SHORT MESSAGES

More articles at www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com about the Gaza conflict.

I will be out in DC on Tuesday and Wednesday

Mike Ghouse
__________________________________________________________________________

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bleak future of Israel, Palestine, Syria and Iraq


BLEAK FUTURE OF MIDEAST
 
It is human desire to create societies inhabited by normal people with an allowance for anomalies. I am worried about the people of Israel, Palestine, Iraq. Can they look forward to living a normal life?


The Islamic State is bent on killing anyone who differs, Hamas is teaching hatred towards Israelis, and have resorted to express their frustration in violence. Israeli kids are rejoicing the death of Palestinians and their men are justifying killing, ministers want to kill every Palestinian, and there is no sign of sanity.

Where are the majority of moderate Muslims and moderate Jews?  Their future is ruined by Netanyahu, Abu Mashaal and Al-Baghdadi; we may have psychos in the future who cherish death and destruction, revenge and justification.

 Shame on the US Administration, Senate and Congress to approve the violence, rather than work on dialogue and solutions. Hate is not good for any one. This is my protest against violence. 

URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/07/bleak-future-of-israel-palestine-syria.html
 


Mike Ghouse
www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com
www.TheGhouseDiary.com 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

TIME out for me.

TIME OUT

For the next ten days, I will drop most of the things and focus on completing this book. I won't be responding much on yahoogroups,  facebook, twitter, linked in and other social media unless it is critical. Here is my speech on immigration reforms to an 8000 audience in down town Dallas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrjU0KULv-Y



Thank you
mike

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, cohesive work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up, and the process of making the film "Flames of Passion" has begun. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; regularly at Oped News and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Khushali Mubarak - A celebration of 57 years of Imamat (religious leadership) of His Highness, the Aga Khan.

Khushali Mubarak | Historic Iftar facilitated by Mayor Rawlings & Rupanis
URL- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2014/07/khushali-mubarak-celebration-of-57.html

HH Aga Khan is ceremoniously addressed as, “Mawlana Hazar Imam Shah Karim al Hussaini, His Highness Prince Aga Khan” by the Ismaili Muslims around the world.  The Imamat was passed on to him by his Grandfather Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan III on July 11, 1957.  HH Aga Khan is the 49th Imam of the religious office of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim Community, also known as Ismaili Muslims.   Per the Ismaili Muslim tradition, HH Aga Khan, is a direct lineal descendent of Prophet (pbuh) through Hazrat Ali (RA) and Hazrat Fatima (RA).

As a Muslim Pluralist myself, I have come to admire HH Aga Khan for reviving  a few of the core values of Islam; Pluralism,  and the 2nd most important value called - Huqooqul Ibad -  the obligatory duties to fellow beings.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Hazrat Ali (ra) had continuously advocated living in moderation; it’s a mid path between the worldly and spiritual needs. The Aga Khan has fine tuned that balance between material and spiritual life.

He performs his religious duties by interpreting Qur'an to his 15 million plus followers spread out across the world, fulfilling his role as the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community.

In his speech to the Parliament of Canada on February 27, 2014, he explains the Shia-Sunni and Ismaili tradition, The Ismaili Imamat is a supra-national entity, representing the succession of Imams since the time of the Prophet. But let me clarify something more about the history of that role, in both the Sunni and Shia interpretations of the Muslim faith. The Sunni position is that the Prophet nominated no successor, and that spiritual-moral authority belongs to those who are learned in matters of religious law. As a result, there are many Sunni imams in a given time and place. But others believed that the Prophet had designated his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, as his successor. From that early division, a host of further distinctions grew up — but the question of rightful leadership remains central. In time, the Shia were also sub-divided over this question, so that today the Ismailis are the only Shia community who, throughout history, have been led by a living, hereditary Imam in direct descent from the Prophet. “
 
On the other hand he is guiding the community to prosperity and living a responsible life in the societies they live.

He founded the Aga Khan Development Network that is committed to serving the humanity without regard to faith, origin or gender. I believe AKDN is one of the largest Non Governmental bodies serving humanity to learn to stand on their own feet.

Every child, teen and an adult has someone he or she looks up to, and wants to-be-like that person and eventually becomes one.  Good role models are a key to the success of a civil society, and indeed, HH Aga Khan is a great role model for Muslims to look up to.

In gratitude for his continued guidance, the Ismaili Muslims celebrate this week honoring him and reaffirming his leadership with a renewed commitment to serving the humanity.

Pluralism

Islam is about restoring and sustaining the harmony within an individual and with what surrounds him; life and environment. From the very first sentence of the first chapter, and the last chapter and throughout Qur'an, God is “
Sustainer of all the worlds” (1:2) and “Cherisher of Mankind” (114:1) – The message is universal and inclusive of humanity and not a particular group of people.

At present, he is one of the few Muslims in the world who has truly understood the pluralistic message of Quran.  He firmly believes in pluralism and has opened an institution to propagate those ideals. Please visit the Global Center for
Pluralism in Canada.  At the Foundation for Pluralism, we have crystallized the definition of pluralism as “Respecting the otherness of others” based on many verses from Qur'an, but particularly verse 109:6 translation by Yusuf Ali, “To you be your Way, and to me mine.”

Aga Khan delivered the following statement at the Inauguration Ceremony of Aga Khan University in Karachi on November 11, 1985,
"The divine intellect Aql-i Kull, both transcends and informs the human intellect. It is this intellect which enables man to strive towards two aims dedicated by the Faith: that he should reflect upon the environment Allah has given and that he should know himself. It is the light of intellect which distinguishes the complete human being from the human animal and developing that intellect requires free enquiry. The man of Faith who fails to pursue intellectual search is likely to have only a limited comprehension of Allah’s creation. Indeed, it is man’s intellect that enables him to expand his vision of that creation.”

Caring for Neighbors

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said the best among you is the one who sees to it that his neighbor is fed and cared for. Imam Hazrat Ali (ra), the 4th rightly guided Caliph after Prophet Muhammad in providing the leadership to the Muslim community says, "The best man is he who is most serviceable to fellow humans."
There are over 18 verses in Qur'an where God consistently talks about taking care of fellow humans. Indeed the Prophet (pbuh) expressed it in so many different ways to high light the duty to fellow beings. He he said, that an irreligious guy who takes care of his neighbor earns God's grace over a guy who is relentlessly praying.  

Ismaili Muslims participate and contribute in building relationships

Indeed, the beneficence of Aga Khan’s Pluralism discourse can be witnessed everywhere in the world including in Dallas, Texas. 

Arman Rupani and his father Mr. Amir Ali Rupani, a respected philanthropist of Dallas, set in motion a historic event;  Iftar Dinner with  Hon. Mayor Mike Rawlings of City of Dallas. This is the first public Iftar event in Dallas area hosted by the City for its Muslim residents. 

Mayor Rawlings, Arman Rupani, Amir Rupani, Dy Mayor Pro Tem Alonzo
Click to see larger version of the picture | Photo courtesy - http://www.surajart.com/

The Mayor delivered an amazing key note address; he was all for building relations with each community in the City. He said, there are about 120,000 Muslims in the area and around 40,000 of them reside in the City of Dallas. He was excited to initiate this tradition and expects it to continue every year.  By the way, his praise for Arman was touching, and the words he had for Amir Rupani for raising a public service son made every one pause and praise this father son duo.  

Thanks to Arman Rupani, Amir Ali Rupani and Akram Syed for co-hosting the event, and building relationships between the Mayor’s office and the Muslims of Dallas.

The honored guests included;
Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Monica R. Alonzo of Dallas, former Mayor Dr. Arjumad Hashmi of Paris, Texas, Council Member Dr. Shahid Shafi of South Lake and most of the Imams of Shia and Sunni traditions,  and some of the most active Muslims of Dallas Fort Worth.

Purpose of Religion


The purpose of every religion and the work of every prophet, messenger or peacemaker was to build cohesive societies, where no human had to live in apprehension or fear of the other. Indeed the ultimate goal of Islam as I understand is to bring harmony and peace to the societies achieved by knowing each other and building relationships.
Indeed God has created us into different tribes, communities and nations (Quran 49:13). It was indeed his choice to create each one of us to be unique with our own thumbprint, eye print, DNA, color and taste buds. Yet, the whole creation was put together in perfect balance and harmony (Q55:7); Planets and plants were programmed to operate with precision (Q55:5) year after year, and humans were given the free will with a responsibility to maintain that balance for their own good or perish like the earlier species through climate changes or conflicts.
God knew such diversity is bound to create conflict and mess up the delicate balance, so he encourages us in the same verse 49:13, that the best among you are the ones who know each other. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the God given uniqueness of each one of us, and with that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
One shining example that stands out is His Highness Aga Khan, who has struck a perfect balance between the life here, and life hereafter.We wish a very happy Imamat day and Khushali to the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and blessing of long life to the Hazar Imam HH Karim Aga Khan. Amen!

This writer was a former commissioner at City of Carrollton.
Ramadan Related Articles:

American Muslim Agenda-I at Huffington Post:  
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/american-muslim-agenda-a-_b_5528706.html 

American Muslim Agenda-II at World Muslim Congress:
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2014/07/july-4th-celebrations-muslims-and.html

Ramadan’s Pluralism Message at Ramadan Exclusive:
http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2014/06/ramadans-pluralism-message-intrafaith.html

Ramadan’s spiritual Discipline at faith Street:
http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2009/08/21/ramadans-spiritual-discipline/8124
 ...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a
speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism,Peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, cohesive work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com and www.MikeGhouse.net 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I am blessed to be a Pluralist, and wish the same to you. Amen

It feels sacred to embrace and be embraced by every human on the earth. Thank God for not cutting off that large umbilical cord between me and the creation, and I feel blessed to be connected with everyone.

I am in my comfort zone with friends from every walk of life - political right to the left, theists to atheists,  and social conservatives to progressives. It is not easy, but when you put in the effort and succeed, life is full of joy. We are a part of the whole and I pray that we all realize we are merely the specks in this huge expanse of universe, interconnected with everyone and interdependent on each other in this web of life. Let's not mess with this web.

God bless you, Amen!


 
Thank you
mike
Mike Ghouse | President
(214) 325-1916
Center for Pluralism
www.FoundationforPluralism.com

www.MikeGhouse.net

Studies in Social, religious, cultural, Gender, Political and work Place Pluralism. Pluralism is neither a religion nor rule of law, it is merely our attitude of "Respecting the otherness of others." and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 7.2 Billion of us.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 4th Celebrations, Muslims and Ramadan. American Muslim Agenda, a new beginning for Muslim Americans

Let this 4th day of July 2014 be a historic beginning for Muslim Americans.
http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2014-07-02-July4th.AmericaTogetherFoundation.com3.jpgMany of you may not know this, but upon Declaration of our Independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslim.

Despite a few, who have painted Muslims in a negative light for their own gains; Muslims have always been well wishers of America and will continue to do that. The Journey began with the birth of our nation, and I am pleased to make a recommendation to my fellow Muslims to take this relationship further deeper.
What will I do on July 4th? 2nd of 3 articles on American Muslim Agenda
( to be published at  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/ )

Continued:

Let this 4th day of July 2014 be a historic beginning for Muslim Americans
It is time for Muslims to set their agenda, and develop short and long term plans. We have to debate, discuss and work on developing a final agenda that is good for the Muslims and good for fellow Americans. Here is a 3 part series of initiating such agenda. 
In the first part of the series at Huffington Post, we shared;
1. What does it take to be the Amins “trust keepers” of our society?
2. Why should we stand up for the rights of others? 
3. No American should live in apprehension or fear of the other.
It is at - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/american-muslim-agenda-a-_b_5528706.html 
Now, we will address the need for engagement with the society, July 4th, and the others celebrations and commemorations.
July 4th and Muslims
Many of you may not know this, but upon Declaration of our Independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslim. 
Morocco was the first state and signed the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship; first of its kind. Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic was the next, and Tippu Sultan, the King of Mysore State (India) was the third. According to Dr. Range Gowda, Tippu Sultan’s historiographer, the congratulatory letter to America is preserved in a French Library.
Despite a few, who have painted Muslims in a negative light for their own gains; Muslims have always been well wishers of America and will continue to do that. The Journey began with the birth of our nation, and I am pleased to make a recommendation to my fellow Muslims to take this relationship further deeper.
Muslim Americans reaching out to every American.
Let’s take a conservative number of 3, 150,000 Muslims in America, even though a 6-7 millions figure is thrown without any substantiation. This number is roughly 1% of the American Population – one out of 100 Americans is a Muslim.
If each Muslim sends 100 invitations to fellow Americans to join him or her for a grilled Hot Dog, Hamburger or Barbeque at the backyard, public park or a Mosque parking lot with appropriate permissions, about five to seven neighbors may show up, and it may not cost more than $25.00 to serve them. If this is done consistently, in about 10 years, most of Americans would know each other as fellow celebrators of the festivity together. This is not the responsibility of Muslims alone; all of us have to learn about each other to be good neighbors.
Do you know what Quran says about it? In 49:13 God says, he has created mankind into many tribes, communities, nations and people, and he fully understands that conflicts are bound to happen with such diversity, and then he says, the best ones among you are the ones who get to know each other. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding, and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the other and when that happens, conflicts fade and solutions emerge. This is how we create safe societies for our children.
Caution: No matter how tempting it is to flaunt your religiosity, religion is your personal belief. Please do not discuss religion and politics with your guests. it will ruin the relationship – get to know your neighbors as folks with common interests. No matter how smart you are, the moment you suggest your religion is superior in any form shape or innuendos; you will be causing conflict off the bat, and that is not friendship. You don’t tell your friend that your wife is more beautiful than his or your husband is more handsome than her husband.
Be a caring neighbor and be there for them in their celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, funerals and other commemorations, after all they are your neighbors. 
This is the month of Ramadan, and celebration of July 4th should be a joy while fasting, indeed your personal faith becomes stronger when you let your will power gain control over temptations, fasting is not about being hungry, it is about the sacrifice you make for the sake of God and the common Good. More about it at www.RamadanExclusive.com
This Ramadan, you do not have the time to send the invitations, but have the time knock on ten doors on your street and invite people to hot dogs at your place. Do the invitations next year.
Happy July 4th – if you are driving, carry a lot of water bottles and stop and share some with the stranded ones on the road. What Muslims need most is a lot of Goodwill.
What does engagement mean to Muslims?
It simply means you are invited to your neighbor’s birthday party, Mayor’s inauguration, a political rally of the party you belong to, an interfaith prayer, neighborhood watch meeting, a town hall meeting, celebration of Independence Day, veterans’ day parade, Christmas party, Passover gathering, Diwali, Chinese New year, (Iftar parties) and other community based activities.
If you are not invited, it is not because you are a Hindu, Muslim, Chinese, African American, Arab, Latino, or the other, but precisely because no one knows about you. You have never been a part of any group, other than your own.
Over the years, I have watched with admiration the efforts made by the City and community service organizations to reach out and include all minorities, but sadly, a handful of us respond to it, it’s not only Muslims, the story is same with all minorities.
A few will make an effort and serve on a committee, but drop out quickly because they did not see the fruit on the very same day they planted the seed. Everything takes time, nurturing and development of relationships. The sense of belonging it generates is priceless. You feel confident of your being and your place in the society.
Each one of us rises from the basic level of taking care of the needs of our families to self-fulfillment. We want to give it back to the community and we want to volunteer. Indeed we can contribute towards the overall betterment of the community we live in by engaging with the people.
The power of engagement.
On the individual level, I have been able to diffuse many possible conflicts simply by engaging with people. One such example happened in 2007, there was a rumor that Muslims in France have pushed the Government to ban Holocaust Studies, this rumor was designed to humiliate Muslims. Thanks to Maria Arita at Fox News, she called me up to find out my take. What did I do? I asked her to give me three hours and called my friend late Elliot Dlin, director of Dallas Holocaust Museum, he verified that to be untrue and thanks to Maria, the rumor stopped right there.
On a national level, engaging with Sean Hannity at Fox News has produced significant results for the common good of America, and Muslims. If someone knows you, and you have earned his or her respect over a period of time, going through the full cycle of humiliation, acceptance and appreciation, then he accommodates you.
Thanks to Sean Hannity, he has clarified his position time and again with me that he is not against Muslims or Islam, but against the radical elements. That he will consciously use the term ‘Radicals among Muslim’ instead of ‘Radical Muslims’ was a significant rational improvement and I am glad to be an instrument in that development. I was advised against engaging with Hannity and have been screamed at and ridiculed as well, it would have been easy for me to run from the double edged sword, but I chose to stick with it, as I believe in engagement has its own miracles of mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. Mahatma Gandhi had suggested if you want to see good beneficial changes in the society, be a part of it. More about Hannity at: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/06/youre-dangerous-sparks-fly-between.html
On the flip side of the engagement, Huffington Post stands out as a great example of active engagement. No other newspaper had bothered to deal with the minorities, as the coverage was not profitable for them. Huffpost paved the way; they believed that engagement with different Americans was necessary in moving the nation forward. What is good for America eventually became good for them. Today, I am glad to be a part of Huffington Post’s guest writers, and I am glad it is a profitable business.
Engagement works both ways.
http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2014-07-02-AmericanMuslimAgendaCopy.jpgThere are innumerable situations where getting engaged with the “other” causes the “other” to join and become “together’, and together as Americans we can achieve a lot, one among them is freedom from tensions about each other.

In the next installment, we will be talking about Engagement, Pluralism, Volunteerism and participation. 
--
Mike Ghouse is a Muslim speaker, thinker and a writer, and presides over the World Muslim congress, a think tank, and a forum with the express goals of nurturing pluralistic values embedded in Islam to build cohesive societies.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ramadan’s pluralism message for Muslims - Saudi Gazette

Ramadan’s pluralism message for Muslims
http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140702210187


Tariq A. Al-Maeena



Mike Ghouse is from the World Muslim Congress, a think tank committed to nurturing the pluralistic values of Islam. This group is about Muslims and their civic responsibilities; it is not about religious practices but simply about learning and creating a religious, social and civic space for Muslims in the community of faiths.

For this Ramadan, Mike would like to get the following message out: “By the end of 2020, there will not be a major city in America, and perhaps in the world, where you will not find people of different faiths, cultures, ethnicities, races, nationalities and social backgrounds working, eating, praying, playing, marrying, and doing things together. This is bound to create conflicts, and thus we need to prepare ourselves to deal with such eventualities.

“The guidance can be found in every religious tradition; all of them were committed to creating cohesive societies where no one had to live in apprehension or fear of the other.

“I am pleased to reiterate the Islamic tradition in this essay. The Holy Qur’an 49:13 says that God has created us into different tribes, communities and nations. It was indeed His choice to create each one of us to be unique with our own thumbprint, eye print, DNA, color and taste buds. Yet, the whole creation was put together in perfect balance and harmony (55:7).

“That brings us to pluralism which is defined as, ‘respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the (God-given) uniqueness of each one of us.’ ‘You are who you are, and I am who I am.’ Q109:6 (Yousef Ali). ‘To you be your way, and to me mine.’  Your faith is dear to you as mine is to me, together, we have to live and work on maintaining that harmony for our good and for the Creator’s joy. God’s religion is peace.

“Such diversity is bound to create conflict and mess up the delicate balance, so the Holy Qur’an encourages that the best among you are the ones who know each other. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, and with that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

“Pluralism is your choice to have good manners, and a good attitude toward fellow beings as guided by the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and common sense. My focus of this essay is application of God’s recommendation ‘to know each other’ within the fold of Islam and with members of the diverse family of faiths.

“A majority of us are saddened with the day-to-day events in the Muslim world, calling each other infidels and killing each other in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and elsewhere. The Holy Qur’an says killing one person is like killing the whole of humanity. You are not to kill a single soul unless it is in self-defense. We talk about unity, and spew so much hate for the other in the same breath; it needs to stop as God wants peace.

“I am appealing to those Muslims who have the integrity to match their words with their actions, and pray for the integrity of others who lack it.

“During this Ramadan, please make an effort to do your Iftar (breaking fast) in every mosque of varying denominations, or at least seek God’s guidance to remove hate and bias from our hearts for each other. Invite each other, not to discuss differences but to know each other to learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept each other, so that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

“Take some fruits and dates and just go there and let the imam or the volunteers know that you are from a different tradition and are making a sincere effort to be part of the larger community in every which way you can.

“Over the last four years, I have been to almost every mosque of every denomination in the United States. I have chronicled the uniqueness of each tradition with full respect at RamadanDaily.com.

“When you visit your friend’s house, you don’t criticize how they have arranged their furniture; in fact you may reluctantly praise it, but never put it down. You don’t dare criticize how their kids keep their rooms, eat or talk. For God’s sake go to other mosques with the same attitude, the attitude of pluralism.

“This year, we have four Fridays in Ramadan; make an effort to attend at least four major denominations on each Friday.

“Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was called Amin, the trustworthy, truthful and just and the person around whom people felt secure. We need to follow similar principles within our society. We need to have comfortable working relationships with everyone from all faiths including fellow Muslims of different denominations.

“The life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a bold example of living civility, with openness and confidence. The greater value he taught was to respect the otherness of others. Let’s follow him and build friendships with people of faiths and no faiths and become Amins of society.

“Together as Muslims, let’s make the world a safe and secure place for every one of God’s seven billion to live cohesively. Let’s not blame others, but do our share of good in our own mosques, neighborhoods, communities and towns on a smaller level. This is our home. M. Ghouse”

Just think what the world would be like if we did just a little bit of that?

— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ramadan's Pluralism Message

Ramadan’s Pluralism Message | Intrafaith and Interfaith goal

By the end of 2020, there will not be a major city in America, and perhaps in the world, where you will not find people of different faiths, cultures, ethnicities, races, nationalities and social backgrounds working, eating, praying, playing, marrying, and doing things together.  This is bound to create conflicts, and thus we need to prepare ourselves to deal with such eventualities.

The guidance can be found in every religious tradition; all of them were committed to creating cohesive societies where no one had to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  

I am pleased to reiterate the Islamic tradition in this essay.  

Quran 49:13 says that God has created us into different tribes, communities and nations. It was indeed his choice to create each one of us to be unique with our own thumbprint, eye print, DNA, color and taste buds. Yet, the whole creation was put together in perfect balance and harmony (55:7); Planets and plants were programmed to operate with precision (Q55:5) year after year, and humans were given a free will with the responsibility to maintain that balance for their own good or perish like the earlier species through climate changes or conflicts.
 

That brings us to Pluralism which is defined as, “respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the (God-given) uniqueness of each one of us.”  You are who you are, and I am who I am. Q
109:6 (Y. Ali), “To you be your Way, and to me mine.”  Your faith is dear to you as mine is to me,  together, we have to live and work on maintaining that harmony for our good and for the creator’s joy. God’s religion is peace.

God knew such diversity is bound to create conflict and mess up the delicate balance, so he encourages us in the same verse 49:13, that the best among you are the ones who know each other. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the God given uniqueness of each one of us, and with that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Pluralism is not a regulatory system like Secularism, or theocratic governance, but  your choice to have good manners, and  a good attitude towards fellow being as guided by Quran, the Prophet and common sense.

My focus of this essay is application of God’s recommendation “to know each other” within the fold of Islam and with members of diverse family of faiths.

Within the fold of Islam

A majority of us are saddened with the day to day events in the Muslim world, calling each other infidels and killing the other in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and elsewhere.  Quran says killing one person is like killing the whole humanity.  You are not to kill a single soul unless it is in self defense. We talk about unity, and spew so much hate for the other in the same breath; it needs to go as God wants peace.

I am appealing to those Muslims who have the integrity to match their words with their actions, and pray for the integrity of others who lack it.

During this Ramadan, please make an effort to do your Iftaar (breaking fast) in every mosque, particularly in the Shia, Sunni, Ahmadiyya and WD Muhammad or at least seek God’s guidance to remove hate and bias from our hearts for each other.  Invite each other, not to discuss differences but to know each other to learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept each other, so that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

 Take some fruits and dates if you have a few dollars or just go there and let the Imam or the volunteers know that you are from a different tradition and making a sincere effort to be part of the larger community in every which way you can. 

Over the last four years, I have been to every mosque of every denomination in the United States, except the Nation of Islam, and the Progressive Muslims. Insha Allah, I intend to make the trip to Washington DC or New York.  I have chronicled the uniqueness of each tradition with full respect at RamadanDaily.com.

When you visit your friend’s house, you don’t criticize how they have arranged their furniture; in fact you may reluctantly praise it, but never put it down.  You don’t dare criticize how their kids keep their rooms, eat, wear or talk.  For God’s sake go to other Mosques with the same attitude, the attitude of pluralism. 

This year, we have 4 Fridays in Ramadan; make an effort to attend at least four major denominations on each Friday.
Dealing with fellow members of diverse family of faiths;
 
Prophet Muhammad was called Amin, the trustworthy, truthful, just and around whom people felt secure. We need to be Amins of the society.  We need to have comfortable working relationships with everyone from Atheists to Baha’i, Buddhist, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jewish, Native Americans, Pagans, Sikh, Wiccan, Zoroastrians and every one in between including fellow Muslims of different denominations. We should not be dumbfounded when it comes to the right knowledge about others, preferably as they express it and not what is dished out to us about them. We ought to take pride in knowing all of God’s creation expressed in different faiths and traditions.    

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) life is a bold example to live civility, openness and with confidence.  He had offered a space in his Mosque for the visiting Christians of Najran to pray after the interfaith dialogue.  Had they prayed, they would have called on Jesus as son of God and Prophet would not have objected it. The greater value he taught was to respect the otherness of others. Remember he also had his signature revised in Hudaybiyyah treaty – From Muhammad (pbuh) Rasool Allah to Muhammad (pbuh) bin Abdullah.  It was to respect the otherness of others.  Let’s follow him and build friendships with people of faiths or no faiths, and become Amins of the Society.

Together as Muslims, let’s make the world a safe and secure place for every one of God’s 7 billion to live cohesively.  Let’s not blame others, but do our share of good in our own Masjids, neighborhoods, communities and towns on a smaller level.  This is our home.

Please study:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/american-muslim-agenda-a-_b_5528706.html 

Additional Reading:

Friday, June 27, 2014

American Muslim Agenda, a new beginning for Muslim Americans on this 4th day of July


American Muslim Agenda, a new beginning for Muslim Americans on this 4th day of July - 1 of 3

Let this 4th day of July 2014 be a historic beginning for American Muslims, where they will put together a clear agenda to participate and contribute towards the well being of America.

God created an integrated and interconnected world in harmony and balance, and all he wants from us is to maintain that balance. That is simply the God’s will.
The World Muslim Congress, a twelve year old think tank, has worked on presenting an “initial agenda” for Muslims in America based on Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) guidance. We hope this will spur debates, followed by discussions and emergence of a Muslim agenda within the framework of American Agenda.
Due to the length of the plan, it is presented in 3 installments.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

You're Dangerous!': Sparks Fly Between 'Hannity' Panel on Radical Islam

URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/06/youre-dangerous-sparks-fly-between.html


Published at Oped News: http://www.opednews.com/articles/A-response-to-Sean-Hannity-by-Mike-Ghouse-American-Muslims_Anti-islam_Extremism-Extremists_Foreign-Policy-Failure-Iraq-140624-879.html#comment496854

YOUTUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrilgYRauZY

First let me address the myth about Sean Hannity, and application of the Quranic verse “Don’t let your bias make you unjust towards the other” in this situation. Hannity is a defender of freedom and you would appreciate him, when you grasp the full meaning of freedom in its entirety.

In February 2013, Sean had called in 25 individuals for his show that included Representatives Peter King, Louis Goehmert, Ambassador John Bolton and others including me, Mike Ghouse.

In the middle of taping another segment, Sean asked me to join him on the stage, while 23 others were sitting across on the bleachers.  To paraphrase him (short version), "You are the only Muslim friend I know... and today I will do something for you that you have been asking for in the last three years....  from now on I will not use the word "Muslim terrorists" and instead call it  Terrorists among Muslims, would that make you happy? Hell yes!  I gave him a big salute while others cheered on.

Boston Marathon bombing followed in April, CNN camera goes to Peter King, and this is what he said, "96% of Muslims are good people, and it is the 4% we have to worry... That is a 180 Degrees turnaround! The same man had called in to investigate every Muslim and every Mosque a year ago.  That is reasonable change!  Thank you Sean!

Muslims don’t have to love him, but should not hold any bias against him.  I am glad that topic came up today, though we did not elaborate, we touched up on it and here I am, writing about it.  Just wanted to add, that CAIR team was vehemently opposed to my presence on Hannity and we had some fiery words about it, and finally Ibrahim Hooper had apologized to me.   I have defended the need for CAIR, just as there are Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and others have their own CAIRS defending the Civil rights of the respective groups. I will continue to do that despite their attitudes towards me.  They simply do not understand the power of engagement.

Personally, it is a mission accomplished - we place the blame where it belongs; the individuals and not religion.   We (Muslims) cry out loud to "see the change" and it won't happen unless we engage with people who differ with us.  Mother Teresa had once said, if you want to make peace, go talk with your enemies, indeed Mother, you are right!  Gandhi had said, if you want a change, be a part of it.  Both are my mentors.

Listen to Hannity carefully, he is not against Islam or Muslims, but against the radicals among us, which all of us Muslims (minus radicals) are against but don’t speak up in strong terms on a national or international microphone.

I would venture to say that,   even the stance taken by  Brigitte Gabriel, Pamela Geller and others is not against Muslims, though their language is not palatable,  they are activists and are outraged by lack of demonstrations by Muslims against the radicals, even though they have their own agenda. Unless I find information otherwise, I stand with my take.

The radicals among us are frightening not only to Muslims but to everyone else.  I would go on to say that even Jamie Glazov’s bias against Islam is not deep rooted, but stems from reading the wrong
translations of Quran, and shamefully, beefed by the false assertions of radical Muslim scholars in the past which do not contribute to peaceful societies.   As Muslims we have to fix the wrongs of Sharia Law and understand the Genesis of Sharia law to rebuild cohesive societies where no human has to live in fear of the other. 


I would rather have many Hannity's in the world who keep every one on their toes than have sycophants who let the governments and groups become complacent and make mistakes to the detriment of the very public they serve.

This will be my 90th show with Hannity over a period of four years. Please remember, I am from Texas, and slow in responding to the fast pace of Hannity, but yet, I have always made a few points, and with humility I acknowledge that I was a disaster a few times and Hannity had beat me up,  partly due to technical difficulties in the studios and partly my slowness. I will do well face to face with Hannity than via Satellite, where I don't see any one of them but looking into the camera with no one to see, and when I don't see them, I don't get the cue.

I am getting a lot of hate mail since yesterday, and several of them have attacked me on Twitter and their own sites. "I hate this @MikeGhouse ....... @.... ! He spikes my blood pressure! Makes me clean and oil my Rifle! It is a Norinco SKS." I feel sorry for them for not having the stomach for a different point of view.

Some others have jumped about my support (or lack of denouncement) of ISNA, as if that is the only problem they have, in which case it is not bad. Their charge is based on accusations of co-conspirators, which is not true, as it has been cleared by the courts. ISNA is a good clean organization. However, I do have a gripe with ISNA's priorities. Twice, I have submitted proposals to give presentations in their annual conference - "How to become a Mayor", "how to be participants and contributors towards the well being of America", that ultimately benefits all of us, and "what does it take for us to change", but it gets run down by their bureaucracy. I understand their priorities are different, but I would place my priority on what Prophet Muhammad taught, the very foundation of Islam; to be the Amins (the Jews, Christians, Pagan and other neighbors called him "Amin" for his truthfulness, kindness, caring and justness)  of the society where he built relations with every one around him, that is how we build cohesive societies that function effectively, indeed that is the purpose of religion, all religions.  Religion should not be barrier to be friends with neighbors.  God emphasizes in the Quran (at least 18 verses) with a tag line - the best among you is the one who cares for my creation, and I know who cared for his neighbors.

I will  however present a national proposal, hopefully in Huffington Post before Ramadan about what we can do, or if Sean wants to do it on his show, I will present the proposal.  I hope they listen, if not, we have to get the grass root movement to pick it up the steam and go on with or without the support of National Muslim organizations. We have to be engaged, and we have to become major contributors towards the safety, security and prosperity of America, we have to do more than our share to be equals.

And now about the sparks


In a live TV show, you don’t get a second chance to say a few words you really wanted to say, and take back a few words you did not want them in.  All of us could have done better, but the idea is to express different points of view, and it is up to the public to choose what they will do with the information.

 Here are a few phrases, rather paraphrases that got everyone going.  “She (Brigitte Gabrielle) is as dangerous as the extremist”, “you (Jamie Glazov) are disgusting” and “You (inference) are an Islamist” and several more….

Tamara Holder said Brigitte Gabrielle is as dangerous as the extremists.  I can fully understand her take, and I have said a very similar thing to Brigitte a few months ago, “Your ‘statements’ are dangerous and are a come-on to those terrorist” while our men and women are serving in the conflict zones we should not be goading them. It negates the safety efforts of our administration.

It resonates with what I have been writing frequently, “
For every Muslim ass, there is a Christian, Jewish, Hindu or a Buddhist ass, just as those men at ISIS and Al-Qaida will declare Jihad against us Americans; we have some among us who would want to do the same. It is a serious issue, but to hype it up to the Nth degree does not bode well for the safety of fellow Americans.  I stand opposed to any pre-emptive strikes or going to war.


Jamie Glazov does not realize that hate is the mother of violence. He attacked Islam instead of the radicals and that got me going. Tamara called him disgusting and I would reiterate that his statements were disgusting. What do I wish?
I would wish that he can take out his anti-Islam bias, as it creates animosities, unfortunately if he is joined by others, we Americans sound like hateful people, and we are not. Do his statements contribute towards building bridges? Hell no!   

Blaming the religion is dumb

I want to assert a thought that very few on the right have had a chance to learn.  Religions and civil societies evolved to build cohesive societies where all the members of the society can function effectively and without fear of each other. Whether it is Zoroaster, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, Muhammad, Nanak or any of the peace makers, their messages was same, most people get that right, and a few don't.

 Justice is the key component of a society.  When an individual commits a crime or violates others' rights, both the civil and religious societies have prescribed punishment for him, with a hope that the punishment will act as a deterrent to others. Furthermore, you don't punish the man's parents, siblings, spouse and kids, nor do you punish the man's clergy, Mayor of the town, the people of the town, his nation, his religion or people who follow his religion.

Some men do not understand a thing about religion, they may have studied the same wrong thing over and over again,  and that does not make them an expert, if their language generates fear and hate for the other.  

The reason you blame and punish the individual is to restore trust, harmony and justice.  You don't blame the religion, and don't buy the alibis of the criminals. The guy may say Allahu Akbar and kill someone, but that does not mean you have to buy that as an act of religion.  Glazov hangs on to the statements made by some radical Muslims scholars from the past ignoring what Quran says.

Blaming Islam does no good.  You cannot beat, kill, hang, slaughter, shoot or bury religion - it amounts to barking at the wrong tree, it does not produce any result. But punishing the bad guys restores justice and trust in the society, after all religion in an intangible thing and cannot do a thing but provide guidance.  

Can you call Pamela Geller a murderer, and Bill Blasio a rapist?  Because New Yorkers murdered over 1500 people, and raped over 3000 women last year? It would be dumb isn't it? Blaming Islam or Muslims for the acts of the few is equally dumb.

Caliphate is another conspiracy theory.  First of all, no two Muslims agree on anything. No doubt Islam is one, but its understanding is as different as Christ in different denominations.  There never will be a Caliphate, it is an useless dream of few on the Muslims side and conspiracy of a few on part of non-Muslims.  The Saudi version of Islam, the brotherhood, Taliban and other versions have zero tolerance for each other and the average Muslim who minds his own life taking care of his family and living his own life.  The division within Sunni is steep, let alone the animosity between Sunnis and Shias. The Caliphate is the imaginary product of conspirators.

What we all need to do is talk with each other, lay things out as bluntly as we can and then examine how we can build cohesive societies, where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  We need to highlight the dimension of pluralism, and we want the world to respect us for our justice, honesty and fairness.

God bless America!


OTHER VIDEOS




Fox's Tamara Holder Blasts Brigitte Gabriel For Spewing Anti-Muslim Hatred
http://crooksandliars.com/2014/06/foxs-tamara-holder-blasts-brigitte-gabriel

How Fox News Has A Conversation About Islam
http://shredoftruth.com/home/how-fox-news-has-a-conversation-about-islam.html
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.