Washington, DC Press Club, December 15, 2015
While I was watching the Presidential debate at the National Press Club, there was another group watching right behind me. When Lindsey Graham spoke eloquently about blaming the individuals and not the faith, which is my mantra, I clapped, and they booed. One of the ladies and her husband beckoned me to join them, and told me they were conservatives and asked about me, "I am a moderate" I said.
|Melody and Dave Clarke, and Mike Ghouse|
Of course we exchanged a few thoughts on what is being a moderate – it is someone who does not see the conservative and liberals as his or her adversaries, it is someone who had no problem with a different point of view, it is someone who understands different perspectives without agreeing to them. I introduced myself and gave them my card that read, Mike Ghouse, Executive Director, American Muslim Institution.
What followed after that was an interesting but a familiar conversation, Déjà vu! It appears that most of the conservatives have memorized certain things about Muslims, and reel it off. I don’t get offended; instead I listen to them patiently and share my perspective. They asked me about Sharia and I gave them a short talk on the topic and referred them to my website www.ShariaLaws.com and asked them to read at least two articles listed on the left panel; Genesis of Sharia and Fixing Sharia.
If we bear any responsibility towards the well being of fellow Americans, we must talk with the idea of communicating our points of view, and to understand and not to put down the other, even if the other does that. That is precisely what Jesus meant when he said to turn the other check, meaning don’t aggravate the conflict, mitigate it, and that is precisely the approach of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), both of them are my mentors in human development.
Melody Clarke is a conservative Radio talk show host; and her husband Dave and we had a good time learning our differences on political issues. She has offered me to join on her on her show in North Carolina, and I have been on many conservative shows across the nation. I hope a few more will see another point of view, shame on us, as Muslims, we have not offered an alternate narrative about Muslims, and instead we defend and blame them and cause them to dig in their heels. On the other hand our conservative friends have not made an effort to see if there is another point of view.
I am sure you have had that experience, with patience; people will learn to respect you, and gradually see your point of view as a courtesy. Instead of falling into the trap and getting agitated, if you take the approach of listening with patience, it opens them with common decency to listen to you; a dialogue begins at that time.
If we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. It is not 2+2 = 4, but we have to go through emotional process to achieve that for a better world around us.
There is no joy greater than living without conflicts with fellow beings. By the way, do join us for this God given opportunity to build stronger bonds with fellow Americans on the steps of Lincoln Memorial for joint celebrations of Christmas and Milad (Prophet Muhammad's birth day) with Christmas Carols and Nasheeds.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine Terrorism and foreign policy. Over 3000 Articles have been published on the subjects. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and bulk of his writings are at TheGhousediary.com