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Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to live with corrupt people

Pratibha: I am interested or to know how to live peacefully with the corrupt dominating people in a society. They influenced everything/. In this situation what to do , Please suggest me

Dear Pratibha,

The Physical or the metaphysical world is structured to have positive, negative and neutral charges in it ,and every structure is constantly seeking its own equilibrium through a variety of combinations and permutations.

Living with corrupt people is part of existence, not that we have to agree with the ills of corruption, but we can be a part of it and effect changes in our own way. Non-Violent way is sustainable, where as the violent way is destructive for the time, but it is a part of the system.

Lord Krishna was clear when he said, whenever and wherever there is adharma, I will appear and restore the righteousness back to the society. It is not necessarily him in reality, but the spirituality is built on balance and justice and it works on an auto-pilot. Qur’aan says, to every nation, every tribe, God sends a peacemaker, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna, Rama, Nanak, Buddha, Mahavir, Confucius, Zarthustra.... and numerous others in native traditions have precisely done that; restore the society back to normalcy.

From a political point of view, the colonial masters in most every colony were un-just, when the adharma and injustice reached a point of no-return; there was Gandhi, to restore it. When the American society was forced upon by a few masters to mistreat the African Americans, there was Lincoln and MLK to restore justness and morality.

Medha Parker stood up in defense of the villagers that were going to be affected by urbanization, there was Shabana Azmi fighting for the slum dwellers...Seshan fought the corrupt election system.

Justice and fairness is the ultimate of a balanced society, and every one including you and I are part of the solutions while some others may be doing the opposite of it.

Prophet Muhammad said, when you see injustice, the least you can do is to speak up. Martin Neimoller in his poem wrote, first they came for Jews and I did nothing about it, as I was not a Jew, then they came after Communists..... and finally when they came for me, there was no one to speak for me.

Pratibha, the least we can do is to speak up and if we have the energy and passion, apply it and build a momentum in the society. Yes, you can make the difference and you will, as you have the concern that is the first step. Co-existence must be at the bottom of every thing.

God bless you.

Mike Ghouse
www.FoundationforPluralism.com

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Diversity is Ignorance - Swami Vivekanand

I am trying to grasp the thought; “diversity is ignorance.” in Swami Vivekanand’s quote below, while I am in tune with the ideas that we are destined to have salvation.

Diversity is nature, it is how we are created, and it is a reflection of freedom. On the other hand conformity kills freedom, non-diversity is non-freedom.

Each human and each life is made differently through the permutations and combinations of DNA, there is nothing alike. In plant world, each plant is different than the other, and there is nothing alike.

On the matter side, each piece of matter is unique, there are zillions of stars and planets in the universe and each one is different, there is nothing alike.

Diversity gaurantees continuum of life, if all the species is same, our immunity to diseace would wipe us all out of existence. Diversity of thought gaurantees use of mind and wisdom, when there is no diversity, life would be a bore, and our mental faculties could be lost for lack of using them.

It is the co-existence with differences that religion teaches, religion is a formula to bind us together and not slap us together to abandon our uniqueness.

I am in tune with the statement, “we are all destined to have salvation, whether
we will have it or not. You have to attain it in the long run and
become free, because it is your nature to be free.” Each one of us is built to seek our own balance, even the pain level is a balance that one can endure.

~~ ~~
Unity is Knowledge, diversity is ignorance. This knowledge is your
birthright. I have not to teach it to you. There never were different
religions in the world. We are all destined to have salvation, whether
we will have it or not. You have to attain it in the long run and
become free, because it is your nature to be free

- Swami Vivekananda

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti - held myself from crying

Monday, Jan 18

Held myself from Crying seeing the devastation in Haiti, watching USS Navy's Comfort sail, brought tears to me. Thank God, we are doing all we can to give them the help needed. thank God. http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=9579182

~~~

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ghouse speaks at Unitarian Universalist Church

Sunday, Jan 17, 2010
Carrollton

Spoke at Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday, Jan 17, 2010, Carrollton, Texas. Pastor Dennis Hamilton invited me to speak about Pluralism along with his Sunday Sermon at the New Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton.

It's like home coming to me. I have been taking quizzes on Belief-net for about four years, and the results are consistently pointing that I am 100% Unitarian Universalist in my overall scheme of belief. Here is the survey result

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (93%)
3. Mahayana Buddhism (79%)
4. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (78%)
5. Neo-Pagan (78%)
6. Reform Judaism (76%)
7. New Age (73%)
8. Bahá'í Faith (72%)
9. Sikhism (68%)
10. Hinduism (68%)

Today, I found a confirmation to it after listening to Dennis about UU. I am in tune with their philosophy, rather 100% in tune with them for four years in a row. It is their focus on peace, love, forgiveness, compassion and service to humanity.

My talk mirrored Dennis Hamilton’s talk and I could not resist commenting on it. I will post his talk and my outlines in a few days with the same heading. The congregation and sermon felt like home.

On the question of faith, I shared my thought that it would be sheer arrogance to claim my faith is superior to others. It is a new paradigm in religious thinking, and will take time for people to see the value. Religion is about humility and not arrogance. Indeed, all religions are beautiful formulae to live a life of balance and harmony.

I am a Muslim and my faith serves me well, as other faiths serve others. No one need to change their religion buds, they are home to whatever they have grown to. Spend the time on your own faith to find the beauty and wisdom in it and I assure you, every faith is beautiful.


Pictures: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=380211&id=851280248&l=e4b2e85c1d

Mike Ghouse
~~~~

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Press Release on Holocaust and Genocides

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Mike Ghouse (214) 325-1916,
email: MikeGhouse@aol.com
event email: HolocaustandGenocides@gmail.com
Website: http://www.holocaustandgenocides.com/

III ANNUAL REFELCTIONS ON THE HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDES

DALLAS – (January 15, 2010) –The Foundation for Pluralism announces the 7/7 speakers Panel to reflect upon the Holocaust and Genocides event at 5:00 PM on Sunday, January 24, 2010 at the Center for Spiritual Center, 4801 Spring Valley Road, Dallas, TX. 75244.

Each individual in the seven member panel would acknowledge the inhumanity in each one of us and reflect upon the solutions for co-existence. It is a purposeful event to learn, acknowledge and reflect upon the terrible things, that we humans have inflicted upon each other.

What can you do as individual?

Continued: http://holocaustandgenocides.blogspot.com/2010/01/press-release-on-holocaust-and.html

~~~

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti and Earthquake

Haiti - posted at the Foundation for Pluralism Blog

Haiti and Earthquake Theology
Dr. Jeffress, this is one of the most timely pieces, that we the people of faith need to read. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is time to get out and help, God is testing us and our intentions. Indeed, when we don't understand the calamities and its purpose, and we never will, it is good to trust in God. He is the creator and he knows his creation.
http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/01/haiti-and-earthquake-theology.html

Haiti, Voodoo's view on the quake
If you feel the temptation that your faith makes sense and others don't, ask yourselves, where does this arrogance come from? My comments follow the article
http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/01/haiti-voodoos-view-on-quake.html

Haiti needs one hundred helicopters
I urge each one of us living in the United States to make the call to the white house at the number given below. May God bless success to these initiatives and hope together we can save lives. Amen - http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/01/haiti-needs-one-hundred-helicopters.html

Faith in action: Haiti TragedyShare
It is the spirit of service, every religion is participating in the efforts to find relief to the victims in Haiti. This is what religion is all about; it is not me, me, and me, it is we, we and us.
http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/01/multifaith-action-haiti-tragedyshare.html

Seeking Harmony in Malaysia
I am pleased to see the following article by Imam Feisal. He has laid out how things are and then offered solutions. My comments follow the article
http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/01/seeking-harmony-in-malaysia.html

Mike Ghouse
~~~~

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Palestine: Myths and Truths

7:00 PM, January 12,2010
First Community Church of Christ
9120 Ferguson Road, Dallas
Palestine: Myths and Truths

L-R: Rev. Dianne Baker, Roger Kallenberg, Rev. Peter Ruggere and Josh Smith.

Rev. Ruggere's turned out to be a great myth buster. He pointed out how the media has projected, and the people have accepted in propagating the myth that the conflicts between Arabs and Jews is thousands of years old, it was not. It started around the beginning of the 20th century, prior to that they have lived together for centuries. They accuse that the Arabs want to drive Israel into ocean while suppressing their own rhetoric to drive Palestinians into the desert. Neither of them mean it.

One can criticize America and its policies to their hearts content but if a Senator or a Congressman utters one word against Israel - he or she will be hounded with Anti-Semitic rhetoric. Joshua was sharing the story, where the Palestinian families were kicked out of their own homes and while they were camping outside longing to be back in their homes, the drunken soldiers in the middle of the night come and harass the families. Josh camped out with them and hopes he will put the videos together.

I was saddened listening to this, and I hope the silent majority of Jewish people speak up, they truly want peace like all other people, but the men in charge of the policies have ulterior motives, and causing anguish and pain to the Jews of Israel and the Palestinians.

It is Jewish to be just and those who speak up are discounted by the powerful as self-hating Jews. We all need to know that power can carry you only for a short distance, but Justice can carry you the farthest. It is time for the majority to wake up and do the right thing; justice. Ten years ago, no one dared criticizing Israel, today it is becoming a common place; even the Media is getting some freedom to criticize the Israeli policies. Check the Blog - http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/

"Rev. Peter Ruggere, a Maryknoll priest, will join members of the North Texas delegation to the Gaza Freedom March to discuss their “feet on the ground” experiences with the politics and people of Palestine. Ruggere was assigned to the Catholic Charities program in Cairo, Palestine and North Africa from 1993-96, and afterward to the Maryknoll Justice & Peace Office in Washington D.C. from 1996-2002. He will make a PowerPoint presentation on “The Background to the Palestinian Question.” Members of the Gaza Freedom March delegation, Diane Baker, Roger Kallenberg and Josh Smith, will be just returning from their trip to Egypt where they and more than 1,300 internationals attempted to go into Gaza to support the people living under the Israeli blockade there. At First Community United Church of Christ, 9120 Ferguson Rd."

Mike
~~~~

Facbook dialogue - God, Jerusalem, Obama

 
Extensive conversations
on the following links at face book

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pluralism and Islam

This is particularly addressed to Muslims

We are still fighting a battle with the Neocons, and they are constantly mis-representing Islam. As Muslims, we need to rise above and make an effort to understand ideas and concepts without being judgmental.

Let me give you the example of the railway lines, two parallel rail lines run for the length they have designed to run and each line stands on its own. They do not converge, but they exist side by side.

Like wise, there are several faiths that exist side by side. Acknowledging their existence and accepting that it is God’s will to have made us different, and then his guidance for us to know each other is simply Pluralism. Pluralism is not a religion, it is an attitude to be respectful of others sentiments and faiths.

Pluralism is not Deen-e-Elahi and pluralism is not a religion. Pluralism is simply an attitude of who we deal with others. Pluralism is co-existence. The idea of integration is oppressive and expects the minority to merge with the majority.

Pluralism is NOT integration, it is purely co-existence. You are who you are and, I am who I am, and let’s figure out a way to live with least conflicts.

Pluralism is an attitude of respecting the otherness of other and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of his creation.

Of the several beautiful values, one of the most important values of Islam is to leave the judgment call to Allah and practice non-judgementality in our daily lives. We recite the verse Malik-i-yomiddin so many times a day and hope that becomes a part of it.

Here on this group, except personal attacks all views on a given topic have been posted. We need to resist the thought of gaining support from a few to be against some one. What is the need for it? We all can read between the lines.

As a moderator of this group, I express my views and welcome all other views. My Pluralistic attitude encourages me to present all views, even if they are contrary to my own. This is a critical value, as Muslims, we need to consider adopting. This leads to a development of healthy societies.

Conformity kills creativity; it is the push for conformity that we have gotten behind. The world would not have moved an inch forward if we were all conformist. From a religious point of view – we would not have had the two divisions or six schools of thought.

We are not a monolithic lot, and most certainly each one of us is responsible on the day of reckoning – I am responsible for me and no else will come to rescue me except the good things I have done. Your take and my take on Islam would differ on a few issues and that is healthy. There is no compulsion in Islam.

Mike Ghouse
~~~~~

Monday, January 4, 2010

Who Owns God?

WHO OWNS GOD?

To the People of Malaysia

Mike Ghouse


The Malaysian Government may consider setting up a commission to figure out who owns Allah. From what I know, no one owns the word "Allah" nor does any one own "Allah". I can have one of the seven billionth (# of people) piece of God without asking permission from any one. And each part would be fulsome seven billion. You are welcome to steal my piece, I still would have it; owning one piece is like owning whole of the God.

Same formula applies to the other names of God be it Yahweh, Krishna, Allah, Ahura Mazda, Wahe Guru, God or any other name one can imagine to call on the creator. God probably would be embarrassed if he figures out that we believe him to have limited linguistic comprehension, and that he only understands Hebrew, Sanskrit, Pali, Avesta, Aramaic, Latin or Arabic. Quite! Let him know not.

Perhaps, one single event led to the other and the whole cosmos came into being. Whether it is evolution, creation or big bang, the fact of the matter is we exist. Thus the concept of oneness of creation, oneness of the humanity and oneness of the people translates into Oneness of God, One all loving God. Our Atheist friends don't have to call that thing God, just call it the causer of evolution, creation or the big bang; or don't call any thing, he has no problems with it and I know I don't.

I hope you find the answer in various ways of praising your version of the lord; your lord, my version and every one's lord; the same causer and sustainer of the creation. Whatever way works for you is good, why should it matter how you worship? Your devotion to the creator is your own, it won't interfere with my life and it should not worry us a bit.

God has not signed a secret deal with you to tell me that your way is the right way, you quote the Qur'aan, I will quote the Vedas, Bible, Torah, Avesta and other books or my native friend may quote his/her traditions. None of us is wrong, each one has his or her own version and all versions produce the same result; acknowledging something higher, immortal than us and that we have be humble, and humility eats up arrogance and brings conflictlessness among the people. That is what the kingdom of heaven is all about or may be more per you, and that is fine with me.

The phrases like No God, One God, Many Gods, One family or Vasudeva Kutumbukum is all about peaceful co-existence of diverse people as one family. If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Since I am a human like you and happen to believe in one of the 250 versions of God, let me share my version of that creator with you and I invite you to share your version right here in the comments section. Remember we create God in our own image, so there are at least 7 billion versions of the same God, and he (she or it) loves every which way we bow to him, acknowledge it and respect her.

My version is Islamic, still the same God.

The symbols in this article are the name of God, "Allah" in Arabic, as a Muslim I won't lock the unlockable God in words or in picture; it is not a being and is certainly not containable. No one's version is complete to the other, but given our limitations we create him in our own image, a deeper image en-carved in our imagination that is inexplicable and invisible like the pain in the neck.

The Qur'aan starts with this verse:
Translation by Mohammad Asad

1:2 All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds,
Alhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameena

الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
(1:2)

In this instance, the term "worlds" denotes all categories of existence both in the physical and the spiritual sense. The Arabic expression rabb - rendered by me as ',`Sustainer" - embraces a wide complex of meanings not easily expressed by a single term in another language. It comprises the ideas of having a just claim to the possession of anything and, consequently, authority over it, as well as of rearing, sustaining and fostering anything from its inception to its final completion. Thus, the head of a family is called rabb ad-dar ("master of the house") because he has authority over it and is responsible for its maintenance; similarly, his wife is called rabbat ad-dar ("mistress of the house"). Preceded by the definite article al, the designation rabb is applied, in the Qur'an, exclusively to God as the sole fosterer and sustainer of all creation - objective as well as conceptual - and therefore the ultimate source of all authority.(By Mohammad Asad, Quran Ref: 1:2 )

Here is how the last chapter begins :

114:1 SAY: "I seek refuge with the Sustainer of men,

:[Allah:seek refuge with Him] [Allah's attributes:Cherisher and Sustainer] [Mankind]
Qul aAAoothu birabbi alnnasi

قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ
(114:1)

The most important aspect of quoting both the first and last chapters of Qur'aan has a purpose in it. Both verses do not address Muslims exclusively, in turn they address the whole cosmos and the human beings.

Allah is addressing all of us in the book; he made sure that he did not address one people to exclude the other. He may have been motivated by the fear that some other God may take away the unclaimed people, so he was smart enough to include every one from the beginning to the end. I am sure he used the same strategy in all his books, be it the Vedas, Bible, Torah or any book or just through the oral traditions that our brothers and sisters in native and earth based traditions follow.

God belongs to all, we don't need to own him (her or it), let him remain the creator and owner of our lives and let us call him whichever way we can.

The Neocons Muslims (Equal and opposite counterparts of Neocons in all faiths) need to be happy that the Christians and Sikhs want to keep "Allah" as one of the names of God. Indeed, the Arab Christians also call the creator Allah. Perhaps it is the same word Ilahi Jesus used to use in Aramaic.

Allah is God's name in Arabic. Allah, the creator and sustainer has no problems if we call him Yahweh, Ahura Mazda, Buddha, God, Ishwar, Mahavir, Wahe Guru or Allah. Let's not limit the capabilities of God to a language and a religion. He is the creator and sustainer of all worlds.

As a Muslim I welcome every one to call God with his name in Arabic – "Allah" with equal devotion and honor. Quietly and peacefully this would be the response of over 99% of Muslims in the world. It is time for us to appeal the majority of Muslims in Malaysia to help those few lost brothers.

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on
http://www.mikeghouse.net/


Friday, January 1, 2010

Honoring Baker & Kallenberg

Letter sent to the Muslims of Dallas

Friday, Jan 1, 2009

Rev. Dianne Baker is a minister who believes in justice as the heart of the religion, she is a fellow board member at the Dallas Peace Center. Hadi Jawad was president of the Dallas Peace Center; Wasim has joined us for over a year now. We are looking for other Muslims to join us, so Hadi and I can go do other things that needed to be done. It involves work and standing up for Justice.


You should see the goodness flowing from the Bakers, Burnams, Ellis, Evans, Majors and so many others at the Dallas Peace Center, they are Jewish, Muslim, Christian and every one is welcome. They would all stand up for the rights of Muslims or any human. How many of us would do that for others? If you can, please join us at the Dallas Peace center. Roger Kellenberg, a Jew has gone to join the Gaza March, he is there now, in fact the main organizers and the organization Code Pink is led by Jewish men and women. I am glad they do, and we need to do more than our share of goodness to heal the earth and listen to each other.


It is Jewish to stand for social justice and it is Muslim, Hindu or Christian to stand for justice. Each one of us has a small percentage of violators, but the overwhelming majority of all of us are good people and we have an interest in keeping the world safe and just for every one. Pointing fingers will not bring solutions but looking for solutions does.


Justice is justice for every human being, it will expand your horizons from being a self-centered Muslim who wants others to do things for him, but un- willing to serve others because they are not Muslims. This has to be purged from our minds for the good of every human in this society. If you realize the good things Christians and Jews have done for this nation, whose beneficiaries are you and I, you would appreciate them. Don't judge people from the acts of a few, there will always be bad people scheming and planning out of imagined fears, we need to allay those fears and bring them all aboard.

The reason we have it easy to build Mosques is because Jews worked hard for it to have it for them, it made it easy for us. The reason we can bury our departed in our own way is because Jews have worked for it, the reason we can have Halal meat is because they have worked for it. The reason you can send you kids to school is because Jews have worked hard to prevent indoctrination of one kind or the other in schools. We need to stand up with them for doing good things.

The African Americans led by Martin Luther King brought the civil rights, and that is the only reason most of us whether Muslims or others, have made it to this nation. We have to work with them for the goodness they have brought to this country.

I stood up firmly with the Hindus when they opposed the Ten Commandment monument in the public square along with Atheists. Muslims should have joined, thank God; at least I represented Islam. Our goodness is expressed when we do things that are good for everyone. I do not want a benefit that will benefit me and not others, such benefits are deleterious to long term peace ans sustainable goodness.


I wrote strongly against the bill introduced by the Muslim countries at the United Nations to make it a law against blasphemy. This is a short term solution and is not good for any religion. It benefits us for now, but in the long haul, it will breed resentment and will affect the balance. Freedom should triumph and freedom of speech and religions should triumph.

The Christians of all denominations have worked hard to preserve the freedom of speech and religion and we need to stand for the freedom and not make any compromises. Freedom is the only thing that will succeed in the long haul as American stands testimony to it.


Speak up for the good of all humanity, not just Muslims. Being a good human is good for nothing unless you are willing to stand up for Justice – not just for us but for every one, then we have done our duty to human kind and that is what being a good Muslim is.


When Diane and Roger come back, organize a dinner to honor them – not because they supported a cause that is dear to you, but because they stood up for human rights. Start making your parties worthwhile. I like to see the next social event to honor these folks. Bring your Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and other friends. Let us fall the barriers that a few are working hard to erect for their personal gains. Goodness has no money it, but brings goodness to every one including you.

Mike Ghouse

~~~

My Name is Mike Ghouse

Updated May 20, 2011 | May 24, 2015


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



Ever since I stepped onto this soil, the American 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. 

Added: 5/24/15 : A handful of right leaning Muslims and right leaning 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 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.  


There was a right wing Muslim 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 right wing 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. 


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.


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 affected me deeply as I did not have the full satisfaction of serving  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 (In Indian tradition, the  men and women give the entire paycheck to family).  I took care of my family for several years after his death, but was not able to serve him personally as I had wanted to, that left a vacuum to serve in my life.


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. 

Now addressing my Muslim friends:

When God offered a choice to Adam and explained the consequence of eating the fruit and not eating, Adam chose to eat and he had  to be expelled as agreed. The angels argued with God that it was not fair, he could have slapped Adam and stopped him from eating and the expulsion would not have happened. God said, look, I am the God and did offer choice to Adam, and he chose what worked for him. I am the God, if I don't honor my own word, who will? Then he ordered the angels to upload "free will" into the DNA of all humans. When you hear that freedom and liberty are the inalienable rights, that is what it meant in Quran and in our constitution.


By the way Islam is not a new religion, it never claimed to be one. Islam has clearly asserted that it is an extension of what was in practice before.  Jesus and all others religious head had similar experience of taking one step further from what was practiced before. However, a small percentage of their followers become fanatics and compelled others to change their faith, and now Hindus are doing the same thing forcing people to change or preventing them from changing.  I continue to condemn conversion by force, it is wrong to to force any one to believe against his or her will.  

Muhammad is my mentor   

 
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.


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. 


List of my mentors; Jesus Christ, Prophet Muhammad, Buddha, Krishna, Mahatma Gandhi, Maimonides, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, my father Abdul Rahman and mother Khairun Nisa. And among the living mentors; Pope Frances, Barack Obama and Aga Khan.  (Latest update:  Dali Lama is dropped- as he did not say a word about his fellow Buddhists massacring their fellow country men in Burma - I need to study more to add back).

Name Bias in Melbourne


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, (they assumed I was a Christian for my name) and he finally 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.


My Journey in to Islam


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.


What about Other Religions?


Let me assert this very clearly - a statement that I made upon receiving the "Religious communicator of the year" award by Religious writers association.  My religion works for me as other's religions work for others and I will never claim my religion to be superior or inferior to any.  Claiming superiority of your religion is arrogance which destroys relationships between individuals, families, communities and nations, where as every religion is designed to bring humility in the individuals which builds relationships. As a Muslim I have challenged fellow Muslims, and as a religious person, I will challenge other religious followers to show where they can claim superiority, other than the circular logic.  Quran is clear - God loves people who forgive and who are humble, and does not favor those who are arrogant. 


I could have chosen any faith, and all faiths are equally dear to me. None is superior or inferior, it is what you know and what suits you. Islam suits me as I align with it. Islam is about free will, justice, humility and dignity to all of God's creation - life and environment. 
I define religion as a system that guides one to live in balance with himself or herself and  how to live with others in harmony.  Dr. Shaykh Rashid Gannouchi emphasizes, " The role of religion is to answer the big questions for us, those relating to our existence, origins, destiny, and the purpose for which we were created, and to provide us with a system of values and principles that would guide our thinking, behavior, and the regulations to which we aspire." He adds, "Islam is a religion of civilization" which he suggests elsewhere is the essence and purpose of every world religion.




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. 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 the name Mike, and upon my citizenship confirmation, it became my full legal name "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.  He was born into a Pagan family (Pagan is not and should not be a derogatory term- it is an identity), and 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 and enlightenment about oneness of God, and commonness of humanity despite the differences. Once he became aware that he was preaching a new idea to build cohesive societies, he did not change his name, it remained Muhammad. 

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),  Abu Bakr Siddique (1st caliph), Umar bin Khattab (2nd caliph), Uthman bin Affan (3rd Caliph), Ali bin Talib (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 his uncle to change his belief, it was an example set to the world that there is no compulsion in faith and the example was to reaffirm that value. 

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.

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.


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 (they assumed I was a Christian from my name).  I am glad they came and appreciated learning about the deliberate mis-translations 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

Name Bias in Jerusalem

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.


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.



My political affiliation

By the way, I am a Republican (Update - as of October 30, 2014, I am Republican No More  -  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).  

My calling
Center for Pluralism is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 (as Foundation for Pluralism). It is based on a simple principle; the more we know about each other, fewer the misunderstandings would be.
CFP is committed to vigorously promoting and advancing pluralism in the realm of religion, politics, social and cultural aspects of life. We have published over 3500 articles on promoting harmony and reconciliation, appeared on 300 national TV shows, addressed in 700 national Radio talk shows and produced hundreds of programs. We need your wisdom, wealth and work to continue this work.
CFP will continue to focus its energies on ensuring a safe and secure America for all, where no one has to worry about his race, faith, ethnicity or other God-given uniqueness and live her life without apprehensions.
Our programs are designed to prevent chaos and maintain coherence and stability with the ongoing changes. We need to prepare the next generation to cope with these changes and minimize potential conflicts with ease. No American needs to worry about losing his or her way of life. As Americans we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our Constitution.
The Center for Pluralism has established over 20 annual programs to bring Americans together on religious, social, political and cultural aspects of life. The more we know each other, the less conflicts we would have. Please review our programs and except the Religious workshops and Unity Day all other programs can be run as your sponsorship for $5,000/year, but you can contribute any sum that is in your budget. Please review them in this mini-Brochure at – http://centerforpluralism.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/4.-CPF-Programs-4-Pages.pdf
CFP will be an antidote to Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Racism, Homophobia, Hindu phobia, Xenophobia, Misogyny and other phobias. Through research and activism we are establishing a respectful space for Pluralism with the policy makers, interfaith groups, both Republicans and Democrats and of course the media and you!
The Center for Pluralism will become the energy to give a solid cohesive social structure to our nation. By the year 2025, there will not be an office, school, playground, college, restaurant, theater, train, bus or a work place where people of different faiths, races, ethnicities and national origins do not work, interact, play, live and marry together. This is bound to create conflicts in airports, public spaces, board rooms, and in bedrooms as well as places of worship, work places, politics, eateries, and schools.
We have a responsibility to shape the future of our society so our kids, grand kids and us can retire in peace and live without apprehensions.
Mike's Short Bio
Mike Mohamed Ghouse is committed to his life mission of building cohesive work places, communities and nations. He works for an America where every one of the 322 million Americans should feel secure without apprehension or fear of the other.

He is one of the 5 people in the world who is actively pursuing research, activism and teaching Pluralism.  Just Google and find a tremendous amount of work on pluralism in religion, politics, society and culture.  Mike defines Pluralism as an attitude of “respecting the otherness of other” and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of us.
He is a pluralist, thinker, writer, activist and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, politics, Islam, human rights and foreign policy including India and Israel-Palestine. He is a news maker, interfaith wedding officiant and a community consultant and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.


Dr. Ghouse has appeared in over 300 national TV and 700 Radio shows including 125 on Fox News and 200 on Fox’s national syndicated radio. He has published over 3500 articles on the topics he speaks.

His Google profile has been visited by over 35 million individuals with thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, yahoo groups and personal lists.
He is the founder and CEO of the Center for Pluralism. The bottom line to his work is security- no one should feel insecure about his or her religion, race, ethnicity, or other God-given uniqueness. Each one of us should look forward to retiring in peace and living without apprehensions or fear of the other.



A few of my profiles

A short Bio


My profile in 68 pages: http://centerforpluralism.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/3.-MikeGhouse-Building-Cohesive-Societies-68-Pages.pdf 


URL: http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2012/12/mike-ghouse-indian-american-pluralist.html

Note: A lot more work has been done since I wrote this note in 2012, much of it can be seen at www.CenterforPluralism.com
Here is our brochure: http://centerforpluralism.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/4.-CPF-Programs-4-Pages.pdf 


1. Google Profile - over 35 Million views  https://plus.google.com/108969690090944956820/about

Much of my work is at:
  1. Center for Pluralism - http://www.CenterforPluralism.com
  1. Interfaith Marriages - http://www.InterfaithMarriages.org 
  1. World Muslim Congress- http://www.WorldMuslimCongress.org 
  1. The Ghouse Diary - http://www.TheGhouseDiary.com 
  1. Muslim Speaker - http://www.MuslimSpeaker.com
  1. Interfaith Speaker - http://www.InterfaithSpeaker.org
  1. Pluralism Speaker - http://www.mikeghouse.net/InterfaithSpeaker_MikeGhouse.asp
  1. Indian Version of my bio - http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2012/12/mike-ghouse-indian-american-pluralist.html
  1. Muslim Pedia - http://www.worldmuslimpedia.com/mike-mohamed-ghouse-a-pluralist-and-an-outstandi 

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

A few profiles: 



Google Search “Mike Ghouse _______ “