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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ambassadors for Peace

Meeting: Monday, March 30, 2009
Universal Peace Federation

Ambassadors for Peace from the Universal Peace Federation met at their office in Dallas, John Halsey had called the meeting to discuss what can we do about the way the society is moving towards with the greed at its center. He laid out information about Madoff, AIG and other greed possessed companies and individuals.



Monday, March 30, 2009

Pluralism & Nationality

I had to ponder over three references today;

Pakistani: Marzuk Jaami was referring to me as a Pakistani at the meeting at the Universal Peace Federation. Just yesterday, I had corrected him that I am an Indian but he still called me a Pakistani.

I was pondering why does it matter?

About G&L :

Zindagi Trust:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Muslim Men

Happy Muslim Men and Women Who Confuse You


When I speak, I get the exact same responses;
my Jewish friends constantly ask " are you an exception?...."...
my Christian friends " you are not a representation of Muslims.."
my Hindu friends " You don't behave like a Muslim.."

I assure them all, if you want to beleive, you need to meet enough Muslims, just about every one I know, and that is a very large, huge mega number, they all talk, act and behave like me.

Two ideas jump at you;
1) Not enough of us have interacted with many
2) Not enough of others have not interacted with Muslims.

As always, a good piece
Mike Ghouse
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------By Mona Eltahawy

Tuesday, March 24 2009

Published in Arabic in Qatar's Al Arab and in English in Metro Canada

There’s something wrong with the pictures coming out of Pakistan these days.

Ever since Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari reinstated the country’s chief justice, I’ve been trying to figure out what it was.

And then it hit me.

Happiness. Joy. Celebration.

How often do we see pictures of happy Muslim men? What a relief too that they were Pakistani.

I’ve developed a theory about the Muslims we see on our television screens and front pages and who are usually from Pakistan.

Angry Bearded Muslim Man is the favorite. Whenever the Muslim world is supposed to be upset or offended, invariably that story is illustrated by images of Angry Bearded Muslim man: marching (usually in Pakistan), shouting (fists raised in the air in righteous anger), and burning something (an American flag, an Israeli flag, preferably both!)

His female counterpart is Covered in Black Muslim Woman. She’s seen, never heard. Visible only in her invisibility under that black chador, burqa, face veil, etc.

In those images you have conveyed all you want to say about Muslims: the men are angry, dangerous and want to hurt us; the women are just covered in black.

While there are indeed some Muslim men and women who fit both such descriptions they are by no means the majority and they are utterly insufficient in describing the diversity of views, appearances and attitudes among Muslims.

As a journalist I am loathe to blame the media for all and any perceived ills. But in the case of Angry Bearded Muslim and Covered in Black Muslim Woman, the media really do have a lot to answer for. Whether it’s the laziness of television producers or the tight and rolling deadlines of the 24-hour news cycle, you can be sure that when it comes to representing Muslims I will always lose out to Angry Bearded Muslim and Covered in Black Muslim Woman.

And it’s quite easy to see why - they make for sexy TV and enticing front page photos. And they are my biggest competitors and nemeses when I give lectures or appear on television here in the U.S.

My first U.S. TV appearance was on the Fox News Network on a show called “The O’Reilly Factor”. The host of the show, Bill O’Reilly is known for his conservative views and his confrontational style which often provokes guests with the result that O’Reilly and the guest shout at each other. It’s more entertainment than news or information.

After my appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor”, some viewers sent me email asking “Are you sure you’re a Muslim? Where’s the headgear?” Others wanted to know why I spoke English so well. Clearly, I did not fit the image of the Covered in Black Muslim Woman that many American viewers are used to. I was confusing them.

People don’t like to be confused. I discovered that during a panel discussion I took part in at a cultural centre in New York City in 2007 in which the questions “What does a Muslim look like? What does a Muslim home look like? And just who exactly makes up the Muslim mainstream?” seemed to be the ones foremost on the audience’s mind.

The panel discussion was meant to highlight the diversity of Muslim voices and experiences in the United States. My fellow speakers and I offered quite different views on a range of subjects that surely were proof of the vibrant debate among Muslims but despite our best efforts, not all were convinced apparently. Two women from the audience were later overheard saying “They’re trying to convince us they’re the mainstream? They’re not the mainstream.”

That, coupled with a question during the question and answer session on “what does a Muslim home look like” (implied was that it can’t possibly look like a home any normal person would recognise), got me wondering against whom my co-panelists and I were being compared.

I’m quite sure it’s Angry Bearded Muslim Man. And Covered in Black Muslim Woman.

Which brings me back to the happy Pakistanis – men and women – in our newspapers these days.

While I’m the last person to deny the danger of radicals in the Muslim world - much of my time and effort go into denouncing violence in the name of religion – I am also a proud liberal, secular Muslims.

I love to confuse people by subverting the stereotype of Muslims that they always see and hear from. I believe that breaking the false equation between conservatism and authenticity is the best way to end the monopoly over religious thought by radicals and their supporters.

When we stop equating conservative with authentic, we recognize the diversity of Muslim views and refuse to allow one voice to speak for us all. Only then can we be recognized as human beings, in all our differences.

It is by confusing people that we are allowed to be human beings, not Muslims, not Angry Bearded Muslim Man or Covered in Black Muslim Woman but human beings.

That will become possible when we see more Happy Muslim Men and Women Who Confuse You.

Copyright Mona Eltahawy 2009

Mike Ghouse

Mike Ghouse is a Dallas based writer, blogger, speaker and a thinker. A frequent guest on talk radio and local television networks offering pluralistic perspectives on issues of the day. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Human Rights, Islam & Muslims

Human Rights; Islam & Muslims

The Southern Methodist University students association organized an evening event on Human rights from Muslim perspective. Dr. Imam Yusuf Zia Kavacki and I were the speakers.

It was an honor for me to speak with Dr. Kavacki, who is considered an eminent Scholar on Islam in America. He is establishing an institution of higher learning in Islam here in Richardson, Texas. We were a complement to each other and his reinforcement of my statements was a pleasure indeed.

The question answer session was filled with enthusiastic questions; about Madinah Pact, Hijab, Punishment, and Serving mankind without discrimination. We addressed the issues and I will put together some notes about these.

The Cairo summit adopted the Universal Human rights declaration of the United Nations in August 1990 with small modifications.

The following video was inspirational to me and adopted a few ideas from it, it is about 45 minutes and the speaker is powerful. The speech has got a few commercials injected in between. It is worth your 45 minutes.


I recommend a few links:

Cairo declaration

Women, Human Rights, and Islam

Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Price Laureate at San diego University

Islam and Human rights

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Pluralism, interfaith, terrorism, peace, interfaith, Islam, Multiculturism and India. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Religion and Women

A new group in Dallas is doing very well in bringing the issues and finding answers. I have removed the names of the individuals for the sake of privacy, all it matters is the subject, no matter who says it.

I will be in town on Sunday and plan on participating;

Glad to see the group evolving and expanding, it would be nice to see different points of view.
Its good to see Tao, Hindu, Islam and Christianity have joined in so far. I will invite my Jewish, Bahai, Sikh and Zoroastrian members of the faiths to join us to give a full spectrum of views.

Religion is all about mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill, with a simple idea of justice and harmonius co-existence for all of creation. Justice means justice for one and all regardless of gender or any other uniqueness.

The Organizational aspect of religions were typically run by Men, and as such quite a lot of ideas were powered by them, as opposed to the spirituality and religiosity of the religion. No one had the guts to question a few aspects of the culture that was created to suit the whims of such men,
and we have perpetuated those ideas that at times appear to be relgious but find not basis in the scriptures.

Thank God for the internet, human race is given back their freedom to sort out the essence of religion and question what is presented in the name of religion, but ain't there or what is out there is propaganda.

We have to resist the temptations to claim superioririty of one faith over the other, or fight the temptation to demean other faiths. It is not a business to gain customers, it is about spirituality to bring humility, which mitigates conflicts.

I believe spirituality and arrogance are inversely proporations, higher the arrogance lower the spirituality. Arrogance such as - my faith is the best, largest, oldest, diverse or answers evey question... instead faith should inculcate humility, which kills the conficts that emanate from arrogance.

In humility,

Mike Ghouse

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: The Faith Club -Women's Issues


As to the questions for the next meeting on Women's Issues, I believe what we are looking for is current ideas - what do we presently believe and why. I would hope we would not be concerned about putting our religion in a "bad light" as we all know that religions continue to unfold and develop under divine guidance, or at least Christianity does, according to our sect's beliefs. As we look back, we see customs that were " bad" and "good" -- most important, we see how far we have come. Also, you do not need to answer all of the questions -- basically 1) how does your faith deal with women's issues - 2) what are the issues, if any, in your faith?

Please keep your presentation to no more than 2 pages. Do you plan to attend in person? Or just present a paper? Please submit your paper (whether you attend or not) at least 5 days before the meeting. We like to read the presentation in advance and be ready to discuss. Please send your presentation to all the individuals listed above. We now have 16 participants.

Welcome to our Faith Club, and thank you for participating!

In a message dated 3/11/09 7:44:32 AM, sk writes:


Many Thanks for inviting Kalyan Ji, Hari. It will be a great honor to me as well as Rev. Marylou and all on the group. It will be nice if you include both; as we are going to take a historical perspective of the religions as well as we are looking for some absolutes, beyond - in today's day to day experiences.

You are very valuable to me, because Hinduism is the oldest of all the religions and even Quran talks about it. I lived in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) India for 14 years in a boarding Convent - Rosary Convent on Gunfoundry, Rosary Convent and my brother20from Little Flower, he was
the first student of Little Flower when it emerged as such from All - Saints

You are welcome..


On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 11:02 PM, KV wrote:

Hello all,

Thanks for inviting me...

The questions seem formidable indeed...!

Now I have some concerns regarding the questions themselves :

a. Naturally, each person would be inclined to present their religion in the most favorable of lights... and therefore depart from the truth.... unless one belongs to a religion about which one is either ambivalent, or even hostile...

b. Each person has a subjective understanding of their own religion, which they have acquired through whatever means - their own views are likely to be biased by that... how do we create a balanced perspective...?

c. The religions themselves have gone through major periods of evolution and renewal. Ideas that were valid at a certain time, are no longer valid... etc. So, I wonder if we are going to take a historical perspective of the religions or are we looking for some absolutes i.e. this is what is so ...and it is final for all time ?


On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 5:30 PM, HR wrote:

ANamasthe (Hello) everyone

I would like to introduce KVto this group (cc'd in the email). He is the president of SDF organization that is committed to the intellectual study of Hinduism and to the unification and co-ordination of activities of various Hindu organizations.

He will represent the Hindu perspecitve on the issues that are discussed in this interfaith club.

Per our conversation, the faith club need inputs on Women's issues on the next meeting on april 5th. It will be good if we can represent someone during the meeting with the right information. Also please find the email below with the statement of purpose of the faith club.


PS: Here are the questions

We now have 4 faiths represented, Christian, Muslim, Tao & Hindu.

As taught by your religion:

1. How do you believe that women should be treated? Are they to serve man?

2. Should they feel free to discuss matters of concern with men?

3. What is the role of the father in a marriage? The mother?

4. How should women dress? Are certain types of clothing taboo?

5. Are women as important as men? Or does God/Allah ordain them to be subjugated to men?

6. Is a single-parent family sinful - especially if the woman has had a child out of wedlock?

7. Are there ritualistic practices that invade the body of young women?

8. Are there any empowerments available for women -- or is that sinful?

9. Should women own businesses?

10. Is interchange between women encouraged or discouraged?

11. Should men and women date and decide whom they will marry, or is it better or decreed that the parents will arrange marriages?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Romantic evening

Tonite is a Romantic evening, soak it in.

Tonite is the eve of full moon. Nothing sentimental about it, but we are all conditioned to enjoy the beauty of it. Take a moment to soak in the beauty, tranquility and peace that filters into our souls with the moonlight for a few minutes, no matter how busy you are, or how your life may or may not be going, it is worth taking those few moments; just five minutes of pure bliss, take it, we have to upload all the good things we can in our lives.

Your are invited to my home in Carrollton, but must rsvp, to watch the moon from the expanse of the open space around my place. The blueish blackness of the space that nestles the moon is equally gorgeous. Across my home is a pond that sits atop the Golf course... and you will cherish a lot of fresh gentle breeze kissing your face. .... I will be home around 9 PM and we all can sit down and receive the peace that filters into our souls with the moonlight for a few hours. Couples and singles are invited regardless of the age.

I would welcome the posting of video of a romantic song in English language; I am posting one in Urdu/Hindi language from a Bollywood movie called "Chaudvin Ka chaand" from the early sixties. The Urdu poetry uses Moonlit nights and the full moon as the most beautiful event of the month, and one of the most beautiful ways to praise the beauty of the woman is to address her as "Chaudvin Ka Chaand". I know quite a few songs on Moon, but the one linked below is considered the pinnacle of romantic songs. This may or may not have the same appeal to those who are non-Urdu/Hindi speaking.

Glenda Gill our FB friend posted a note about the full moon, and I am adding a little more romance to it. I would have filmed it differently, but this was from the early sixties and is the best of best from times immemorial.

Lubna and FB friends or any of you girls or guys out there, please translate the song for our English speaking friends, not the literal, but the essence of it. If I have a few more minutes this afternoon, I will work on it.

If you are single or married, enjoy being one and soak in some of the glory of the moon tonite, in reality, each one of us is single in our heart, in our stillness, in our solititude, in our dreams and in our thoughts. We must be able to feel the joy for ourselves. The evening is yours, make the best out of it.
Guys, take the time with your girl, and if you know the Indian songs; sing this for her: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9Vw2fL1Hw4&feature=related

Perhaps a little meditation may be pursposeful; or simply peacefully sitting and pondering over the most precious thing we own; life, and expressing our gratitutude to the creator or the creative process that gave us an opportunity to exist and feel the spectrum of emotions must be acknolwledged.

Have a beautiful day, it is yours to enjoy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Friends so many

It is an honor for each one of us to be friends with so many,
a random interaction with some and frequent with so many;

The wall is a great tool to express what we do in a few words,
Then the note is a great option to read in words so many;

We learn that not every thing dear to us is dear to others,
we accept our limits and not subscribe to causes so many;

Each friend adds and awakens a new dimension of life per Rita
I thank the Facebook, with each one we are born so many;

I hope the joy remains the same if you accept or decline my cause,
I wish we can limit our time on face book and not ignore so many;

Whether we communicate or not on time, our friend Bala says,
we appreciate you, your wish has touched us, in thoughts so many;

If we read or not what you write, should not hurt your feelings
we realize you have too many friends you simply cant read so many;

Friendship is all about sharing and accomodating everyone,
with ease and comfort, we relax and relate with so many.

We assure lonely souls like Ranjan, by God you have a family,
In deeds, in thoughts, in sharing and ways so many;