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Friday, October 9, 2015

Meeting Dr. Ben Carson - Mike Ghouse

Meeting Dr. Ben Carson | www.TheGhouseDiary.com 

Mother Teresa had said, “If you want to make peace with your enemies, go talk with them, talking among friends won’t change a thing.”  Of course Ben Carson is not our enemy, he is just misinformed and making an attempt to wiggle out of it. We need to recognize and appreciate the desire to correct himself, or distance himself from what was said earlier is a good step forwards.

Dr. Ben Carson and Mike Ghouse in Washington, DC

His security guard brought him to the special VIP (don’t know why they called it VIP) reception to the Bloomberg lounge at the National press club. He stood outside the door, and I rushed to him and shook hands and said, I am a moderate Muslim, one of the 6 million of American Moderate Muslims and am with American Muslim Institution. Dr. Carson, I understand what you said about Muslims, you probably had read or heard and simply passed it on.  I was hoping you would say the right thing, and if you need to say it flawlessly, anything about Islam or Muslims, we will be a resource for you. Let me know what I can do for you.  He appreciated it and took my card.

Then at the reception, I repeated my question, and he said, he's got my card. I said, as a presidential candidate I would like to see you say the right things and earn the respect of American Muslims. I'll be happy to coach you on Islam.  However, I must add, finding the truth is your own responsibility.

Rabia Ahmed from MPAC was there, we agreed that I'll video tape her, and she would reciprocate it. I did my part, and will find out if she has done hers.

I thought I had an opportunity to go for the third interaction, but they chose to have the question written on the Card. I wrote in big bold letters, THE MUSLIM THING” , “Do you verify the information before you speak up? Obviously, the information about Muslims missed your verification, and if you don’t have any one, I will be happy to be your coach, Mike Ghouse, American Muslim Institution.”

But there were too many questions and mine was not answered, however, he addressed it differently on another question, “He said something to the effect, and asked, "what is wrong in not supporting a candidate whose loyalty is to other laws.” He bungled up again; first of all, no candidate will go beyond the filing stage if his loyalty is not to America or American Laws, why would he assume that a candidate will reach that far? He is not aware of the process of the nomination.

If I had a chance, I would have made this statement, “As American Muslims we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. Our faith reinforces the idea of one nation with liberty and justice for all.” 

Two reporters caught up with me right after my 2nd interaction,  and I had an extensive conversation with them, not sure if they will report.  I offered them the same thing that I offered Dr. Carson.

Don't push people in to a ditch that they cannot get out of it. If we brand someone as a hate monger, we are essentially committing them to that position and that would be wrong. We need to believe in the wisdom of Jesus, when he said, “ Condemn the sin and not the Sinner” by doing that we can redeem the person.

His speech was excellent, thank God for a verse from Quran that has been my guidance, which tells not let your bias make you unjust towards others. I was in tune with him most of the time with an open mind. He does speak of a pluralistic America, but I could not square his prejudice against Muslims. I do hope, if he starts believing in verifying information before blurting out, and particularly about Muslims and about other things in general, an aptitude he has to develop, he has a potential to be a good presidential material. 

Republicans hear me out! Those of you who want him to be nominated, you can shape him, and I will be happy to be his coach about Islam and Muslims, it does not mean I would support him, but it simply means, I care what a presidential candidate says about his or her fellow citizens.   As a pluralist, my expertise is in sensitivity training about all traditions including but not limited to Atheism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and paganism. We are all Americans and each one must be respected, and at the end no one should feel alienated or apprehensive of the fellow Americans, particularly a presidential candidate.

This was partially covered by MSNBC and repeated in several news papers - http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/ben-carson-founding-fathers-wouldnt-have-trusted-muslim-president

The other article: http://thearabdailynews.com/2015/09/21/dr-ben-carson-trumps-trump-discriminatory-attitude/

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on IslamPluralismInterfaithpolitics, human rights, foreign policy and building cohesive societies. Mike offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at TheGhousediary.com  

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