Home · News · About

Sufism Symposium Scotland Print E-mail


Release date: for immediate release.
For attention: news/features editor, Middle East editor, Religion editor

The Sufi Way to Peace and Understanding:
International Gathering of Islamic Mystics Comes to Edinburgh

The International Sufism Symposium: Sufism’s Ancient Wisdom and Present Day Expressions will provide a unique opportunity to participate in an international gathering of Sufis with representatives of schools, orders, and groups world-wide demonstrating the diversity within this mystical school of the Islamic tradition. Art, music, poetry, lectures, spiritual practice and discussion will take place amongst world leaders in the Sufi tradition.

The gathering, the first of its kind in Europe, is sponsored by the International Association of Sufism (www.ias.org), together with the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning (www.eial.org) and the Edinburgh International Centre for World Spiritualities (www.eicws.org).

Presenters are travelling to Edinburgh from the Middle East, the Far East, Africa, the United States and Canada, as well as throughout Europe. Workshop topics at the two-day event will include: Sufism and Multicultural Societies; Meditation for Everyday Life; The Sufi Ways to Peace; Sufi Music and Poetry, and Sufism and World Economics.

The former managing director of the International Monetary fund, an expert in international disarmament, a former world class opera singer, an Egyptian woman professor of anthropology, several Islamic women psychologists and a translator of the Aramaic words of Jesus will be speaking.

Sufism, often considered to be the mystical side of the Islamic traditions, is a little known path practiced by tens of millions of Muslims worldwide. Said Saadi Shakur Chishti, one of the organizers, “The International Sufism Symposium emphasizes peace, understanding, and new approaches to the peaceful integration of all citizens in European civic society, and indeed in wider society, including the Middle East. Sufis have traditionally been voices of reason and harmony in their communities. These voices from around the world deserve a hearing today more than ever before.”

An evening of Sufi music, poetry and shared chanting (called “dhikr”), will begin the weekend Symposium on Thursday evening, September 14, beginning at 7pm. The event will include several participants in the weekend, including Taneen Sufi Music Ensemble, TAMIR, and the International Sufi School of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba.

All events in the International Sufism Symposium are open to the public and will be held at St George’s West Church, 58 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh.

Contact: Neill Walker, 0131 331 4469, This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz, +44 (0) 7766 704 879, This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it  


Notes for Editors

International Sufism Symposium Interviews and Photo Opportunities:
contact Neill Walker, 0131 331 4469,
This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

International Sufism Symposium,
Edinburgh, Scotland, September 14-16, 2006.

International Sufism Symposium Speaker List:

Nahid Angha, Ph.D, USA: born in Iran; co-director/founder, International Association of Sufism; founder, Sufi Women Organization; first woman appointed to teach in the Uwaiysi Sufi lineage, an inductee to the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame, main Rep. of IAS at the United Nations.

Jilani Julie Esterly, D.C., USA: Sheikha in the Sufi Ruhaniat International; serves on the Board of Directors for Capacitar International; moderator of local TV program "Focus on th UN."

Sonia Leon Gilbert has been for thirty-years a President of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship and Mosque. And following the Sufi as explained by her exalted teacher Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (ral.) has been her heart’s work.

Sheikh Jamal Granick, USA: student in Uwaiysi Tariqat, member of IAS, co-director of Sufism and Psychology Forum, psychotherapist, and certified Aikido instructor.

Jonathan Granoff (Ahamad Muhaiyadeen), USA: member of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship; chairman of the United Nations Committee of Temple of Understanding; attorney, author and award-winning screenwriter; active in United Nations disarmament affairs.

Arife Ellen Hammerle, Ph.D., MA, LMFT, JD, is the Clinical Director of the Community Healing Centers, and Program Director at Catholic Charities. She is the author of Unfolding Self. Dr. Hammerle is a senior student of the Uwaiysi Tariqat of Sufism.

Shah Nazar Seyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D., USA: co-director/founder of the International Association of Sufism; editor-in-chief of Sufism: An Inquiry; internationally published author and lecturer, appointed to teach Sufism by Moulana Shah Maghsoud, master of the Uwaiysi Tariqat.

Shahzada Syed Mainuddin Ahmed, Bangladesh: direct descendent of prophet Muhammad (S.M.); elected president of the Coordination Body of Sunni Leaders in 1988, director of Maizbhandar Dharbar Sharif Islamic complex, orphanage, madrasha and free clinic at Chittagong.

Sharon Mijares, Ph.D., USA: licensed psychologist; editor and co-author of Modern Psychology and Ancient Wisdom: Psychological Healing Practices from the World’s Religious Traditions.

Musa Muhaiyadeen (Emanuel Levin), USA: lawyer, international speaker on Sufism, leader in the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship.

Neil Douglas-Klotz, Ph.D. (Saadi Shakur Chishti), Scotland: Murshid in the Sufi Ruhaniat International; director of the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning; author of The Sufi Book of Life and Blessings of the Cosmos: Wisdom from the Aramaic Words of Jesus; co-author of The Tent of Abraham.

Safa Ali Michael Newman, USA: chairman of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Sufi Studies; President of the IAS Board of Directors; author of The Gift of the Rose: Uwaysieh.

Sheikh Aly N’Daw is the third Khalif of a spiritual lineage going back to Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (ra), founder of Khidmatul Khadim, the International Sufi School. The prime objectives of the School, now established worldwide, are Peace and Service. Sheikh N’Daw was a lecturer in Mathematics and Anthropology before becoming a building contractor.

Sheikh Ahmed Tijani Ben Omar was born and educated in Ghana, West Africa. He has studied Islamic Juriprudence from Madrasatol Saqaafatul Arabia. He took initiation from Sheikh Muhammad Salis Shaban, a prominent Sufi of West Africa, and he memorized the Holy Quran at the age of 15. Sheikh Tijani is currently the Iman of the Islamic Educational Congress of the United States, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the International Association of Sufism.

Amineh Pryor, Ph.D., USA: psychotherapist, member of the Sufi Women Organization; author of Psychology in Sufism.

Dr. Aliaa Rafea, Egypt: anthropology professor; daughter of the Sufi Master Rafea M. Rafea; author of Beyond Diversity.

Aisha Rafea, M.A., Egypt: writer and researcher in mass communication; daughter of the Sufi Master Rafea M. Rafea.

Ingo Ahmad Taleb Rashid, Germany, of Iraqi descent: sheikh of the Tariqa Naqshbandi-Rashidiya; choreographer of the Peace Child musical, performed by Jewish and Arabic children in Israel; creator of a new form of dance, bodywork and martial arts called Movement Concept.

Dr. H.J. Karimbaksh Witteveen, Holland: economist, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; former Minster of Finance of the Netherlands; vice-presidant and murshid in the International Sufi Movement etc.; author of Universal Sufism and Sufism in Action.

and more

Further Quote

Neill Walker, Co-Director of the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace said: ‘The International Sufism Symposium will provide a unique opportunity to celebrate diverse approaches to peace and understanding from a Sufi perspective, with a particular emphasis on Sufi spiritual practice. Such non-violent approaches to peace and conflict are very much needed, and particularly so in the Middle East today.’

Pre-Symposium Film at the Filmhouse Cinema

Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness.
Wednesday 13 September 2006 only, 8.30pm.
Filmhouse Cinema, Lothian Road, Edinburgh.
Abdul Latif Salazar • Britain 2004 • 1h20m • BETA SP • English and Persian with English subtitles • 12A Cast: Abol Reza Kermani, Mitra Hajjar, Dariush Arjmand, Ghorban Nadja.

This film explores the life and impact of the greatest spiritual and legal philosopher in Islamic history. Examining his existential crisis of faith that arose from his rejection of formal book based learning in favour of direct experience, it reveals profound parallels with our own times. Ghazali became known as the Proof of Islam, and his path of love and spiritual excellence overcame the pitfalls of the religious fanaticism of his day. As a result of his efforts, Sufism was integrated into the wider body of Islamic teachings. But as early 20th century Muslim reformers largely abandoned his path, this gave rise to the more literalist and less tolerant schools of thought. This film argues that Ghazali’s Islam is the antidote for today’s terror.

The film will be introduced by Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz, internationally-known scholar of religious studies and psychology, and a senior teacher of the Sufi Ruhaniat International through which he has led spiritually rooted peace-seeking journeys to Russia, Eastern Europe, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.

< Prev   Next >

Designed and Maintained By SCS Web Design
Website Enquiries Contact webmaster@eicws.org