SHORT MESSAGES

1. Articles at www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com about the Gaza conflict.

2. Had a successful meeting with the departments of state and justice about the film "flames of passion", indeed it is the synchronization of American and Muslim values.

3. Met a guy with his dog, and another one at the Dulles airport, each one had a story - the is his emotional support since he is out of stage 4 cancer, with 1% chances of remission, the other guy had to unplug mother's food and let her die in hospice and my own story has both the elements. I will write a note about it.

Mike Ghouse

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Louisville Eid Celebrations, Prayers, Misogyny, Urdu and the film.

www.TheGhouseDiary.com
URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/07/louisville-eid-celebrations-prayers.html

Despite the problems in the world, life should go on!  Our kids need to see the problems but must be taught to move on in life and learn to create a better world through such experiences. 

Perhaps, we can cherish what we have done in raising our kids to be friendly with fellow kids regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity or other uniqueness. Indeed, that is the very first model of citizenship that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) initiated; he was called Amin, a sum total  of many qualities among them are the truth teller, honest, unbiased, non-judgmental,  trustworthy, caring and respectful of his neighbors; Jews, Christians, Pagans and others at that time.  Very few of us want our kids to be bigots, and almost all of us want our kids to grow up with an open mind and an open heart. Thank God for that.

Most Parents want their kids to have a better life, and they fix them up with material things. I hope they fix them with things that will make them a better and caring human as well. 


At this time, I am concerned about the ugliness of a few Jewish and Palestinian parents who teach hatred towards the other. Man, they are messing up their kids, when they grow up they will have difficulty in working and relating with normal people. I hope it becomes a norm with the Jewish and the Palestinian parents in the conflict zones to teach their children about the suffering, and I pray that the Jewish and Muslim parents don’t screw up their kid’s life by injecting hatred for each other and I pray that the kids will reject their parents hatred for the other. Parents may have had a bad time, should they make it bad for their children too? I pray not. 

Indeed, life is a gift of God and we have to do everything to preserve it, and express our gratitude for what we have, and pray for those who lost the loved ones and all their life time’s love of labor in the ongoing conflicts, wars, massacres and genocides.  

This Ramadan has been a blessing, none of the Mosques I have been to in the last 30 days, none, not one of them preached hatred towards any, and they simply prayed for the victims. I hope the same is true in our churches, synagogues and other places, as I intend to visit them and hope to find goodness in the places of worship..   Article at Oped News  

Now coming to this Eid - I have lost the desire to take pictures; I just took a few even though camera was with me in the car or on the shelf at home.  But it was good to see every one appreciate the blessings of Ramadan while praying for the well beings of the victims of the conflicts.



CELEBRATIONS


It was good to visit a few friends’ homes for the Eid, a beautiful tradition that most of us have brought forward. We also stopped by at the River Road Mosque; it was good to see families gather there on a social basis. Eid is a time to catch up with most people. Great food everywhere, and finally we had our family gathering at home, and Yasmeen cooked some of the most fabulous dishes.

MISOGYNY

I am sensitive to bias, prejudices, misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Hinduism, homophobia and other evils of the society. My antennas pick up the tiniest vibrations and I speak out.  Check out Ramadan’s Pluralism Message.

The convention center was a great place to accommodate the Muslims of Greater Louisville and loved the open hall - with no wall separating men and women although they were in two different sections. I did not take pictures, but the arrangement was good. 

The Imam who delivered the sermon at the convention center was good, but for the insensitive misogynistic comment. He began his talk by addressing the women, asking them to quit talking and control their kids…. That is awful! Only women talk? Where does he live? Men gossip and chatter as much as women do in our society, and children are equally managed by either parent; it’s just not the mothers.  

I talked to the Imam after the prayers, and asked him not to be misogynistic in the future. He can always address the noise makers, whoever they are, but not point to a group of people; in this case women – that is stereotyping.  By the way, this is the men thing, and men from every faith, race and ethnicity are guilty of it, and I visit every place of worship from Aztecs to Zoroastrians and every one in between, the story is the same. All we can do is take corrective steps. Indeed, Islam teaches us to give dignity to every woman and a child, and we must.  We need a sensitivity training for men.

APPKI

Someday, when I have a little time, I would like to know more about APPKI, an organization that I have come to admire. I just found out that Dr. Aftab Ahmed was also one of the founders of the APPKI. You guys and gals are blessed ones to have open hearts and minds, keep it up. Indeed, it was Jinnah’s dream to have a Pakistan or its representation to be inclusive of ever Pakistani regardless of his or her faith or ethnicity and you guys have done it. This note is an update to the article I wrote about APPKI at Huffington post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/the-pakistani-american-do_b_5323434.html

URDU

I am pleased to commence a monthly or bi-monthly informal gathering to exchange poetry and literature in Urdu and Hindi languages. The first session would be at Yasmeen’s house on Wednesday 7-8:30, tea and light refreshments will be served and we can rotate this in different homes. It will be intellectually refreshing to have a gathering like this. But please RSVP by texting me at (214) 325-1916, I don’t want to have 50 friends over and not be ready for it.


THE FILM – FLAMES OF PASSION

Produced by America Together Foundation, a non-profit organization. 



The Film is based on a successful real life event about ordinary people effecting extraordinary changes. It is a story about skillfully managing conflicting issues of safety of Americans overseas, upholding freedom of speech, improving perceptions about Islam and preserving sanctity of religions.

The film depicts human fears, apprehensions; thrill seeking, suspense, drama, romance, disappointments and the role of justice during the attempted Quran burning event in Mulberry, Florida.

It is an epitome of nonviolent conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance based on the teachings of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Hopefully the world will see a new paradigm in making; what Muslims ought to be, and how they will respond to future incidents of Quran Burning, criticism of Islam, and cartoons of the Prophet. It will be good for Muslims and good for the world. Indeed, blessed are the peacemakers.Tax deductible Donations of $1000, $5000, $10,000 or greater can be made at: http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/

THE ONLY PICTURES I TOOK THIS TIME





Mike
(214) 325-1916
...................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, IslamIsraelIndiainterfaith, 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 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.
...........................................................................................................


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ramadan Dilemma

IS IT HAPPY RAMADAN? SEASON'S GOOD, BAD AND UGLY
www.TheGhouseDiary.com

Many of us have been debating and will continue to debate about our traditional greetings of Happy Ramadan and Ramadan Mubarak to each other. It is not a happy Ramadan to many and it is time for all of us to ponder. 


The deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza, passengers from the two plane crashes, Christians in Islamic State, Iraq and Syria, and Muslim, Sikh and other deaths across the world and deaths of military men on both sides of the conflicts must all be mourned.  

www.RamadanNews.com

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) always chose the most peaceful way to find solutions; he was the ultimate peace maker and a mercy to mankind, and we should not let that go of us, we need to be the peace makers and mercy to fellow beings.

My thoughts here are influenced by seeing the entire humanity as one. Indeed, our belief is based on God to be God of the Universe, and Prophet to be mercy to entire mankind and us to be peacemakers for the entire Aalameen, whole humanity, thus the phrases; Rabbul Aalameen, Rahmatul Aalameen and Mukhlooqul Aalameen.

Not only Muslims, but Jews, Christians, Hindus, Atheists and others are equally concerned about the deaths of innocent civilians and it would be wrong to discount their goodwill at this time, let our words mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill, a formula of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Good calls

Most Muslims have followed Prophet’s guidance in speaking out when there is injustice, and we have done that in different formats.

The Jews, Hindus, Christians, Atheists and all others have joined in the demonstrations throughout the world to protest Israel’s aggressive campaign that has killed over 700 civilians mostly innocent children. 

No violence has been reported in the demonstrations, and we need to thank God for that. Animals don’t know how to express their anger and resort to fighting and killing each other, humans were gifted with a tongue to dialogue, and dialogue we must. We need to remind ourselves, we are humans.

Please remember we are all in this together, and we must we continue to restrain ourselves from developing prejudice, hate or anger towards any group of people – be it Jewish, Muslim or the other.  Prejudice eventually will take down every one.

Bad calls

6 out of 190 nations are justifying excessive Israeli aggressions, indeed this has been the case for nearly six decades.  This is sheer stupidity, their support is supposed to protect Israel, but will actually harm Israel’s long term security. There is a sense of anger for the injustice towards Palestinians from over 90% of the world citizenry; their helplessness and frustrations are translating into anti-Jewish sentiments and thus resentment towards United States, the feeling is they are getting away with murders and injustice.    It is like the world v USA-Israel-Canada combine.  The ugliness of Anti-Semitism is on increase, and for this no one but the leadership of Israel and the United States is responsible, we cannot let Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia and other evils of society to flourish. It’s time to think and time to speak out against our elected representatives in the United States.
Al-Baghdadi, the rogue and the thief has gone on a killing spree and terrorizing Christians to convert or pay Jiziyah in his new Islamic State.  This is not Islam and we condemn this strongly, Islam is about freedom and not oppression. This ugly man is maligning the name of Islam further, and if we cannot capture and imprison this man, he will mess up a whole lot more, and Muslims will come to regret it. 

A few ugly Rabbis’ and the Ministers in Israel are calling for annihilation of Palestinian children and mothers who give birth to children quoting from their holy books. Indeed they are a match for some of the Imams who are misinterpreting Quran not to trust Jews. Damn them, they are wrong. God is not unjust, God is not discriminatory, and God cannot wrong his own creation and God cannot play favorites.  Together, they are fueling the fire of hatred.  This needs to stop.  For every Muslim ass, there is a Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and other ass. All it takes is for us to speak out.

Ugly calls

A few Jews, Christians and Hindus are justifying the Israeli massacres, while a few Muslims have not blamed Hamas for firing the rockets into Israel. This is a shameful behavior, none of us should rejoice death and destruction, or justify the killings. 

The day we mourn for our own and not others marks the disgusting selfishness in us, and the day we mourn for the deaths of all people, we are entering the zone of civil societies. Unless we stand for the rights of others, why should anyone stand up for us?


Ramadan celebrations
 

I am not sure if we can can be genuinely happy when there is oppression, mass killings and murders of Muslims, Christians, Jews and others is going on.  We must, however,  thank God for the blessed month, and pray for the well being of all humanity in our congregational and individual prayers. Let our kids know that life goes on, celebration and commemoration is all part of the life. God reminds us, and which one of the favors do you deny? 

Ramadan celebrations are scheduled for Monday, July 28, and some will be celebrating on Monday, and some may have already done today. I am finding it difficult to say Ramadan Mubarak.
 

May God help us remove any ill-will or malice towards fellow beings, and fill us with abilities to find peaceful solutions to the complicated issues, may this Ramadan bring blessings of goodwill, at least in our individual hearts. Amen!

May God guide Netanyahu, AlBaghdadi, Asad and other tyrants, and may God give guidance to our senators and congresspersons to give common sense to be just.

May God help us guard ourselves from from being prejudiced towards groups, faiths, tribes or nations. 
Yes, we can hold individuals responsible for their crimes, but not their nations or faiths, residents of such nations and followers of such faiths. 

May Ramadan's blessing shower the entire humanity, may all of us understand the dividends of peace, and realize the secure feeling when we work for cohesive societies where none of us have to live in fear of the other. Amen!

Reading suggestions:


Sanity prayers for Jews and Muslims
http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/2014/07/sanity-prayers-for-american-jews-and.html


Thank you

  
Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
............................................................................................................................... 
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam,IsraelIndiainterfaith, cohesive work place. He is committed to building aCohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day atwww.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 sitewww.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sanity Prayers for American Jews and American Muslims

URL -http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/07/sanity-prayers-for-american-jews-and.html

The conflict should not tear the Jewish Americans and Muslim Americans apart; instead it should bring us together to build a cohesive America, and hopefully cohesive societies across the world where no human has to live in fear of the other.


The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a humanitarian one, and it would be wrong to label it as Jewish and Muslim or between Judaism and Islam. We have to guard ourselves from labeling each other as enemies which we are not, and we shouldn’t be. Of course a few among us look to the other Americans as if they have wronged us. No, none whatsoever. 

On the other hand we need to ask people to appreciate the efforts of Jewish and Muslim peacemakers in the United States who are making every effort to find solutions. Calling it a Jewish Muslim problem amounts to belittling their efforts. Let’s guard ourselves from such short sightedness.

Rabbi Elana Zelony of congregation Beth Torah in Richardson affirms the above, “With all the media about violence between Muslims and Jews, it's easy to forget that many of us are yearning for peace. We will gather to strengthen one another with our prayers and affirm a vision of a peaceful world.”

It is easy to destroy the relationships with reckless language, and I urge everyone to use the language that restores goodness.  Of course when passions are flared, anything short of telling the other is 100% right amounts to outright rejection by both sides. That is the precise reason we have problems, we need a few of us who are willing to speak sanity. Let’s take this as an endurance test of our wits. I hope we come out unscathed as conflict mitigaters and goodwill nurturers, and not the ones who mess up.

Shaheen Khateeb of Indian American Muslim council shares the note from Andrea Winters of Pace University, "It really was lovely dinner and opportunity to reconnect- and share- felt good, all the more because of what is happening in the world. Very painful.. but it is heartening to know that important connections can be made and kept despite all the bloodshed elsewhere. Now the world has to figure out what to do about the bloodshed.”

Here is a summary of the conflict in the most simplistic expression;  

1. The Palestinians are made up of Christians, Muslims and others, before the creation of Israel, even the Jews from the area were referred to as Palestinian Jews.

2. When Jews were persecuted or discriminated throughout Europe and the US respectively, Arab and Muslim nations were a safe haven for Jews for nearly 1300 years of Islamic existence and India and Hindus for nearly 2000 years after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

3. The Israeli Palestine issue is not thousands of years old as some blabber, it’s just 67 year old, since Israel was carved out of Palestine in 1947. There were no significant flare ups between Jews and Muslims until then,  while Europe was bent on annihilating Jews in the same period of time.

4. The United Nations rightfully took the responsibility to settle the Holocaust survivors in the then Palestine. The land was given to Immigrant Jews (even the United States refused a Jewish refugee ship to land on our shores), and it was handled poorly without proper local consent and cooperation,  instead of dialogue and kindness people resorted to fighting and denying each other’s rights.

5. Shamefully, the fight for the land began and continues today, the Jewish settlers are robbing the land from the Palestinians, bulldozing their homes, and building their own settlements, there is no rule of law and justice.  

6. The biggest shame is on a handful of Rabbis, Imams and Pastors who are maligning their religions and justifying their holy books to kill each other, it is their personal hate and anger that is the problem and not Judaism, Islam or Christianity.  

7. When justice is compromised,  no one will live with a full sense of security or peace.

SOLUTIONS
There is a solution; we have plenty of land here in Texas, we should welcome the Jewish settlers ; at least they can build it guilt free. We have been subsidizing Israel with over $3 billion a year; and we can reduce it to $1 billion for one year and use the funds to offer them federal lands to build their settlements. It will create a lot of Jobs in the United States and peace in the Middle East.

We can offer the same deal to Palestinians; let’s welcome them to the United States to raise their families in peace and prosperity instead of fighting a daily battle for survival and their own land. We can help compensate the Palestinians from the same funds and offer lasting solutions for them as well.

There are always people who eke out their living by evil means. Indeed, they have successfully built up prejudice against Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular, and many of us Americans have lost a sense of fairness and justice.  There is no reason for us to be prejudiced against any people; we need to fight that instinct and live a prejudice free life.  We don't have to be unjust to either Jews or the Palestinians (Christians and Muslims).

I have been to several Mosques during this month of Ramadan, and it was good to hear supplications seeking justice and relief to the Palestinians, but no hatred towards Jews was expressed and that was the right thing to do. What a relief it was to know that the bad guys are not Jews, Judaism or Israel, but the leaders who are hell bent on seeking revenge.

I am disappointed in the members of Senate to have voted unanimously in favor or Israeli leader’s short-sightedness in justifying revenge, two wrongs doesn’t make it right, the first wrong was by Hamas for firing the rockets and the 2nd wrong was the revenge seeking by the Israeli government (not Jews, Judaism or Israel) both caused by occupation and blockade.

Shame on our democracy where sycophancy took over and ditched the very essence of freedom; dissent. Not a single Senator had the balls to disagree? We the people are not that sheepish, are we?

Shame on our elected representatives, instead of bringing security to Israel and Justice to the Palestinians, their false belief has made sure Israel is not secure for a long time to come by encouraging military solutions, instead of a forging a dialogue between the two. Damn them for funding furthering Iron dome and damn them for funding Gaza to rebuild their homes to be destroyed again. What a waste of our funds!

I am glad to see Muslims and hopefully Jews, Christians and others use the place of worship to seek God’s help and guidance in finding the solutions; security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians. I do hope the moderate Jews, Christians and others besides Muslims speak up against any hate sermons and justifications of rockets or revenge in their places of worship.

I will be visiting a few places of worship in the coming weeks and I hope to hear nothing but peace and goodness in our churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship.

Let’s pray:

Dear God guide us from keeping the places of worship free of malice
Dear God lift us above pettiness
Dear God give us guidance to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill.
Dear God remove hatred and bias towards fellow beings.
Dear God give us strength to speak up against bias and hatred in our gatherings.
Dear God strengthen the sense of Justice in our hearts and souls.
Dear God don't let a few stray Jews and Muslims justify killings
Dear God please don't make them a villain or bigot out of you.
Dear God please don't allow claims of one to have deals with you behind other's back.
Dear God strengthen empathy towards fellow beings in our hearts.
Dear God help us heal our relationships between fellow Americans.
Dear God help us become instruments of peace and harmony.

Amen

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesive work places. He offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His information is at www.MikeGhouse.net

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
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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. 
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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.