CJ Werleman's Most Pivotal Moment and The Power of Education

Greetings of Peace dear Friends,

I pray you are well and surviving the challenges of the start of a new school year, whether it be for you, your kids, or your loved ones! Or, if you are not in the school cycle, hopefully you are enjoying the last days of the season!

Last Saturday night, we were extremely blessed to complete our engagement with Surah 22: Al Hajj, which was mind-blowing beyond compare. We did not have time for the Q&A portion, so we will hold off on the Q&A until after we complete the upcoming new surah, still as yet to be determined for tomorrow night's halaqa insha'Allah. As you may know, Dr. Khaled prays istikhara on each new surah, so we usually know what our new surah is sometime late Friday night. We have completed 83 surahs to date on our Project Illumine journey, although Dr. Abou El Fadl has also presented his line-by-line commentaries on twenty-six of the shorter surahs that we have yet to cover in the Project Illumine approach. So, between both approaches, he has covered 110 surahs; in other words, there are only four surahs left that he has not covered in either format! Trivia question: Can you name the four surahs he has not yet covered? :)

This week, I wanted to share something I came across that demonstrates the power of education. I often call attention to the journalist CJ Werleman and call upon all Muslims to support him through his Patreon page here: www.patreon.com/cjwerleman. Although he is not Muslim himself, CJ Werleman has dedicated his talents and efforts to focusing on atrocities committed specifically against Muslims. No one else focuses ONLY on Muslim atrocities. No other journalist dedicates ALL of their time to the crimes being committed against Muslims. For that alone, EVERY Muslim should support him. If you support his Patreon page, CJ Werleman will share exclusive content from time to time. This week, I was so moved by what he shared, I am sharing it here:

Dear Friend,

The photo I’ve shared with you is the exact location where I experienced the most pivotal moment in my life. It’s the first time I’ve returned to this exact spot - Jimbaran, Bali - in more than a decade.

It was here at 8pm October 1, 2005 that I witnessed a terrorist attack carried out by an Al Qaeda franchise. A suicide bomber detonated his vest while standing next to the table in the back right of photo, killing more than a dozen innocent people.

Myself and four of my friends had to perform the role of first responders that night, sorting the living from the dead, while doing our best to offer calming and reassuring words to the dying.

This night changed the trajectory of my life in so many ways.

It turned me into an anti-Muslim racist, but then led me to studying Islam informally, and then terrorism, academically. Both pursuits putting an end to my four year period of Islamophobia.

Were it not for this attack, I wouldn’t authored a book, learnt Islam, attained a University degree in counterterrorism and security, established a career in journalism, before ultimately devoting the past 13 years of my life to countering anti-Muslim bigotry.

I am who I am today because of a single event at this spot 17 years old.

Life is one heck of an interesting journey if we continue to learn and grow from our mistakes.

Wishing you peace and happiness.

Kind regards
CJ Werleman

The power of education. And yes, I have sent him a copy of The Prophet's Pulpit. ;)

Please support CJ Werleman, and support our efforts to provide a deep and sophisticated education on the Qur'an for our times. 



The best antidote to Islamophobia is a powerful education, and we are extremely blessed to have a very generous donor come forward to aid us in our mission. This donor was so moved by our new book, The Prophet's Pulpit: Commentaries on the State of Islam, that he has made it his cause to get a copy in the hands of every Muslim who is committed to beauty and justice in Islam.

So, we are pleased to launch our "Share With A Friend" campaign! It is easy - if you have a friend who you feel will benefit from this book, send me their name, mailing address and email, and we will send them a free copy with this lovely welcome and introduction card:

And as a thank you for helping us with this campaign, we will be happy to send you your choice of an Usuli T-shirt, Usuli Mug or an eBook version of The Prophet's Pulpit (or a paperback if you don't already have one!). That's it! :)

I believe we are all connected and perhaps one or two degrees of separation from every thinking Muslim that can make a difference. Help us get The Prophet's Pulpit in everyone's hands and elevate our collective knowledge and empowerment! Feel free to write me if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions. 

Also, if you know Muslim journalists, academics, activists, politicians or influencers that would benefit, definitely let me know so we can send them a copy as well! May God bless our collective efforts!

Looking forward to today's khutbah and another incredible new surah for tomorrow night's Project Illumine halaqa! Hope to connect with you online soon insha'Allah (God willing)!

In Peace and Hope,

The Movement to Reinvigorate Beautiful and Ethical Islam has begun.  Join us.

Your donation to The Institute for Advanced Usuli Studies will help fund important work to combat extremism and ignorance. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity dedicated to research and education to promote humanistically beautiful and morally elevating interpretations of Islam. We seek to support our brightest minds to advance knowledge and to build a community of individuals founded on dignity, respect and love for all of God's creation. See The Usuli Institute Credo for our statement of values. Please give generously to support a beautiful, reasonable and vibrantly human Islam for future generations to come. All donations are tax-deductible and zakat eligible.


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