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Saturday, May 14, 2016

American Muslims Rally for Hillary Clinton

April 24, 2016, Washington, DC –- Hundreds of Muslims from Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia gathered at the Shady Grove Campus of University of Maryland in Rockville, and  were joined by fellow citizens who were Hindus, Jews, Christians, Sikhs  and others  for the “American Muslims for Hillary” rally.  What a rally it was!  510 people participated in the event given the short notice and the event competing with beautiful outdoor weather.
Muslims came to show their support.  Some of them were Republicans and some were supporters of Bernie, and some were independent, but together they came for a higher purpose; to support the idea of an inclusive America.
Some of us will certainly do the same for Bernie Sanders, and some would do this for Trump, if he were to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all, with an emphasis on liberty and justice for all.
The American Muslims have made a commitment to begin all their civic programs with the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem.  To make it even better, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts honored the event with the color guard and the pledge of allegiance.  The Scouts and Zaynab Girls singing ensemble are non partisan, and did this as a service to the community.
The Key note speaker, Congressman Elijah Cumming’s opening statement was, “When I saw those Muslim girls in Hijab take the Pledge of Allegiance, Salute the Flag and Sing the National Anthem, a chill ran through my body” and he wished whole of America could see this heartwarming sight.
Congressman Cummings emphasized the importance of getting out and vote; this is a critical election to elect the right leader to lead the nation at this juncture.
Hon. John Podesta, Chairman of the committee to elect Hillary Clinton for President focused on inclusive polices of her.  He narrated the story, when President Bill Clinton was visiting the 9/11 site in a morning, and a man standing nearby was crying, when the President approached him the man identified himself an Egyptian American Muslim, and was crying and praying over the loss of lives of 2998 Americans, and Mr. Podesta said, the President wished that fellow Americans saw this.  Indeed, we are all in this together in our suffering and in our joys.
Tom Perez started out with a powerful story telling one of the many times he experienced the ‘Best’ as well as the ‘Worst’ in America.  He said President Obama dispatched him to visit the construction site of the Mosque in Murfreesboro Tennessee where fellow Americans were protesting against building a Mosque, and to make sure no laws were violated.  The story ends with the ‘Best’ action in America when the Mosque was finally built and opened to the public; the Rabbis, Pastors and clergy from other faiths welcomed it by attending the opening ceremonies.
This was an initiative of Muslim leadership led by Dr. Islam Siddiqui and Mr. Tufail Ahmed, and was made possible with the help of Terry Lierman, former chairman of the Democratic party of Maryland.
Tufail Ahmed, the Muslim Community leader said, “His (Mr. Lierman) magnificent effort to bring three major speakers in one place is appreciated by the Muslim community, indeed, it was a good team effort.”
Sultan Chowdhury adds, “We achieved our objective of making a foot-print for the Muslims in the political process.  Muslims of all diverse background were in the audience.  We’re on the radar, and have to move on!”
Tariq Hussain observes, “how proud he felt when he saw those self confident, Hijab wearing teens took the Pledge of Allegiance, salute the Flag and sang the National Anthem.”
As an independent voter, I attended the rally and am pleased with the outcome; there is support for inclusive attitudes.
A few months ago, my interfaith friend, Mr. Gary Sampliner asked us in a meeting, what can we do to ease the tension for Muslims created by the current political rhetoric? I cannot tell you how good it felt, and how much hope it gave.  Indeed, it restores trust in humanity and the promise of America that we are all created equal. The most important thing for Muslims at this time is an acknowledgement that each one of us has the same aspirations and dreams, and the same need for a safe and a secure environment to live and let live. What the bad guys do should not reflect on Muslims or anyone who has not committed a crime.
If we punish the wrong doer, justice and trust is restored in the society.  That is the right thing to do.  On the other hand if you blame the religion, what happens? Not a thing! You cannot beat, kill, hang, shoot, kick or bury the religion, it is intangible for God’s sake.  No justice or relief is restored for the society, and people would remain apprehensive.
In today’s rally – Muslims got that acknowledgement from Congressman Elijah Cummings, Hon. John Podesta and the Labor Secretary Tom Perez. They stood in front of the banner that said, “American Muslims for Hillary” and the room was festive with Patriotic Songs played continuously starting with Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism and interfaith matters, and is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

London’s New Mayor – Fox News’ Charles Payne and Mike Ghouse

Congratulations to Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London.
Hours before the votes were counted, I was I was on Fox News with Charles Payne and Zuhdi Jasser about Sadiq Khan’s possible victory.  Zuhdi was opposed and expressed his concerns, whereas I supported and cheered the democratic process and stood by my decision. Those of you who are moderates and or to the left, please respect Zuhdi’s point of view without having to agree with him, an Islamic tradition in case you have forgotten it.   We have to be respectful to others point of view that is the highest form of democracy.
Here is the link to Fox news: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYhOqT18RBQ
Thursday, May 5, 2016 – 6:10 PM Live
SADIQ-KHAN-1Mike Ghouse’ talking points with Charles Payne on Fox News.
Tonight is one of the biggest nights for Democracy!
It is historical and even more important that it is happening in the United Kingdom, a nation of aristocrats, who have risen above it to possibly elect Sadiq Khan, the son of a bus driver, and belonging to a minority community; Muslims.
I will probably cry with joy, it is not only me, but the entire world will join me in doing that, not because he is a Muslim, but because United Kingdom has finally joined the civilized world led by America, where your race, religion don’t matter, but your capabilities do matter.
When Barak Obama was elected president on November 4, 2008 – who did not cry? By electing Obama, Americans proved once for all, that we are a nation of righteousness and we are not petty
We have a few great examples from history – when Prophet Muhammad anointed a freed slave – Hazrat Bilal to be prayer caller – Muezzin, at that time on the higher spiritual pedestal, and whose Arabic was not up to the mark, but the Prophet laid the foundation of knocking out arrogance and establishing ability as the criteria.
I am proud our democracy and now, the democracy of the United Kingdom for giving value for the one who deserves.
Trump can turn the tide around, and build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. I will be happy to guide him through. I am a genuine pluralist, and pluralism runs through my veins.
Mike Ghouse is a speaker thinker and a writer with the Center for Pluralism aka America Together Foundation.
A great statement by Sadiq Khan, “I am the west….” I hope we expand on this, and I certainly will

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker,
Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism,human rights, India, Israel-Palestine,motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) at www.TheGhousediary.com

Rockville, MD – Interfaith Meeting on how to deal with violent crimes

As a Muslim I don’t want sympathies, what I want is what everyone wants, a sense of security and letting me live my life as others live theirs. Throw me in a jail for the crimes I commit, but don’t blame me or my religion for the acts someone else commits. As fellow Americans this is what you can do for the other members of the family of faiths, and become a consistent voice to propagate the following narratives…. in the text below. Mike Ghouse
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May 12, 2016, Rockville, MD – The Faith Leaders response team of Montgomery County’s Faith community working group held their monthly interfaith meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville.

The MCPD Asst. Chief Darryl McSwain and Asst. Chief Luther Reynolds, and MC Fire Chief, Scott Goldstein shared their perspectives in developing safe communities.  Both the departments offer facility orientation programs, that is,  training and preparing the members of worship places to ‘what if’ scenarios in case of a gunman walking in,  a fire breaks out or any other untowardly events.

Response Team Portrait
Montgomery County Faith Leaders – Photo Courtesy: Chuck Lee

Rev. Dr. Carol Flett facilitated the meeting attended by nearly 30 individuals representing many faith communities.

A member from each table shared the general conversation of his or her given table.  From our table, we shared the needs of various communities. Imam Hadji Sall from Silver Springs Mosque talked about the space needs for his Mosque, he and I have agreed to have a discussion and present the possible solutions to the group. There was an acknowledgement needed for bullying that goes on with Hindu kids along with Muslim and Sikh kids, Richa from the Chinmaya Mission shared that information.

Rabbi Gerry Serotta, Executive director of interfaith council of Washington shared about the upcoming Interfaith Bridge Builders Awards on June 2, event as a head of the Interfaith council of Metropolitan Washington, one of the pastors shared that they pray for the both the victims and the offenders in case of crises.  Of course, Scott Goldstein shared what the Fire Department does in case of crises, he made it little humorous about catching the animals.

I found the following powerful quote from the signature line of Rev. Dr. Carol Flett worth sharing, as it resonated with the theme of the verse 49:13 from Quran that I have been elaborating on for over 15 years. It is a Martin Luther King Quote, “”…I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.”
AjaibSinghSiddhu-MikeGhouse ImamHodji-MikeGhouse

It was a joy to meet with Dr. Ajaib Singh Siddhu and his wife Hema, who are also friends with Dr. Harbans Lal since their college days. Hema said she and Harbans graduated from the same college same year one got the PhD and the other D. Lit.  Dr. Lal is a father figure to me, and I have always admired him and continue to seek his wisdom from time to time.

Great food, the families brought in so many varieties of vegetarian food that I have enjoyed at the Jain Temples in the past.


I am pleased to propose to the group, that in one of the upcoming meetings, we can facilitate a talk on the First Amendment; we will also hold a workshop on First Amendment at our facility at the United Methodist building soon. There is a continual need to understand the first amendment on a regular basis.  Please let me know the first time slot available to do this.

The discussion on how we are dealing with the recent violent incidents in Paris, Brussels, Lahore and our County, with members of our congregations. Let’s discuss practical ways we can reduce anxiety and xenophobia in our own communities, and continue to build a socially cohesive and compassionate county.
I am pleased to share my write up.

Dealing with violent incidents in Paris, Brussels, Lahore and here in the United States

The bottom line of every religion, government and the society is to create cohesive societies that function well, where rule of law is the norm, and where no one has to live in fear, or apprehension of the fellow beings.

It is our duty to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Hate is one of the many sources of disrupting peace in a society, and it is our responsibility to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it.  Ultimately, my safety hinges on safety of others around me.
There is wisdom in the saying, “Sin is the problem and not the sinner” when we focus on the sin, there is a chance to redeem the individual from the sin, where as if we attack the sinner, we will kill the chances of redemption. The idea is to single out the cause for the situation and work on finding solutions.

Similarly, we single out the criminal responsible for the crime,  and not  blame his or her spouse, parents, siblings, kids, family members, rabbi, imam, pastor, Pundit or religious leader, mayor of the town, governor of the state, president of the country or the religion.

If a rapist is running around in our neighborhood, everyone gets apprehensive and makes sure the doors are locked, alarm is set and family members are guarded. The moment that creep is caught, everyone sighs and takes a deep breath of relief.

What’s happened here is,  the “trust” is restored in the community; people feel safe and start living their normal life again.  There is nothing like feeling secure.  Indeed, Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) work was to build secure societies and he likened the sense of security to mother’s lap where the child feels secure. No matter what is happening to him/her, the child knows he or she is safe in her mother’s lap, the child knows mother will take care of him/her.  Mother is one’s security and trust is the key.

The Prophet vision of a civilized society was when a single woman loaded with Jewelry and fine clothing could go from the City of Madinah to the City of Damascus and return without being harassed, chased or robbed of her dignity. That was the kind of civility he had envisaged.   A majority of Muslims got that message right and have become the source of such civility; however a few did not get it and we have to work with them.

Those who did not get their religion right, no matter what religion, region or race they belong to cause death and destruction. The list is endless; Brussels, Paris, Grand Bassam, Ankara, Gaza, Mumbai, Bali, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, Iraq and several more across the globe including the latest rampages of ISIS.   Here at home we have San Bernardino along 354 Mass murders in 2015.   Individuals wear suicide vests and hurt others, while nations wrap mega ton bombs to their fighter jets and destroy nations and cities.  All of us should reflect on the ugliness embedded in a few men from each one of our faiths.

There is not a religion out there that preaches discrimination or hatred for others.  Isn’t that the case with Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism or any faith?  Religion doesn’t teach, but the Guardians make a villain out of God towards others. God is not a villain, he/she/ it is about justness, fairness, equity and kindness to the entire creation.

What can we do to cut down the fear mongering and pitting every one against Muslims?
As a Muslim I don’t want sympathies, what I want is what everyone wants, a sense of security and letting me live my life as others live theirs. Throw me in a jail for the crimes I commit, but don’t blame me or my religion for the acts someone else commits.

As fellow Americans this is what you can do for members of the family of faiths, and become  a consistent voice to propagate the following narratives;
  1. Individuals or cult leaders are responsible for their crimes and not anyone else.  Let’s not even blame their parents, pastors, mayors, or their religion or their nation.
  2. We bring justice by punishing the criminals and restore trust in the society, no one but the criminal is responsible for his or her acts.
  3. Religion is like the Nuclear power, in the right hands it is beneficial to the mankind, but in the wrong hands, it brings death and destruction.   Neither religion is bad nor the nuclear power; it is the users and abusers who are good or bad.
  4. We absolve religion from any blame, as religion is an intangible entity which you cannot kill, kick, murder, slaughter, hang, shoot or bury. Trust cannot be restored in the society by barking aimlessly in the dark.
  5. War on terror is a dumb idea; it should be war on ignorance through education and knowledge.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine, motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) at www.TheGhousediary.com

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mike Ghouse reacts to Osama Bin Laden’s death

Mike Ghouse reacts to Osama Bin Laden’s death and urges President Bush to repent.
On Monday, May 9, 2016 we will be celebrating end of darkness, as it marks the 5th anniversary of the death of Osama Bin Laden, the most wanted terrorist in the world in our recent history. He was caught, shot and slipped into the open ocean so no one can trace him ever.
This has special significance to Mike Ghouse; a Muslim American committed to building cohesive societies and had made commitment on the day of 9/11/2001.   His reaction was captured by Fox News’ Melissa Cutler.
Five years ago, the most wanted terrorist in the world was brought to an end; he was shot and his body was let go in the wide open ocean.

This brought a major closure to the families of 2998 fellow Americans killed in the 9/11 terrorist act. They know now that the terrorist murderer is gone.
It brought closure for me personally as well.  The story began on 9/11/2001 on the day of 9/11, I was on the radio all day long trying to bring some coherence to public out of the chaos created with 9/11, got the local mayors, religious and civic leaders on the air.  By the end of the day, the public did what we suggested – Donate blood, Fund raisers for the men and women in the uniform, and interfaith prayers and the clarity that we have an individual who is responsible and we were going to get him.
Thanks to President Obama and his team for bringing closure to this anguish, and thanks to him for restoring the rule of law that was shamelessly violated. Osama Bin Laden was the fountain head of terrorism and he was taken out with no ‘collateral damage.’
The rule of law is;  you punish the criminal, and not his spouse, siblings, kids, family members, friends, religion, clergy, mayor of your town or the nation. We terrorized two nations and harassed innocent people around the world, we created unwanted anxiety in the hearts and minds of fellow Americans. We owe an apology to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and bring a closure to our untapped guilt and at least find peace within.
I urge President Bush to be man enough to repent for the deliberate destruction and deaths of innocent people on his watch, thousands of them if not a million. The world will forgive him if the gathers up the courage and listens to Jesus and becomes a peace maker as repentance.
Salvation to each one of us comes through repentance, forgiveness and or punishment.
My personal story of 9/11 and its many variations is read over endlessly. http://www.theghousediary.com/2014/09/11/911-my-personal-journey-from-2001/
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampoliticsterrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine, motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) atwww.TheGhousediary.com