Friday, January 30, 2015

Shocking conversation with a teen and advise to parents

I just completed a full hours worth of conversation with a young man who was angry at his upbringing. He was raised in Sikh and Hindu traditions, he said he couldn't carry on a conversation with his father, raised with two (rather three) conflicting values in addition to the America values, he is angry at Sikhs and angry at Hindus. He called me off an article I wrote in Huffington post about how the unfinished social transactions keep messing people for years to come and what we need to do responsibly.


I was debating about giving so much time for him… then I remembered, before I could give time to a guy some 20 years ago, he hung himself in his house leaving behind kids who were classmates of my kids. So, I gave in and decided to hear him out.

My time is cut out to do things that I need to do… but will write a piece and ask parents to spend time with their kids, let the kids talk with you freely without fear of being shouted down. Everyone loses when there is no communications. I just saw the movie American Sniper last night – the first scene in the movies is where the father shouts down at his kids. Should we raise kids who fear us, as if we are monsters? Sometimes the kids are your reflection or go the opposite. We need to look in to the mirror and see if we are worth passing it on to the next generation.

The biggest shock to me was this 35 year old knew his stuff and has virtually read everything I have written, the range of his reading threw me off completely. He was referencing to my Articles ranging from Atheism to Zoroastrianism and every one in between, to social issues of India, Pakistan and the United States. Temptation is there to hold a heart to heart conference with the youth – I would say my expertise would be in cultural and religious conflict resolution. It is an eternal debate about spending time, when you already spend half of you time in volunteering.

Thank you
Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...................................................................................................................... 

Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Obama did it for Modi, it was a good strategy

The Message in the town hall meeting delivered by Obama was to have been delivered by Modi.  Politically, Modi had difficulty in telling his party and its affiliates to back off, a splintered India is not good for any one, jis may kisi ka sath nahin, us may kis ka vikas bhi  nahin.

President Obama’s speech is a reflection of my essay written a week before his address, “Republic Day’s pluralistic Message to Modi and Obama.”  The message is identical.

I urge you to read the article Republic Day Message to Modi and Obama at www.TheGhousediary.com  and compare it with.

 Obama’s speech (29th Minute onwards)  - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sGFUPEtNAg

I believe, Modi means good. He is figuring out a way to move away from “exclusively for Hindus at the cost of others” to inclusively for all Indians for the benefit of all.  He is committed to do that. If he fails, we all fail, and if he succeeds, all of us will benefit from it.

The glory was written all over Modi's face, he was looking for this moment. Obama’s dosti (friendship) meant everything for him, as if he was seeking approval, indeed Modi was in the seventh heaven.

 After the humiliation he went through about the denial of visa, he was desperately looking to get out of it, his ego did not permit him to apologize or at least say sorry for what happened. One of the ways of doing praischit or repentance is repairing the damage without humility.  This is Modi’s way of saying sorry.

He is passionate about getting his name written in Gold in the Indian History, and that is good if he earns it.  May he succeed in his endeavors and remove all the obstacles his own party members and its affiliates are placing in his path.

I trust our democracy to keep him within the guard rails.
Obama is inherently a Pluralistic individual who believes in respecting the otherness of others, and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us.  Obama is one of the inclusive individuals in the likes of Pope Frances, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and a few other great men and women.


Obama is as committed to building cohesive societies as I am, where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. It was this thought that prompted him to remind his audience about those lofty ideals embedded in India’s constitution.
A majority of Indians have experienced discrimination in one form or the other, and he was appealing to both the discriminated and discriminators.  

Invoking Article 25 was a reminder to the rabble rousers among the Sangh Parivar that India’s stability hinges on following the rule of law. You are a successful nation today because of that. Look at Pakistan where it is today because of not abiding their secular charter.


His reference to his own experience being a minority was powerful! He gave hopes to the Dalits, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other minorities. “Look it is not easy, but education is the panacea, it increases your chances to be the change. I did not have it easy either.”
His statement, “‘every person has the right to practice their religion and beliefs and not practice it if they choose so without any persecution.’ Was a direct reference to the harassment Muslims and Christians face with stupid statements like “your holy place is not in India” “you cheer for Pakistan Cricket Team” “forced conversions” “Ghar Wapsi” and other stupidities that do not contribute towards the wellbeing of anyone.
I wrote, “Mr. Modi, the Battle is not between Hindus and Muslims, it is between Good and the bad, good is represented by those who mind their own faith as Quran advocates or Bhagvad Gita suggests – it’s your own Karma that will determine your outcomes; there is no compulsion in faith, whereas the evil is represented by hurting and discriminating others for differences in belief.  Let every Indian be free to breathe, drink, eat, wear or believe whatever he or she wants to. I hope your party supports your stand.”
Invariably, what I write comes out in his speeches a few days later. I am glad it happened that way. I guess if you are inclusive and don't have a bias towards others, similar thoughts and actions flow out of you.

Thank you
mike

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

American Sniper, a film review by Mike Ghouse


Just came out of the IMAX Theater watching 2 hour 14 minutes of shooting and killing, of course it is reflective of the name of the movie. We were at war with Iraq and unfortunately wars dehumanize others. Chris Kyle, the hero of the movie calls them savages, just as we were savages to them. Our soldiers and theirs were fighting for their lives.  I stand by our soldiers, they do what is asked of them to do and I thank them for their service.



The romantic part at the beginning of the movie was filmed beautifully. How a small conversation can lead into a relationship was so natural and done with ease, it was done very well. Sienna Miller gets high marks for her acting. The birthing scene looked so real, for a few moments I had to ponder if it was real or acted out.
In the first scene, the father shouts down at his kids, and I knew the set up for who he was. Should we raise kids who fear us, as if we are monsters? Sometimes the kids are our reflection or they go the opposite way. We need to look in to the mirror and see if we are worth passing it on to the next generation. 

Bradley cooper did his part very well, he gave superb performance particularly when a kid picks up a missile and he was aiming at the kid to save fellow soldiers, and he kept saying no, no to himself and held on to the trigger. I must say Clint East wood has done a fabulous job getting great acting out of that kid.
At the very end, his reaction to the dog barking was filmed very well. Wars have messed up several of our veterans and their rehabilitation should be more important than asking them to go to war.

Even though it is a movie, we can see the ravages of war, and destruction of families. War is the stupidest thing we as Americans have allowed it to happen. I fault our President and Vice President for lying to us and cooking up weapons of mass destruction and linking Iraq to 9/11. The movie was not about facts, so it carried the same fictional theme.  

I wish Bush had listened to the world and the United Nations. We paid a huge price for his stupidity. The war mongers are fine but our soldiers are not, they are traumatized and are suffering. Pay a visit to the VA Hospital and you see it.  We still owe an apology to the Iraqi people who did no wrong to us. It’s a burden we have to carry. Next time around no president is going to war without our consent.   I will do my part as a patriotic citizen – to demonstrate against war. We have another idiot itching to go to war with Iran. We need to shut him up before he fucks up America with his cooked up lies.  

Here is the synopsis of the movie, “U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) takes his sole mission -- protect his comrades -- to heart and becomes one of the most lethal snipers in American history. His pinpoint accuracy not only saves countless lives but also makes him a prime target of insurgents. Despite grave danger and his struggle to be a good husband and father to his family back in the States, Kyle serves four tours of duty in Iraq. However, when he finally returns home, he finds that he cannot leave the war behind.”

Clint Eastwood kept you glued to the movie. When you think about it, a simple story is made into a gripping story.  Produced and Directed by Clint Eastwood with Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller

Thank you
mike

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Narendra Modi's expensive suit at State Dinner with Obama

Modi's suit is talk of the town. As usual there is criticisim for the cost of the suit - One Million Rupees (~$16,000). Here is the positive aspect of it. 
Courtesy BBC

ABP TV reports,   PM Modi wore the personalised suit for tea with visiting US President Barack Obama. At first glance it appeared to be a black and gold pinstriped suit, but closed inspection revealed that the stripes were actually the Prime Ministers full name. It is estimated the suite cost nearly Rs. I million (approx $16,000).
Being a democracy everything should be questioned, the declarations of American independence has this beautiful sentence in it, "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Indeed, we the governed should always keep the government on their toes.


I am glad Modi spent a lot of money on the suit. This is good for the economy, and good for every Indian. Why shouldn't the PM wear the best?

How do we raise the standards of the nation then? 
Don’t we wear the best in our weddings, jobs interviews?

THIS IS HOW IT WORKS:

If we pay Rs 50,000 for cloth, and 50,000 for stitching, you can see the number of jobs it creates if we have 1,000 suits. However, if we pay 500 and 500, the employment drops dramatically, and those who get 500 will have less disposable income to buy things, and that will cut the jobs of what they consume… and that will ultimately cut your salary, why pay you so much? And if that is cut, you buy less, buy smaller home, smaller car, and that will cut the other jobs….

We all should spend, that is how we progress and the wealth multiplies.

The money we make is because people are willing to pay us more for the work we do, a little more than it is worth and that is the fodder for economic growth.

Next time someone (any one in any field) talks about the cost of Modi suit – tell them, how about cutting your salary by tenth?

Richness and spending is good.

The only two evils of richness are; hoarding the money under the pillow, as it does no good, and taking advantage of the workers in their situation, that would be evil.

Being rich must be admired, it is good. They don’t eat the money, they spend it, and that creates jobs. The only people that create jobs for you and me are the ones with money by opening factories, shops, software companies.
 
Everyone’s standard goes up when we let everyone get paid well.

Responsible capitalism is the best thing that has happened. In the United States and India should wholeheartedly emulate it. Then comes sab ka vikas, of course to sustain the vikas, social cohesion is a must – if splintered along religious, caste lines, India will not make it.  That has been my consistent message for over a year now.

Mike Ghouse for India
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

Godse; a new God is in the making in India

One of the most beautiful aspects of Hinduism is that it sees God in everything.  The creator and created are not two different things, but one and the same, as a result "respecting the otherness of others" becomes a way of life.  Indeed, that is how we at the Foundation for Pluralism have defined Pluralism - i.e., respecting the otherness of others for genuine co-existence.  God is about love and not hate. The Hindu greeting Namaste invokes the God in each other to create goodness.
New Hindu God Godse
However, when it comes to abuse and misuse, Hinduism is no exception, the self appointed "thekedaars" (guardians) obviously looking for gains have hijacked the religion, just as thekedaars in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity have done.  They have mangled up the pristine religion whose purpose was to bring peace within an individual and with what surrounds him; people and creation.

But that is not what is happening now. It is time for Moderate Hindus to speak up.

I have always stood up for Hinduism against misunderstandings about Hinduism and will continue to do that, that is the right thing to do. I strongly believe in the idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum expressed in Dharmic faiths, and the idea of the world is one big family born from the same couple as taught in the Abrahamic faiths.  All of us need to genuinely believe and practice it.  http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/04/standing-with-hindus.html 

Now, a few Hindus within the group "Hindu Mahasabha" or "Hindu great gathering" have decided to install the statues of a newly created God, Godse, who is the killer of Mahatma Gandhi. Is that going too far? 

In a 2012, a Bollywood film "Oh My God" - towards the end, the men in God-Business were installing a statue of the hero as the new God of the helpless, assuming he was dead in the hospital. But the hero wakes up and runs and destroys his own God Statue of him, pulling the masks off the men who were going to mint money with the newly created God, ready to do business. A similar message was given in the film "PK" where people can be easily misled and duped.

We need a Vivekananda badly to teach what Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum means and what Hinduism means. Ironically, we also need a Jesus to teach these stray men what love means, what it means to love they neighbor.

Thank God, except the Naxalites, the other minorities like Dalits, Muslims and Christians have not gone haywire and resorted to extremism.

I am not sure, if the majority of Hindus are ready for a New God, who killed Mahatma Gandhi. They are putting a spin on it based on hate. Godse is God because he saved the nation by killing Gandhi who was generous to Muslims. Hindu Mahasabha has no basis to exist except the hate for others, if that bunch learns to love fellow humans including Christians and Muslims, then the organization will cease to exist as it will have no purpose to live on.

Mike Ghouse is committed to a cohesive India, where all Indians can live without the fear of the others and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.  

Published at:
FoundationforPluralism.Blogspot.com  and
MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 

 # # #


Hindu Mahasabha to install Godse statue in temples

Updated: Jan 29, 2015 07:24 PM 
http://m.thehindu.com/news/national/hindu-mahasabha-to-install-godse-statue-in-temple-premises-across-india/article6835093.ece/?secid=2780

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Obama's speech reflects Mike Ghouse Republic Day Message

Obama is one of the all embracing individuals in the likes of  Pope Frances, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and a few other great men and women.
  


The first time I read Obama's speech was in 2007, a friend forwarded his speech he gave to the Illinois State Senate, it was pluralism in all its glory. Since then I have followed almost all of his speeches, been critical of some of his policies but mostly written his pluralistic side in some 60+ articles.

President Obama’s speech is a reflection of my essay written a week before his address, “Republic Day’s pluralistic Message to Modi and Obama.” Invariably, some of what I write comes out in his speech a few days later. I am delighted with this and here is a challenge for the youth, particularly Indian Youth to find the commonalities, thoughts and ideas between his speech and my article. 

I am glad it happened that way. I guess if you are inclusive and don't have a bias towards others, similar thoughts and actions flow out of you. Most of the articles can be found by Googling Mike Ghouse Barack Obama and some of the links are included on the left panel of this site www.TheGhousediary.com 


Now I wrote the Republic Day's Pluralistic Message to Obama and Modi, published a week or two before his speech was delivered. Here we go again, to my delight it is a reflection of what I wrote.

So, I have set up a challenge to youths of India in particular. Find me ideas, thoughts, points, and suggestion in Obama's speech in my article.

REWARD

Its $100 reward to the one who can find most commonalities between the speech and the article and  $50 for the second most commonalities. The deadline for the entry is Friday, February 13, 2015 and the length can be from 600-1000 words, more is ok if it makes sense. Please use common language, and not the words that require repeated references to the dictionary. 


We will publish both the pieces here at www.TheGhouseDiary.com, www.foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com and possibly at Saddahaq.com

Both Obama and I believe in building a cohesive America/India where no individual has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.

Please send  your writings to : 1) _________________ and 2)MikeGhouse@aol.com
  


Here is Obama's speech from 29th Minute onwards - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sGFUPEtNAg


Thank you
mike

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk

...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Angela Merkel for Inclusive societies

Hail to Chancellor Merkel, a great patriot and a leader!
Angela Merkel has understood the concept of Patriotism very well, more than any other name sake conservative in the world.  A Patriot sees to it that the nation comes together for the good of every one; a patriot will not let the nation splinter. A great patriot builds a nation and forges all its factions to act cohesively.

Angela Merkel has chosen the right path. In a divisive world where the leaders are sacrificing the long term good for short term political gains, and putting the nation on a destructive path of exclusion of a those who differ, Merkel has done the right thing; choosing inclusion.  
Reuters reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday Islam "belongs to Germany", in a clear repudiation of anti-immigration protesters gathering in Dresden and other cities. Merkel said her government was doing everything it could to ensure migrants were being successfully integrated into German society regardless of their religion.

I salute her and I am proud of her for saying, “Islam 'belongs to Germany”


It is tempting to fall prey to the vociferous bunch who claps endlessly when a short-sighted leader talks about pushing “them’” to the corner, forcing “them” in to obedience”.  They assume that the wisdom is with them and an eternal battle of rights follow, she showed the leadership and did not fall for the fake conservatives and showed them what a genuine conservative patriot is all about; a nation builder.
Yes, there is none like her and let me tell you why. It takes just one to take the bold step to change the history and Chancellor Merkel has just done it.
Let me give you recent parallels that shaped major events.
President Obama, made a bold statement about accepting same sex marriage – the nation followed him, state after state accepted it– the ones who were opposed flipped, we still got ways to go, but it was his singular stance that changed the nation.

Pope Frances took bold steps of inclusion of Gays and Lesbians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Atheists. In one single stroke he fell many barriers between the people.
What Merkel has done will have pave the way for positive acceptance of Muslims in Germany. Every human wants to be included, and when that Jesus’s embrace wraps every one, the nations will become stronger and will function effectively.

Here is a lesson for Netanyahu, Modi, Sharif, and other leaders who fall prey to the claps and sacrifice the long term goodness of the nation for the short term pleasures of praises. May God guide everyone to see the goodness in inclusion, aka Pluralism! Pluralism is simply an attitude of learning to respect the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of God’s creation.  When we do that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
God bless her for her boldness.

Mike Ghouse
 Thank you
mike
Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are atwww.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hanging Islamophobia

Old way:
1. Complain, hold rallies and demonstrate 
2. Write, speak and challenge
3. Attack the other

There is a better way- i.e., To know the other
Phobias are baseless fear of others

Q. Why do others fear Muslims?
A. Because they don't know us.

Quran 49:13 and several verses say the best ones among you are the ones who learn about each other. Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of the otherness of the other, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

How will they get to know us if we sit at home and talk and talk?

Join us on Sunday 3-6 PM at Unity of Dallas 6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75234 details www.HolocaustandGenocides.com

Thank you

Join us

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

British Muslims on a Pluralism tour of America

When a group of people from overseas visits the United States to understand religious landscape of America, I am blessed to receive them and conduct half a day workshop to familiarize them, and address their concerns and issues.

I see three groups of people in a given year and generally they are Muslims from Albania to Zaire and every one in between. I have met with the Muftis of China and Russia to religious ministers from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Chad.... and the like.  


Today, I met the British Muslim youth and for the first time in a decade, the conversation was without translators! It was funny, in the beginning I was speaking with a slow Rick Perry speed as though a translator was going to translate, then I realized my conditioning! It was funny, they probably thought I had speech impediment. 

Shan Bhagat and Rizwan Ali - Thank you for the facility.


My expertise is studies in religious, social, political and cultural pluralism and have been researching, watching and shaping the trends and writing and speaking for the last 22 years.  There are over 800 articles written up on Pluralism - 200 of them are published in Dallas Morning News, and over 100 at Huffington post and other places. There are another 1700 articles, and about 900 are on Islam, the rest are motivational, inspirational, sports, movies, festivals, India, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine and human rights including standing up for others, add to this 520 hours of Radio talk on "Understanding Religion, each beautiful religion" and 26 workshops to learn the wisdom of every tradition including Atheism.
 
Our conversation ranged from dealing with social and political issues during peace times as well as conflicting times starting with the film clip about building a cohesive America. Dealing with the right wing Americans, and civic engagement to bring positive outcomes.

It was a joy to have the conversation with this group, they were thoughtful, critical and above all inclusive! Most of them were open to the idea of reaching out to people of other faiths to build cohesive societies, it was an extended topic. They said, I was speaking to the choir and I liked that very much and gives me hopes that we are doing things to make our lives better.

The British Muslims have similar issues as we do; dealing with right wingers.  The non-sense falsities spread by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Fox News this week about "no go zones" for non-Muslims in UK, France and Europe is a myth.

When I was talking about Prophet Muhammad's examples of being Amin, and the post-story thoughts about Najran Christians and Hudaibiyah treaty - I thought there might be some resistance, but it was a joy, and they clarified it that it was not a radical thought.

I loved this group for being so interactive and open to newer expressions in Islam. I hope to be available to them in the future. They can turn British society around to be more inclusive through their initiatives we discussed today.

When I get the time, I will write the details of this productive constructive conversation.

We have to accept that every society is composed of right wing, left wing, intolerant, ultra liberal and moderates. We have to chart a course with the give situation.
Here is the outline:

PROPHET MUHAMMAD & COHESIVE SOCIETIES

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the ultimate peace maker, indeed he was called Rahmatul Aalameen, that is mercy to the whole humanity. He believed in building a cohesive society, where no human had to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other.

Towards this goal, the first Sunnah or the tradition he established was the Amin Model, a peace building citizen.  Indeed, to be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker who mitigates conflicts and nurtures goodwill.
 
INITIATIVES DURING PEACE TIMES
  

1. Unity Day USA—www.UnityDayUSA.com

2. Thanksgiving Celebrations—www.ThanksgivingCelebrations.org

3. Holocaust and Genocides—www.HolocuastandGenocides.com


6. Standing up for others, if you don’t stand up for others, why should any one stand up for you?  Www.Standingupforothers.com

7. Intra-faith Conference—Shia, Sunni, Ahmadiyya and others
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/02/muslims-talk-with-muslims-at-boniuk.html


9. Ramadan Intra faith and Interfaith Iftaars
http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/

10. Sharia Conference— www.ShariaLaws.com

11. Quran Conference - www.QuraanConference.com 

11. Interfaith Dialogue events.

12. Youth participation
   

IDEAL RESPONSES TO CONFLICTS

2. Quran Cursing Pastor Robert Jeffress—www.QuraanConference.com

3. Investigating Muslims:  Congressman Peter King
http://peterkinghearings.blogspot.com/

4. Ground Zero Mosque
http://groundzeromosque.blogspot.com/





8. Conflicts and issue for discussion

…………………………………………………………….
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post.  All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Texas Faith: Taking offense in the name of faith

It is this hypocrisy that is offending the people of the world,  if you have a powerful lobby, rules don’t mean a thing, and freedom of press applies only to Muslims. Mike Ghouse
# # # 


Texas Faith: Taking offense in the name of faith

Rudolph Bush - Dallas Morning News Published: 
The murderers of 12 people in the office of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo justified their actions as revenge for offenses against their Islamic faith. The magazine’s cartoonists reveled in their role as secular provocateurs in the tradition of Voltaire. There is no question that their cartoons were offensive, and not only to Muslims but to devout Catholics and Jews as well.
Their murders cannot in any way be justified and their murderers’ justifications were condemned by people around the world, including many Muslims. Mustafa Riad of the Union mosque in Montpellier, France said this: “To a cartoon you reply with a cartoon, to a drawing with a drawing, to a newspaper article with a newspaper article… But you don’t reply with guns.”

But surely, when any of us sees our deeply held faith and beliefs held up for ridicule it offends. As Pope Francis said: “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith. There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits.”
Is that so? Is there a limit to what we can express about one another? What is the moral responsibility of the offender? What is the responsibility of the offended? How do we defend our faith against provocation while respecting the freedom of another?
Our panelists consider these questions on the jump.
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas

Freedom of speech is the God given right of humans and must be guarded vigorously. Despite the warning, Adam and Eve chose the forbidden fruit. Was God upset with them? Did he slap them for making their free choice? That’s our genesis and that is in our DNA, and of course there is a price to be paid for having that freedom.
I have relentlessly defended the freedom of speech, and indeed making a full feature film call “Sacred” about the Quran burning incident in Mulberry, Florida. As Muslims we did not condemn Pastor Terry Jones actions nor did we curse; instead we heeded God’s advise in Quran, 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend. We listened to Jesus and, “turned the other cheek”, meaning do not aggravate the conflict, same idea was followed by Prophet Muhammad’s non-violent conflict resolutions approach and “Prayed (both interfaith and intrafaith) for the goodwill of the miscreants” through his many examples including the Taif Story.
It saddens me that a few Muslims resorted to violence killing 12 people, claiming to defend the Prophet, as if he needs their protection. Quran expressly forbids taking another life, unless it is in self-defense. I have offered Muslim Solutions to the conflict.
Is there a limit to what we can express about one another? I am completely against the limits; it will be abused any way. I am for education about building cohesive societies. we all have to grow up to be tolerant on one hand, and learn to be respectful of what is dear to others, that includes learning to get the bad guys for their bad acts, and not aimlessly bark at a religion, an intangible.
In case of Charlie Hebdo, as a society, many of us were overjoyed and eager to malign Islam instead of focusing on the individual criminals. It is a dangerous thing to do, as it cause every one to blame the religion and let go of the bad guys.
The problem is not with freedom for speech, but with the element of discretion. When we have a choice to decide what is allowable or not, the freedom of speech becomes vulnerable to implementers' bias. The conflicts arise not from freedom of speech but from abuse of discretion.
The Sun Times from UK has published a cartoon where Prime Minister Netanyahu is building a wall with the Palestinian blood and body parts, a few concerned members of the Jewish community are calling it Anti-Semitic, and demanding apology and retrieval of that cartoon and there is almost a threat lurking in it. More than likely the Sun Times will apologize and withdraw. It is this hypocrisy that is offending the people of the world that if you have a powerful lobby, rules don’t mean a thing, and freedom of press applies only to Muslims.
What can we do to defend provocation against our faith? What is the responsibility of offended? Our religions offer good guidance and if responsible bodies like Government, civic, religious and non-profit take on to showing the benefits of building and preserving cohesive societies, we may be able to handle these better.
# # #

AMY MARTIN, Director Emeritus of Earth Rhythms and Writer/editor Moonlady News Newsletter

My religion is kindness. Can you imagine how many times a day I am offended? I’d be happy if those that defiled my religion were just terrorists or satirists. Instead, offenses to my faith are staples on television and film and institutionalized in political parties, corporations and other religions that wage war on kindness every day in a multitude of ways.
Demands for respect are quixotic attempts and the impossible task of controlling others’ thoughts. Offended by what someone says about your religion, leader, political party or whatever? Pay them no mind. To react is to give your power away and allow them to control you.
That said, poking a wounded bear with a stick is neither kind nor smart. Paris has large ghettos of unassimilated Middle Eastern and African immigrants that run 40% or more unemployment. They felt humiliated by Charlie Hebdo and the French intellectual elite. So it was less about religion and more about economic disparity and the residual effects of French colonialism. The satirists were aiming at the powerful Muslims, yet their immense oil wealth deflects all barbs.
Those of us on organized religion’s sidelines marvel at a God that is so insecure it needs people to intercede on its almighty behalf. Such a God is much too small. Indeed we live on a polytheistic planet. There is a God of the Christians, a God of the Muslims, a God of the Jews. Peace will come only when we accept there is but one God and it is for all of us.
# # 

CYNTHIA L. RIGBY, W.C. Brown Professor of Theology
I don’t think there is any sure fire way to protect our faith from being maligned. Violent defenses, especially, will serve only to spur greater provocation. Supporting freedom means upholding the rights of others to say what they will, even when what they say is harmful and wrong.
I take, as my model for how to respond to being disparaged for what we believe, Jesus Christ himself. Jesus chastises Peter for cutting off the ear of one of the men who comes to arrest him, warning him that “those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Jesus refuses, on the day of his trial and crucifixion, to respond to the sarcastic comments made about how he is “king of the Jews” and how he should “save himself.”
Those who want to stereotype and disparage will continue to do so even when people of faith offer good arguments for being more subtle and for making clearer distinctions. I notice this phenomenon in relation to the work of Richard Dawkins, who labels anyone who is a theist “delusional.” Dawkins is obviously intelligent enough to notice that, at very least, some theists are far less delusional than others. As Terry Eagleton points out in his excellent counter to Dawkins, many of the most influential shapers of western culture were theists (see his book “Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate”). Making such observations clearly doesn’t fit with Dawkins’ marketing of the “New Atheism.”
The best thing people of faith can do, as Eagleton does, is represent what we believe as well as we can to anyone who wants to learn about it. Our representation should include naming, condemning, and grieving the ways in which our faith traditions have been used to justify or perpetuate harm. One of the more effective defenses against provocation is to be ourselves provocative about the shortcomings of our traditions, living out our faiths in ways that foster – and foster only – life abundant.
To read the views of the other panelists, please visit Dallas Morning news at - http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2015/01/texas-faith-taking-offense-in-the-name-of-faith.html/#more-49964
Thank you
mike

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.