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Friday, July 31, 2015

Capital Punishment - Why Yakub Memon's hanging should have been telecast live

I am pleased to share my thoughts about Capital punishment and the deliberate killing of the criminal Yakub Memon, as this has become the most talked about death penalty in the nation. 

I have been opposed to Capital punishment from the early 80’s, however, I have slipped twice since then; first when I heard about a guy who raped my friends’ daughter, and a Houston woman who killed 7 of her children for claiming insurance. All other times, I have stood firmly with the idea that the society cannot act like outrageous beasts and we cannot deliberately kill an individual no matter what caused him to be a killer.

In a democracy, civility goes hand in hand. If everything is just in a society all goes well, but when injustice occurs directly, indirectly or remotely, bad things multiply in the society, and it will take time to restore dharma – the righteousness. Justice and Fairness are the pillars of any society; a good system ensures trust, prosperity and peace for all.

Who do you blame when some punk shoots the cashier at a 7/11 for a few bucks? His parents, his community or his situation? What if that man or woman was raised where you and I were raised? Is society responsible for creating such a monster? Should we punish that monster? Will that end more monsters?

Of course the state shamelessly kills its criminals either through a lethal injection as in Texas or chopping the head off in public as in Saudi Arabia. Both acts are disgusting and barbaric. In the early 80’s I was appalled with an Indian judge who was visiting,  his unflinching take on death penalty was just plain shocking, I thought being a judge, he would have debated, hesitated or would have reservations… NONE Whatsoever!

I have written quite a lot on the topic, but the following paragraph expressed my sentiments very well. “Today, the Indian state has shown itself to be no better than Tiger Memon. Tiger planned the bombings in retaliation to the terrible violence against Muslims that followed in the wake of Babri Masjid demolition. We have terminated his brother's life to extract vengeance for the blasts.

Tiger's act was a reaction of a hotheaded criminal; we sent his brother to the gallows after keeping him in jail for 22 years - what could be more cynical and cold-hearted than that. What ends of justice does that serve now? Are we safer from his judicial elimination? How have we shown ourselves to be different from those we condemn? “

I am citing a beautiful example, which you will find them in all societies. This by no way exonerates any society; criminals are in every group of people.  Hazrat Umar once commuted an order to cut the hands of a thief as a punishment. He discovered that the man stole the food to feed his children. Umar took the blame on the society for creating such a desperate situation for individuals to resort to such a thing.  I hope we all start thinking what is just instead of blindly applying the laws. We the Americans are no exception to that.

The following column is a compelling article to read.

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist,  TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com
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Why Yakub Memon's hanging should have been telecast live
Courtesy of Catch News. com

America the Beautiful - My new job cleaning McDonald's Toilets


Yesterday, I drove from Washington DC to Louisville – it should have taken about 10 hours, but instead it took me 15 hours – Two reasons: 1) The country is so beautiful and 2) had to stop 8 times at the restrooms.

First the beauty of the region… I just could not get over the beautiful mountains all the way from West Maryland thru W. Virginia and Kentucky – start singing my own song America, America, America… you are so beautiful – represented by everything God has created from different races to religions to regions, seasons, nature and people.  If there is already a song, I would like to listen, if not I will take classed in writing poetry and write the song and sing it too… If you have not driven the different landscapes of America, you have not seen anything.

There is a Punjabi saying – the one who has not seen Lahore, was not born at all.

Second thing about 8 stops! I picked up boiled eggs, veggie, fruit trays and Rotisserie chicken to eat along the way… I don’t know if it was the egg or veggies, I started having diarrhea. and stopped at every McDonald – usually cleaners bathrooms, but this time, they were filthy and I did not have a choice to go to other place – I cleaned them and cleaned back when I left. I don’t know if I will ever understand why people leave sinks and toilets dirty – they have no shame at all. So, I cleaned 8 McDonald Toilets.

What I have seen in life, is when people don’t take keep their places clean, the decline begins. McDonald guys, pay attention to this.

Finally the 2nd Pepto must have worked to stop the diarrhea; things were under control when I reached Louisville around 1:00 AM

Thank you,

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist,  TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What am I doing in Washington

A short note to my friends

I am requesting your generous feedback.  Here is an effort to write the shortest possible note, and yet say most of it, please let me know if I did it.

Pursuing our dreams and realizing them in our life time is the biggest achievement in one’s life. The dream comes in two parts and most of us have achieved the first part; i.e., taking care of ourselves and our families to the best of our abilities.   America has been a great catalyst in achieving our dreams, thank you America!

The second part is what most of us are hunkering for, and at times it is not clear where we should place our priorities or what legacy we want to leave behind us. Bill Gates had the best advice – do it while you are alive and relish the good, instead of letting it happen on its own when we are gone abruptly.  We all struggle to make our life purposeful and that is good. You can join us in that direction.

My friend Ambassador Islam Siddiqui and I were walking from our office to the congressional building for a meeting. On our left were Supreme Court and the Library of Congress, and on the right was the Capitol Hill.  We were talking about the founding fathers and their vision that has carried this nation this far, what a vision they had, and how utterly unselfish were they!  We are all the beneficiaries of the systems and structures they left behind.  You and I wouldn’t be here had it not been for their immortal declaration of independence that all men are created equal.

That vision has been raining on me like blessings from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  His wisdom could not be clearer; he said a good deed is something you do for others. God repeatedly asserts (Quran) that if you take care of his creation; i.e., your fellow beings, your rewards are with him.  Thanks to the prophet for elaborating on it, he explained, a good deed is like planting a tree knowing full well that the beneficiaries of the shade and fruit from the ( future) tree are not us.

Our own internal reward is the “worthy feeling” we will earn by making the world a better place for everyone. A sense of security and a sense of feeling home are the greatest values we can give to fellow humans, that is one of the most primal needs of humanity.  

On my part, as you may have witnessed over the last 20 years, I have dedicated myself to that purpose, and leave the results to the will of Allah. Now, several Muslims under the leadership of Ambassador Islam Siddiqui have come together to bring about a positive clearly defined and measurable changes.

I am tasked with the responsibility to change the perceptions about Muslims, right now a majority of Americans do not see Muslims favorably, and we hope to gradually turn that around.  We are determined to change perceptions about Muslims. In a few years Muslims will not be an open season to politicians to heap insults, those who resort to it will meet the same fate as they would if they hurl it on Jewish and African Americans. Our goal is simply to be treated equally in all aspect of life. Period.

Our goal is to build a cohesive America where none of us have to live with apprehension, tension, suspicion or fear of the other. It is the land of the free and the brave. We hope to earn our dignified social, political and religious space in the U.S and cherish it with fellow Americans.

A press release follows with the announcement of the organization and an invitation will be sent to you for the launch of the organization.  If you visit the following Blog and register your email address on the top right box, you will automatically get the invitation. www.AmericanMuslimInstitution.com  

If this makes sense to you, please join us in advancing the work.

My writings will continue at Huffington Post, Dallas Morning News and other Newspapers and will continue as a commentator on Fox and other TV networks - all of them will be at www.TheGhousediary.com.

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse
Executive Director,
American Muslim Institution
110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 508
Washington, DC. 20002

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Siri is a breath of fresh air on Road directions

Siri is a breath of fresh air | The Ghouse Diary.com

 When you turn on the phone for directions, it is Siri who gives you directions to your destination.  In the last four days, I have taken too many wrong turns and have gone on in circles and have surprised myself how I ended up where I started… and the destination also starts getting farther.  I was driving to Bethesda, MD, and it was 18 miles and from the Capitol and I ended up driving 33 Miles.

Washington Roads are like the Politicians who flip, take sharp turns, and abruptly end into one way…  I don’t know if the roads are designed to reflect the politicians or politicians caused the roads to be testy.

That is why, Siri*** is breath of fresh air. She was exceptionally good throughout the day, when she tells me to take the left turn, and I miss it… she does not even comment or scream at me,  instead she pleasantly tells me to take the next left turn at the next intersection!  

How delightful!  If it were a typical husband, wife, father, daughter or mother… they will shout – “You missed it” “how many times do I have to tell you to pay attention” “did it again” “get me out of here” and guess what, the more drama, the more mistakes you make. Thank God for your patience, you successfully resisted screaming back to shut the up.  

Once my daughter, whom I taught driving, screamed at me, “Dad, stop, the light is Red” what do I do? I give the gas and almost had a head on collision.  My good friend did the same too once. I will not say a word about the wife.

We all can learn a lesson from Siri.  She trusts you are still driving and does not say a word and simply moves on. When the driver makes the mistake, don’t make a big deal, just shut up and let the driver drive. The man or woman is already panicky, and don’t add insult to it by your criticism.

On my part, when I am the passenger, I will not panic, nor do I say a word or attempt to put imaginary breaks.  It is called “trusting” - the most difficult thing to do. How many of you trust your loved ones?

Yes, you should not trust each other, if you are screaming at each other. 

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Historical Week for Mike Ghouse, daughter Mina marries Chris

This week has been one of the most eventful weeks for me. Since Friday, I have been attending to non-stop happenings.  I am behind on many things and hope to catch up this coming week.

1. Saturday - My daughter Jasmina Ghouse married Chris Bishop, her love of the life. She has never been this happy before since she has been with Chris. It was one of the most beautiful weddings; I will be posting the video in a few days.  Our entire family is happy with this marriage and we pray for their happiness and a blissful life.

2. Sunday - Was on Fox and Friends about Chattanooga Shootings

3. Monday – Drove from Atlanta to Washington DC

4. Tuesday - Attended Dinner Reception at Department of State and met several people that I have been wanting to.  I will be working with Dr. Islam Siddiqui at our new organization. 

5. Wednesday – Thanks to 10 Million friends who have viewed my profile at Google.  https://plus.google.com/108969690090944956820/about 

6. Thursday – Dinner at Frank Islam’s incredible palace, it was a fund raising dinner for Hillary Clinton.  Debbie and Frank Islam were incredible hosts - beautiful palace, good people and great food.

7. Thursday – Evangelicals and Muslims held a Joint press conference about standing up for each other –Bob Roberts and Imam Magid led the conference and was attended by media and leaders from several Muslim organizations including Adams Center, Isna, MPAC, Shoulder to Shoulder and others. It was held in the Cannon Congressional building. 

8. Friday  - First day with a break – a lot of walking – parking is difficult to get, so parked for two hours at a time about half a mile away, and had to go back twice to move the car to another location.  I hope to search for a place to live. Presently I am living with my friend’s house.

After living in Dallas for nearly 35 years, finally I moved to Washington DC. Dallas remains my home town.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ramadan Mubarak - the essence of Ramadan may be traceable in your faith

This article tracks the general purpose of religion and how each religion can appeal to people of different faiths.  Religions and festivities came into being to bring people together and not divide them. Here we explore Ramadan, two of the major festivals of Muslims.

Whether you are an Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Native American, Pagan, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, and Zoroastrian or from any other tradition, you may feel a sense of connection with the spirit of Ramadan.

 God is a word for the cause that creates, sustains and recycles this universe, and belongs to all that exists and is not the exclusive dominion of anyone.  No matter how and what name you call upon him – he (she or it) cannot be a different causer for each one of us.  

The physical aspect of human journey from the sperm and an egg stage through the death is programmed precisely. The formula is same for all of humanity;    and there is no such thing as a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or other gene.

Regardless of what is being said about origins in terms of evolution, creation or the big bang, the undeniable fact is our existence, and we have to figure out how to live with each other.

When the universe came into being, two main products of the process were Matter and Life.

While the matter is programmed to be in self-balance and functions precisely for which it is designed, like the Sun, Jupiter, Earth or the Moon playing its part, the (human) life on the other hand was not programmed; we were given complete freedom, guidance and intelligence to create our own balance for survival.

A balanced society is where every one of us functions cohesively in small parcels of this big World Wide Web.  It is sustained by respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. If we mess with the web, we mess with ourselves ultimately.  If we mess with the environmental balance we will pay for it, just as we bear the loss of health if we mess with what we eat, drink and smoke. There is a consequence for imbalance.

Birth of Religion

We lose the balance if we don’t trust and lie to each other, rob the other, and not keep the promises we make to fellow beings.   This is when religion appears; it is the love of the creator for his creation, just as a mother loves her children –someone among us will rise and restore that balance.  Didn’t Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and other masters restore the righteousness and balance in the society?  I hope you can relate with this thought in your own scriptures and legends.

An identical spiritual wisdom emerges in different parts of the world simultaneously; the greatest example would be how a mother figures out what to do with her crying baby in the jungles of Amazon or the high society in London.

Indeed, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and as a corollary I would say, faith is in the heart of the believer, and every religion is dear to its believer.  

Religion is about love for fellow beings, a majority of us in every religion get that right but for a few, who keep messing up the cohesiveness of the society. Those few are not an identifiable group, but the infraction in each one of us when we become biased towards the others.  Religion is never the problem; it is the individuals who don’t get their religion right are the problem.

Ramadan and you.

From the moment we are born to the last rites of our life, and every moment in between is laden with rituals, even though some of us may deny it. Whether we go to the gym, eat, sleep, wear clothes, drive or talk on the phone, we follow rituals.

Rituals signify the milestones of our daily life. Every significant moment of the day is a ritual. It is an unwritten way of measuring our progression, a memory pattern to bring discipline to our actions.

Discipline is necessary to do things on time, manage personal relationships, drive to a destination or keep within budget. The result of disciplined behavior is worthwhile for most people. When we are joyous, whether we are a theist or not, we have to express that sentiment, otherwise a sense of incompleteness lingers in our hearts.

The spiritual masters have captured the human gravity towards rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religions. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with our environment.
Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life. Fasting is one of the five key rituals that Muslims around the world observe.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is generally observed with a ritual precision; it is an annual training or a refresher. It requires one to abstain from food, drink, intimacy, ill-will, ill-talk, ill-actions and other temptations from dawn to dusk, every day for a month. One has to rise above his or her baser desires. Islam gifts this month to its followers to inculcate discipline to bring moderation to their daily lives. Twenty five hundred years ago, Buddha, the enlightened one taught that human suffering is caused by unrestrained desire to possess and had recommended a middle path, and the same recommendation was made by Prophet Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago.

Although Ramadan is popularly known in the west for its culinary delicacies and fancy iftars (ceremonial breaking of fast at sun down), the spirit and intent of Ramadan lies in a human transformation in a month-long inner spiritual journey of finding oneself in tune with spirituality.

Hindus can see that transformation in nine days of fasting during Navaratri, the Jains in 8-10 days of fasting during Paryushana, Christians during 40 days of lent, Jews for 7 days around Yom Kippur….likewise you find fasting is a way of life in most traditions.

God has no need for the hunger or thirst of someone who hurts others, violates their dignity or usurps their rights, said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The fasting of the stomach must be matched by the fasting of the limbs. The eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet all have their respective fasts to undergo. The tongue's temptations, for example -- lies, backbiting, slander, vulgarity and senseless argumentation -- must be challenged and curbed to maintain the integrity of the fast.

Consciousness of behavior and vigilance over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the heart focuses on the attachment to the divine. That is when Ramadan really becomes a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas or Dussera goes beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity and caring.

True fasting is self-purification; and from this comes a rich inner life that bring about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy -- values that are indispensable for the success of the community.

Knowing about hunger is different from knowing hunger. Empathy is not an intellectual equation; it is a human experience. Our hardness of heart often springs from our distance from the human condition of others. The poor, sick, disenfranchised, oppressed -- we rarely walk a mile in their shoes, not even a few steps. "Rest assured," cautioned one teacher, "if you do not taste what it feels like to be hungry, you will not care for those who are."

Ramadan will come and go with such stealth that we cannot but be reminded of our mortality. What is it that we value and why? Habits, customs, even obsessive behavior like smoking can be curtailed with relative ease in the face of a higher calling.

For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other faiths. More about Ramadan at www.Ramadanexclusive.com

What can you do?

Unless we connect with fellow humans, and unless they can relate with us,  our faith, philosophy and traditions, we will remain disconnected with the society. 

This article is about understanding and developing a sense of shared destiny of humanity to create cohesive societies where no human has to feel alienated from others. It is based on Quran's wisdom in 49:13.

You may disagree with a few premises, and I invite you to counter them, so together we can develop better understanding to live and let others live. 

I hope you'd would like this, and if you do,  please share it with your Non-Muslim and Muslim friends. We at America Together Foundation are committed to finding solutions through patience, kindness and education. Our goal is to learn about each other and work on mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. 

I hope you want the good message to reach out to a maximum number of people, particularly non-Muslims, that's who we focus on. 

The article is published in several news papers:
  1. Op-Ed News - Ramadan for Christians, Jews, Hindus and others http://www.opednews.com/articles/Ramadan-for-Christians-Je-by-Mike-Ghouse-ATHEIST_Bahai_Buddhist_Christian-Universalism-150716-714.html
  2. Counter Currents - Interfaith Ramadan,  The Essence...  http://www.countercurrents.org/ghouse160715.htm
  3. Saddahaq - Interfaith science of Ramadan traceable in your faith  https://www.saddahaq.com/interfaith-science-of-ramadan-the-essence-may-be-traceable-in-your-faith

God willing, it will be published in Huffington Post, Arab Daily News and several other sites across the world.  Alhamdu Lillah, the media has been good to us and we will continue to populate the article on the internet.
We need to continue this work and need your support.  We need to raise $60k thru December, all supporters will be listed on the website www. AmericansTogether.org

Please donate generously for this non-profit 501 (c) Organization

Let the spirit of Ramadan develop an understanding and respect for each one of God’s creation – that is all of us. Ramadan Mubarak!
Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.   Info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings atTheGhouseDiary.com 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Goodbye to Dallas, and why am I (Mike Ghouse) moving to Washington D.C.,

When I complete this, I will take off this sentence.
Sunday, July 13, 2015 - As I was driving off with my U-Haul truck all packed up,  I could not resist going back to the office one more time. I lodged myself on the furniture I had left, and looked through the window, so many memories were coming alive! I thanked the unknown for being good to me thru good and bad times and prayed in peace and joy, and left the place with a heavy heart.
What brought me to Dallas? It was my friend Everett Blauvelt! Who is a father figure to me. He meant much to me and sadly passed away at 97 a few years ago, other than him, the only person I have known the longest in the US is my sister -his daughter Mary for nearly 38 years along with Lili and Becky for 35 years each. Lili picked me up from the Airport on the day and she was a gracious host – I ate almost all the Vietnamese foods I can, I remember walking Becky to the spring ridge elementary school in Richardson and years later I walked my own son Jeff and daughter Mina to the same school. 

While I passed thru I-30 by the Fair Park, I saw the building I worked, it was my first job with Lewis Fire Equipment – DW Lewis was my boss, a great guy. It is people like him that make people love Americans. I have learned so much from him. Delores, Inga, David, Earl, Tim, Gary were all a good group of people.

I enjoyed working with these men and women, and they have become my favorite bossess in Dallas. They are Mar'sue Haffner, Kathy Joplin, Mike Davis, Mark Ferguson, Bob Hafer and Jim Jenne.

A few people that I have always admired and continue to appreciate are;  Rita Clarke, Davendra D Maini, Harbans Lal, Bill Matthews, Basheer Ahmed, 

My friends in spirit are; Len & Janet Ellis, Mark and Yuri Hernandez, Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk and Joshua Frenk, Imam Zia Sheikh, Petra Weldes, OS Modgil, Amer Suleman, 

Made several friends at University of Dallas, my Alma-Mater, and now realize that there are a whole lot of more people I know who are from the same school, off hand its Ashraf Hemani, John Hammond, Satish Gupta and several others.

Some of the Desi friends I know the longest are; Vinod,  Mathur, Shabnam and OS Modgil, Maliha and Nadir, Talib's family, Shiraz, Adil and Nosheen Khan, Vina and Ghanshyam Dave... Mary Ann and Josh,  it is quite a long list... I just realized that I have too many good friends in Dallas. I won't be able to write all the names but I have them all on my phone - 2800 of them!
The best time of my life was spent here between family, friends and the communities. Met my first wife Ella and we have two great kids, Jeff and Mina, Jeff is married to Fern and they have a baby Jayden who is two now. Mina is getting married next week to Chris. Najma was my 2nd wife, and we did a lot of things together and finally she did not survive the Cancer. I am now married to Yasmeen, a great woman to live with. 

Dallas has been a blessing to me - over the years I have developed relationships with people from Atheists to Zoroastrians and every one in between. Indeed, I have been to almost all the places of worship and it has been a good relationship with people of all faiths and no faiths. Indeed, its over 45,000 people on my list in every grouping you can imagine.  I love people and feel good when I connect with them.

While driving out of Dallas - I was literally seeing the movie of myself, repeating from something I saw in a movie called Defending your life with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep; I might want to see that movie again. You might consider it too… Any way, it was nearly 18 hours of drive and was able to go back to much of my life in Dallas, a great life experiencing every aspect of it; khatta, meetha, Khara, sada,  pheeka, teekha aur kadwa,
I have a dream, that one day in our life time; you and I will wake up to a cohesive world, where no human has to live in tension, apprehension or fear of the other. Indeed, that was the dream of all the spiritual masters of the world, and that is what the creator wants – all pieces of his creation to function together smoothly.
That balance is lost when greed, fear and arrogance takes us over. To restore that harmony, all of us have to do our share of the work. If we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
God willing, I will put together programs, seminars and workshops for my fellow Americans, Presidential Candidates, Senators, Congresspersons, Lawmakers, and the people in public life to learn to respect the otherness of others (Pluralism), America has come a long way in fulfilling the vision our founding fathers, that all men are equal, and we have a few more miles to go to live and let others live.
Thank you for all the wishes and nostalgic notes and comments you have showered on me, It was nice… I stopped several times during my trip and acknowledged each comment. I reached Louisville at Midnight on July 13, 2015, Yasmeen and I will go to Atlanta on Wednesday and from there I will fly to Washington, D.C.on Monday, July 20
I have been planning to move to Washington, D.C. for the last four years. Finally the time has come.
Thanks for all the support you have given me.

Mike Ghouse

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

United Voices for America - Saudi Gazette by Tariq Al-Maeena

Note: At this blog, only articles written by me are published, but when others write about me, I include them as well. This article is based on our press release, thanks to Tariq A. Al-Maeena and Saudi Gazette - Mike Ghouse

Last updated: Tuesday, July 07, 2015 5:04 PM
United Voices for America

Tariq A. Al-Maeena

The United States of America recently celebrated its 239th birthday on July 4.  What is not so well known is that Muslims have been an integral part of American heritage. With the declaration of American independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslims.

Morocco, a Muslim country, was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States of America, signing the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, the first of its kind. Next came Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic, followed by the Muslim king Tippu Sultan, the King of Mysore State now in India. Sultan’s congratulatory letter to America remains preserved in a French library. He celebrated America’s independence by bursting firecrackers in his home state of Srirangapatna.

So what does July 4th mean to Muslims?  Mike Ghouse a dynamic human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day through the NGO World Muslim Congress, says that “it means everything and the biggest thing is freedom. Islam is indeed about freedom of conscience, justice and liberty."

He adds that the Pledge of Allegiance is one of the most cherished statements for Muslims: "One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." There are several verses in the Holy Qur’an that assert those values, so it’s like coming home for Muslims.

The concept of equality is etched and nurtured in the Muslim psyche in every ritual and spiritual practice of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered the following words in his last sermon: "All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action." Muslims hold this declaration close to their hearts.

America’s founding fathers had a vision and laid the groundwork for a sustainable cohesive America for centuries to come: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

However, that has not always played well with some racist elements and opportunists.  As Mike reminds us, Donald Sterling, the basketball billionaire, and Don Imus, the popular American radio host, and several others faced severe retribution for racial slurs.

In recent years, American Muslims have become an easy target for abuse without any consequence. Some US presidential candidates top the list for bigotry, having said that they would not hire a Muslim in their cabinet.

Last week, Congressman Peter King (R-NY), whom I suspect to be a closet AIPAC card-carrying member, took to the airwaves to send a message to American-Muslims ahead of the 4th of July weekend.  His message is so offensive that if it was said to or about any other American minority group, there would have been an uproar. But because the targets of his bigotry were Muslims, there was not much of a reaction or waves of condemnation.

In a radio interview Congressman King, who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, warned of an imminent attack by a terrorist from within the Muslim community during the Independence Day celebrations. Playing down the terrorist actions of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine people in a church in Charleston, SC, King also disregarded new research by the think tank New America and the New York Times which found that white supremacists and non-Muslim homegrown extremists have killed far more Americans than Muslim radicals.

Why do Peter King and other lawmakers feel that it is acceptable to lie about and attack Muslim communities in the USA?  Because they think that American Muslims will not fight back, they think Muslims cannot hurt them on election day, and they think Muslims will just sit back and take it.

United Voices for America, another NGO operating in the US is dedicated to defeating political bigotry and the anti-Muslim movement. And they have taken an issue with this racial stereotyping by Peter King. They should be supported for their stance.

As Mike says: “America is one of the most beautiful things that has happened to Muslims. As American Muslims, we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in the US Constitution.”  And to do that, American Muslims should not continue to be slurred by racists such as Peter King and make their voices heard on election day.

— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena

Results for Muslims

Dallas, Texas, July 4, 2015 --  It has been a very successful day today, our press release, "Happy 4th - Muslims are an integral part of American Heritage," has made it to 70+ Newspaper and still counting, we hope it will make it to 100 by Sunday. 

Nothing will change if you do nothing about it.  Our goal is to change the false perceptions about Muslims - and it won't happen by itself, we have to do something about it.

The most 
pragmatic thing to do is to interact with fellow Americans and fellow humans, so they can see you are not what the media portrays Muslims to be. This was how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) established his credentials - by earning the trust of people around him by being truthful, just, honest, and trustworthy, indeed he was called Amin by fellow humans who were not Muslims, and if we follow that example conflicts will fade and solutions will emerge.

The second pragmatic thing to do is to let the world know that you care about fellow beings, and do your share of work for the safety, security, peace and harmony of every member of the society at large.  God in Quran repeats innumerable times that if your care for your fellow beings, you need not worry about your future. 

We spent the whole night and the day in sending the press releases to news media, and am pleased to share the results; 

  • 70 news outlets have published the news ( listed below)
  • 20 websites have published the press release
  • 25 Yahoo groups have received the emails

For every negative news, we will post positive news.

Time to rejoice, thanks to the media for carrying the following news, this is our effort towards changing perceptions about Muslims.  The more good we can upload, the more it offsets the negativity. It takes time and money to carry on this effort.

Please donate generously - our goal is to raise $60,000 thru December this year, all donations of over $100 will be listed by the name, and smaller donations will be lumped as general donors at www.AmericanTogether.org- this site on the left panel from the moment money starts flowing. 

Please donate: http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/

America Together foundation a non-profit 501 (c) (3) entity 
your donations are tax deductible.
Scroll down for the press release
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American Muslims consider July 4th as one of their cherished holidays. We uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in the U.S. constitution.

Happy 4th - Muslims are an integral part of American Heritage

July 4, 2015, Washington, D.C. - "America is the greatest nation on the earth and indeed, Muslims are a part of the American Heritage since the day America was born, Upon declaration of our independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslims and one of them was a Muslim from India.”  Mike Ghouse, President of America Together Foundation.

Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States of America, and signed the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, the first of its kind. Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic, was the next to recognize American independence (February 26, 1782) and Tipu Sultan, the King of Mysore State (India) was the third. 

“America means everything to Muslims, and the biggest thing is freedom. Muslim Americans have every reason to claim July 4th as a Muslim Holiday. It has given us life, liberty and paved the way in pursuit of our happiness. There is no other country in the world that offers genuine freedom, freedom of speech and of conscience.”

The concept of equality is etched and nurtured in the Muslim psyche in every ritual and spiritual practice of Islam.  Prophet Muhammad delivered similar words in his last sermon as are in our immortal declaration of independence.  ." Muslims hold this declaration close to their hearts and as American Muslims, "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

The raging inner battle among Americans to keep the state and church apart resonates with Muslims living in America as Quran speaks out to them, 49:13- "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware." Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of the otherness of other and appreciate a different point of view without having to agree with it.

Honoring merit appeals to Muslims, you can be who you want to be and Muslims gloat about their ability to raise on the basis of their merit. The Prophet tells his own daughter that she will not get a free pass to paradise because she is a daughter of the prophet; she has to earn it on her own through good deeds to fellow beings, such is the emphasis placed on merit and individual responsibility. That is what capitalism, democracy and America are all about.

Immigrants in general and a Muslims in particular love the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty. They see the wholesomeness of justice in America and they love America for it. An observant Muslim recites at least 17 times a day that God alone is the judge and we must refrain from judging others.

As American Muslims we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in the U.S. constitution. Our faith reinforces the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."

Islam is indeed about freedom of conscience, justice and liberty.  You can read the full story at AmericansTogether.org