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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dallas Morning News with Muslims

Tuesday, October 27 - 11:30-1:30 PM

The Dallas Morning news editors and staff Members met with the Muslim community members to understand the issues of the community in a series about different communities.

Diane Solis and Mike Ghouse led to the Irving location and invited about 20 members from the community representing a broad spectrum of individual Muslims and the Imam, including ten members of their staff.

Their initiative must be applauded as it brought hitherto un-discussed and un-resolved issues to the fore. I will be writing the key points and update it later this week.

More Pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157622676865606/show/

About twenty individuals attended “Dallas Morning News community initiative” dialogue.

Among the crew from the Dallas Morning News were deputy managing editor Leona Allen, senior writer Dianne Solis, assignment editors Mede Nix and Steve Harris. Among the writers were Dave Tarrant, Sherry Jacobson, Debbie Fleck, Sam Hodges, Karel Holloway, Katherine Leal Unmuth, Joe, Bryan and David.

Imam Zia Shaikh, Mike Ghouse, Nia McKay, Mohamed Elibiary, Rodwaan Saleh, Ahmed Yanouri, Mumtaz Rahemtullah, Mahmoud Egal and Adil Khan from the Muslim community.

The issues:

• Failure of reporting critical issues
• Why do we have to condemn terrorism – we didn't do it
• Individual responsibility - for individual acts
• Stereo typing
• Islamic schools for Children vs. Public schools
• How are the kids faring
• Critical thinking – is this specific to Muslims or is too vague

Dallas news is appreciated for making the efforts to know the community, and for expressing the desire to be objective.

In September Lori Stahl of Dallas Morning news wrote about the interfaith meeting held at Irving Mosque and immediately it was attacked by the Neocons, my comments set a new tone of dialogue; of the 62 some comments, nearly half of them were my responses, and as a community, we appreciate the Morning news for allowing the links in the comments to address the issues raised.


We also appreciate the News for dropping the prefixes and suffixes with the word Islam or Muslim in their editorials and some of the opinions. It is breath of fresh air not to place the blame on religion, but rather the culprits.

The issue of anonymity of the comments was raised and Leona Allen mentioned that it has been under discussion. Having to register with real verifiable names cuts down the hate comments, as accountability is presumed from it.

We hope the Morning news considers the following;

1. Educating the public over the long haul that individuals are to be blamed for their criminal acts and not their parents, siblings, kids, ethnicity, race, religion or nationality.

2. When reporting a crime, one must Google and find out if this crime is specific to the community or it a common issue with humanity. If a bad father kills his daughter for not wearing the Hijab, it would make sense to see how many fathers on that day or week have killed their daughters -is the issue disobedience from father’s point of view or the religion? Critical thinking is a must to prevent stereotyping and saving the misery of blaming and hating others.

3. A suggestion was made that only a certain people are to be listed as contacts who can speak about Islam. That is a naive and undemocratic thought; for every three Muslims there are five opinions and every Muslim should speak about his or her religion, let's not define the religion from one point of view. Let the media be free to contact whom they wish.

4. If an issue erupts elsewhere in the world, the assumption that Muslims would be speaking for others is ridiculous; indeed, it should be looked as we differ as Republicans and Democrats on any given issue.

5. Muslims are as sick of robbery, theft, arson, drungs, gangs, violence,rapes, murders or terrorism as any one else is, to think otherwise is dumb.

I urge the other attendees to write their notes in the comments section, I am sure I have missed a lot of items, please complete it. This is not an article; it is just my unformatted note.

The event was capped off with a comment full of wisdom from Imam Zia Shaikh - he talked about the emphasis on education in Islam. The very first word revealed to the prophet was IQRA, read and recite, and following that several words are about education and learning.

Mike Ghouse

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Diwali Messaage at the Hindu Temple

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It was a pleasure to share the Diwali greetings of peace and co-existence with the students at the DFW Hindu Temple this morning upon Dr. Hasmukh Shah’s invitation.

Dr. Shah is a retired heart surgeon and an educator in Hinduism. He is one of the founding members of the school at the Hindu temple and now the youth wing is operating successfully with a great curriculum.

Years ago when I started the talk show program "Wisdom of Religion, all the beautiful religions"; on the radio, it was an hour’s program for five days a week and ran for about two plus years. We have done a total of 700 hours on all traditions including Atheism and developing an attitude of inclusion, aka Pluralism. The first program was on Hinduism and it started with Dr. Hasmukh Shah.

I am pleased to have shared the following greeting along with a few additional notes about the significance of the day; the day Ram came out of exile honoring the rule of law, following the path of righteousness that Krishna talked about in the Bhagvad Gita. Also shared the essence of Greetings in different faiths and as usual they attendees repeated the greetings of every faith.

The greetings:

  • Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, and the light symbolizes hope and positive energy;
  • Diwali indicates the victory of good over evil;
  • Diwali brings an end of darkness;
  • Diwali heralds a new beginning in one's life,
  • Diwali is about renewal and hope;
  • Diwali is about seeing the light at the end of tunnel;
  • Diwali is the symbol of knowledge;
  • Diya, Deepa, lamp and light are all symbols of Diwali to brighten one's life
  • May this Diwali brighten your life, and may this Diwali mark the dawn of a new era;
  • May this Diwali purge your heart, mind and soul from hate, malice, anger and ill-will;
  • May this Diwali open your hearts and minds towards fellow being;
  • May this Diwali fill you with goodwill towards fellow beings;
  • May this Diwali bring peace, tranquility and happiness to you and your family.

Mike Ghouse

Dallas Peace Center Retreat

Saturday, October 23, 2009 10-4 PM

Dallas Peace Center retreat at Donna's ranch near Possum Kingdom Lake/ Mineral Wells.

16 Board Members of Dallas Peace Center attended the session revisiting the vision and mission statements, going through strategic planning and draftin...g the goals for 2010.

David did a phenomenal job of moderating and accomplishing so much in less than six hours.

Dr. Ashis Brahma visits

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dr. Ashis Brahma has been working with refugees in Chad, Darfur, Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. He was in Dallas on a informational tour sharing the suffering of people. Visit his site www.pghf.org/ In the Picture L-R Mike Ghouse, Dr. Ashis Brahma and Sulaiman Hemani at the Ismaili Center in Plano, Texas. (Picture: L-R, Mike Ghouse, Dr. Brahma and Sulaiman Hemani).
I have always admired Dr. Albert Schweitzer for his service to the mankind and it was good to see a fellow Indian do similar work.


Diwali Dinner in Irving

Saturday, October 23, 2009

It was a joy attending the annual Diwali Dinner at the D/FW Hindu Temple with Maini Saheb. I have been attending the Dinner for the last sixteen years except the last two due to my late wife Najma's ill-health.

It was such a joy to see so many friends that I had not seen for a long time. The list is too long to write, but I have to mention my two sisters Vinoda and Damini. Vinoda came and told me how I got every one started on the interfaith prayers right after 9/11/2001. I saw Champa Vittala, but did not get a chance to say hello. Good to say hello to Dr. Hasmukh Shah, Manoj Patel, Ranna Jani, Raj Tanna, Suma and Dr. Kulkarni, Hari, Dr. Raj Gandhi, Sunder and Neelam Khuller, Harshika Bhatt, Kundan Sharma..... all the four Pujaris.

Kids performance was outstanding, as always good food.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Yvonne Ridley in Dallas

Friday, October 23, 2009

Yvonne Ridley, a British Journalist shared her story of the Talibans capturing her, her fears and their respect for her as a woman. Sounds contradictory, but she tells the compelling story of how media projects the Taliban in a bad light showing incidents out of context....

I can see the Propaganda element of our media, but still have to verify about Talibans. It is like showing the evening news of Dallas as the reality of Dallas, where the 20 minutes are filled with rape, arson, murder, robbery and accidents. Which is speck of the truth in relation to the population of Dallas, but not the whole truth.

Yvonne was raised as an Anglican and was a sunday school teacher. Two years after being free in UK, she studied Quraan and chose to become a Muslim. The part that appealed to her most was the Justice aspect of Islam and I was pondering about it, as I wrote in the mission statement of the World Muslim Congress, if I were to define Islam in one word, it would be Justice. http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/WorldMuslimCongress/Articles/Mission-Statement.asp

Her story is a big lesson for those who are bent on missionizing and converting others. The kinder, gentler and respectful you are of other faiths and traditions, the greater the chances you have of winning them over. That reminds me of Dale Carnegies's statement, "if you want to gather honey, don't kick the beehive".

I would be be happy to share about my faith and how it works for me. Each individual is responsibile for his or her own actions and beliefs, your faith is dear to you as my faith is dear to me, let's learn to co-exist in peace.

She talked about Sharia as an instrument of Justice. Just this week, I attended the Texas Rule of law conference where the speakers repeated the inherent justice embeded in Sharia laws, to which I added the issue of implementation, just as we have sent several innocents to the Electric Chair in Texas, they have hanged several innocents and have been unjust to several. It is not the rule of law that is a problem in most cases, it is the implemenation.

Yvonne Ridley was sharing her story about her capture by the Talibans… she made a big point about the Talibans, when in Jail, she washed her underclothing and hung them on the clothes line to dry, the whole ministry was involved in telling her to remove and the reason they gave was that the bra would incite the men, it would tempt them and she had to remove the object of temptations from the clothes line that is in their sight outside the compound. She made a comment about their obsession about this rather than doing the foreign policy work.

My view is that each one of us is a pracitioner of Personal Sharia, i.e., how we pray, fast, pay zakat and perform our religous duties are derived through the Personal Sharia. However the Sharia that deals with the public, i.e., in relations to others, between you and I is governed by the Public Sharia, as I call it, and we don't need to duplicate our existing civil laws (American in my case) with Sharia, as our civil laws are as just as the Sharia Laws. By the way, Sharia laws are not divine, they are the human interpretations of Qur'aan, written decades after the Prophet and it needs updating through Ijtihad; reflective discussions.

Dr. Pervaz Rahman had invited her to speak and was organized by Khalil Meek. She was here for a fundraiser for the Muslim Legal defense fund of America, defending the civil rights of Muslim Americans. MLFA actively worked in defending the Holy Land Foundation case as well as winning the Flying Imams case in tandem with CAIR.

Pictures of the event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157622650011682/show/

History of Holocaust

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Learned the outline of History of Holocaust from Eliott Dlin, director of Holocaust Museum, who gave a lecture on the history of Holocaust, tracing from 1948 through now. Actually his voice was not helping him so Kathy, his assistant read the speech.

Full lecture will be posted at http://www.holocaustandgenocides.com/ blog along with a few pictures I took at the Dallas Holocaust Museum today.

A few key points that jump at me are;

- Aba Eban, once the Foriegn Minister of Israel and a staff member of David Ben Gurion shared the story about the King of Thailand congratulating the birth of a new nation and wanted to present two Elephants - apparently Ben Gurion was not happy and told Eban what he was going to do with the Elephant and told him reject the offer, so Aba Eban diplomatically wrote to the Thai King that we do not accept any animal that eats a lot. Elly was connecting that story with the West Bank, which he did not want to keep as it was an Elephant to them.

- The 1973 War was a turning point in the history of the left and right of Israel, they came together after the Yom Kippur war and realized the need to teach about Holocaust. Germany learned about the word Holocaust for the first time in late 70's.

- The teaching of Holocauast in Israel began in the early 70's

- Jimmy Carter initiated or created a commision to build the Holocaust Museum on the Mall at DC at the 30th Anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz in 1978.

- the 1967 war changed the psyche of Jews for the first time in History, they were no longer a passive people, but the one with muscle with the victory of the six day war.

- 1952 Ben Gurion apparently said, if he had a choice of human rights and security of Israel, he would take the security over human rights. This is quite interesting, I have written extensively about Israel's security needs at http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/ but was reinforced today about the security being the driving reason for their existence. Elly did touch on the human rights issue from the left and the security obsession of the right.

- Israel claimed to be the sole heir for the Jews who dies in Holocaust and Germany repatriated funds close to $25 Billion, that amounted to nearly 87% of Israels GNP in 1956.

- Poland was Po-lein for Jewish people, meaning live here. The Jews were invited to Poland to be the middle class in the 11th century, to manage businessess and be a conduit with the peasants.

- 3 Millions Jews were killed in Poland alone, where the majority of Jews lived.

- I spoke about the Muslim initiative to build bridges between communities, to be with Jews in their suffering and to share their grief. We are all in it together and Jews should not be alone. I hope in the next few years, people learn about Holocaust, Genocides and Massacres and take steps to prevent it from happening.

More later, it's 3:16 AM,
Could not sleep.

Mike Ghouse

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So what if you don't believe in God?

So what if Atheists don't believe in God?

Belief in God is not a requirement to live a normal day to day life, it is not a requirement to be a good human being either. Whether one believes in God or not, the creator loves his creation anyway, and every human will spend the time he was charged up with whether one is a theist or an atheist. Every life will end. We have created God in our own image.

Mike Ghouse

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Religion in one sentence

Years of workshops and radio talk shows on religion has given me the confidence that religion is about bringing a spiritual and physical balance to oneself and what surrounds one; life and matter. There is one single cause that brought us into existence; be it evolution, big bang or creation, we exists and that is a fact.

Mike Ghouse

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Texas Rule of Law Conference

It was a pleasure to participate and contribute a few ideas from a pluralistic perspective at this conference.

I made extensive notes of the discussions but sadly left the notes at the conference, if I find them, I will update it here.

The Texas Rule of Law Conference brought together leaders from a broad range of disciplines, including architecture, business, education, engineering, environment, human rights, labor, media, the military, health care, public safety, and religion. The group examined how and why the rule of law underpins the work all of us do and create the basis for working together in the future.

A few pictures from the conference:

Texas Rule of Law Conference was organized by the Dallas Bar Association in cooperation with the World Justice Project of the American Bar Association.

Chip Pitts was the key note speaker, a Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School, Board President of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, former Chairman of the Board of Amnesty International USA and former Chief Legal Counsel for Nokia, Inc.

Dean John Attanasio of SMU Dedman School of Law shared about the Rule of Law around the globe and how SMU is actively working with a host of nations in bringing the Judges and Lawyers from around the Middle East and exchanging the systems.

Amazingly the speakers and a few members in the audience brought up the Sharia Laws and mentioned the Justice aspect of it. I spoke about the misapplication of the laws that we hear most often. In Texas, several innocents have been sent to electric chair, a misapplication of our laws.

Dean Attanasio mentioned that the Rule of Law is fairly strong in the "Islamic" countries.

Rule of Law in four parts;

1. Laws
2. Procedure
3. Implementation
4. Peers watch group

Darn, I wish I had my notes.

It was good to hear Tony Patterson, Partner with Fulbright & Jaworski Law firm, Dean Anttanasio and Dean Camp talk about Jeff, my son. I am proud of him and his intelligence, as they say, he is very articulate. Jeff will be working for Fulbright & Jaworski upon graduating from SMU in May 2010.

The Texas Rule of Law conference
Dallas, Tuesday, October 20, 2009, 12-5 PM
Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Avenue, Dallas,
Texas 75201.

Mike Ghouse
# # #

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Diwali Vandana, Prayers and Greetings

Happy Diwali

Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, and the light symbolizes hope and positive energy;

Diwali indicates the victory of good over evil;

Diwali brings an end of darkness;

Diwali heralds a new beginning in one's life,

Diwali is about renewal and hope;

Diwali is about seeing the light at the end of tunnel;

Diwali is the symbol of knowledge;

Diya, Deepa, lamp and light are all symbols of Diwali to brighten one's life

May this Diwali brighten your life, and may this Diwali mark the dawn of a new era;

May this Diwali purge your heart, mind and soul from hate, malice, anger and ill-will;

May this Diwali open your hearts and minds towards fellow being;

May this Diwali fill you with goodwill towards fellow beings;

May this Diwali bring peace, tranquility and happiness to you and your family. Amen!

Mike, Yasmeen, Jeff, Fern and Mina

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Humanitarian Forum on Gaza

I really wish this program was aired on CNN or Fox; it was indeed a well balanced program about Gaza. The bottom line? Unless there is Justice, peace is not possible, unless the United States plays an honest broker, peace is a forlorn hope.

Both the speakers echoed the same thoughts I have been writing on my blog - http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/ that security for Israel and hope for the Palestinians. Inclusion of Hamas is a must in the equation which I had commented in Haartez about the time of Annapolis conference in 2008.

Rami drew some parallels in the development of right wingers around the world, the momentum was simaltanesouly gained in the Middle East, Eurpoe and America, particularly in the last 30 years.

He talked about the Jewish history of persecution; finally when the assimilation in Germany was a pinnacle but they got cheated again. Rami shared the spirit of Jewish people and then compared with the spirt of the Palestinians; Where Jews were in prior to Balfour declarations, Palestinians are on that threshold.

He talked about the culmination of pain - don't abuse me any more cry in Birmingham and the Clarksville event in South Africa - emboldened the people, you can't hurt us any more. The Palestinians are at that point now, and they see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Rami talked about the success of peace agreement with Egypt and Jordan is owed to the equality in partnership agreement, what he called simaltaneous execution of rights and obligations, where as with the Palestinians, it was conditional and not based on equality.

Madea talked about the powerful Israel lobby and the misery it is causing for both the people of Israel and Palestine. She told the helplness of the congress in taking a stand, she was told, "I will be out if I speak my conscience.' Such is the depressing status of these rats in the house and the senate. Who is going to serve the nation?

She was giving a big, strong wake up call to the public to wake up and be the peace makers by speaking up.

Madea started the pinkcode organization and the work they are doing. Rami's hope is appeal to the people of conscience to speak up, let the American people stand for justice and fairness.

I am pleased I attended the event and I wish I could encapsulate all the powerful things they said that the Government should listen.

If the Nobel prize was right for Obama; she took two in favor and two in the opposite. I spoke about the aspiration, hope and inclusiveneness that he brought, that deserves the award. Where as the two others pointed out his compromises on his own promises about ending the war, bringing peace to the middle east.

Rami talked about recognition of 10 R's for peace between Israel and Palestine;

1. Resistance - hamas is a resistance movement not a religious one
2. Rights of individuals
3. Reciprocity of rights
4. Respect
5. Rule of Law to apply to one and all
6. Republicanism - justice, representations
7. Refugeehood ending
8. Re_?
9. Reocognition of Israels and Palestninians needs
10. Richard Goldstone report -

Richard Goldstone report. US is one of the 11 nations that voted against it. It kills the hope for the people of Palestinian and peace for the Israeli people. We need to urge Obama to endorse the report and follow it through, unless, we the people of America become a significant voice, Obama cannot do much about it. I hope a petition will come up and then, I would request you to sign it up.

UNHRC endorses Goldstone report, angers Israel

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has adopted a resolution, endorsing the Goldstone report on the Gaza war, despite efforts by Israeli leaders to block the motion. On Friday, 25 member-states of the council voted for the resolution, six voted against and 11 abstained. The "draft resolution ... is therefore adopted," UNHRC President Alex Van Meeuwen said in Geneva.

It was one of the most powerful forums on Gaza, of course the Jewish Neocons* (made up of the AIPAC and others) would not not like this, neither the Palestinian Neocons* would like that. As every one knows it is these extremists that are the reason for not having peace in the middle east. Both of them reiterated with facts and I have been sharing it with my belief that the overwhelming majority of the people want peace and its the Israeli Government and the Hamas that is standing in between.

* Neocons - http://hatesermons.blogspot.com/2008/03/neocons.html

Additional notes:

Medea has just returned from Afghanistan, in a forum on Gaza last night, she said that in the in-depth interviews she had conducted with women in Afghanistan, they were saying that most of the men are their brothers, fathers and uncles turned Talibans. They were pleading with her that the presence of gun touting (American) soldiers in their neighborhoods, attract the Talibans to target our homes... if the Americans leave our neighborhoods, we may not see the cross fires.

Medea has started the Pink code organization to rally support from the grass roots to pull the forces and focus on economic development with half that money. This morning at 9:00 the whole group demonstrated in front of George Bush's house

Rami Khouri* on the other hand describe the Gaza movement in ten R's, the first being Resistance. The same R applies to Afghanistan, it is the resistance originally against Russians and lack of clear goals, it got directed towards their own women and men and religiosity is just a cover. It is the humiliation and the spirit to survive that brings the resistance and improperly directed it can unleash against its own people.

Mike Ghouse
Board Member Dallas Peace Center
DPC is one of the sponsors of the program
# # #

A Humanitarian Forum on Gaza
Hughes-Trigg Center SMU
Friday October 16, 2009

On Friday, October 16, two dynamic personalities will come together on the SMU campus to participate in A Humanitarian Forum on Gaza. Both are committed to bringing to the Western world the truth about conditions in the Middle East. One is a veteran organizer, dedicated to direct action in order to impress her message on those in power. The other works through academia and conventional media outlets to help Westerners better understand the Middle East.
Medea Benjamin is co-founder of CODE PINK, and organization of mostly women known for their fearless determination to speak truth to power in Washington D.C. and throughout the world. Benjamin has made several forays to the Middle East, including a trip to Gaza in January. She will be just returning from a trip to Afghanistan.

Rami Khouri is the director of the Issam Fares Institute of the American University of Beirut and internationally syndicated political columnist. He is a frequent guest on Diane Rehm’s Friday roundtable discussion on NPR, and is editor at large of the Daily Star newspaper which publishes out of Beirut. A joint Palestinian-Jordanian and U.S. citizen, Khouri’s family resides in Beirut, Amman and Nazareth.

A Humanitarian Forum will begin with a reception in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center on the SMU campus at 6:30 p.m., with the panel discussion in the Theater at 7:00 p.m. on October 16. The event is sponsored by the SMU Muslim Student Association, KinderUSA and the Dallas Peace Center.
# # #

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Melbourne, Australia

I am pleased to be a part of the World Parliament of Religions in Melbourne, Australia from December 3rd through the 9th. I will be make a presentation on understanding Qur'aan and how it has been deliberatly misinterpreted for political reasons. Quraan is a book of guidance for the whole humanity and it is an inclusive book.

I have not booked the place to stay, and hoping to stay with a host family. 10,000 People are expected to attend the event.


Mike Ghouse
# # #
Event Schedule
For a more detailed view of the programming on a particular day, please click one of the following links:

Thursday 3 Dec
Friday 4 Dec
Saturday 5 Dec
Sunday 6 Dec
Monday 7 Dec
Tuesday 8 Dec
Wednesday 9 Dec

Please Note: this schedule is subject to change.
Daily Overview
8:00 - 9:00am Observances from diverse religious and spiritual traditions

9:30 - 11:00am Intrareligious Programs – speakers from a single religious tradition express their identities, discuss their challenges and showcase their messages

11:30am -1:00pm Interreligious Programs – speakers from two or more religious traditions engage with each other seeking greater understanding

2:30 - 4:00pm Engagement Programs – speakers from diverse religious traditions consider the challenges of our many crucial topics and the resources to meet them

4:30 - 6:00pm Open Space for informal discussions

7:30 - 9:00pm Evening Plenary – Arts and evocative presentations


Evening Plenaries –

Preliminary Overview
Opening Plenary

Thursday 3rd December MCEC Plenary Hall
Official ‘Welcome to Country’ from the Aboriginal community and key government and international speakers with special artistic performances.
Communities Night

Friday 4th December Around Melbourne
Melbourne’s diverse religious and spiritual communities will host participants in churches, temples, synagogues, mosques etc.
International Plenary

Saturday 5th December MCEC Plenary Hall
Presents the international interreligious movement and the UN Decade for Interreligious Dialogue by international major speakers, international artists and performers.
Sacred Music Concert

Sunday 6th December MCEC Plenary Hall*
Performances of the world’s sacred music and movement by world-class musicians from diverse religious and spiritual traditions.
Youth Plenary

Monday 7th December MCEC Plenary Hall
Presentations and artistic performances by contemporary local and international artists, organised by multi-faith Australian youth leaders committee.
Melbourne Plenary

Tuesday8th December MCEC Plenary Hall
Presentations and performances celebrating Melbourne's religious and spiritual diversity and its vision for interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

Closing Plenary

Wednesday 9th December MCEC Plenary Hall
Presentation of awards, artistic performances and major speakers including His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Moses in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Today, Sunday, I attended the program connecting our faiths at Temple Shalom this evening.

Rabbi Jeremy Schneider said Moses is viewed as a deliverer of Torah and not a divine person per the Reformed Jews, where as the Orthodox view him as a divine person. President Smith of the Mormon Church spoke about the role of Moses as a Prophet and Imam Shakoor talked about the critical role Moses played in the lives of Muslims - the five times a day Muslim prayers was Moses's idea if not, it would have been 50 times.

Rabbi spoke about God speaking to him in terms of the debates we go through in our daily lives in making a decision; Barry shared the inspiration and divine revelation one receives in times of conflict to do the right thing, and Imam shared what God wants us to do, pointing to Qur'aan and we cannot go wrong if we follow it.

Quite a fascinating program about Moses in three faiths. In the last few years, we have done the whold enchilada - Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed in each faith.

Way back in 2005, we planned on celebrating the birthday of each one of the spiritual leaders and understanding their contributions towards creating a better world. We are looking forward to taking it up - http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Pluralism101_WhoisPluralist.asp

The interfaith prayer in unison was read by all the attendees;

The one God who loves each of us as if He has no other to love, yet loves each of us the same; Thank you for helping us to better claim that love within us that we might better understand and know how to love others and your creation. - written jointly by Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, Rev. Don Benton & Imam Warith Din Mohammed.

In the sanctuary, Torah Scrolls were opened and the Rabbi explained about Hebrew and answered quite a lot of my questions and I asked him if I could kiss the Torah, which he allowed. I touched it with both of my hands with deep respect, and told the story about Prophet Muhammad kissing the Torah and telling his followers that we have to respect the religious books of all traditions.

Distributed the fliers of Holocaust and Genocides event listed at http://www.holocaustandgenocides.com/

It is good to be recognized by the Rabbi and Barry along with a whole lot of Jewish and other friends.

Rabbi Jeremy Schneider, Temple Shalom
Barry Smith, President of the Mormon Church
Imam Shakoor, Masjid Warith D. Mohammed
Moderator - Alexis Jaami
Organizer - Connecting our faiths
Place: Temple Shalom, Dallas
Hosted by : Temple Shalom