Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mahatma Gandhi's 65th Anniversary


Mahatma Gandhi was shot on this day on January 30 in 1948. He was determined to seek freedom for India from the mighty Great Britain, and he got it without the war and without bloodshed. His was one of the greatest successful experiments in non-violence.  I hope President Obama follows him, we don’t need the senseless wars with any one, the best way to eliminate the enemy is to make friends with him, and it is the smartest thing to do.


Can you imagine the power he had? He shook the empire, they could have easily killed or poisoned him, but they did not have the guts to do that. What made Gandhi, Mandela, and MLK successful?

None of them had anything to gain, all they wanted was justice and harmony in the society, and that was their drive, when you become unselfish, you can do a lot of good to the world. I am inspired and driven by him. Twice in my dreams, he has appeared and patted on my back and said, son you got a lot of work to do. Indeed, I do, we all need to do our share of work in making the world a better place, at least around us. It begins with learning the respect the otherness of other and accepting the God given uniqueness to each one of us, if we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

The frightened ones (right wing) in India did not like Gandhi’s dialogue approach to conflicts, they wanted bloodshed and mayhem, the animalistic way of resolving disputes, Gandhi pushed dialogue, the human way to finding solutions to conflict.

I salute this great Soul and thank God for blessing the world with this prophet of non-violence!  God bless him! Amen

Mike Ghouse

Gays, Lesbians and Muslims

The following is a civil conversation about Gay brother and sisters, and Muslim acceptance. The topic is still a taboo, as it is with the conservative Christians and Baha’i. I believe the Jews, Hindus and Buddhists are not as belligerent towards Gays.


The world is changing, despite the attitudes propelled by the gayphobic understanding of Sodom and Gomorrah stories, a higher proportion of the population is moving towards acceptance. Being a pluralist (respecting the otherness of others and acceptance of God-given uniqueness of each human), I am blessed to be connected with almost all of God’s creation.


http://www.upworthy.com/mapped-where-its-good-to-be-gay-where-its-bad-to-be-gay?c=ufb1
The world is moving towards genuinely honoring God, by respecting every one he created intentionally, but sadly the conservative are resisting. Most Muslim forums shy away from even carrying on a discussion. I am in touch with many scholarly Imams and they are honestly grappling with it, instead of the outright rejection. But no one but the progressive Muslims groups are discussing it. It is time for us the moderate majority to face the issues, as we have to learn to deal with the world with nearly 10% of the population that is Gay, some one close to you or in your family would be a gay, and let's prepare ourselves for it, while some reject it outright. It is not easy to discuss - as  moderator of the groups, I get the brunt of it and it is a responsibility I take seriously, as I am concerned about the future of societies and want us to be ready to deal with the issues. The youth among Christians, Bahais and Muslims are fairly respectful of the otherness of others, the adults are working on it.


As a member of the family of faiths, invite everyone to join the forum WorldMuslimCongress@yahoogroups.com , we are open to hearing all views, including difficult ones so we can learn and understand each other.


Gay and lesbians are a part of our society, indeed, Muslims need to come up with a better way of understanding God’s creation (49:13) and not reduce his wisdom to the size of our limitations.


The following comments contributed to the conversation, and we thank the following members; Dr. Javed Jameel, Mian Waheed, Rafiq Lodhia, Moazzam Syed, Khalid Faridi, Linda Barto, Khan Mohammad Hanif and Mike Ghouse. I urge you to read all the three threads to get a fuller view of the discussion.

 May God guide us to respect all of his creation without reservation, Amen!

Mike Ghouse, a Muslim committed to do his share of work in building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other.
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com



Dear Dr. Jamil,
Islam is not a tyrannical religion, where the majority forces or pushes its opinion on the minority opinion. Islam is about respecting other people's opinion, respectfully, even Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) solicited opinions, and at times he was opposed. We need to value discussion, and even though your note below is condemning me, as a moderator of the group, I am publishing it, we have to learn to dialogue and practice democracy, a practice that is embedded in every aspect of Islam - whether in Salaat, fasting and other rituals, we are all equal, that is the Islam I am familiar with.

Your statements below are difficult to understand, and as Muslims we need to grow up and learn to discuss and dialogue, and not jump to conclusions and condemnations.

The tyranny of rulers with Muslim labels pushed Islam out of the domain of doing good deeds that benefited humanity, and discouraged producing knowledge in science, algebra, math, medicine and other sciences, they kept screaming at them that it was the corrupt west that is getting away from Deen. Muslims barely have a few Noble prize winners; look at the others, where is the drag?

 Those dictators, monarchs and tyrants, wearing Muslim labels passed judgments against people who wanted to conduct a civil dialogue. These men wanted to shut out a civil conversation to learn,  God has so much knowledge in Quraan, yet we want to discourage who seek, and punish and condemn those who disagree with us, because we have the power  to beat up on those who disagree with us. .

When people are not capable of discussion, they resort to cursing, pushing, threatening others to obedience. That is not acceptable in civil societies; the purpose of dialogue is to find solutions and not pass judgments. The best one among you is the ones who understand and learn about each other. You seem to fail Quraan on this account.

There is no need for you to call people in our group to condemn where you disagree, and why should they? Why do you want to divide people? Instead, my friend, urge people to intellectually evaluate each value presented here… and let each one of us make up our own minds. Don’t ask a person to take sides that is politics my brother.

You are very capable of bringing wisdom to the table; instead of “condemnations” this is not the kind of dialogue

Thank you
Mike Ghouse


This is absolutely disgusting, Mike.

Let me be blunt now.

I strongly and unequivocally condemn your acceptance/support for homosexuality.

I strongly and unequivocally condemn your persistent efforts to misinterpret Quran to suit your misconceived missions.

 I strongly and unequivocally condemn your efforts to bury the voice of the majority of Islam lovers under the weight of your mischievous convictions.

 Stop this! You cannot be allowed to present and interpret Quran the way you like. I totally reject you as one who has any right to talk of Quran. Quran cannot accept sins and crimes of gravest nature, the crimes and sins that devastate social order, family system and cause widespread mortality and morbidity.


I call every member to denounce Mike's attempts to legitimize all the vices prohibited by Quran in the name of Quran.

  I resign from the forum in protest from this very moment. I cannot stand to such blatant support of what is expressly declared Haram by God. My resignation will save you from a troublemaker from your point of view.

  In extreme anguish 

Dr Javed Jamil



--- On Sun, 1/27/13, MIKEGHOUSE@aol.com wrote:

From: MIKEGHOUSE@aol.com
Subject: Re: MuslimsTogether :: Muslim discuss on GAY/ LESBIAN Issue
To: worldmuslimcongress@yahoogroups.com
Date: Sunday, January 27, 2013, 8:17 AM
 
Here is a summary recap, the gay and lesbians are a part of our society, indeed, Muslims need to come up with a better way of learning and understanding God’s creation (49:13) and not reduce God’s wisdom to the size of our limitations in understanding the mysteries. May God guide us to respect all that he has created, Amen!
1.   We have come a long way in learning and knowing about each other; respecting the otherness of others (Mecca peace treaty and the signature); saying to you is your Deen (Sura Kafirun) respectfully, and listening to prophet delivering and explaining Gods wisdom - there is no compulsion in matters of faith.
2.   Human rights are an expression of the God-given rights to breathe and to live. Everyone has a right to live regardless of what he or she does. The story of Prophet Suleman and how he denied food to a sinner, and how God took the powers back is told for a purpose;
3.   Most of us believe that God has a hand in creation; all is created by him or her. We talked about Prophet Muhammad getting frustrated because people were not listening to him, God said to him, your job is to deliver the message and his was to give guidance. Allah did not permit the prophet to curse them to hell. The Quraan also tells that had he wanted, he would have created all of us alike.
4.   The basis for hate towards Gays comes from the Sodom and Gomorrah story. The understanding comes from a population who hated gays, hated lepers, hated just about anyone who differed from the kings or the men in power.
5.   However, as we are learning and knowing about each other, as Quraan guides, we are seeing a better world, a lot more needs to be done though. Minorities are being accepted, a Black man from 17% of the population can become a president, or a Muslim from with a similar percent of the population can be a president in India. Prophet Muhammad said we are all created equal; no Arab is superior to the other and vice versa. We have accepted the rights of Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews and others to live their lives among the opposite majority we have come a long way. Prophets vision was a society, where a single woman can go to Damascus and come back to Madinah, unharmed. That woman represents the weak, the minority, and the one who is different. We have ways to go, but God willing, we will. We will learn to respect his creation.
6.   Scriptures? Our inability to see the wisdom of God makes us reduce his words to smaller meanings. We have been misled about 4:34 (beating a woman) for 1400 years; we have been falsely injected with prejudice against Jews and Christians by messing with the translations of Quraan. Even the Arabic speaking Arabs like Ibn-Kathir and Ibn-Tamiyya have mis-led us. God wants us to create harmony among his creation which leads to peace; Islam.
7.    All of us, followers of Bible and Quraan in particular and other scriptures in General need to focus on God’s wide universe and majesty. I received the following note from a Christian friend, and my understanding of God’s word in Quraan is similar, by the way the specific 6 verses in Quraan and Bible are identical.  Here is a Christian point of view;
Many believe that the city of Sodom was destroyed due solely to the practice of sodomy.   This does not align with Jesus' teachings.   In Jesus' words, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because spiritual works were totally lacking in every person.  Jesus said:  For if the mighty (spiritual) works done in Bethsaida had also been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day, Matthew 11:18-24.

Jesus taught we were not to judge by appearances but by righteous (divine) judgment.  It's our spiritual obligation to learn to judge people and situations righteously, and it's God's responsibility to enlighten us.  They shall all be taught by God, John 6:45.  We are to pray, regardless of how long it takes, until we receive spiritual insight.

Prayer on this issue over the years has led me, and many others, to acceptance for those who have a different life style, as long as they are peaceful, caring and helpful to others, and are law abiding.  My goal is to live in a state of peace and caring for others (love) as Jesus taught. 

The question remains: Is consensual sodomy a sin? Rape by sodomy definitely is sinful, and this was a problem in the city of Sodom because women were not available. However, this was only a part of what brought the city down - all inhabitants, in all areas of their lives, were without spiritual direction. Therefore, crime was rampant.
8.   The suggestion that, Muslims need to come up with a "better way" to help lesbians and homosexuals escape from their deviant lifestyle and lead normal, healthy, happy lives - reaffirms the existing bias that there is something wrong with those who are gays and lesbians, they are no doubt different than the majority (as Muslims are in the United States - had it not been for the work of good Christian Pastors and Rabbis, the Muslims, Hindus, Atheists would have no place in the society - they have put in a lot of effort to accept Muslims as a normal people, and we need to continually express our gratitude to them for standing up for the minorities, and we need to do the same - Standing up for others. (check the site www.StandingupforOthers.com )
During the presidential debates, this came up. Michelle Bachman’s (the former presidential candidate, and one of the stupidest congress persons we ever had) husband ran a clinic to do that. To undo gay and lesbian tendencies, he failed and the Psychiatrists and specialist jumped on him for having false assumptions. We need more research on the topic to see if this natural or nurtured. Knowing so many gays and lesbians, hearing them out (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax96cghOnY4 ) brings out the humanity in you.

9.   I am not promoting Gay and Lesbian life style, it has always been there, and it will be there through the Day of Judgment. I am defending their rights in the pursuit of their happiness. It is a shame that fellow humans have to live in fear of the other on the basis of an understanding developed in a negative way. It suits most of us to bash and hate the others who are different, we (both sides) make the Bible and Quraan and suit our understanding, the conservatives want to stick with what is around for centuries and the liberals believe God's word is larger than it is made it out to be. 
10.  Indeed, Muslims need to come up with a better way of learning and understanding God's creation (Children is used in Christian world - Muslims don't, as God is neither begotten nor begets). 

Mike Ghouse
Muslims together building cohesive societies.



Thanks Mian Waheed for sharing this piece
Where it’s good to be gays and where it is not


Indeed a very good and passionate debate!
I agree, a new mouse trap is needed to help people find the right way. I also do not agree this is a genetic issue, rather an acquired life style. 
Yet, I would humbly submit that discrimination can never be an answer. And extrapolating a bit further, on this or any basis, killing of one citizen by another citizen can never be legitimized or tolerated. 
If any one ever has to be sentenced for such an unfortunate punishment, jurisdiction belongs to state and no one else.  
All of us who feel very strongly about this subject (for or against) should only rely on peaceful means, coupled with humble,  sincere and caring prayers - being the most important way. 
Let's nurture and preserve the humanity as a tribute to and for the sake of its Real Creator! With truth and nothing but truth -  for His Blessings.  
Moazam Syed


Salam
Homosexuality is indeed an abnormality. It's a strange logic that 'if someone feels its normal...". I wonder who doesn't feel that he is a normal even an extremist does that!
It did not always exist as claimed by some in this forum unless Allah didn't know about it when He reprimanded the people of Prophet Lut (pbuh). Why no one talks of counselling the homosexuals instead. Perhaps devil's work and promise that he will change even the khalq of Allah is proving true. And who shall be saved? He has no control over those who believe and fear the establishment of the day of Judgement.
The justice should not be confused with immorality of that act. No one believes that on disputes between a homosexual and a normal human the law should favour the latter just because of his normal sexuality instead of the cause or crime.
Quran exhorts people to continue commanding good and forbidding the evil lest they will be affected by the fitna whose victims will not be only those who indulge in sin/crime but others too. As Prophet elaborated this, if you don't stop people from damaging the boat, when it sinks everyone will drown with it not only those who are causing the damage. So Javed Jamil and others should continue to do just that and in his tolerance Mike has allowed this forum to be as humanly free as possible. The progonists and the antagonists have similar freedom to enunciate their viewpoints.
One of the greatest things taught by Quran is Justice- adl- which must be maintained at all cost. And here it means civility even when criticizing the view point.
Wassalaam
Khalid Faridi


The Qur'an indicates house arrest, and then it says "...until Allah provides a better way..." (4: 15).  I think Muslims should be discussing what that better way is and how we can achieve it.  (I wrote extensively about this in my book Memoirs of a Hillbilly Muslim in a chapter entitled "Real Gay Rights."  See my website www.Lit-by-Linda.com.)  Muslims need to come up with a "better way" to help lesbians and homosexuals escape from their deviant lifestyle and lead normal, healthy, happy lives.
Asalam alaykum,
Linda "iLham" Barto


Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2013 1:54 PM
Subject: [SPAM] Re: MuslimsTogether :: Re: Muslim discuss on GAY/ LESBIAN Issue / Ahmedinejad
The best ones among you are the ones who understand each other, know each other. Once we know each other conflicts fade and solutions emerge. God knows as individuals and groups we are in eternal conflict out of security needs, need to dominate and arrogance.
Rafiq,
thanks for sharing this video where Piers Morgan interviews President Ahmedinejad
Questions about Gay and Lesbians in Iran http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxrriYaIQLE
Ahmedinejad has always responded well, but what Piers failed to ask was, "Mr. President, you sound good, but do you mean it? Can you allow us to investigate what you are telling is the truth?"  If he is telling the truth, he deserves to be applauded.
Javed,
I respect your take, that you have said everything that needs to be said, its your choice to be engaged or not. The issue is not going away, more and more members of fellow humanity feel a sense of relief that at least in some nations, they can live their life, as they feel.
You and I do not, and should not have the authority to punish a fellow human for their faith and personal behavior between two individuals. If we do, then where does it bloody end? Look at what is happening to each one of the people - among Muslims, Sunni, Shia or Ahmadiyya, where there is Muslim majority run regimes, or any group, the Christians, Hindus and Jews are not free either.
As a Muslim, I would not let anyone become a partner with God and make decisions. No Muslim king, tyrant, dictator, Caliph has a right to punish any one's faith and personal practices, as long as they are not robbing, stealing, physically or emotionally hurting, not breaking a contract, they can live their lives, the way that they are comfortable. I wish all nations have the freedom that we have in the US, India, UK and other democracies.
We all need to stand up for freedom of individuals.
Religion is personal values, and not to force on others.
Jazak Allah Khair
Mike Ghouse


Dear Dr Javed Jamil and friends salam and rehmat.
Sir, its up to you what belief system you ascribe to whom you decide to hold as a final authority in the matter of DIIN (دين), its not my business. However when you quote verses in support of your opinion, you should not confuse reader by quoting half truth. Allah in verse 4:15 is giving guidance to men how to deal with women generally if they are found guilty of lewdness (الفحشاء). The verse is gender specific. You've omitted the entire verse from your quoted translation and jumped to the preceding verse to 'support your argument'. And concluded 'if two men' are guilty of lewdness? However, you have now admitted your derived meaning is even debatable by scholars. All translator and commentators are unanimous that in verse 4:15 commandment is directed towards women. Even if for argument sake I accept your quoted faulty and questionable translation, you could not cite a verse that says men guilty of lewdness (الفحشاء) as a last resort be executed! 
After reading your quoted translation, you will realise that it does not paint a fuller picture on the subject matter. Your meaning in isolation, with out connection to the former verse is incomplete and unclear. It is based on translator's personal opinion, no regards to context, totally contrary to Arabic language rules and uncorroborated by Qur'an. You quoted translation of verses 4:15-16 as follows:-
     "If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and
      amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful." (Qur'an 4:15-16).
The position with hadith followers is not to accept repentance and for sin of lewdness they must administer death penalty. How can you leave alone (homosexuals) when they are dead? Is the Qur'anic command and hadith punishment be the same. Is Allah right or inventor of hadith? Obviously, both can not be right???
The same mistake and method is applied by biased non-muslims to criticising Islam through half truths.The basic principle that I adhere as a Muslim.
1. The Qur'an is the Word of God, ultimate truth and final arbitrator on matters of belief and disputes.
2. God alone is the final authority on all matters. He shares His authority with NO ONE.
3. Muhammad pbuh is last Messenger, he followed commandment delivered to him and contained in the last revealed Book from Allah swt. He had no authority to cancel Qur'anic injunctions and substitute anything as a Messenger. Even hazrat Zaid did not follow his command because Zaid knew in his personal matters 'Muhammad the man', cannot enforce his authority.  "Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favour: "Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife,... (33:37)
4. As far as Secondary and other source of 'Islam' is concern, I trust Allah's sure commandment by following His Qur'an.  "Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other Than God, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy". (4:82)
Any material contradictory to the teaching of the Qur'an can not be from Allah or His messenger. The messenger was sent to convey Allah's message. If Qur'an says punishment for adultery is 100 lashes that is good enough for me. Some one says that adulterers should be killed for xy 'commandment' from 'Allah' that is clear-cut contradiction to Allah's command.
The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment". (24:2)
I do not believe, stoning to death for (الفحشاء) adultery is from Allah nor do I think Muhammad had gone against revealed injunction. 
5. I will not be asked what people before me did. Allah would judge me on my own merit. How did I arrive at a certain beliefs.   "That was a people that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and ye of what ye do! Of their merits there is no question in your case!" (2:134).
6. The Messenger of Allah will not be called for anything but to testify against Ummah's conduct and when he will be told that they fell well short of Allah' commandments, The Prophet would say:   "O my Lord! Truly my people took this Qur'an for just foolish nonsense." (25:30)
I am trying to act on dictates contained in Allah's BOOK. If I am asked at The Judgment Day why didn't I follow so and so person and this or that ahadith. I will hopefully be in position to reply because - You alone my God is worthy of command and I didn't follow other source because it contradicted your supreme authority and WORDS!!!
May Allah guide me and help me follow His command. 
Hanif


Dear Mr Hanif
ASAK 
You are talking as if the translation of 4: 16 was mine. There is of course a debate about whom it refers to. Man and man, woman and man or woman and woman. The dominant view is that it refers to homosexuality. Others say it represents any two. But the Quran’s stand on homosexuality is so clear that anyone who talks of accepting homosexuality is a clear transgressor.
As I had made it clear that I am not a Qur’an-only protagonist, and I believe that understanding Qur’an requires several other sources, the most important of course being the Prophet’s own interpretations and explanations followed by those of his close associates. In my previous letter, I have also shown that we may require reading Old Testament to understand a few verses. Abraham wanted “mercy” on the people of Sodom because he feared that some innocents might also be killed. How exactly the conversation took place has been given in detail by Genesis.
As far as the position of Islam towards homosexuality is concerned, you can see it summed up in the following article: 
This will explain to you why I have advocated “death’ as one of the possible options.
As you have deliberately chosen to neglect my questions regarding permissibility of institutionalization and commercialization of homosexuality in Qur’an, and Mike Ghouse is determined to keep the debate going, I now feel I have said enough. To repeat Mike’s oft-repeated words, “To you your method of understanding things, to me mine.” 
I don’t have any more time to continue debating with one who refuses to condemn homosexuality and accept that if mankind is to be protected, a concerted campaign against homosexuality is needed. I have repeatedly said that there is room for debating the nature of punishment, but there is no room for legalisation, social and moral sanction, and above all, commercialization of homosexuality. If you can understand this much, my position is vindicated. You can otherwise join the bandwagon of Mike who has completely forgotten the difference between normal human beings and sinners and criminals. If his argument is followed, even murderers and terrorists need compassion.  He continues day and night to say that he loves Quran but is negating its position on almost everything that it speaks about, from the question of Halal and Haram to belief and disbelief. 
Javed Jamil


From: KHAN MOHAMMED HANIF  
Date: Friday, January 25, 2013, 11:47 AM
Dear all and Dr Javed Jamil salam w rehmat
Dr Javed Jamil has quoted two verses from the Holy Qur'an but the conclusion he draw from them is absolutely misconstrued. Any one with basic knowledge of Arabic grammar will  see it. I invite reader to open the BOOK and study the relevant verses and will know that these verses has no correlation with male perpetrators of homosexuality. 
   (4:15) Verse fr
The word وَاللَّاتِي is feminine plural relative pronoun and the whole verse is addressing group of women. The theme carries on to the next verse, addressing group of women, among them two (or more) may be allegedly have committed, an act of الْفَاحِشَةَ. I accept commentators has also referred it to lesbianism. I think the term is used here is more comprehensive, however, before arriving at a informed decision please consider the following.
The verse (4:16) is referred to two women because masculine dual relative pronoun وَاللَّذَانِ is used. To pin these verses on men is a deliberate attempt to mislead reader and it is contrary to Arabic grammar rules. Any such effort must be condemned, absolutely, as it amounts to تحريف tehreef. 
After the above explanation, I quote both verses, so reader can understand the actual context. 
4:15 - "AND AS FOR those of your women who become guilty of immoral conduct, call upon four from among you who have witnessed their guilt; and if these bear witness thereto, CONFINE THE GUILTY WOMEN to their houses until death takes them away or God opens for them a way [through repentance]". 
How would one get FOUR WITNESSES? If this act take place in privacy? Therefore, context is clear that it is a public law offence. Any such act if proven must be appropriately punished. The Qur'an, however, doesn't leave punishment for speculation and thus prescribes house confinement as a punishment. 
4:16 -"And punish [thus] both of the guilty parties; but if they both REPENT and MEND their ways, LEAVE THEM ALONE: for, behold, GOD is an acceptor of REPENTANCE, A DISPENSER OF GRACE".  The Question may arise, if after repentance the same offence is recommitted then what should be done.  Allah has already answered it, confine them to the house!!!. Or any other appropriate arrangement that is thrashed out amicably between the family and the habitual offender. 
DR JAVED JAMIL sahib please explain to reader whom you have mislead that as a last resort homosexuals/Lesbians may be killed?
These verses deals with a wider social problem and not limited to lesbianism. Such acts those ultimately leads to prostitution, all such acts are PUNISHED even under the English law. So Punishment is not exclusive to Muslims. This is accepted sharia of many countries. Those reader who need further details on the issue can locate my article by logging to the following blog:
Sep 7, 2011 – Muslim Woman: Last amongst the Equals By Mohammed Khan Hanif (UK). 
What more can I say except express my frustration through Ghalib.  
Ya rab na voh samjhe hain na samjhaien ge meri baat, De aur dil unko jo na de mujhko zuban aur. Hanif


Dear Mr Hanif
It is you who is campaigning against me for something which I am not campaigning. I have made it clear several times that I am not campaigning for killing of homosexuals straightaway and have spoken of death sentence only as a last option in later phases. On the other hand you are campaigning against any punishment to the gays and instead advocating accepting their behaviour not only in private but also in public. As far as Islam is concerned, the options for punishment are very clear. Qur’an says:
If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful." (Qur'an 4:15-16)
Qur’an also prescribes exile, cutting of one hand and one leg and death as possible punishments for those that spread mischief. 
The Hadiths describe various punishments, which are well known, for different sexual misdemeanours.
Can you tell me if anyone has been punished in a Muslim country for homosexuality in recent years? Is there any news of discrimination against gays in Muslim countries? This is not because homosexuality is totally non-existent in the country but because it is considered illegal and immoral. The result is that the few who indulge in it do it clandestinely, and most of them, under the weight of social and moral pressures, sooner or later return to straighter ways. In West, what happened was due to the overwhelming role of economic fundamentalists whose only concern is the success of the market. This is why they simply did not let a sin silently remain at a low level in society but campaigned for its institutionalization. Their strategy has been simple. First talk of freedom of choice. Use “compassion” to defend sinners and criminals. Then produce figures to show that a considerable section of the population is already indulging in it with the aim of normalizing an abnormal behaviour. Then they would campaign for its legalization through the use of sophisticated logics and mischievous “scientific” reports. Once legalized, large scale commercialization would begin. This strategy was used for institutionalizing and commercializing almost all the social vices: adultery, premarital sex, promiscuity, prostitution, nudity and pornography and now homosexuality. The same is true for drinking and gambling. Each one became a big business with the result that sex is the most growing business today and within the sex market, gay market is the fastest growing. The line of the argument will be quite different when they are dealing with issues that do not support market interests. So promiscuity is promoted while polygamy is illegalized, abortion as such does not attract compassion but female infanticide is made a big issue. Killing of human fetuses in millions and millions oes not arouse compassion but death the murderers and rapists would.
This point, Mr. Hnaif is not what sort of punishment is to be given. The point is whether Qur’an can support legalization of homosexuality? Does Qur’an support its institutionalization and commercialization? Does Qur’an support gay marriages? If you are such a big expert and follower of Qur’an, answer these simple questions. The first need of the hour as far as Muslims are concerned, is to clearly and categorically state that homosexuality is a serious threat to mankind and must therefore be made illegal with adequate punishment to those who institutionalize and commercialize it. Once this much is done, the gay movement will lose its luster. The biggest success of the gay market has been the sanction of gay marriages with the right to adopt children, something which will ensure sustenance and growth in a big way. Poor children who would have otherwise had the bigger chances of growing as normal, will have to remain exposed to gay relationships throughout their period of growth. Obviously, a large number of them would grow into gays.
Regards
Javed Jamil

Saudis and Pluralism

The State Department has listed me as one of the stops for people visiting America to learn about our Religious landscape, interfaith trends, future of religion and pluralism.  Over the last six years, I have had conversations with over 100 visitors from about 30 some nations including China, central Asian, Middle East, Balkans, and North African religious leaders and scholars. 

It is exciting to meet with them; they are a match with our trends. This group is from Saudi Arabia, Imams, Scholars and heads of religious affairs. It is embarrassing that we Americans stereotype the Saudis; indeed they have their percent of fanatics as we have ours.  The first interfaith meeting ever for Saudis was organized here in Dallas in 2003; indeed,  it is a pleasure for me to see them take this further.

Please remember nearly 4 Million Americans are incarcerated, they are indeed Americans, them and the 208 Million of us are judged by the same law books, yet, they broke the law and we, the 99% did not. And no one on the earth can call us criminals for that 1% among us, and that is what bloody stereotyping is; to irrationally judge a people based on the examples of a few. The story is no different for Saudis.

One of the toughest discussions we had was about conversions, they were taken back to hear me say, that I don’t ask anyone to become a Muslim, as I respect the other religions equally. I do not consider any faith to be less than adequate. The pluralism /interfaith workshops we conduct, is to bring people together to know each other, so we have least conflicts in the society.  There is no intent to convert any one, and no one will get away, claiming his or religion is superior to the others, and I will take the stand and many like me will speak up. Indeed it is a cardinal sin to have such intent in interfaith dialogue. The purpose of dialogue is to learn about each other and not bent on converting the other, or score keeping.

It took them time, but they were open to the idea. I said, if people like to become Muslims because they like my attitudes, even then I ask them to spend the time in learning their own faith than Islam, despite that about a dozen chose to become Muslims, that was their choice. They asked me a lot of questions about Islam, and as an Individual, I am required to learn about my faith, that was the call from the prophet in his last sermon. They appreciated the bluntness, and said a lot of people, say otherwise to appease them.

This is not the first time, the Imams from Egypt, Chad, Tunisia, Morocco, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, China…some 30 nations have concurred their belief in Prophet’s mission of respecting the otherness of others, and almost every one quoted Prophet’s last sermon and the Madinah treaty, first of its kind that endorsed pluralistic governance, the kind that India, UK and Indonesia follow, where the follower of every faith has an option to seek justice by his or her own religious cannons.

There is a lot of goodness out there; we just have to make an effort to invoke it. The purpose of religion is to bring humility to an individual, to know himself and get along with others with least conflicts, ultimately, each one of us is responsible for a cohesive society, where no one has to live in fear of the other.  url - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/01/saudis-and-pluralism.html


............ Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Texas Faith, Is the religious left too nice and without influence?


The future of our society will be shaped by the moderate majority, for the first time in our long history, the moderates have discovered that they don't need to bang their fist on the table, or scream bloody murder to be heard, they have done it effectively at the ballot box, they waited for the left or the right to move towards moderation, and the left jumped on it and got the ride in 2012, and now the right is scrambling for the ride. Continued at: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/01/texas-faith-is-religious-left-too-nice.html
…..

Texas Faith, Is the religious left too nice and without influence?

By Bill McKenzie / Editorial Columnist, Dallas Morning News, January, 29, 2103

The Washington Post's Lisa Miller wrote earlier this month about how "nice isn't going to win the battle for the religious left."

Miller noted how the religious left once made the case for issues of great consequence, such as women's suffrage and civil rights. But she contends the religious left needs to greatly improve how it makes its priorities and activities more compelling and newsworthy.

Wrote Miller: "Kumbaya is not a story. Why can't we all just get along is not a story. Since the rise of the religious right in the 1970s in reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, the religious left has failed to gain any comparable visibility, traction or voice on major issues in the political sphere.

"News releases from the precincts of the religious left continue to emphasize niceness over moral authority….There's nothing wrong with being polite, of course. But a great, galvanizing, undeniable moral argument is better. 'Civility is a great friend of the status quo,' says Jim Naughton, partner at Canticle Communications, which advises faith-based groups. 'People aren't going to change because you're nice to them.'"

What do you think of her point? Is the religious left indeed without the same influence and profile as the religious right? If so, is it because the religious left has tried more to be civil and nice than to make a compelling moral argument?


MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas


We are conditioned to seeing everything from a binary perspective; left or right.  We lose sight of the critical third dimension; the deadbeat moderate majority. This is the group that is meek, civil and polite, but does act decisively while casting the ballot.

Indeed, the religious left is more influential than the right in pulling the moderate votes.

Obama is reelected with a greater margin over his rival on the right.  The public support for legal abortion is accumulating despite the religious right. Same sex marriage is gaining greater acceptability. Obama care is in, Immigration reforms are underway, and gun safety regulation is gathering momentum. Heck, the wars will end with no desire to engage in another senseless war.

On the other hand, the religious right is losing, not because of inadequacy in their principles, but because of their belligerent, unintelligent pounding on the airwaves, and turning the moderate majority off.

Jim Naughton makes a powerful point that Civility is a great friend of the status quo; he is talking about the moderates, and not the ones on the left. Whether it is the city council meeting, church gathering or in informal gatherings, it is always the people on left or the right who drive the conversation, they have no qualms in speaking out passionately, even though they get shot at alternatively by the other, they don’t lose the enthusiasm for their point of view. Whereas the moderates, keep raising their hand politely, hoping to get their turn, but never get a chance to get their point across, they don’t know how to bang their fist on the table, such an act is rude and stupid to them.

Years ago, a Nun made a remarkable point on Tim Russert’s Meet the press. The right will frighten the public and attempts to win by guaranteeing to take care of them, the left will match their tall claims, while the moderates have difficulty in embellishing and giving false hopes, they lack passion.

America is moving towards the center, the moderate majority is realizing its power to keep things at an even keel; they want an America that is good for every one of her citizens, in fact they made that difference in 2012 through the ballot, as they do not have the passion to speak out. Indeed, Americas’ future will be shaped by the moderates.
. . . .
Eleven panelists contributed to this forum, to read the contributions from all the panelists, please visit -  http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2013/01/texas-faith-is-the-religious-left-too-nice-and-without-influence.html/  
------------

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.