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Friday, January 1, 2010

My Name is Mike Ghouse

Updated May 20, 2011 | May 24, 2015

"What is your real name?"
Mike Ghouse, that is my real name.

Since I stepped onto this soil, there is not a week that has passed without being asked, “What is your real name” and I say, “It is Ghouse; Mike Mohamed Ghouse” and I have been uttering this sentence for the last 34 years. 

There are three funny and serious stories about the name.

First of all, the name "Mike" is not copyrighted or patented; it is a name like any other name for anyone to have. Secondly, for the purpose of clarification, the name "Mike" or "Michael" has been in India much before it was adopted in Europe.  And those few Muslims who ask, I have the answers for them in this essay. 

Added: 5/24/15 : A handful of Muslims and Hindus who hate the idea of Pluralism cook up stories about me without knowing a thing  – all they have to do is ask or Google. There was one who questioned the Aligarh Muslim University for listing me as a high profile speaker, and I shared this article with him but he did not get it, he still called me names for choosing “Mike.” Another prominent Muslim wrote extensively about me decrying that  I chose the name to kiss-ass the white people. Two of the right wing Hindus wrote that I am deceiving the Americans with the name by pretending to be a Christian. None of them had visited my website, I am from Bangalore but they were quoting Mumbai or Hyderabad and one even wrote I was from Cochin.  It amazes me how petty these men are. I am glad to hear them, it keeps me on my toes.  I am pleased to announce that I belong to the whole world. I have no barriers between me and another soul. 

Why Mike?

My birth name is Mohamed Ghouse and Sardar is my alias name, the name which my family and a few close friends call me, and it is a tradition in Bangalore for my generation to have an alias name.  My chosen legal name is Mike Mohamed Ghouse.

I was in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia from 1977-1980 with Fluor Corporation, and at one time, I was the Deputy Controller of Finance and worked directly for Pat Waugh, the big man.  I was the Chief for Banking and Cash Operations and managed the operations of 5 sites – Ras Tanura, Shedgum, Uthmaniya, Jubail and Dhahran North, Yanbu was added later. 

Mr. Everett Blauvelt managed the Uthmaniya site and I was in touch with him every day. In December 1977,  my father Mohamed Abdul Rahman passed away in India. It was a big thing for me as I failed to serve him. I wanted to take care of him but he had always said, he will earn his livelihood till his last breath, great man did it as he said he will do. He did not receive my paycheck that was to go for his personal use as he had agreed.  I have not been able to fulfill that desire to serve my father.

Here comes Everett Blauvelt, more or less filling my need for a father figure.  He was there for me and regularly inquired about my Mother and my family back home. We became friends, and on holidays we went shopping, and went eating in different restaurants in Khobar and Dammam. 

Mr. Blauvelt started calling me "Mike" way back in Saudi Arabia much before I came to the states. Since then, "Mike" has become a part of my name to honor our friendship.  He is a father figure to me and is the one who sponsored and goaded me to come to the United States.  (Old writing: Thank God, he will be 96 in January 2012.) He passed away at the age of 97 on April 13, 2013.  I had promised him that on his 100th birthday, I will ask Sean Hannity to give him a call; he was a fan of Hannity.  I may do something in 2016 on his birthday, when he would have been 100.

That’s how I got that name Mike, and it is a part of "Mike Mohamed Ghouse". I wouldn’t want to be called anything but Mike. My mother wrote me letters with that name and that is all I wanted and that's my authorization,  and I don’t care what anyone says. That’s how my name will be inscribed on my head stone with a phrase – “Died with Prejudice towards none”, that is if I don’t get scattered in the air with a plane crash.  Every day, I make an effort to live without bias.


I would like to remind my Muslim friends that the name Muhammad was given to the Prophet, when he was born into a Pagan family (Pagan is not and should not be a derogatory term- it is an identity). However, at the age of 40, after pondering about life, religion, God, human suffering and the poverty, just as the Buddha did, Muhammad (pbuh) received revelations about oneness of God, and commonness of humanity despite the differences.

There is no such thing as a Muslim name, names are names, it is a different story that you want to name your kids from the people you admire and live amongst. But it is not mandatory in Islam.

There was no need to change any one's name. The big names in Islam like Khadija (prophet's wife),  Siddique (caliph), Umar (caliph), Uthman (caliph), Ali (cousin and the final righteous caliph), Fatima (daughter), and others were their given names at birth as pagans, and when they became Muslims. They were not required to change their names, and neither the name of the prophet was changed; it remained Muhammad.

Indeed, there never was a requirement to change any one's given name. Not only that when the Arabs moved to the east in Iran or west into Egypt, the people of those lands were asked to consider the new value of oneness of God and its benefits that came to them, Islam never asked anyone to change their names or culture, as the faith was distinct from culture.

Prophet Muhammad believed in freedom of faith, and revealed God’s words – that there is no compulsion in faith (Quran 2:256) and he lived by his words. His Uncle Abu Talib remained a Pagan till his death, Muhammad with all the power he had, did not compel him to change his belief, it was an example to set to the world, that was the same with Jesus and others – but a small percentage of their followers become fanatics and compelled others to change their faith, and now Hindus are doing the same non-sense.  I continue to condemn conversion by force, it is wrong to to force any one to believe against his or her will. The Prophet was clear on that. 

The idea of a Hindu name, Muslim name, Christian name, Buddhist name or a Jewish name is a myth but has become a part of our culture and it works for ALL of us. I would rather call it a cultural name; names that you are familiar with than a religious name. You read the stories of great men and women who went out of their way to save the world, and as a part of the admiration you name your kids with your favorite hero or heroine. 

America is a genuine mosaic of God's creation, it is indeed God's own country, here people have no qualms in naming their children, and they are not hung up with names. Within the next two generations it will be difficult to identify a person's religion by his or her name. Welcome to America, the land of the free and the brave.

So my name is Mike Ghouse, Mike Mohamed Ghouse.


Muhammad (pbuh) received revelations about oneness of God, and commonness of humanity despite the differences. He understood that very well when he recited God’s words (Quran 49:13) that we were born to a single couple and made into different tribes, communities, nations and faiths, and with that uniqueness conflicts are bound to happen and the way to move ahead is to know each other, when we know each other myths disappear, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

It was a time period when an individual's greed and his drive to control the resources, wealth and women turned him into pitting his version of God against the other's. 

The idea of oneness was the first step towards building a cohesive society, and subscribing to the idea in one ultimate God that was common to all. What a relief it was, it freed them from the blame games and mitigated the mundane conflicts. 
The wisdom was a panacea to the conflicts among people.  

Each merchant in Mecca, a trading center then had his own Icon representing “his” values, and when the conflicts arose between two merchants, it was their “personal God-Icon” who rescued or won them their battle in business. The conflicts remained a daily routine, sort of the Wild West in America about 200 years ago. 

Subscribing to one common God, with all the non-conflicting attributes packed into one,  an abstract idea of God which everyone could relate with was the need of the day. The idea of oneness of God and oneness of humanity was a source of healing and bringing unity with the given diversity.  In his last sermon he delivered one of the best equality statements – that no human is superior or inferior to the other, the words are almost identical to our immortal declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal.

Muhammad revealed this to his family and friends, and they started seeing the value in the conflictlessness of "Your God" versus "My God" and moving on to "our God" - a common denominator God. Thus the word subscribing to the idea of one supreme* God came into being, the Arabic word for submission for peace was "Islam" and the one who submits to the idea of oneness, and conflictlessness was a Muslim, a submitter to harmony.

Islam suited me well, I did not want a religion, but needed one. Islam teaches about building cohesive societies, respecting the otherness of others,  freedom of speech and faith, justice, mercy, humility and treating, feeling and believing all as equals.  I chose to become a Muslim in the late 90’s.  More about it in my journey into Islam below.

Hold it my friends, you will not go to the same church, synagogue, mosque or a temple, if you don’t like the environment or the sermons, you go where you are comfortable, and you choose what suits you. Islam suits me well, I fit right into it. Not the Islam you hear on Fox, but the pristine Islam that was created by Muhammad and not visible to you, which the majority of Muslims silently practice.  It is here live and active, please go to www.WorldMuslimCongress.com and you see that Pristine Islam.


In December 2009, I gave a presentation on scriptural reading of Quran in Melbourne, Australia at the Parliaments of World’s religions. The room was packed and there were two full rows of clergy from Iran and Saudi Arabia. What inspired them to attend? They were curios to see what a “Christian” was going to teach about Quran. I am glad they came and appreciated learning about the deliberate mistranslations and misinterpretations of Quran and the solutions. Steve Blow of  Dallas Morning News, writes, "In the middle Ages, European leaders commissioned a hostile Quran translation to foster warfare against Muslim invaders. Later, Muslim leaders produced another translation to inflame Muslims against Christians and Jews." I reached my pinnacle of understanding Islam, when I organized, conducted and successfully managed the www.QuraanConference.com

In August 2010, I was in Jerusalem with the Middle East Peace Initiative, and it was a delight to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque which fulfilled my desire to pray in all the three holy sanctuaries of Islam and I have prayed in the mosque of every Muslim denomination as well.

The entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque was guarded heavily and Israel had banned the entry for non-Muslims, as a nut case fanatic Jew had opened the fire on praying Muslims on a Friday, and had killed over two dozen worshippers. So the inquisition began and I went thru the grill of proving the Israeli soldier that I was a Muslim…finally he asked me to recite the Shahadah (Muslim pledge) and told me to move, and on that very precise moment, I heard a loud gunshot and reflexively balked,  "what was that?"

OMG, he pulled me over again,  and asked with piercing eyes, are you really a Muslim? I said, hell yes. He asked why did you ask about the Gunshot, and I said, I wanted to know what that was? He repeated, you are a Muslim? He pulls over the Palestinian Guard who asks me to repeat the process and additionally asks me to recite another small chapter, Sura Ikhlas and proceeds to ask more questions while the Israeli guard looks on. 

At that moment I was frustrated enough and entertained the thought of pulling my pants down to show him that I was a Muslim… thank God for the interruption from the Dutch Imam ahead of me, who said let’s go,  that held my funny thoughts back.. I  realized that the Jewish and Muslim Men have the same thing in their pants and I recall that this method was shamelessly used to identify Jews and Muslim alike during massacres. 

Any way I recited the Sura’s and was let go. But I did not want to go without finding about that sound... that they did not even bat an eye for it… they laughed and told me that it was to mark the end of Sahri/ Suhoor time (early dawn meal in Ramadan) that I was not familiar with.


I was born and raised as a Muslim, but around the late sixties, witnessing the hatred and the riots in India among people of different faiths, I blamed the religions for it and had become an Atheist and remained one till the late 90's, but not a belligerent Atheist who hates God and religions, but a pluralist who respected all religions but did not choose one for himself.  Indeed, I went to the Hindu Temple across my home in Yelahanka on Saturday Nights to chant Bhajans, on Fridays, I went to different Mosques (that I still do) and on Thursdays I went to Mahabodhi society. Learned about Sikhism through my customers at the Flour Mill and Christianity and Jainism through my neighbors. Dr. Abraham Kovoor was whom I followed, he is the father of modern Atheism.

In the mid 1990's, when Islam was attacked by everyone on TV and Radio,  as usual I was randomly flipping pages in different holy books to see what I get to read.  I flipped a page in Bhagvad Gita, and it read "finding the truth is one’s own responsibility". That turned my life around, and I went about seeking the truth and realized the false translations of Quran as enumerated above… and started digging and searching for truth - almost everything in the market about Islam was false, I deliberated about it, and researched if Islam suited me, and fits my pluralistic inclinations... to respect all of God's religions and creation.. And Islam did that for me, and I chose to become a Muslim, several of my friends called me crazy that I chose to call myself a Muslim around 9/11, so be it. Truth stands on its own.

By the way, I am a Republican (Update - as of October 30, 2014, I chose to be become independent -  http://centerforamericanpolitics.blogspot.com/2014/10/republican-no-more-i-have-gone.html )  and am not embarrassed about being one, even though none of the current Republican Party leaders are Republicans in its truest sense, some of its leaders are hate mongers and war mongers. The majority of Republicans are like the majority of Muslims, honest good people but have allowed the radicals to dictate what the party stands for; hate malice, falsities and division, it’s a shame on us Republicans. In Islam their numbers are dwindling in a hurry and hope it happens with my political party as well ( I am not a Republican anymore, let that be clear).  


Conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance runs in Mike’s veins, it is the formula of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Google Search “Mike Ghouse _______ “

Plug in name of Religion, any religion / or name of festival any festival in Google, there is substantial amount of work done in every area of humanity.

Mike Ghouse, Speaker
Motivation | Pluralism | Human Rights | Religion.
(214) 325-1916 text/talk


Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release.  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 at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 


  1. Dr Mookhi Amir AliApril 27, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Ghouse by any name makes sense, always.

  2. Thank you Mike for your nice article..by theway the name MikEL is mentioned in the Holy Quran as an angel.

    Just a small correction if you allow me...the sequence of the four Khalifs was Abu Bakr,Omar, Uthman, Ali..

    Prohet Mohamed never asked any one to change his name when he accepted Islam . My name Issa is the same name of Jesus ..my Brother is Musa which is Moses My other brother is Suleiman Which is Solomon My uncle name is Dawood which is David...We all are muslims...I hope the picture is now clear.

    1. I agree with Mr. Issa Adawi that "Mike" is the shortened form for Mee-cha-El, "Who is like El," and one of the Archangels in Heaven. El, in turn, is a very old Babylonian name for the chief god in the Babylonian pantheon.
      In any case, it is a fine old name, and you wear it well, as you do Mohamed.

  3. It's true - I was confused moving to Texas from the metro NY area and so many names I knew to be 'Jewish' there where Christian here. At first I thought it was assimilation because the families in Texas were more spread out. Then I learned how Jewish immigrants adopted their new countries' names in Germany for example.

  4. What a pleasure to discover one more Spiritual Sibling. :-)