Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Muslim’s Christmas, Huffington Post

As a Muslim I will be celebrating Christmas, recommitting myself to listen to Jesus and follow his path. And in my Islamic tradition, I will reflect on chapter 19 of Quraan, dedicated to Maryam, Mother Mary, and pray on his birthday. I will pray that we all honor his message of creating peace and building cohesive societies where no one has to be apprehensive of the other. Amen!

Mike Ghouse is committed to a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.  Mike's work is reflected in several websites and blogs indexed at

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bigotry against Hinduism in Russia

Incredible attack on the Holy Bhagvad Gita

You and I have allowed blatant bigotry to be preached on our land unquestioned and unchecked. The damned thing is contagious and spreading to Russia and other nations. Bigotry exists not because of bigots, but because we have not spoken out against it.

Six years ago in December of 2006, the Archbishop of Russia called Krishna a Satan, and five years ago, the city of Moscow made serious attempts to usurp the land belonging to Krishna Temple. Of course, a few of us wrote about it and now per the news reports, the "Bhagvad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as "an extremist" literature across Russia. A court in Siberia's Tomsk city is set to deliver its final verdict Monday in a case filed by state prosecutors." I would have never thought this day would come, when Bhagvad Gita would be attacked, the sacred text of Hinduism, it is rather a dialogue on reflections of one's conscience. It is one of the best self help books to find answers to the eternal questions about righteousness and one's duty to the self and the world. Hinduism is not a proselyting religion and Bhagvad Gita should not threaten any one of those weak men of religion.

The Holy Qur'aan has been deliberately mistranslated by medieval European Kings to paint Islam in bad light so they can frighten their subjects and buy their loyalty, and of course a Muslim Hilali Khan matched those kings and injected words into the translations that were not in Quraan, he wanted to build up ill-will against Jews and Christians for his presumed gain to restore the Caliphate. He has mistranslated nearly 60 Verses of Quraan. Fortunately there are still 20+ translations that are good, and thank God for that, the Arabic text has remained intact, although a group of proselytizing Christians have made attempts to mis-write Arabic version of Quraan in late eighties and distribute it in Kuwait. The best available translation is by Muhammad Asad, even this needs updating, but a good guide.

The attacks on Quraan and Bhagvad Gita are not based on knowledge but based on selling hate and collecting cash from the gullible congregants who trust the fox that guards the hen, all in the name of the man who taught to tell the truth and love thy enemy.

The good news is this bigotry is controllable, it has afflicted less than a percent of the population, and all of us together have to work on keeping those cancer cells from multiplying and harming our civilization and our civility.

I urge Non-Hindus to pick up the phone and call the Russian Embassy, if you cannot stand up for others, why should anyone stand up for you? The least you can do is fax a few words to their embassy "This is not a good thing" or write your comments at or in the comment section of

Russian Embassy
2650 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington, CD 2007
Tel: 202-298-5700
Fax: 202-298-5735

Please remain polite and ask their government to take responsible action and not let a few among them dictate a national policy. We are a small world, interdependent, interconnected and one fragile unit. Let's preserve it.

When Robert Jeffress, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, John Hagee, Herman Cain, Tom Tancredo, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and a bunch of talk show hosts spewed hate against fellow Americans, very few of us have spoken out against them in public medium, and they take that as an encouragement and spill out more. You and I are further responsible for remaining silent, when they make shameless comments against Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Wicca, GLBT, Hindus and other. This is not the America we want, nor is this world we like to see. We have to enter into a positive dialogue with a singular goal of building cohesive societies where none of us have to live in apprehension of the other.

We hope to resume the workshops on Religion, every religion to remove the myths about each religion.

Mike Ghouse is committed to do his share of building a cohesive world and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His work is indexed at and his current articles can be found at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What should American Muslims do in case of Lowe’s?

 What should American Muslims do in case of Lowe’s?

There is hope for Muslim Americans. We have to look up what Prophet would have done in a situation like this. He was the ultimate peace maker and applied a simple formula; conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance to situations.
We know clearly that evil begins with an individual and acquires support from a few core members. The entire membership of Florida Family Association should not be held accountable for the actions of a few among them who are directly responsible to tear the cohesive fabric of America.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christians, Muslims share ideas on loyalties

We applaud Pastor Steve Odam of Murfreesboro’s central Christian Church for speaking up. Indeed the evil purists in a society when no one speaks up against unjust men and women.

However, let me add that Muslims do not take their pledge to Sharia Law, Sharia in its simplicity is guidance manual to create just societies, and it is human to err, except three Muslim majority nation, no other nation is bent on stoning the adulterer to death or hanging the apostate… because it is not in the Quraan. What those three out of 56 Muslims majority nations practice is a cultural and not religious. Just as most of the western states do not have capital punishment, we in the United States do, still carry that primitive practices, it is our culture and not a western value. You can learn more about Sharia at or directly at

The Quraan says one must be loyal to God, the prophet’s wisdom and the elected leaders with a caveat that the rulers must be just, if not you must speak out against injustice. Islam is pure common sense.

Mike Ghouse for a cohesive AmericaGUEST COLUMN: Christians, Muslims share ideas on loyalties

Lately I've read many times and in many places that a Muslim's first loyalty is to Shariah law, as for example in Marshall Boates' letter to the editor (The DNJ, Dec. 7): "The Muslims' first pledge is to Shariah law. All other authority is subordinate to Shariah law. Therefore Muslims cannot be allowed to defend our country because it is not their highest authority."

I would guess that many if not most of those who make statements like this are church-going Christians. Which puzzles me because they seem not to have thought of equally absolute statements like the apostle Peter's "We must obey God rather than men," when sanctioned by the "council" (local government in Jerusalem) for evangelizing. Christians have ever since referenced this and other similar statements and the history of subsequent encounters with imperial government in the Roman Empire. Repeatedly, in various sporadic persecutions by Roman government, Christians were given the opportunity to acknowledge the government's role as "highest authority." Repeatedly, Christians gave up their lives rather than do so. Religious allegiance has always been a part of the history of the West and Christians have sometimes been pressed to violate their ethics or beliefs by an inordinately dominant government.

These two religions' claim to have a higher authority than government should be seen as a salutary thing, not a problem. They are, while not identical, at least analogous to one another. Christians who understand their faith know implicitly that we hold allegiance to our country and its government only at arm's length, so to speak. It is a secondary allegiance at best. God is our first allegiance, and we may not sacrifice that loyalty on the altar of convenience. Fortunately, in a well run representative republic, there are seldom occasions when a Christian is absolutely pressed to the wall of sacrificing allegiance to God in favor of government or facing the consequences.

Different Christians see the religious/governmental conflicts differently, and it is out of the pacifist heritage against all forms of violence and war that the traditions of affording citizens the opportunity to register as Conscientious Objectors originates.

Certainly Muslims have a higher allegiance than government. The problem lately has come from the misreading by certain Muslims of what that requires them to do when different allegiances clash. There is this aspect to the Islamic tradition, but it is by no means monolithic.

There are thousands of American Muslims who serve in the Armed Forces well and honorably. Rather than the rather simpleminded tactic of excluding service based on one's religion, it may well behoove the Department of Defense to be more attentive to statements like those made by Maj. Nidal Hasan prior to his murderous attacks on service members at Ft. Hood. This is simply common sense, such as the current administration has occasionally demonstrated when attacking terrorists and their leaders in recent events in Pakistan and Yemen for example.

The Christian and Islamic tradition re: Church/State relations are not identical, of course. But, we hold in common, with Jews also, the notion that God is Almighty, and to him alone belongs ultimate authority over the affairs of all. How this is sometimes put into practice reflects our different theologies and traditions. But it is not, in this country anyway, a basis for blanket exclusion from military service based on religion.

Steven Odom is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Murfreesboro and a former community member of The DNJ's Editorial Board.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

That is disingenuous Mr. Tarek Fatah.

That is disingenuous Mr. Tarek Fatah.
Fatah on Honor Killing in Canada

Mr. Tarek Fatah is fully aware and cognizant of the mistransla­tion of the verse 4:34. I am not surprised at him for not even mentioning the correct translatio­n as a caution. He chose to let it ride; it suits his agenda that is downright ingenuous.

I am one of the many who prayed for the well being of Mr. Fatah when he endured cancer. Did the Doctor man condemn his whole body to be trashed for a few cancer cells? Or did he cure the cells and got Mr. Fatah well? It’s like the death penalty in the USA; would he bash the entire US Constituti­on for a few lousy creepy laws on our books? Same goes with Sharia, a few bad applicatio­ns of Sharia, should not make him bash the entire Sharia law. treat what is bad like the good doctors do.

Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar offers another meaning to the translatio­n of the Arabic word "Idrib," traditiona­lly translated as "beat," which has been mis-unders­tood and abused over the centuries by men who would be abusive any way, whether they are Muslim or not. "Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it means 'to go away' either one from the other, may be it meant separation as a process of re-evaluat­ion.

Mr. Fatah, you have rightfully earned a place don’t lose it by. Go get a book and read it; find the truth instead of barking at what is visible.

Here is the information on the translation:

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His work is fully indexed at

In Khaled Hosseini's soul-piercing novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, the character Nana, a poor unwed mother, tells her five-year-old daughter, Mariam: "Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam."

Hosseini's novel is about life in Afghanistan, but in the 30 words above he sums up the way men govern the lives of women across most of the Muslim world. Like Mariam, millions of Muslim girls are told very early in life by their mothers that their place in society is one of submission; submission, not to God, but to man.

This ownership or possession of Muslim women by the men in their families was summed up best by professor Shahrzad Mojab of University of Toronto as "the crude Arabic expression that 'A man's honour lies between the legs of a woman.' "

Hosseini could not have imagined that the fictional characters he created in his novel about Afghanistan in 2007 would come to real life in Canada two years later. Since 2009, the country has been caught in the drama unfolding in court where a father, brother and mother are being tried for the alleged honour killing of three daughters and their step mother. In hushed voices and measured commentary, the media is shedding light on the practice of honour killing and its relationship to Muslim culture and Islam.

Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star sums up the question all non-Muslim Canadians have on their lips, but dare not ask:

"What did the females do that was so deplorable, so unendurable, in the eyes of their family accusers -- if not to the point of homicide, which is for the jury to decide, but to engender the chronic mistreatment that made their existence a misery, as attested to by a slew of witnesses?

Zainab pushed for marriage to a Pakistani man deemed unsuitable -- a union that was dissolved within 24 hours. Sahar had a boyfriend. Both teenagers dressed provocatively when they left the house. Geeti was caught shoplifting. All three chafed against severe restrictions imposed, wanted to be more like their Canadian friends; to date, to socialize, to discard the hijab. And Rona, after two decades in the ménage à trois, reduced to a peripheral role in the family and ejected from her husband's bed -- purportedly, at Tooba's insistence -- had requested a divorce."

Despite the propensity of facts that show honour killings as most prevalent in Islamic societies (with some occurrence among non-Muslim Indians and Christian Arabs) the Muslim leadership in Canada has once again tried to deflect attention from the evidence and denied any links.

First it was the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) who came out with a statement denouncing the use of the term "honour killing," suggesting the use of the phrase "customary killing" instead, as if this would make any difference.

Then on Dec. 2, 60 Muslim organizations came together to denounce the deaths of the four women. However, they refused to acknowledge the links between Islamic teachings and honour killings, instead describing the tragedy as "Domestic violence... in the extreme." They said, "practices such as killing to restore family honour violate clear and non-negotiable Islamic principles."

These self-anointed leaders had a great opportunity to come clean about the links between honour crimes and Sharia law, but instead, they tried to deflect attention and spin-doctor the truth.

Sanction of wife beating

Of course they are right in that the Qur'an does not address the issue of honour killing, but it does sanction the right of a husband to beat his wife. Verse 4:34 of The Qur'an is quite explicit:

"Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them."

Without addressing this verse, which gives sanction to the second-class status of women in Muslim male eyes, a discussion cannot lead to any resolution. The 60 Muslim leaders ducked the issue altogether while not a single reporter from the mainstream media asked them if there was a contradiction between their stated position against domestic violence and their belief in the said verse as God's direction to Muslim men on how to discipline errant wives.

The 60 leaders could have stated explicitly that in the era of the nation state of the 21st century, the verse should not apply and be seen strictly in a historic context. Instead they relied on the timidity of the reporters to escape scrutiny.

Stoning to death for adultery

Wife beating is just one behaviour sanctioned by Sharia law that has led to male violence against Muslim women. The other is the sharia law that sanctions the stoning to death of women committing adultery. Stoning is not sanctioned by the Qur'an, but has been part of Sharia law ever since the wife of Prophet Muhammad; Aisha claimed that a goat inadvertently ate up the Quranic verse sanctioning the stoning to death of women.

Stoning women to death is not restricted to allegations -- proven or otherwise -- of adultery; it is applied to all male-female relationships outside marriage, whether it is teenage girls dating boys or mature single men and women in a civil union.

The fact is many Muslim families in Canada do not permit their teenage daughters to have boyfriends, let alone to fall in love in a serious relationship. Dating boys leaves these girls living in a state of terror because this act alone, or the fact that they held hands with a boy or dared kiss him, let alone have consensual sex, is enough to be considered a transgression that can leave a Muslim girl or young woman vulnerable to harassment, beating, or in the case of Aqsa Parvez and the Shafia sisters, death.

The right to date boyfriends

The mosque leadership in Canada and the 60-odd Muslim leaders should have stated explicitly that Muslim teenage girls or young women have the right to date boys or men, but they didn't. It seems in the eyes of these Canadian Muslims, falling in love can only happen in fiction or the movies, poetry or prose, never in real life.

In their ossified state of mind these leaders of Muslims consider these girls or young women, committing an act of sin and that justifies being reprimanded by the men in the family. Is it any surprise that their fathers, brothers and even mothers beat these girls in their homes? Is it any surprise that Aqsa Parvez died, to be followed so soon by the Shafia family's daughters and stepmother?

At the trial of the alleged killers of the four Afghan women, the crown's honour killing expert, Prof. Mojab, told the court that women embody the honour of the men to whom they belong -- first fathers and brothers, later husbands.

"A woman's body is considered to be the repository of family honour. Honour crimes are acts of violence committed by male family members against female family members who are held to have brought dishonour onto the family.''

She said, "Cleansing one's honour of shame is typically handled by the shedding of blood. It's really about men's need to control women's sexuality and freedom.'' Yet mothers, too, will participate in the crime, Mojab added.

Many Muslims, including the liberal Muslim Canadian Congress, stayed away from the charade put up by Canada's leading Islamist groups. They reminded us of the Muslim leaders who met with then prime minister Paul Martin in the wake of the London bombings to assure him that jihadi terrorism had little to do with Islam. Within months we had the Toronto 18.

Not until the 60 so-called Islamic leaders state that Sharia laws against women's rights are no longer applicable, will they be seen as speaking the truth. Until then, they may be able to fool the gullible liberal media, but not those of us who have witnessed the horrors of Islamist misogyny at close quarters.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Muharram 2011, Imam Hussain and Muslims

The overall theme of the article is the effect of Imam Hussain in Islamic history. There is a variation and I chose not to label it with either denomination, but I have acknowledged it. No Muslim wants Imam Hussain to be monopolized by any one, he belongs to the entire Muslim community as well as the world, he symbolizes the man who would stand up for righteousness risking his own life. That is the moral strength of the Imam Hussain (RA).

Let us learn to see the issue as a larger family issue.

As a Muslim, I am consciously writing, speaking and even thinking like the Muslims who founded the religion. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Caliphs Abu Bakr, Usman, Umar and Ali only knew Muslims, and nothing but Muslim.

We are all one large family with differences and we need to start speaking like a family and not label the differences. What has happened for Fourteen centuries don’t have to be repeated?

If Allah were to line us up on the Day of Judgment, he will smile if someone says he is a ______ Muslim. God will ask, what Muslim? Then God would look at the Prophet for an answer, and the Prophet probably would say, don’t ask me! That’s new to me as well.

Courtesy of Huffington Post:
Mike Ghouse is committed to doing his share of building cohesive societies for the humanity including his own base; Muslims. His work is indexed at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Swat Pakistan- Students depict peace and pluralism

Artful learning: Students depict peace, pluralism through art


With an aim of exploring the concepts of peace and pluralism, students of various institutions from the area turned into artists for a day. Engaged in activities like creating cards, handkerchiefs, fabrics and hand paintings, they thoughtfully conveyed the message of non-violence and harmony.

Organised by the Peace Foundation Development in collaboration with Save the Children on Wednesday, “A Peace Day was celebrated in 60 educational institutions of the area”.

Zainab Fazal, a ninth grader from Government Girls’ High School Mingora told The Express Tribune that she and other students knew the importance of peace and valued it. “We will all strive for stability in the region and that should be the only day forward,” she said.

Art here served as medium for the students to express themselves without fear of consequences. The young artists were successful in giving words to their feelings on the issue.

Muhammad Asim, a student at the Government High School Haji Baba who stood third in the competition, said, “I participated in this activity so that I could help other people understand peace through the world of colours.” His piece depicted religious tolerance towards other religions.

Activities mainly focused on altering violent behaviour patterns and reducing the risk of young children falling prey to extremist ideologies. Some 300 students were also trained.

“It is really important to highlight the importance of peace in schools along with the regular syllabus,” said District Executive Education Officer Sultan Mahmood. “The training was beneficial in helping us realise how to educate students on peace and avoiding violence,” he added.

Mahmood was of the view that promoting peace-driven activities for students were as important as studying the Quran and theology subjects since they helped in understanding its underlying message. “I appreciate such positive activities held by educational institutes and expect fruitful results from them,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2011.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Muslim Pledge, is this possible?


If you believe this (draft) pledge has merit, add your note with your name and website or blog address. Insha Allah, we will publish this in two formats:

1) 50 words peer selected quotes for possible publication at Huffington or Washington post. Preference will be given among the first five in each group to prevent improvisations.

2) 100 words or cut at the 100th word peer approved quotes will be published at, and .com and several other related sites and blogs. There is no copy right to any material, everyone one can publish it.

Please think through this, write on your word file, edit and keep it to around the words needed.

Kindly note that a full article is in the works to be appended to this, giving further details. We have to come together for doing good for humanity and a majority of Muslims believe, what is good for Muslims has got to be good for others and vice versa for the goodness to sustain.

Mike Ghouse
Muslims together

Thanksgiving: A Day of Gratitude and Reflection for American Muslims:

Presented at Islamic Center of Long Island on Friday Nov 25th 2011/ 29 Dhul Hijjah 1432. Dr Faroque A Khan-E-Mail:
Do Muslims celebrate Thanksgiving? This is a frequently asked question. 

Sura Al-Fatiha—Quran Chap 1.

In the name of Allah/God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, praise be to Allah/God – The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds.  Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgment, Thee do we worship and Thine aid we seek.  Show us the straight way, the way of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy grace, those whose portion is not wrath and who do not astray. 

During the daily mandatory  five prayers;  Muslims recite this chapter at least 17 times, so a Muslim is constantly thankful to Allah/God.

Sometimes we take things for granted and behave as if we created ourselves and acquired everything we have from our own efforts. 

It is He who brought you forth from the wombs of your mother when you knew nothing, and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affections, that you may give thanks to God.Q 16:78 – Al Nahl

Thus, the concept of giving thanks immediately raises the question: to whom, for what, and how should we express our thanks?  We thank God for everything we have, for everything good that happens to us.

Everything good that happens to you (O Mankind) is from God; everything bad that happens to you is from your own actions

.Q 4:79 Sura Al Nisa

We thank Him for creating us as humans, the best of creation, with intelligence and five portals to decide what is right and wrong.

Have we not given him (Mankind) two eyes, a tongue and a pair of lips, and shown Him the two highways of good and evil?

Qur’an 90:8-10 – Sura Al Balad or The City.

Our Creator, who sustained us through nine months of helpless intrauterine life, continued to provide us with food and other materials to sustain us throughout our life.

O you who believe!  Partake of good things which we have provided for you as sustenance, and render thanks to God, if it is truly Him that you worship.Qur’an 2:172 – Sura Al Baqarah

Thanksgiving -A Unique American  Tradition

THANKSGIVING is my preferred holiday.  No denominational strings are attached to this week’s observance.  Thanksgiving has not been taken hostage by the extravagance of gift giving or the burdens of shopping.  Built around the meal, the feast celebrates the exquisite tension between appetite and its satisfaction.  Honoring the turning of the year, it is a first pushing back against winter’s cold darkness with the warmth and light of fireplaces, candles, the illuminations of reunion.

True, Thanksgiving legends evoke the conflict between white European settlers and the native peoples who welcomed them but, even so, this holiday points more to inclusion than displacement. The Pilgrims of the first Thanksgiving were grateful not for their material gains, but simply that they had survived their first winter in the New World.  Generations of varied immigrant groups have identified as Americans by embracing this holiday – and its peculiar menu. 

What we love most is Thanksgiving’s underlying idea:  that existence itself is a gift.  If the holiday ritual calls for the bounty of culinary excess – four side dishes, three kinds of pie, two forms of cranberry – it is not to celebrate affluence but to acknowledge the accidental richness of life itself.  The multiple desserts are tribute to all that we don’t deserve.  In taking time away from work, we are remembering that the most precious things are those that we do nothing to earn. Can you imagine if we had to pay for the air we breathe?

As an immigrant Muslim, I consider myself to be a part of America’s journey.  I did not leave history behind, like unwanted baggage at Immigration’s door.  Our particular pasts and our shared present are wedded in hyphenated names:  Arab-Americans, Indian-Americans, Bangladeshi-Americans, Pakistani-Americans, Egyptian-Americans, and Palestinian/Kashmiri-Americans.  We are not always on a first-name basis with one another.  But we quickly become acquainted in playgrounds and classrooms, in college dorms and military barracks, and in offices and factories, and at ICLI.  We feel at home.

Qur’an 49:13—Al- Hujarat

O Mankind – We created you from a single pair of man and woman.  Made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another.  Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous.  Allah has full knowledge.

This Quranic verse guides us as to our approach towards those who are different from us.

In some parts of the world our differences would be threatening – not here.

We feel enriched.  In America, our differences resonate in our names, language, food, and music.  They inspire art and produce champions and leaders.

We feel free to disagree.  We are a family, and what is a family gathering without debate? 

We believe in fairness.  In America, the loudest voice does not always have the last word, and every voice has a right to be heard.

We rely on faith.  In a sturdy and tested framework of law and government that works because of the confidence we place in it and in each other, the first amendment clearly states: Congress shall make no law respecting, an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Progress can be slow as we propose and protest, argue and advocate.  But we are grateful to be part of this vigorous democracy.  We enjoy its unparalleled privileges and accept its obligations: to pursue our dreams while helping others; to advance our convictions while respecting other; to advance our convictions while being tolerant of others; to prepare our children for the gift of the American journey.

We are stewards of America – her ideals and institutions, her cities and natural beauty.  We are entrusted to understand America’s past and guide her future; to create an ever more just America that is secure and free, abundant and caring for all her inhabitants.  We are thankful for the freedom to worship. We are thankful for the tax exempt status ICLI and other faith based centers enjoy, indirectly the federal govt. is subsidizing all such Mosques, Churches, Temples, Gurdawaras and Synagogues.  We are thankful for the freedom to speak our minds.  We are thankful for the freedom to change our minds.  We are thankful for the freedom to chart our lives.  We are thankful for the freedom to work for a better world.  We are thankful for the freedom to celebrate this day. We are thankful for the opportunity to vote and 95% of Muslims exercised that right on Nov 4th 2008.

Remembering the words of Surah Nisaa (Qur’an 4:97), we thank God for giving us, “a spacious land” of freedom and opportunity, to which Allah has allowed “migration of the weak and oppressed," so that we may live and prosper.  This verse describes the experience of millions of arriving immigrants when they first saw the Statue of Liberty, with its inscription penned by Emma Lazarus, a descendant of Jewish immigrants: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We appreciate that gratitude is a function not of how much we have, but rather of how much we have relative to how much we deserve.

In America, each of us is entitled to a place at the Thanksgiving table.

We are thankful to Sarah Josepha Hale who’s persistence led President Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 and later President Franklin Roosevelt designated the fourth Thursday of November for Thanksgiving. Though there is some difference of opinion it’s generally accepted  that  the first Thanksgiving celebration was celebrated in 1621.

 As an ideal holiday, Thanksgiving expresses gratitude, focusing on family and friendship and showing appreciation for a land of freedom and opportunity.  However, while we thank Allah for all the gifts that have been bestowed on us, we are mindful of the challenges facing American-Muslims.

Judging by recent polls 49% of US citizens have unfavorable view of Islam, an increase of 10% from 2002. This, I believe is the outcome of the work of a well funded-- $42 million plus--  and well connected Islamophobic network comprising foundations, think tanks, pundits and bloggers who have launched a campaign to promote fear of Islam and Muslims in US. In 2010 election cycle the rallying cry was :”Ground Zero Mosque” in the 2012 election my guess is that we will hear about “Sharia law”.

The good news is that when people have access to accurate information and relate to ordinary Muslims, the perceptions and stereotypes change dramatically.  Our Jihad – struggle, challenge – is to reach out to our colleagues, neighbors, co-workers.  Here are nine principles adopted from the life and Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), which might guide us in reaching out with our message of peace, love, tolerance, and mercy.

The First Principle: Take the easier path. 


This principle is well explained in a saying of A’ishah.  She said, “Whenever the Prophet had to choose between two options, he always opted for the easier choice.  (Bukhari) To choose the easiest option means that you should evaluate your options and choose the most feasible.  One who begins from the starting point will surely reach his goal.

The Second Principle: See advantage in disadvantage. 


In the early days of Makkah, there were many problems and difficulties.  At that time, a guiding verse in The Qur’an was revealed.  It said, With every hardship there is ease, with every hardship there is ease.  (94:5-6) Al-Inshirah

This means that if there are some problems, there are also opportunities at the same time.  The way to success is to overcome the problems and avail the opportunities.

Post 9/11 there is a great desire to learn about Islam and Muslims. ICLI has engaged other faith communities in joint activities a good example being the 4th annual twinning program held at ICLI on Sunday Nov 13th in which three Imams and three Rabbis spoke about the concept of Islah and Tikkum Olam.

The Third Principle: Change the place of action. 

This principle is derived from the Hijrah.  The Hijrah was not just a migration from Makkah to Madinah.  It was a journey to find a more suitable place to put Islam into action.

Physical migration and perseverance is an important element in establishing justice and peace.  This also planted the roots of intellectual migration from the subjugated minds to an awakened spirit.  It is my humble, personal opinion that the future, bright light of Islam will, Insha Allah, shine from the USA.

The Fourth Principle: Make a friend out of an enemy. 


The Prophet of Islam was repeatedly subjected to practices of antagonism by the unbelievers.  At that time, The Qur’an enjoined upon him the return of good for evil.  The Qur’an added, “You will see your direst enemy has become your closed friend.  (41:34) Ha Mim

It means that a good deed in return of a bad deed has a conquering effect over your enemies.  And the life of the Prophet is a historical proof of this principle.

The greatest example of amnesty was shown by the Prophet after the bloodless conquest of Makkah.  All enemies of Islam were granted pardon, including Hinda, the wife of Abu Sufyan, who had disemboweled the martyred body of Hamza, the Prophet’s uncle. On Friday Nov 18th 2011, the County Executive Edward Mangano invited the Muslims to the County office to celebrate Eid ul Adha, over 400 Mulsims attended—moved from “Outhouse to Mainhouse”

The Fifth Principle:  Education is central to success. 


After the Battle of Badr, about 70 of the unbelievers were taken as prisoners of war.  They were educated people.  The Prophet announced that if any one of them would teach ten Muslim children how to read and write he would be freed.  This was the first school in the history of Islam in which all of the students were Muslims, and all of the teachers were from the enemy rank.  Learn your skills from enemies.

The Sixth Principle: Don’t be a dichotomous thinker. 


In the famous Battle of Mutah, Khalid Ibn Walid decided to withdraw Muslim forces from the battlefield because he discovered that they were disproportionately outnumbered by the enemy.  When they reached Madinah, some of the Muslims received them by the word “O deserters!”  The Prophet said, “No.  They are men of advancement.”

Those Madinah people were thinking dichotomously, either fighting or retreating.  The Prophet said that there is also a third option, and that is to avoid war and find time to strengthen yourself.  Now history tells us that the Muslims, after three years of preparation, advanced again towards the Roman border and this time they won a resounding victory.

The Seventh Principle: Do not engage in unnecessary confrontation. 


This principle is derived from the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.  At that time, the unbelievers were determined to engage Muslims in fighting, because they were in an advantageous position.  But the Prophet, by accepting their conditions unilaterally, entered into a pact.  It was a ten-year peace treaty.  Until then, the meeting ground between Muslims and non-Muslims had been on the battlefield.  Now the area of conflict became that of ideological debate.  Within two years, Islam emerged victorious because of the simple reason of its ideological superiority.  This principle applies to us very aptly, we,  the American Muslims need to live by the ideals of kindness, forgiveness and magnanimity to others and work hard striving towards perfection in whatever our vocation is.

The Eighth Principle: Gradualism instead of radicalism: 

This principle is well established by a Hadith quoted in Bukhari
.  A’ishah says that the first verses of The Qur’an were related mostly to Heaven and Hell.  After some time, when faith had taken hold in peoples’ hearts, God revealed specific commands to desist from unjust and self-deprecating social practices that were prevalent in the Arabian Dark Ages.  This is clear proof that for social changes, Islam advocates the evolutionary method, rather than the revolutionary method.  Revelations regarding prohibition of alcohol and gambling which were revealed over a period of time are very illustrative of this principle, Q2:219-There is great sin and some profit but the sin is greater, followed by Q4:43-praying in a drunken state is forbidden and finally Q5:90 total prohibition of alcohol and gambling.

The Ninth Principle:Be pragmatic in controversial matters. 

During the writing of the Hudaybiyyah Treaty, the Prophet dictated these words:  “This is from Muhammad, the Messenger of God.”  The Quraysh delegate raised objections over these words.  The Prophet promptly ordered the words to be changed to: “Muhammad, son of Abdullah.”  This simple change placated the Quraysh delegate. 

The ICLI leadership adopted this model of compromise when it applied for expansion of the current facility. The neighbors had some genuine concerns and after some discussions with them ICLI modified the plans and  the Westbury Village gave the go ahead for the expansion project. Newsday wrote an editorial complimenting the Westbury Village and ICLI for the manner in which this issue was resolved and The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University at its third annual gala banquet on Nov 17th 2011 recognized ICLI chair Mr Habeeb Ahmed  and the Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro for their outstanding joint effort, which represents a model for the rest of the country.

These are just some of the principles by which the Prophet of Islam conducted his life.  His achievements have been recognized by historians as the supreme success.  We would be wise to live by following his example.

You have indeed in the Messenger of God a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in God and the Final Day.  (Qur’an 33:21-Al-Ahzab)

Thus, we thank God not only for creating and sustaining us, but also for guiding us, for accepting our prayers and for forgiving us when we wrong ourselves.  Thus, it is impossible for us to deny the favors of our Lord.

For how long, you will deny the favors of your Lord?  (Qur’an: Surah Ar-Rahman)  Surah 55 – This particular verse is repeated 31 times amongst the 78 verses.

Whoever is thankful (to God) is in fact thankful for his own self.  But if anyone is ungrateful, God is self-sufficient and glorious.  (Qur’an 31:12) Luqman

We thank God for giving us, to live and prosper a spacious land of freedom and opportunity, where “the weak and oppressed could migrate to.”  (Quran 4:97)

This Quranic verse aptly describes the first welcome which millions of immigrants have experienced when they arrived on the shores of America and saw the
Statue of Liberty with the inscription– Give me your oppressed, huddled masses.

We should thank Him by remembering Him, not on just one day a year but in our daily life. Remember Me, I will remember you, thank Me and reject Me not.  (Qur’an 2:152) Al Baqarah.

In conclusion here is a short story which we need to keep in mind when things are not going well. This is why we shouldn’t get stressed out over L I T T L E things.  After September 11th, one company invited the remaining members of other companies who had been decimated by the attack on the Twin Towers to share their available office space.  At a morning meeting, the head of Security told stories of why these people were still alive….and it was amazing to see that it was all because of the L I T T L E things.  As you might know, the head of the company got late that day because his son started kindergarten.  Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.  One woman was late because her alarm clock didn’t go off in time.  One was late because of being stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike because of an auto accident.  One of them missed his bus.  One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.  One’s car wouldn’t start.  One went back to answer the telephone.  One had a child that dawdled and didn’t get ready as soon as he should have.  One couldn’t get a taxi.  The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the fastest means to get to work, but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot.  He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.  That is why he is alive today.  Now, when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone, all the little things that annoy me, I think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment. Next time your morning seems to be going wrong, the children are slow getting dressed, you can’t seem to find the car keys, you hit every traffic light, don’t get mad or frustrated, God is at work watching over you.

Dr. Khan, a physician, is a  member of the board of trustees  of the Islamic Center of Long Island(ICLI) (Westbury, NY).   He is author of the book, Story of a Mosque in America (Cedar Graphics, 2000) which describes the establishment and growth of ICLI.  


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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.