listen to the voices which are not normally heard.
Why not invite extremists to our Parliament? Why not hear from them about their

His thoughts somewhat disrupted this gathering of “nice interfaith people.” There
was a detectable level of discomfort. My own discomfort was a little higher for other
reasons: suddenly everyone was looking at me. He added yes, may be our Muslim
friends can arrange for those voices to be present.

Now so many years after I am more used to people looking at me like that. At that
time I was a bit offended being looked at as though I had some sort of agency of
extremists. But as soon as the stares moved away from me, I was deeply absorbed
thinking about his wisdom and courage to say something like that so soon after 9/

That was the foundation when we selected the theme for the Barcelona Parliament
of the World’s Religions as “Pathways to Peace: The Wisdom of Listening, the
Power of Commitment.”

The Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893 was an extra-ordinary event but
an event nevertheless. The Parliament is, thankfully, no longer an event. It is a
movement. The Parliament has evolved to become a summit of extra-ordinary
human beings who are active in their cities and regions for the common good;
articulating the best of their ideals and living them in deliberate relationships with
other people of other religions and traditions. They come, they listen, they share,
they learn and go back to their homes inspired and informed to re-nourish their
communities and expand the sphere of their interfaith universe.

The Parliament program is normally divided in three broad tracks. In one track,
people listen directly to others talk about their own religion and tradition, a
powerful opportunity for banishing negative stereotypes. Another track invites
people to share about their relationships with other faith communities; and yet
another track discusses the common issues facing humanity and how religions are
working with each other to think, provide, and promote solutions.

The interfaith movement is growing by leaps and bounds. Not only people of faith
are founding and expanding this movement, but people of no faith, civil society and
government institutions are also looking to interfaith relations as a vehicle of human

With that in mind, the Parliament strategic plan has included between Parliament
programs to continuously engage the interfaith community with a whole set of
learning opportunities about interfaith dialogue, organizing and engagement.

As the forces of fear, anger and hate rise, we believe that people of loving
relationship need to be stronger than ever and better equipped with the best
practices of interfaith to mediate negativity into the positive energy needed for
human societies to grow and flourish.

In the global village, a spark of anger can go beyond burning the neighborhood
down — it can create lasting harm. The Parliament might have been ahead of its time
in the past, but it is the call of our time now.

And one of the critical issues of now is the challenge of climate change — this
requires behavioral change along with good public policies. It is the people of faith
who have the most transformative impact on those who listen to them week after
week — and that is a whole lot of people around the world.

We are not about creating another faith by some odd merging of religions. We are
about harmony between people of faith for the common good.

Well. We were unable to get some extremist to the Barcelona Parliament. We did not
know them to invite them. Probably the CIA knows their way about. But they are too
busy playing drones to kill them as soon as they find their address and if not them,
their neighbors and look-alikes.

In the 2009 Melbourne Parliament, however, I did present a talk about “The Street
Theology of Anger” to articulate the extremists’ abusive distortion of Islamic
teachings. That was inspired by Brother Teasdale’s wish to listen to the difficult
voices. I was surprised to see an overflowing crowd and was happy that there were
not many loaded stares :)

Continue Reading “The Coming Interspiritual Age” for Imam Malik Mujahid’s perspectives on Global Mysticism and Spirituality.

A Letter from the Chair of the Board: Organizational Changes at CPWR

Dear Friends:

It is my difficult task as Chair of our Board of CPWR to announce that the Executive Committee of CPWR has accepted Rev. Dirk Ficca’s resignation as Executive Director of the CPWR.

We are thankful to Rev. Dirk Ficca’s contribution to the interreligious movement. I personally remember him rushing around in the Barcelona Parliament, dressed simply, organizing things, instead of dressing up and being on the stage all the time. That left an impression.

We wish Dirk the best in his future endeavors.

Dr. Mary Nelson, the Vice Chair of the Board of CPWR is going to be our Interim Executive Director. She can be reached at

A few months ago we appointed a Search Committee for the new CEO.. Its members include the following leaders of the interreligious movement: Bill Lesher & Bob Thompson, both Chair Emeritus; Suzanne Morgan and Jim Doty, both members of the International Advisory Board of CPWR; and Bob Henderson and Mary Nelson, both Vice Chairs of the Board. The committee is chaired by Mary Nelson.

The Parliament has tremendous moral and social capital. We are all working on translating this moral and social capital into financial strength for the Parliament so we can be an even better partner in strengthening the interreligious movement.

This world where conflict is increasing needs the interreligious movement more than ever. The CPWR is fully committed to our mission, along with thousands of our electronic participants as members on PeaceNext; hundreds of Ambassadors around the world, members of our Task Forces, our Trustees, and Partner Cities.

Our organization’s statement of purpose reads: “The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.”

We must continue to strengthen our relationships to connect humanity with a stronger interreligious bond.

One of the most encouraging examples of this positive connection and coalition-buildiing has been the outstanding success of the Muticultural Universal Dialogue which just took place from 29 August to 2 September in Guadalajara, Mexico, organized by one of our long-time partners, Fundación Carpe Diem.  CPWR was represented by Trustee Andras Arthen.

Sometimes we are simply guilty of not telling our story. Here is what will be happening in the next few weeks or so:

1) The Parliament is initiating an important organizing and education campaign, Interfaith Against Hate, generously funded by  IAC Member Suzanne Morgan

2)  The Global Listening Campaign is moving forward with five focus groups happening in Nigeria in the next two weeks, as well as several in Jakarta, Indonesia

3) 24 people have already agreed to lead focus groups across the world to think through the themes for the next Parliament

4) Our Parliament Ambassadors Advisory Group has completed a comprehensive self-survey and have pledged to conduct 80 focus groups in the next 8 weeks

5) We are convening a conference on Educating Religious Leaders for a Multi-religious World at Claremont University, sponsored by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation

6) In Chicago on Nov. 3rd there to be a major event organized by the Women Task Force of the Parliament, to which the public is invited

With your help and assistance we are bound to move forward.


Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

Board of the Trustees for
Council for a Parliament of World Religions


CPWR Chair Urges Interfaith Cooperation on Water Security

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, the Council’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, championed interfaith collaboration as one of the greatest forces for water conservation, protection and positive consumer change.  Imam Mujahid was among the speakers for the United Nations’ World Water Day Conference in Chicago, hosted by the Office of the Governor.

World Water Day has been observed on March 22nd since 1993 voted by the United Nations as “a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.”  This year’s theme was “Water and Food Security: the world is thirsty because we are hungry.” Food security and water access are linked, as the UN projects that by 2025, over two-thirds of the world population could be living in conditions of water-scarcity or under water-stress. Further, 70% of the world water supply is used for food production, which is not sustainable, and climate change is a direct impact of overconsumption and ineffective consumption. Mujahid reminded his fellow religious leaders that America is indeed a religious nation, so by harnessing that collective religious responsibility, religious Americans can have a direct impact on water, food, and fuel usage. With 15% of all food in the US going to waste, Mujahid urged all present to reinforce the message “consume less, share more,” and to “share a message of hope”, in order to create a more sustainable future for water usage and food production, and to fulfill a collective responsibility as people of faith to use our given supply responsibly.

Trustee Emeritus Swami Varadananda, long-time Parliament organizer and manager of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society in Chicago, reflected on how CPWR had highlighted these issues at past Parliaments in Cape Town (1999) and Barcelona (2004), where lack of water accessibility and food insecurity in relation to sustainability were addressed.

The Dr. Robert Henderson, Vice-Chair for the Council and also an elected member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, spoke to the group about building awareness around clean water access and food insecurity, especially with youth in religious communities. He suggested as well the importance of recording and sharing local initiatives to aid the hungry with the interfaith community at large to maintain momentum and education.

The second half of the meeting was hosted by members of Faith in Place, a Chicago-based interfaith organization that advocates “stronger congregations for a sustainable world.”

In the spirit of CPWR, this meeting brought together people of faith to discuss and work toward action around vital issues that impact people locally and globally.

The Sharia that Muslim Americans Live

by Abdul Malik Mujahid

You might have seen a government-required sign at a McDonald’s restroom telling employees to wash their hands. Muslims do this as a part of living their faith, which is called Sharia in Arabic. The Prophet Muhammad also encouraged Muslims to wash their hands before and after eating. Muslim parents raise their children on many such manners. The first chapter in almost all books on Sharia is about morals and manners of cleanliness, which Prophet Muhammad said is half of the faith. God’s peace and blessings be upon him.

When Muslims begin anything they say, “In the name of God”. That is Sharia. When they greet each other, they smile and say, “Assalamu Alaikum” (peace be with you). That is Sharia.

Similarly, when Muslims take short breaks five times a day to pray, this is another example of practicing Sharia. Prayer is normally the second chapter in almost all books about Sharia.

Sharia does not present a comprehensive list of pure foods and drinks, although it prohibits ten or twelve things and declares everything else to be Halal or lawful to consume. If Muslims cannot find Halal food, they often eat vegetarian or kosher food. This is all Sharia.

Sharia Is Neither One Nor Static

Sharia is not one monolithic body or a codified book of comprehensive law.

Sharia is based on the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, but not all of Sharia is God’s word. A good part of Sharia is made up of human contributions. There are literally hundreds and thousands of books written in the last 1,400 years, in multiple languages in places as diverse as Timbuktu in Africa to Bukhara in Central Asia, with millions of opinions, judicial reviews, etc. on various issues. Together, they form the body of Sharia.

Sharia Continues To Evolve

A recent development, for example, is a Sharia discipline called Islamic Economics and Finance. It now commands a trillion dollar market, thousands of scholarly works, graduate programs, and the establishment of Sharia boards at hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim owned banks. This exercise in Sharia is essentially a human contribution of the last fifty years, aiming to offer Muslims guidance on how to invest and conduct their financial transactions in a modern economy in line with their principles as believers. Throughout history, Islam has cherished debates. An important early Islamic debate that continues today was between traditionalists and rationalists over whether the universal principles of God’s law were to be known by revelation or reason or both. These debates have resulted in dozens of schools of thought in Islam.

Is Sharia A Threat To America?

When some American pundits call Sharia, “a growing threat to the United States,” Muslim Americans wonder what in the world they are talking about. Sharia is overwhelmingly concerned with personal religious observance, not with constitutions and laws. All observant Muslims practice Sharia. Defining Sharia as a threat, therefore, is the same thing as saying that all observant Muslims are a threat.

When you see a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf and a loose dress, or a Muslim man with a head covering or beard, they are likely following Sharia manners of dress.

When in a marriage sermon you hear the Quran recited about piety, loyalty to each other, and God’s advice for clear communication between spouses, that is a Sharia wedding.

Muslims often avoid taking out mortgages due to the Sharia prohibition on Riba (usury/interest). This has led to the establishment of a worldwide Islamic financial industry and Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes. The latter select companies that don’t deal in weapons, pornography, gambling, tobacco, or alcohol, etc. These investments are similar to 30 other “faith-based” investment options, like the Catholic Values Index. These are examples of the practice of Sharia in the realm of business.

All of the above are real-life examples of the totality of Sharia as practiced by the observant among the close to six million Muslims in America and the 3,000 formal Muslim congregations in America. Muslim Americans include doctors, entrepreneurs, professors, cab drivers, and the guy fixing your computer. Their service to their communities is also an example of practicing Sharia.

The Sharia That Muslim Americans Don’t Practice

There are parts of Sharia that Muslim Americans don’t implement in their daily lives.

Since Muslims ran a civilization for over a thousand years, they naturally developed a body of laws to deal with governing society. These laws deal with issues ranging from fighting neighborhood crime to international laws of war and peace.

Muslim Americans don’t practice these laws since they deal with the realm of government and state. Sharia emphasizes that the rule of law in a society must be implemented by the state. It considers vigilantism a major crime and a sin. Therefore, Sharia prohibits Muslims from practicing this part of Islam on an individual basis.

The Quran, like the Old Testament, is not limited to only the Ten Commandments, all of which except for the commandment to keep the Sabbath are to be found in parallel statements in the Quran. Like the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy), it ordains punishments for serious crimes. Unfortunately, it is this penal law that many people wrongly think is exclusively Sharia. This is incorrect.

It is true that Islamic criminal law has been at times implemented harshly, and even wrongly, by some Muslims. Such an application of Islamic criminal law is void of God’s mercy, which is considered His primary attribute in Islam. However, those nations or groups that do this do not speak for all Muslims, nor do they speak for the prophet of mercy, Prophet Muhammad, who would turn his face away when a person confessed his or her crimes. This was to give them room for repentance and forgiveness.

About five countries among the 56 Muslim nations worldwide implement Islamic criminal laws. Virtually none of them implement Sharia in its totality in all spheres of life. Their laws are a combination of local custom and precedent in that particular country, as well as remnants of laws brought by European colonial powers that ruled those countries.

The primary purpose of Sharia is to preserve life and order in society, not to incarcerate and punish. However, many in the Muslim world who are sick and tired of corruption and injustice demand that the criminal laws of Islam be implemented in their countries. Nevertheless, this is not what Muslims in America are demanding. Their practice of Sharia is limited to the personal sphere.

Unfortunately, three U.S. states have passed anti-Sharia laws, and 22 others are actively considering bills against Sharia. Some politicians are now looking to pass a federal law against Sharia. Anti-Sharia bills are a part of a well-funded campaign of fear mongering and intolerance, not unlike previous campaigns in America against Catholics and Jews.

To understand Sharia is to understand Islam. Criminalizing Sharia will criminalize the practice of Islam in America. Sharia mandates that Muslims respect the law of the land. It is also against Sharia to impose Sharia on anyone. Muslim Americans are subject to the same laws and constitution as any other American.

Sharia is in some ways similar to the Jewish Halacha law or Catholic Canon Law, with similar historic roots but far less complex. Unlike Jewish Halacha law which is practiced in Jewish American courts called Beth Din, there is no Muslim court system in the United States, nor is the Muslim community demanding this.

This article and many other resources concerning Sharia are available on

March 22nd, 2012 at 7:55 am

Becoming a Welcoming Nation: It’s Good for the Economy!

by Abdul Malik Mujahid
from Huffington Post

Kim suddenly started hitting his chest. I thought he had a medical emergency but before I could call the stewardess, he explained that he was just nervous after watching a video about the immigration process before landing in Chicago. Kim is a junior at a high school in South Korea and was visiting the United States for a couple of months. He was sitting next to me on an American Airlines flight from Tokyo.

Kim was not the only one subject to the bad treatment. Hundreds and thousands of people go through this every day including diplomats, businessmen and journalists. The same week, former Indian President Abdul Kalam was frisked for explosives and humiliated by airport security in New York — a violation of an established protocol. He was fully identified and this was not his first time either. A couple of years ago he went through the same problem.

Kim’s nervousness is not unfounded. Seventy percent of mostly Western European travelers also showed extreme levels of anxiety saying when traveling to the United States; they fear U.S. immigration more than terrorists or criminals. It is then no wonder that travel from Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom has actually dropped during the last ten years. These three countries along with Canada and Mexico account for about 75 percent of all travelers to the United States.

February 1st, 2012 at 10:33 am