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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


  1. Deva Phillip RamsaroopOctober 28, 2009 at 8:23 AM

    Sitting down at a table, breaking bread, and sharing viewpoints can move mountains. What a beautiful sight. More dialogs can only help in eradicating misunderstandings and misconceptions toward the goal of common respect and peace among all humanity. Namaste - I bow to the divine in you.

  2. Mohammad Hanif JhaveriOctober 28, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    Mike this particular point of yours is awesome and whoever made it should get 10,000 brownie points:

    "3. A suggestion was made that only certain people are listed as contacts, as to 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 who they wish."

    THANK YOU. I will celebrate the day the media stops considering Aligarh elitists from India running ISNA as the "contact points" for the Muslim community - there are Sufis, Shias (both Twelvers and Ismailis), Nation of Islam followers, and Tableeghis each representing a large contingent of believers in the United States that in no way has any relationship with ISNA's hardcore Indian/Egyptian salafi and modernist orthodox base. ... Read More

    Not that they don't have a right to their opinions - but they DO NOT represent every Muslim, and to constantly quote them and their ideas is totally wrong, it also perpetuates a highly undemocratic organization dedicated to the genocide of unique Islamic cultures around the world with their vision of political and cultural homogeneity driven by their desire to aggregate and consolidate power within their bourgeoisie ranks.

    The day they allow African-American Muslims (non-immigrants) running inner-city masjids for the past 50 years along with Asian Barelvi communities practicing Sufism to speak about their perspective of the Muslim community is the day I hope Islam will be liberated from its shackles and handcuffs in the United States - until then it will be confined to the domination and oppression of the bourgeoisie classes from India and Egypt who believe their medical degrees and engineering degrees combined with their Salafi literalism with a modernist spin somehow make them experts on matters of faith and religion enough to perpetuate their demonizing classism and biased perspectives.

    And of course Allah SWT knows best.

  3. Hanif, it's a painful fight for inclusion. Most Muslims are inclusive, a handful of them are not.

    I have been fighting against this monopoly of who can speak for Muslims for almost a decade.

    Indeed, we invited Muslims from all hues, no one should be excluded.

    Possessive ownership of religion is the root cause for conflict, it is changing and each time I see that idea creep in, I speak up. I am glad you spoke up.

  4. باہائی مائک
    کمیو نٹی کے لئے آپ بہت عمدہ کام کررہے ہیں ، بہت خوب
    صغیر احمد جعفری ، اردو منزل


    Dear Brother Mike ,
    I am glad to say that you are carrying out excellent work for the community and also for improving the relations between different communities,nationalities.
    You and all the Friends are aware that as a Peace Activist since the year 2000 , I am trying to create awareness among the politicians and all the professionals to arrange Permanent Peace ""NOW"" in this terrible,burning,difficult world.
    Mike , I suggest that you,me and all the peace/ amn/shanti loving people living and working in all parts of the world may form practical kind of ''UNITY'' without any Delay and try to meet UN Authorities,World Leaders,Politicians (only ''practical type'' and NOT the ''professional type politicians'' and tell them that PERMANENT PEACE is ESSENTIAL/IMPORTANT because many countries are known Atomic Powers and therefore,it is NOT PROPER to keep many world disputes pending in the UNO (UN Resolutions pending in UN Head Offices) for say sixty (60) years.
    I request all the Peace Activists,Poets,Writers, Human Right Activists,Journalists,Media, Education,Politics Experts,All the Professionals to contact with each other regularly for creating greater awareness for '''PEACE , PEACE ''' & '''PEACE/AMN/SHANTI all over the WORLD'''
    Saghier Ahmed Jafri , Urdu Manzil

  5. Dianne, thank you for taking the initiative and am glad we selected the Irving location... that food was darn good and Leona, I appreciate your sincerity in seeking to be in tune with the community.

    My Muslim brothers and sisters, please correct the names and write the comments you made in the comments section, so we have as complete a record accessible to all of us. I have also included the link to the pictures in it.

    I write my diary and usually it is unformatted, then later on if I get the time I will transfer it to one of my 25 Blogs depending on the topic or the Websites in the format of an article .


    After it is complete, I will share the piece with the members of my community at large. Dianne, if Dallas News is writing an article, I will include the link in the broadcast.

    thank you
    Mike Ghouse

  6. I also appreciate the opportunity to meet everyone and exchange ideas. Please make this an annual occurrence!
    Many thanks...
    Imam Zia