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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Defending freedom of speech on Hannity Show; Mike Ghouse with Pamela Geller about Tunisian scholar Sheikh Rachid al-Ghannouchi.

My strongest argument with Hannity and Geller was – I do not want America to change for Ghannouchi, I do not want our constitution be compromised for Ghannouchi, and I do not want American character to change for Ghannouchi.

I was completely taken back that Pamela Geller and Hannity were calling for a ban on Sheikh Rachid al-Ghannouchi’s featured speech at Yale Law School, they should be instead defending it.

Freedom of speech is the most enduring, stabilizing, sustainable value of a free society.  Ultimately freedom should prevail over everything else. That is about the only thing I would die for and defend.

Ghannouchi has called for destruction of American properties and killing Americans, I don’t like it, but I will defend his right to speak.

I have defended Pamela Geller’s right to speak in London when they banned her from speaking, I have defended Terry Jones right to burn Qurans, and indeed we are making a film about freedom of speech.  I have defended Fred Phelps right to be ugly with this anti-Jewish, anti-GLBT and anti-Immigrant demonstrations. 
I have opposed Arab League's proposal at the United Nations to curb freedom of speech about religious personalities, and without any doubt Professor Ghannouchi should speak freely.

Freedom should be the ultimate winner. Indeed it is to our advantage to hear him out, understand where he is coming from and what he is going to lay it out. We should hear him and not ban him.

We cannot be hypocrites, and ban free speech for one and allow it for others.

My strongest argument with Hannity and Geller was – I do not want America to change because of Ghannouchi, I do not want our constitution be compromised for Ghannouchi, and I do not want our character to change for Ghannouchi.

Quran supports freedom of speech, there are numerous verses to that effect, but for now, I will quote two – 41:34 – Repel evil with whatever is better; there is chance that evil may mellow down, if you repel evil with evil, the conflict flares up and both sides will dig in their heels.  Verse 2:256 gives clear unambiguous guidance – there shall be no compulsion for others to believe what you believe.

Freedom of speech is birth right, that is one simple thing that separated animals from humans and I will not let it be compromised. 

I am surprised with the attacks on Twitter and floods of emails I am receiving from the right wing Christians, Muslims and Jews. Freedom of speech is an expectational America value, indeed, that is what separates us from the rest of the world. I would have expected them to defend it instead of attacking me.

Freedom of speech is a conservative value and I expected Sean Hannity to defend it, but he failed me.


Yale to Host Radical Terror Sheikh Who Advocated Killing of U.S. Soldiers
Controversial sheikh will headline lecture at Yale Law School
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Muslim American Orgs. Must Condemn Islamism Not Just ISIS

Note: I did not write this piece, but was mentioned in it.

Muslim American Orgs. Must Condemn Islamism Not Just ISIS
Courtesy : Jewish Voice New York


The Muslim-American community has stood up to condemn ISIS. It now needs to confront the Islamist ideology that bred it and other groups like it.

The Muslim-American community, including organizations with radical histories, swiftly and unequivocally condemned the Islamic State terrorist group (formerly and commonly known as ISIS). These statements are welcome, but they need to go further and challenge the Islamist basis of the group and those like it.

The vast majority of condemnations of the Islamic State focus on its violent tactics and not its belief that Muslims are commanded to wage jihad to build an Islamic state, i.e. a government based on Islamic law (sharia). Nor is its belief that Muslims must rebuild a caliphate being confronted.

President Obama is being criticized for stating that the Islamic State is “not Islamic.” The understandable objective was to avoid depicting the campaign against the Islamic State as a war on Islam, but the obvious truth is that the Islamic State is following an interpretation of Islam. Many Muslims feel it is an incorrect interpretation, but it is still an interpretation.

The Islamic State claims that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was an Islamic preacher and has a doctorate in Islamic Studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad. It also says he is a direct descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam.

The Islamic State implements governance strictly based on sharia, or Islamic law. The very name of the Islamic State implies a fusion of mosque and state. The concept of the caliphate declared by the Islamic State is rooted in Islamic history and doctrine, even if most Muslims reject the Islamic State’s caliphate.

These fundamentally anti-Western goals emanate from the Islamist ideology that believes in sharia as a code of governance (which is also known as Political Islam). Not all Islamists support the Islamic State, but all members of the Islamic State are Islamists.

By declaring that the Islamic State is “not Islamic,” the Muslim world is relieved of its responsibility to challenge the group’s Islamic basis. Its origins can thus be blamed on the West or a murderous lust for power. The fundamental ideology of the Islamic State and similar groups is left untouched.

The Islamic State must be fought by challenging the basis of its name: an Islamic state with sharia governance. Limiting condemnations to tactics leads to endless arguments about which tactics are appropriate under what conditions. The debate needs to focus on the ultimate purpose of those tactics.

In truth, the Islamic State is acting on a popular agenda in the Muslim world. A 2007 World Public Opinion poll found that 74% of Pakistanis, 71% of Moroccans, 67% of Egyptians and 49% of Indonesians desire a caliphate that absorbs every Muslim country. The objective of strictly implementing sharia in every Muslim country was supported by 79% of Pakistanis, 76% of Moroccans, 74% of Egyptians and 53% of Indonesians.

A 2013 poll found that most Muslim countries want sharia as the official law of the land. Massive numbers specifically favor the brutal corporal punishments of sharia instituted by the Islamic State. Terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban still get double-digit support.

These pillars of the Islamic State’s ideology are left untouched in most Muslim condemnations of the group. For example, the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, a coalition of Islamist groups, issued a condemnation of the Islamic State and its ideology without specifying what that ideology is.

It cites a Quranic verse about how the taking of one life is like killing all of mankind, yet leaders in the coalition have supported violent jihad and Hamas. Obviously, that means that the coalition and its fellow Islamists believe this verse does not forbid killing altogether.

This public condemnation and referencing of this verse makes the coalition look “moderate” but does nothing to address the beliefs of the Islamic State and other jihadists that killing is sometimes permissible.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a condemnation of the “actions” of the Islamic State, calling them “un-Islamic and morally repugnant.” But their statement focused solely on tactics, specifically the murdering of civilians and religious scholars and attacks on houses of worship.

Another CAIR statement blamed the rise of the Islamic State on “the fuel of injustice” and “the lack of freedom and justice in the region.” In other words: The West.

For example, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad reacted to the beheading of American journalist James Foley by tweeting that “Israel is the biggest threat to world peace and security.”

Former CAIR-Tampa leader Ahmed Bedier tweeted, “ISIS is not a product of Islam, it is a product of George Bush’s and Obama’s failed wars and policies in Iraq and Syria.” It was re-tweeted by Hassan Shibly, current director of CAIR-Tampa.

A September 10 press conference featured several Muslim-American leaders making strong condemnations of the Islamic State and calling on their community to stop radicalization.

Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center said, “Young people, please don’t listen to this ideology.” Because he did not specify what that ideology is, all the audience knows is that the Islamic State is wrong for killing non-combatants. The issue of sharia is not addressed.

Azhar Azeez, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), said ISIS has “no basis in the teaching of Islam.” This statement gives the impression that it is not a product of an Islamic interpretation.

Azeez says Islam does not condone terrorism or killing civilians or destroying civilian infrastructure. ISIS would probably agree with this statement because it does not consider its actions to be “terrorism” or its targets to be “civilian.” The statement will do nothing to dissuade a Muslim dabbling in Islamism.

Azeez’s rejection of attacks on civilian infrastructure is ironic considering that Imam Johari Abdul-Malik of the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center spoke at the press conference. In 2001, he said that attacks on bridges, power plants, the water supply and other infrastructure in Israel are justifiable as long as you don’t take innocent life.

Abdul-Malik does deserve credit for using the word jihadist and mocking how the Islamic State is appealing to youth by looking "cool." He said, “Nothing is cool about being a jihadist, you’re a loser.”

However, Abdul-Malik failed to challenge the specific interpretations of the Islamic State. He rejected linking the Islamic State to Islam in any way, arguing that the KKK was never linked to Christianity. Instead, he indirectly blamed the West by saying the Islamic State was exploiting anger over how Muslims are treated around the world.

Imam Talib Shareef of Masjid Muhammad asked the media to refer to the Islamic State as the “anti-Islamic State.”

He stated that the Islamic State is contradicting religious coexistence that occurred under the Prophet Mohammad’s Islamic state. However, by saying that the Islamic State does not represent a true Islamic state, it is implied that the pursuit of an Islamic state is noble.

Of the major Muslim-American groups, the one that has gone the furthest in confronting the ideological basis of the Islamic State is the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). It was founded by Muslim Brotherhood ideologues and has had a pro-Islamist past, but it has also taken some stances against Islamists like former Egyptian President Morsi.

Its D.C. office director, Haris Tarin, spoke at the September 10 press conference. Its President, Salam al-Marayati, has written several articles about the Islamic State and its beliefs.

In one of the articles, al-Marayati wrote, “This ‘caliphate’ [declared by the Islamic State] is a disturbed and failed attempt to recreate the glory days of the Islamic civilization of over 1,000 years ago, yet it is a forgery of anything close to Islam.”

Unfortunately, al-Marayati is ridiculing the caliphate of the Islamic State, not the desire to rebuild a caliphate. This is similar to the ruling of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi who only opposes the Islamic State’s caliphate because of how it was accomplished.

Al-Marayati blames both the West and Islamic interpretations. He writes that “ISIS is the toxic and dogmatic response to centuries-old colonial propaganda that aimed to demonize and dehumanize the Muslim world.” However, “The failed response by Muslims is political Islam.”

In another article, al-Marayati says that the ideology of the Islamic State and those like contains takfirism, essentially an Islamic version of the Puritans who brand Muslims as apostates and persecute them. He uses Islamic history against the Islamic State by comparing them to the Kharijites, a sect of radical Muslims in the seventh century that waged war on those they saw as apostates.

He says the Islamic State is a product of modern takfirism that causes an “unholy alliance of clergy and state” spread by “co-opting religious authority, fabricating religious texts, and spreading selective interpretations and applications of Islam by establishing schools and funding those that would teach their literal and absolutist Islamic narrative.”

Confronting takfirism is an improvement because it specifies an adversarial ideology rooted in Islamic interpretation, but it is still too narrow. It is still a practice of Islamism, albeit a particularly aggressive one. The term thus enables Islamists to offer a group like the Muslim Brotherhood as a “moderate” alternative to the takfiri Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.

Muslim-American groups need to launch a systematic refutation of the overall Islamist ideology. This means challenging the works of popular Islamist preachers like Ibn Taymiyyah, Hassan al-Banna, Maulana Maududi, Yousef al-Qaradawi, Sayyid Qutb, Ayatollah Khomeini and Muhammad al-Wahhab.

The youth must not be taught to idolize foreign Islamists like Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Tunisian preacher Rachid Ghannouchi or American ones like Zaid Shakir and Siraj Wahhaj.

This means promoting progressive reformation and ijtihad, the independent interpretation of doctrine. Muslims must not be afraid to criticize the determinations of Islamist jurists, and texts with anti-Islamist points of view should be encouraged. Former Islamist and current Muslim reformist Tawfik Hamid writes about this need in a new Clarion Project article, and he’s published a "Modern Interpretation of the Quran."

Muslim activist Mike Ghouse writes that there are two Islams “mangled up” and Muslims need to welcome criticisms of authoritative scholars from the past like Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Kathir. He says:

“The mistake we have made is to give their word a near equivalence of Quran and the Prophet; we can judge them against historical relativism but should not regard their work as integral component of Islamic teachings. All said, we must admit that whatever their intentions might have been, the medieval scholars messed up the interpretation of Quran. Instead of building cohesive societies, they were inclined to forge exclusive authoritarian societies.”

Ghouse is not disputing the fact that the Islamic State is practicing a version of Islam. He’s disputing that it is the right version of Islam. And he recognizes that the core problem is resistance to critical examination of sharia teachings.

The Muslim-American community has stood up to condemn the Islamic State. It now needs to step up to the greater challenge of confronting the Islamist ideology that bred it and other groups like it.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

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Conservatives v. Progressives

First of all, it really should be Conservatives V. Progressives.  Indeed, they are two forces that pull and push the society to stay put or move forward. Yester year’s progressives are today’s conservatives.  In social terms, it means the acceptance of un-married couples “living together” by an average conservative was a liberal idea 50 years ago, and 10 years from now acceptance of GLBT community without reluctance would be a conservative ideal.  

Both are essential to maintain a continuous equilibrium in a given society.  |

If conservatives had won the full battle – we would still be thinking the world would be flat; we would not have allowed modern medicine to save lives; we would not have allowed newer delicious foods that we enjoy today or even allowed the movies to flourish and would have lived in caves.  

On the other hand if Liberals had won the full battle – we would have fallen out of the orbit of the earth; individualism (me, me and me) would have taken over to the detriment of family, community and societies;  and we would have had a society that goes nuts with no regulations.

Neither of them will ever win the full battle, there is always going to be a give and take to accommodate the overwhelming majority of moderates, who see the value in both conservatism and progressivism.

What has been short in supply is the voice of moderates and the peace makers.

I have chosen to be a passionate moderate, who would assert the values that work for all of us; the conservatives, progressives and the rest of us, who make up 90% of the society, any society. Where do you stand?

Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Court Jails a Chief Minsiter in India

Prime Minister Modi is great orator and gave a great speech at Madison Square Garden today. I applaud him for that.

He will be visiting our President as well and I hope he learns in the next few days that the pragati of America is based on Justice being the key component of the society - 99% of Americans get justice and that brings peace and security to the population knowing that they are safe and protected under the laws. India needs that, every wrong doer must be accountable and brought to justice.

In recent Mushaeras/Kavi Sammelan's in Dallas and Louisville, I recited a poem called "blame the one who can be punished" ( and not his family, community, clergy, religion or the nation)  and one of the 10 couplets was addressed to Modi:

Samaj may insaf ho to ummeed bhi aur pragati bhi
Dharam badnaam, chuta chor tha? a mera dharam kahan tha

When there is justice in the society, there will be peace and prosperity
blaming religion and leaving the thug alone is not being righteous
I have nothing against Jayalalithaa, but India is on the right path by punishing the individual criminal no matter who it is and this is a good step forward.  This is how safe and secure societies are built. It is odd to see Subramaniam Swamy support this - he needs to be challenged for his lies ( have refuted twice)  about tearing the social fabric of India. He stabs Bharat Mata in her back.
Here is one for him

Gar lagana Ilzam to lagao mujh per, saza do mujh ko 
a aib mera zati tha, a mera dharam kahan tha.

If you have to blame for a crime, blame me the criminal, punish me
this was my personal crime, this is not being righteous.

I am proud of my India
Jai Hind
Court jails Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa in graft case
J. Jayalalithaa (R), chief minister of India's Tamil Nadu state and chief of the AIADMK party, gestures to her supporters (not pictured) after leaving her residence for the airport, in Chennai September 27, 2014. REUTERS-Babu
J. Jayalalithaa, chief minister of Tamil Nadu and chief of Anna Dravida Munetra Khazhgam (AIADMK), addresses her party supporters atop a vehicle during an election campaign rally in Chennai April 19, 2014. REUTERS-Babu-Files

Credit: Reuters/Babu
 (Reuters) - Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram was sentenced to four years in jail on Saturday in a high-profile corruption case that has lasted nearly two decades.

The verdict against the former movie star, who is one of the most popular politicians in south India, delighted some supporters of rival parties who were beaten in the general election held earlier this year.

A special court in Karnataka found Jayalalithaa guilty of "disproportionately" amassing about 530 million rupees ($8.7 million) outside her known sources of income, prosecution lawyers told reporters late in the evening.

"She has been taken into custody ... Medical check-ups will be done, thereafter she'll be sent to jail," one of the prosecution lawyers said. Three of Jayalalithaa's aides were also sent to jail.

The court has also fined the four-time chief minister 1 billion rupees ($16 million), which will be taken from the properties that have already been seized by the court.

Jayalalithaa is legally obliged to now step down as the head of Tamil Nadu, which she has governed since 2011 under her latest term. However, she will have the option of approaching a higher court which could overturn the verdict.

Television reports showed supporters of Jayalalithaa, chief of the AIADMK party, clashing with police in Bangalore and Chennai. Workers of rival Tamil party, DMK, burst crackers in celebration.

The portly, fair-skinned Jayalalithaa acted in several movies before joining politics and has a huge fan following. She endeared herself to millions by distributing free laptops, grinders and fans to voters.

"I am pleased that the Indian democratic system is working," Subramanian Swamy, a petitioner in the case and a leader of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), told the television channel Times Now. "It is an appropriate punishment."

Swamy said that the verdict could weaken AIADMK and present his party with an opportunity to build its base in the state, where it has had little success so far.

Experts say Indian courts have historically been lenient on powerful politicians, with many former state and federal chief ministers out on bail despite facing serious charges.

"The sentencing of Jayalalithaa and quantum of punishment makes us proud of our judiciary. However, justice ought to be fast-tracked," former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter.

(Editing by Stephen Powell and Greg Mahlich)
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How Can You Say It’s Not Islamic?’ Megyn Takes on Muslim Speaker Over Violence By Radical Islamists

Mike Ghouse and Brigitte Gabriel with Megyn Kelly of Fox News
9:45 PM EST | September 26, 2014

Video 7:01 Minutes

Megyn Kelly tonight took on Muslim speaker Mike Ghouse over radical Islam in the wake of the Oklahoma beheading.

“Islam stands for peace,” CAIR said in a statement, stressing that the Oklahoma beheading “is not a representation of what our faith teaches.”

“Islam does not stand for peace. The word Islam in Arabic means submission,” Brigitte Gabriel, president of Act! for America, said on “The Kelly File,” charging CAIR with trying to deceive the public.

Ghouse, founder of World Muslim Congress, said that Islam does not teach violence, but that some Muslims do.

Gabriel refuted that, saying that beheadings are strictly Islamic and are happening across the world by radicalized Muslims who are trying to emulate the prophet Muhammad.
Kelly pressed Ghouse, asking, “How can you say it’s not Islamic […] Is it just pure coincidence?”
# # #

My points in random order:

First of all my heart goes out the to the victims family and I pray for them.

You cannot call New Yorkers rapists because over 1000 rapes took place last year.
3 Million Americans are incarcerated while 315 Americans are law abiding citizens.  You cannot call the flaw is in American Laws or our constitution, the problem is with the individuals. 
The radicals are part of us, part of Islam and we have to deal with them for misinterpreting the religion to suit their roughness. 
Brigitte went on with her rant about Prophet Muhammad ordering murdering 700 of Banu Quraiza Jews, I had a choice to counter, or not let her derail the topic. I asked Megyn if I should address that as it is pure malignant misinformation,  instead Megan asked me to focus on her questions. As long as the public hears it and do their research to find the truth, I am fine with it.

Brigitte passes on full of misinformation, and I believe the hard core followers believe her, not matter what the facts are, but there is intelligence out there that questions that rhetoric, and finds the truth on their own. My goal is to refute it in the given 5 to 7 seconds and keep up with the theme. 
I have made policy not to go off tangent or get drawn into other arguments, and I usually stick to answer the questions. In the long run that is the right thing to do.
Thanks to Nadia Q for searching the following information
Great article with good points
Three murders in Birmingham by a terminated employee, one at Hoover Hotel, two at a UPS customer service center
  Thanks to Brigitte Gabrielle’s tweets, it’s multiplying on the net
Reading Material

Go ahead and Destroy ISIS http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/president-obama-go-ahead-_b_5765264.html#es_share_ended

Two Islams - Mangled up and Pristine -

Muslims to pray for Christians

Muslim Agenda -
Full 7 minutes video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt6693aWOZU
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.