I met with Tom Wheeler, acting Asst Attorney General (Trump Appointee) for the Civil Rights division of Department of Justice. He assures me that the rule of law will prevail and not the whims of the individuals. I am scheduling a meeting with him at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring to address the Muslim concerns.
Permits to build Mosques are continually being denied across America and the DOJ is standing with Muslims’s right to build mosque in every case. The question to Muslims is how long should laws of the land carry them? We need to build relationships before we build a mosque. We are too eager to show off our mosque or end up adding to lasting resentments in the community. Is this what Muslims want? If not, let’s do the right things that are sustainable.
1. Islamic Center of Basking Ridge v. Township of Bernard has 47 hearings that failed 2. County of Culpepper in VA – Mosque denied on the pretext of sewage easement 3. Bensalem Township, PA – rezoning request was denied 4. City of Sterling Heights, MI – Anti-Muslim animus 5. Bayonne, NJ – permit denied 6. It is a daily affair…
Thanks to many of the established mosques around the nation, they have built good relationships with their neighbors, that is indeed the Islamic thing to do.
How do we change perceptions about Muslims?
There is no doubt that a few “Islamophobes” are out to get Muslims; they are well paid to do so. But in the same vein, Muslims would not be well served to believe that “all of them” are of the same ilk. These Islamophobes are simply afraid of what the “Islamists” are doing in the name of Islam and worried sick about its ramifications for America. Rationally they know it is not in America, but still the phobia persists.
We have an obligation to listen to our fellow citizens and a moral duty to allay their fears.
Pulitzer Prize winner Judith Miller speaks out on Fox News, “It is the fear that so many Muslims who are moderates, the fear they have of speaking out and the reaction of their own community. Until we win that battle inside, the Jihadists will take center stage. We are going to go on creating the impression that the Islamists Jihadists are the majority and they are not.” Brigitte Gabrielle of Act for America adds, “Where are the funders of people like Mike – is there not a mega millionaire in the Islamic world who can say, you know what I believe in your moderate message and can give Mike $5 Million dollars to build the grass root organization?” Here is a video: https://www.facebook.com/MikeGhouse/videos/1438210749532124/.
The right leaning Muslims curse Gabrielle, Spencer and Geller out, while the left discounts them, leaving the moderates to deal with the issue. What I hear them say is simply this: Where are the mainstream Muslims to speak out about what they practice? The mainstream Muslims have reached the point of zero tolerance towards extremism and have the desire to assertively seek to push the literalists to see the essence of Islam.
The most sustainable way to counter Islamophobia and violent extremism is through education. Our programs are designed to bring Americans together; the more we see each other in social, cultural, civic, religious, political and other settings, the less divisiveness there will be, resulting in fewer misunderstandings and misperceptions between us.
The Center for Pluralism, also known as the America Together Foundation has embarked on a mission to train speakers to deliver the message of Islam, as practiced by American Muslims –which is distinct from Islam practiced elsewhere in the world.
There is no doubt Muslims are a maligned lot as some of them have been on the perpetrator’s side at least in the last few decades. As a society, we need to keep our focus on the individuals and cults instead of groups; we should not buy into stereotyping of any kind. If we buy one, we might as well buy justifying crimes against each one of us.
I attended the Genocide Coalition at Capitol Hill yesterday sponsored by IDC in defense of Christians. It was about the Genocide of Christians, Yazidi and Shia Muslims. It was very difficult to understand how minorities are being harassed in every nation. Over a dozen Speakers spoke. Nadia Murad, the Yazidi woman spoke, she was raped multiple times by terrorists in the name of Islam, it was not easy, but she was graceful and did not show any bitterness and instead was seeking solutions to end the genocides of not only her people but others too.
I was tensed up for a few moments and quickly recovered. Who will speak for Muslims that condemn these cults? How do we communicate, why did I not seek to speak? Then the big relief came when I saw Zainab Al-Suwaij’s name on the list and she spoke, Muslims need to be a part of the society in good times and sad times.
Since there was no room for others to speak or comment, I was hesitant, but doing the right thing is the right thing to do. I asked Prof Robert Destro to speak for a minute and he granted the request, and I respectfully kept it to the minute. I said, “I just want to share that the American Muslims have dedicated a Friday Sermon and prayed for Yazidis, Christians and Shia and Muslims are constantly standing up for human rights of others”. Here are the two articles in Huffington post.
Destro concluded something to this effect, “More Muslims are victimized and slaughtered by ISIS than the others, and we are all in this together against the ISIS.” The event was orderly and no one took more than the allotted time.
All the wealth we have and continue to devour is meaningless if that is not going to give a sense of security to us, our kids and grand kids. If we don’t act now, we may not even sleep in our graves in peace. Money does not buy security we need to quit being materialistic. It is time for Muslims to put a hold on building a mosque, and focus on doing things that bring long term security through building relationships. Once you are secure and others are equally secure, then do whatever you want, everyone will join you.
Get ready to participate in Civic (Memorial Day and July 4th) Religious (Wisdom of Masters, Understanding Religions), Cultural (Thanksgiving), Social and political (Conservative and progressive meetings) programs. The more we know each other the fewer problems we will have with others. Take a look at the list of things we are doing at the Center for Pluralism.
Unless we are a part of the society, we will always remain on the sidelines. You have to feel in your guts, this is my land. Take a look at our events and participate, volunteer and sponsor them.
Meanwhile, please make a generous donation – without your donation we cannot do the work we are doing. As we receive the funds, you will be acknowledged and list of donors over $100 will be published at the Center for Pluralism on July 1, 2017. https://www.paypal.me/AmericansTogether
The Center for Pluralism is about building a cohesive America, where no American has to live in anxiety, discomfort or fear of another American. By learning to respect the “otherness” of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, we pave the way to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill. Then we all can live our lives and not worry about other’s religion, race, sexual orientation or ethnicity. We are all Americans.
Mike Ghouse, President Center for Pluralism | Research and Activism (214) 325-1916 | Washington DC | Mike@Centerforpluralism.com