SHORT MESSAGES

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

I will be out in DC on Tuesday and Wednesday

Mike Ghouse
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Momentous week of my life

This was one of the most momentous weeks of my life, I have endured three peace giving events three days in a row. I want to thank each one of my friends for being with me in those precious moments. Thank you for your friendship.

May 22nd - Friday
Prayed and paid respect to my late wife Najma on the morning of her death anniversary. My friend Yasmeen and I visited the cemetery and placed a bouquet of Roses on Najma's resting place. May her soul rest in peace. http://www.mikeghouse.net/Articles/Life-is-a-poem-of-love.asp

May 23rd - Saturday
My Son Jeff married Fern, it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life, we held a reception for the couple in the evening and shared some Indian traditions. Celebrating Jeff and Fern Ghouse's wedding - http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157618797747822/show/

May 24th - Sunday
Yasmeen and I are engaged now. We are pleased to have the blessings of family and friends on this occassion and now pleased to share it with out friends at large. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157618725112511/show/

Mike

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Facebook and Religion

Face book is a market place which is open and free to individuals who want to be a part of it. I have friends who have no more than 10 friends and they are content with it, and some of them are fully into with over 5000 friends.

It is like a clothing store, a grocery store, or a book store where you can choose to buy a book about sex or Bible or chance on meeting a person of opposite gender who may become a life partner or a killer. The choice is yours.

You tell your friends to abstain from going to prostitutes, drinking Alcohol or smoking.... as they all have health hazards or social, cultural or religious bans. Some do it regardless and most don't.

Let the Imams discuss the possible temptations and good things of being on the face book or being on the street open to good, bad or ugly. You cannot ban some thing that also produces good. There is no compulsion in the matters of faith, as they don't work. Ultimately individuals are responsible for what they do; No Imam, Rabbi, Pundit or Pastor is responsible for individual’s action.

Mike Ghouse
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Imams OK Facebook, but no flirting!
22 May, 2009, 1729 hrs IST,AP

Print Email Discuss Share Save Comment Text:

SURABAYA: Muslim clerics debating the exploding popularity of Facebook in Indonesia said Friday that followers could use the networking site to co nnect with friends or for work — but not to gossip or flirt.

The nonbinding ruling followed a two-day meeting of clerics in the world's most populous Muslim nation. Around 700 clerics, or imams, agreed to draft up guidelines on surfing the Web after receiving complaints about Facebook and other sites, including concerns they encourage illicit sex, said Nabil Haroen, a spokesman for the organizers.

They decided "Facebook is haram (or forbidden) if it is used for gossiping and spreading lies," he said, and that users also could not ask overtly intimate questions or in anyway encourage "vulgar behavior." But the clerics noted, too, there were many upsides to Facebook and other trendy, new forms of communication, from mobile phone text messaging to video conferencing.

It has become easier today for the young to connect, the imams' 300-word edict said, "erasing space and time constraints" and making it possible for couples to get to know — before they get married — if they really are well-suited.

Facebook had no immediate comment Friday, but said ahead of the ruling that people typically use the site to connect with their friends, family or learn about local and world issues and events.
"We have seen many people and organizations use Facebook to advance a positive agenda," said Debbie Frost, a Facebook spokeswoman.

Indonesia is a secular nation of 235 million people, 90 percent of whom are Muslim, and Facebook is the top-ranked site in the country, beating out even search engines Yahoo and Google.

Though an edict by the clerics does not carry any legal weight, it could be endorsed by the influential Ulema Council, which recently issued rulings against smoking and yoga. Some devout Muslims adhere to the council's rulings because ignoring a fatwa, or religious decree, is considered a sin.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The American Bin Ladens

Jim Douglas,
WFAA TV, Dallas

Dear Jim,

Thanks for reporting this, I would have appreciated some boldness to it, but as a veteran journalist, you did the right thing; to report and leave the opinion forming to the public.

We met several times, but the last one was at a breakfast meeting I conducted for a Saudi Commerce Minister at Crescent Hotel on interfaith - I brought together 5 each of Muslims, Jews, Christians and others.

We have our own Bin-Ladens amongst us; they are Dorrie O'Brien, Republican Congressman Tancredo, Farmers Branch's Tim O'Hare, Pat Roberston and a few others. But for the laws of our country, these men are potential threat to peace; they are bent on Bombing Mecca, Assasinating Foriegn leaders and so on...

They are committed to divide America into "they" v. "us", the “us” being a few extremists who pay them or applaud their baseless hate mongering speeches. They are and no more than a 1% of the Republicans and shamefully, the party is figuring out where it is going…and these American Versions of Bin Ladens are making leadership claims among Republicans, just as Bin Laden claimed among Muslims. Both the majorities were silent and see what we are getting. We have to bring sense to the public.

Whether they are Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews or whoever, a story about Hate Sermons (http://hatesermons.blogspot.com ) is the calling of the day, in the same manner Christiana Amanpour did the Scream Bloody Murder series. They all preach hate from their pulpits or allow guys to spew hate from a pulpit they are to sermonize peace. We need the public to see how hate can damage our nation, how some of these men are feeding the non-thinkers. The days of Limbaugh’s are over, his support base will be gone as people cannot be duped into believing propaganda.

I can make a documentary on it, or assist you in making it. I can write the script - it will be equal opportunity and pluralistic documentary - As a Muslim, I am committed to mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill for peaceful co-existence of societies. My life time work is dedicated to this purpose.

Let me know.

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
(214) 325-1916

Mike Ghouse is a Dallas based Writer, Blogger, Speaker, Thinker and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television networks offering pluralistic perspectives on issues of the day. His comments, news analysis and op-ed columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal site.


In a message dated 5/14/2009 6:10:19 P.M. Central Daylight Time, kavalec@gmail.com writes:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sarwat Husain
Date: Wed, May 13, 2009 at 9:47 PM
Subject: Republican-Muslim 'humiliated' by group's message
To: American Muslim Democratic Caucus





Tarrant County
Republican-Muslim 'humiliated' by group's message
12:59 AM CDT on Monday, May 11, 2009
By JIM DOUGLAS / WFAA-TV

Also Online

LINK: Act for America

Many North Texas Muslims and some Republican Party officials have expressed offense towards a program that's drawing crowds at some Republican clubs.

Traveling across the country, the program warns of a stealth Jihad within the United States. While some consider the message prudent, others say it's just about hate.

Muslims packed a mosque in south Arlington for Friday prayers. Inside, the imam switches back and forth from Arabic to English. But, a Republican precinct judge, Dorrie O'Brien, is crisscrossing Tarrant County to spread a message that he believes something more might be more going on than prayer.

At a meeting at a Fort Worth restaurant, O'Brien warned North Texans to beware of stealth Mujahidee manipulating the media, infiltrating the military and running for public office.

Jamal Qaddura, a Republican precinct chair, shot video of O'Brien's speech.

"[The] Quran demands believers wage Jihad against the infidel, again, everybody who isn't Muslim," O'Brien is captured telling the north Tarrant County Republican club. "... A grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the western civilization from within."

O'Brien is a local representative for a Florida-based group called "Act for America," which warns that Muslims want to undermine the United States government.

In his message, he said he believes there is "a stealth Jihad in the United States guided by the Muslim Brotherhood." The Muslim Brotherhood is a large international organization based in Egypt that supports creating Islamic states.

"I'm not aware of anybody in the United States here who is with the Muslim Brotherhood," said Qaddura, who enlisted Tarrant County Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani to give a rebuttal.

"I was humiliated and degraded," he said of O'Brien's message.

Qaddura said he was shocked to hear O'Brien's message, which included warnings that "Islam permits the killing of innocent people."

"And this is what the ultimate goal is is to replace the United States' flag and the United States' government with the half moon and the star," O'Brien said.

Qaddura said the messages prey on fears, which have a way of spreading and doing a lot of harm.

"This is a good community," he said. "We are Texans, and Texans don't put up with that stuff."

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

Friday, May 8, 2009

Love or Hate?

WHICH GIVES MORE FREEDOM, LOVE OR HATE?

A happy event will be long forgotten, several such good things happen in a day. However, one incidence studded with ill-intent will not going away for years. Each time you see that person, hear that name, you cringe. Isn't hate and binding? We need to free ourselves from and move on with life. Let's be the conflict mitigators and goodwill nurturers.

May you be free for your own peace.

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
(214) 325-1916

Mike Ghouse is a Dallas based Writer, Blogger, Speaker, Thinker, Moderator and a peace maker. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television networks offering pluralistic perspectives on issues of the day. His comments, news analysis and op-ed columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal site.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Unity Church, Richardson

11:00 AM, Sunday, May 3, 2009
Talk on : Religion, Islam and Sunni/Shia Muslims
Unity Church,
Coit Road, Richardson
Pastor: Chuck
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It was a pleasure to be a part of speakers on different faith at Unity Church, folks there are representative of Moderate Americans, like the Moderate Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Bahais, Buddhists and others who simply want to get along with all and beleive in live and let live.

My topic was on Islam with a focus on the difference between Shia and Sunni traditions.

Here was my program and if time permits, will elaborate on each one of the items.

CREATION

Regardless of Evolution or Creation
Life and matter came into being, we exist, don’t we?
Life and matter is about balance; every thing that came out of the big bang theory or through intentional creation seeks its own balance. Everything be it matter or life, has a built-in mechanism to seeks its own balance.When it comes to matter, there is something that keeps the planets circumambulating around the Sun, that there is something that keeps the stars hung in a place. There is something that keeps the earth have its own precise balance. They are all put on a trajectory, they don’t have to think or work for the balance. Do we have a precise word to describe that 'something‘? For the sake of convenience, let’s call that 'something' a God?

BALANCE

Unlike the matter, human life was not put on a trajectory; we were not put on a plan to circumambulate around the Sun, or be hung in one place. We were given the freedom to create our own balance. Whether we believe in God or not, we still seek that balance.Friends, God loves his creation just as each one of us loves what we create, be it the food we cook, the clothes we wear, the paintings we paint or sculptures we sculpt.

God has reached out to every soul… a Just God Existence is based on solutions, when things to go wrong in a discussion group…. There is always one who fixes it..

ORIGINS OF RELIGION

It is the love of the creator that gave each one of us, each community, each nation and each tribe a “formula” to live in peace within ourselves and with what surround us.

God communicated that formula through the spiritual masters in the form of scriptures like Torah, Bible, Qur’aan, Bhagvad Gita, Avesta and other scriptures including the oral traditions.
Indeed, God has reached to every one of us and has offered that formula – to seek a balance for ourselves and a balance for what surrounds us; life and the environment.

Krishna says…….
Quraan says in 49:17
God is about love, kindness and justice.

RELIGION DEFINED

God has indeed reached every one of us and has offered that formula – to seek a balance for ourselves and a balance for what surrounds us; life and the environment.The bottom line is Balance.

If we were to commission Mr. Spock from the movie Star Trek and ask him to study the essence of religion.. He would define;

Religion is a mechanism where individuals find answers to their fears and apprehensions with a belief in a super being. Answers what happens to justice, when it is not served in our life time.
Every Religion teaches one to have a balance within oneself and what surrounds; life and matter.

TO BE RELIGIOUS

To be religious Is to mitigate conflicts and nurture good will.
Nature is intentionally diverse, remember each aspect of creation is different, if we can accept the otherness of the other, and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge..

And that would be a peaceful abode on the earth.. That is when we can say that the world is one place; one nation; and one people. Again, we have to accept the otherness of other and respect the uniqueness of the other.

To be spiritual or to be religious is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill.

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ISLAM

Earlier on I said, God has reached out to every living soul and, through the Spiritual masters who delivered a formula to live in peace with oneself and with what surrounds; life and matter.
Islam fits right-in along with other formulas, each formula, each religion is valid on its own.
Muslims do not consider Islam to be a new religion, they believe it is continuation of what God had suggested to different people in different places. What Abraham, Moses, David and several others taught was updated and given to Muhammad.

His message was simple – Belief in God and Justice is the basis for creating peaceful societies.

ISLAM DEFINED
In one word it is Justice.

When there is justice, there will be a sense of safety and peace. If no one takes advantage of other, one feels safe and secure… that generates peace and goodwill.

If there is justice between spouses, family members, communities and nations, the peace is certain. God does not want any thing more; he wants his creation to live in peace and harmony.
When Justice is compromised for our own selfish reasons, the balance gets affected.. The oppressed and the oppressor will not have peace for a while… they both are afraid of their own conscience or what other might do to them.

ESSENCE OF ISLAM

The essence of Islam: Justice for every human being under one God (Universe is the only creation we know)

The Qur'aan starts with the word "God of Universe" (not necessarily Muslims) and ends with "Humankind" (and again not Muslims). As such it is understood that God, the cause behind creation of life and matter belongs to all of us. No one owns him (her or it) nor does one group has an exclusive favors over the other.

The creator is about Justice and Balance…will offer equal opportunities to all.
God will not sign a deal with any religious group behind our backs; who wants a God like that?

GOOD DEEDS:

Islam teaches one to be non-judgmental, and consistently encourages individuals to do good. It emphasizes about individual responsibility towards the peace and security of society at large.
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) described a good deed as an act which benefits others, such as planting a tree that serves generations of wayfarers with fruit and the shade.

The world is a better place today because of a good legacy bequeathed to humanity by people of all faiths that came before us. We owe it to coming generations to leave the world a little better than we found it, to usher an era of justice and peace.

ORIGINS OF ISLAM

Technically Islam is not a new religion, nor was it ever claimed. Prophet Muhammad said It is a continuation of what Abraham, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and other great spiritual masters taught.
However Islam as a distinct identifiable religion began in 712 AD, when Muhammad received a revelation from God that, it is his duty now to go and let the world know about an eternal God, who cannot be confined into images or words or gender or a being. Prophet Muhammad was the messenger of that message.
There is only one truth – we were all caused by a single event, or created by God, when God said “let it happen, it happened.”

UNIVERSALITY

The essence of Islam: Creating a Just society. (Universe is the only creation we know)
The Qur'aan starts with the word الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ Sura Al-Fatiha 1:2 All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds, "God of Universe" (not an exclusive)
and ends with قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ (114:1) An-Nas (The Mankind) 114:1 SAY: "I seek refuge with the Sustainer of men, "Humankind" (and again not Muslims).
It is understood that God, the cause behind creation of life and matter belongs to all of us. No one owns him (her or it) nor does one group has an exclusive favors over the other. The creator will offer equal opportunities to all and will not sign a deal behind one's back with the other.

WITH PREJUDICE TOWARDS NONE

Almost all Muslims are cognizant and repeat the verse مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (1:4) Al-Fatiha - Lord of the Day of Judgment! مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (1:4)
“God is the master of the Day of Judgment, and he alone we worship”. A fully observant Muslim recites this verse at least 50 times a day.
The idea is to inculcate the values to accept the otherness of other and refrains from judging others, as he or she believes God only can make that call.
There is no compulsion in the matters of faith, say the Qur'aan.

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY

Islam emphasizes on Individual responsibility for one’s words and actions.
Prophet’s comment to his daughter about responsibility.

Qur'an, Al-An'am, Surah 6:163-164: All people will reap the harvest of their own deeds; no one will bear another’s burden. Ultimately, all of you will return to your Lord, and he will resolve your disputes. Al-An'am لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِذَلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ (6:163) Then Al-Anam 6:164 Say: “ And whatever [wrong] any human being commits rests upon himself alone; and no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another's burden. [163] And, in time, unto your Sustainer you all must return: and then He will make you. [truly] understand all that on which you were wont to differ. [164]


PLURALISM

Islam is indeed a pluralistic faith and imbues a sense of humility and ideals of equality of humankind. These values are embedded in its rituals practices. All people harvest their own deeds.

He fashioned each one of you--and each one of you is beautiful. To God you will all return. He knows all that the heavens and the earth contain. He knows all that you hide and all that you reveal. He knows your deepest thoughts. At-Taghabun (Loss and Gain) 64:1 ALL THAT IS in the heavens and all that is on earth extols God's limitless glory: His is all dominion, and to Him all praise is due; and He has the power to will anything – Had he willed all of us would have been Christians, M, J, H..

The Madinah pact, It was an all inclusive agreement between the Jews, Christians, Sabeans, Quraish, Muslims and other tribes for a peaceful co-existence. An example was set for a pluralistic society in documenting the rights of individuals.

FREEDOM OF THOUGHT

RITUALS IN ISLAM

Rituals are the path markers to spirituality, whether you to Yoga, Meditation or any other activity… the ultimate goal is well being of the person. Islam has laid out pathways to the followers to reach - Piety and humility through the following rituals;

1. Faith – everything starts with a belief
2. Prayer – piety, humility, arrogance
3. Fasting – self discipline
4. Zakat – things belong to God, trustee…
5. Haj – Large scale equalizer

KEY VALUES

1.Justice
2.Equality
3.Peace

KEY BELIEFS

Belief in God,
Angels
Prophets – from Adam to Muhammad
Day of Judgment – accountability

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MUHAMMAD

Muhammad was born in 671 in Mecca, a city in Saudi Arabia. Early on in his childhood, he earned the reputation for being honest and truthful.
Like Gautama Buddha he pondered about the purpose of life and often went in to caves to have moments of solitude to reflect upon.

One day when he was 40, angel Gabriel came to him in the cave and Muhammad felt an extraordinary presence of super natural phenomena, Just as Moses saw the fire in the Brush……. Gabriel, asked him to recite… Muhammad was illiterate, just as Moses was and finally he did. He went and told his cousin Ali about it, who believed in him, then his wife Khadija believed in him and took him to the Christians and Jewish Scholars.. Who acknowledge that this was the man predicted…earlier – Karen Armstrong’s Book…

MUSLIMS

Are those individuals who submit to the will of God.
When Jesus said, follow me, Krishna said surrender to me.. They meant the same thing as submitting to the will of God in Islam.

What does God will?
He simply wants his creation to live in peace and harmony. He wants us to have the freedom to make the right choices in mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill.

CLERGY

It may come as a surprise to many of you… that there is no clergy in Islam.
Prophet Muhammad in his last sermon made a clear declaration “ Oh people, I am leaving behind two things for you – Qur’aan and my examples”.

He said the religion was complete and you are on your own. There is no clergy in Islam… however, there are always individuals who proclaim to be “more” knowledgeable and take over things.. You see that happening in every aspect of life.

The simple truth is; it is you who will bear the burden of anxieties, apprehensions from what you say and do… not the clergy, not your parents or kids.

SUNNI & SHIA

After the last sermon – Ghadeer Khom
Last Sermon – book, example and Family
Division Upon Prophet’s death

Like all denominations, they started out with a small difference, over the years, reems of work is asserted to show the difference and the chasm grows deeper and wider. However, the difference affects only a small group of people who do not grasp the essence of their faith.

CONCLUSION

Finding the truth is your own responsibility… what you see on TV or hear on Radio… is propaganda to malign the other… you may have witnessed that even against Unity Church.
Religion was given to each one of the 7 billion of us to make us a better being, most of us get it no matter what faith you practice and a few don’t get it.

A few Residents of your city violate the traffic rules, do evil things, murder people....
people wearing faith badges violate their faith as well.

That does not make the city a bad City or a religion a bad religion. Individuals commit crimes and we need to make them accountable and not their faith or their City. Blaming the City or the Religion does not do a thing, blaming the individual allows to bring justice to the society.

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