Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Texas Faith: Is America a "Christian Nation" and what does that mean?

Do you agree with those religious leaders who say that America is a "Christian nation" or a "Judeo-Christian nation?" and what does that mean in practice? Our Texas Faith panel weighs in at Dallas Morning News. http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/08/texas-faith-is-america-a-chris.html

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

I welcome the Judeo-Christian label for America as a first step in inclusiveness of our religious and non-religious traditions. The phrase Judeo-Christian was meant to reflect the commonality between the two public religions of the time.

Here's the Oxford English Dictionary on the term: The earliest use of the phrase "Judeo-Christian" came in 1899, and then comes WWII, with a 1939 reference in New English Weekly 27 July 237/2 to "The Judaeo-Christian scheme of morals" which fits in with Novick and Silk's comments that this was an attempt at universalizing Christian terms and shoehorning Jews in as a matter of inclusiveness. It wasn't until 1960 that "Judeo-Christianity" appeared. Today, the phrase is over emphasized by the religious right not to reflect inclusion, but to highlight exclusion of Islam, Hinduism, Atheism and the rights of GLBT community. The term is divisive and does not represent the values of America today; it is political and insincere at the outset.

"Judaism is Judaism because it rejects Christianity; and Christianity is Christianity because it rejects Judaism." Rabbi Eliezar Berkowitz, Chairman Jewish philosophy department at Hebrew Theological College, 1966.

"Judaism and Christianity are not parent and child; they are brothers, as were Cain and Abel." John Dominic Crossan, The Birth of Christianity, 1999.

"The term Judeo-Christian does not have a lengthy history." Peter Novick, Holocaust in American Life.

It is embarrassing to quote the founding fathers on Jews; here is Ben Franklin, "I fully agree with General Washington, that we must protect this young nation from an insidious influence and impenetration. That menace, gentlemen, is the Jews." We don't need to go that far, I am sure you heard the Nixon tapes with Rev. Billy Graham on the topic.

Glen Beck, John Hagee and other chest thumpers have ulterior motives to cash in on the name of Israel and perhaps converting the Jews. The Israelis, Palestinians and others need sincerity and not duplicity in finding security and hope for them respectively.
On the surface we get along, but under the radar there is deep distrust that we need to overcome to build a cohesive America, where no American has to live in apprehension of the other.

Time has come to be sincere and learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of us. When we opt for just societies, all the pandering, sycophanting and war mongering will fade and solutions will emerge. Indeed, it will free us from shameless two-facedness. It will put us all on a level playing field and we will start trusting each other from the core of our hearts yielding true freedom.

We have come a long way on the civil plains and a lot more to go. The most appropriate and applicable term for America is "Pluralistic nation" which will convey the full essence of God's own country; America. America is perhaps the only nation on earth that inhabits all of God's creation; represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. As Americans we see God as one, none and many and in every form; male, female, genderless, non-entity, being and a non-being, nameless and with innumerable names and I am proud to be an American.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. He is available to speak at your place of worship, work, school, college, seminars and conferences. . Mike's work is reflected in 4 website's and 27 Blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and you can find this article at www.TheGhousediary.com


Eid Mubarak

We are not a monolithic lot, we are different and we must learn to accept and respect every tradition without denigration - Eid is a joyous moment and not the time to criticize others for celebrating the Eid on a different day. I hope the article Politics of Ramadan is enlightening

I am blessed to have written nearly 40 articles on Ramadan and have visited mosque of just about every denomination of Muslims including the Beit al Muqadas and Al-Aqsa Mosques last year. Much earlier I have prayed at both Madinah and Makkah. It was a pleasure to do the Iftaar with Muslims from Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Sufi, Shia, Sunni, WD Muhammad and Muslims of every race, ethnicity and many cultures.
Spirit of Ramadan: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/spirit-of-ramadan_b_939961.html

Politics of Ramadan:

Rituals of Ramadan: http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2010/09/traditions-of-ramadan.html

Insha Allah, next Ramadan, I will make a movie on our diversity and welcome ideas and facilitations from you. You can share your comment at the end of this article at: http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2011/08/eid-mubarak.html

Jazak Allah Khair

Mike Ghouse
Muslims Together
www.IslamTogetherFoundation.com www.MikeGhouse.net

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sharia Politics - My random thoughts

Sharia law like any law is mis-implemented from time to time; innocent people get on the electric chair or the lethal injection in our own US of A. In at least 3 out of 56 Muslim majority nations, wrong people get stoned to death for adultery or blasphemy. It is neither our laws nor Sharia that is wrong; it is the mis-application to suit the ones in power that is wrong.

Parents are not to abuse Children, yet, incest and beating of innocent children continues. The men who beat their wives violently are Muslim, Christian, Jews, Hindus… and every one, it is not the Christian or Islam thing – it is the precisely because they did not get their own religion to guide them, even if they wear a loud label of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism or any religion or tradition and even if they go the Church, Mosque, Synagogue, Temple… you see them in all groups.

Qur’aan is a binary book, everything is addressed in pairs - when it talks about male, it is followed by the word female, day follows night, and life follows death. Traditionally Quraanic interpretations have been done my men, like in all other religions. Thank God, women contributions are pouring in and bringing a balance to the meaning of the words in Qur’aan.

Sharia interpretations have been men-appeasing and justice busting in some, but not all the cases. A very small percent of Muslim women endure the non-sense of men's Sharia misapplication - while women across the world be it in America or Arabia, Chile or China, Native American or African are mistreated in jobs, harassment continues unabated, violence, rape... all of these are shameful acts that few men have stood up against. We need the majority to speak up.

Great example is the interpretation of the word Daraba, which suited the men “to discipline the woman if she does not remain faithful to you” to “separation” by Dr Leila Bakhtiar that most people are subscribing to now, which was covered very well in the www.Quraanconference.com . Michelle Bachman talks about obedience to husband, rather than partnership. More women in America are violently killed by their spouse than anywhere else in the world; does that make Christian faith bad? Heck no.

Men in power and some Qazi’s are usually rigid when it comes to punishing others. They do not see the essence of Sharia; Justice. If the Sharia laws are turned over to Regular attorneys and let there be arguments and discussions, it will serve justice. There is no stoning to death in Qur’aan... There is no triple Talaq in Qur’aan as it is practiced; the men have allowed it to happen in three to four nations out of 56 Muslim majority nations.

We all, Muslims or not, have a stake in creating just societies and we need to speak up and thank God, in democracies we can do that. Unfortunately the kings and dictators care less about religion and more about saving their tail...

As an example of shared stakes in the world, take a look at the comment in face book from a Jewish friend Paul Goldstein – “Since Sharia, to my understanding, is similar to Halacha in Judaism, it might be helpful to consider its application within secular democracies as is Halacha. To take the U.S. as an example, there exist Jewish religious courts within sizable Orthodox communities such as New York. These courts are purely voluntary for all concerned; rabbis and religious scholars are the "judges" who decide cases, and litigants can be represented by lawyers familiar with Jewish law. There is no way to enforce the religious court decisions through the regular civil courts; enforcement is only through respect of community mores, community pressure, and maintaining one's standing as an honorable member of the religious community.”
Sharia counseling in the US is indeed voluntary. The decisions are not legally binding, but morally binding. Those couples, who want to be religiously right, prefer religious guidance. It's almost like sitting with friends or going to marriage counselor. It's to maintain one's standing as an honorable member of the religious community.

If the Republican Right wingers can come out clean and say – no one has a bloody right to tell a woman or a man, what to wear, eat, worship, believe or think, and then we can look forward to a positive change. They are no different than the Bin Laden kind who believed in imposing his understanding of religion on others. Is the right wing Christians any different?
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Our first task is to communicate a comprehensive outline of knowledge to those who are attacking Sharia. The traditional Imam explanations give strength but are deficient in communicating with non-Muslims. Americans have to relate with each instance to understand it. God has blessed me and several other non-bearded, suit and jeans wearing Muslims in public, who can bridge that gap in communicating.

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We should expect every Muslim to know about his or her religion. The religion was completed and perfected while the prophet was alive. In his last speech he left the book for us, each Muslim to live by it. Prophet Muhammad did not assign any one, not one single person to interpret the religion for us. The Shia denomination of Muslims believes that Prophet had said to follow his progeny and we respect their belief, it works for them. We are accountable on the Day of Judgment and not even the Prophet will do favors. We had the time to be right and the only thing we have on that day is our deeds, the good things we have done to fellow beings and environment in preserving God’s creation.
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No Mufti, no Imam, no Khalifa is needed for Muslims. You are individually responsible for your actions. When we began life in the United States… each one learned the religion on his own like Prophet wanted us to. Talk to the people who have been here from the sixties. The clergy in every religion including Islam have made the religion dependent on them, it is their job security. Neither Jesus likes the clergy nor did Muhammad like it – if it becomes a profession. Clergy in every religion fall in the same proportions of good, ugly and greedy.
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Mother Teresa once said if you want to make peace, go talk with your enemies, you don’t make peace with friends and scholars. Hazrat Ali has also said something to that effect. A Chinese saying goes, if you want to eliminate your enemy, understand them and make friends, then you are free and they are free, if you fight head on, the battle continues. In light of these, I am pleased to carry the dialogue with my friends.
To be effective, we will have input from Imams, Scholars, Shari experts, non-Muslims, lay persons and others. We will encourage everyone to place his or her cards on the table so we can deal with the issue comprehensively.

I have been reaching out to ISNA, ICNA, CAIR and others, if they cannot do it, I am planning to pick the slack and just organize it. If you recall last year Qur’aan and the Prophet were attacked by Pastor Robert Jeffress, no Muslim Organization took it up. Thank God with the help of 10 Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, and elected Reps (Lon Burnam) who read the so called troubled verses from Qur’aan to the audience, while the 5 Muslims; Imam Zia Sheikh, Imam Shakoor, Dr. Basheer Ahmed, Ahmadi Muslim and myself either confirmed their understanding or corrected the misunderstanding. Today, those Pastors from Mormon, Baptist, Catholic, Unitarian, Presbyterian, Methodist…. will correct any misquotes from Qur’aan. All the details are at

We are all in this together and find solutions.
Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies. His work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net and his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com

Friday, August 12, 2011

Michelle Bachman, a submissive wife, what does it mean?

CNN interviews a psychologist to explain the term as expressed by Michelle Bachman. Link follows my note.

 Aren't the responses similar to Muslim responses? Religion is about justice, inclusiveness and common goodness.

Bassam A. Abed & Syed E. Ahmad write;

Under Islam, men and women are deemed full and equitable partners of each other. In familial terms “[h]e is the father, she is the mother, and both are essential for life. Her role is not less vital than his.” “By this partnership, she has an equal share in every aspect. She is entitled to equal rights, she undertakes equal responsibilities, and she has as many qualities and as much humanity as her partner.” This equitable relationship between the husband and the wife must be one of love, mercy, tranquility, and kindness.

The most important component of a healthy Islamic marital relationship is that the couple lives in tranquility, with love and mercy for each other.
Equity and love between the husband and the wife is also metaphorically spoken of in the Qur’an when it states, “They are your garments and ye are their garments….” Scholars have interpreted this to mean that husbands and wives need mutual support, mutual comfort, and mutual protection. It is also a reference to the fact that spouses are each other’s sanctuary insofar as each covers the others’ shortcomings and preserves his or her privacy; hence the tranquility and harmony.

 Bachmann faces theological question about submissive wives at debate

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)– Thursday night in the Fox News GOP debate in Ames, Iowa, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, was asked by columnist Byron York whether she would be "submissive to her husband" if she were elected president.

Before the congresswoman had a chance to answer, a chorus of boos rang down from the audience.

"Thank you for that question, Byron," Bachmann responded with a wry smile. "Marcus and I will be married for 33 years this September 10. I'm in love with him. I'm so proud of him. What submission means to us, it means respect. I respect my husband. He's a wonderful godly man and great father.

"He respects me as his wife; that's how we operate our marriage," she continued. "We respect each other; we love each other. I've been so grateful we've been able to build a home together. We have wonderful children and 20 foster children. We've built a business and life together, and I'm very proud of him."

"She answered it the most appropriate way in the context it was being asked. She was being asked a deeply theological question in front of millions of Americans," said Gary Marx, the executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. "That's why there was such a strong and visceral booing over the very premise of the question."

Marx, who was in the balcony at the debate Thursday, said that for Iowa evangelicals, this is a nonissue.

"Most evangelicals know it's not easy to teach in a 30-minute sermon on Sunday. It's impossible to answer in a minute sound bite. Her answer about respect is the only one that can be given," he said.

The question of wives being submissive to their husbands comes from a passage in the New Testament in Paul's letter to the Ephesians. The letter was originally written in Greek, and there are various translations of the Greek word Paul uses.

"Whatever someone thinks Paul means of submission of wives to husbands ... it doesn't leave any room for exploitation," said David Matthewson, an associate professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. "I would say her response was very consistent with the text."

In the New International Version translation of the Bible, the version most preferred by evangelical Christians and nondenominational churches, a camp Bachmann has said she belongs to, Ephesians 2:22-24 are translated as:

"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."

The letter goes on to say in verse 25:

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

"The English word 'submit' is as good a translation as any without using a bunch of words. The problem, though, is the word 'submit' in English carries connotations for most readers that may not have been there in the Greek," Mathewson said. "In English, we think of forced submission or exploiting. ... I don't think that's in the Ephesians passage."

In the King James Version, the first mass-produced English translation of the Bible, the word is translated as "submit."

In Eugene Peterson's translation of the Bible, "The Message," which aims to use more common English, he translates submissive as "understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ."

Historically, the fifth chapter of Ephesians has been taken in context of Paul's writings to mean Christian spouses should operate as loving equals, though the word "submissive" has long been a divisive one for Christian women.

"It seems it's been, in the 20th century, to have caused a lot of issues in North American Christianity," Mathewson said.

Former Alaska Gov. Sara Palin, another prominent evangelical politician, weighed in on the issue Friday in Iowa.

Palin told CNN's Don Lemon, "That's her opinion, that, to her, submission to her husband means respecting her husband, and I respect my husband, too."

Lemon asked, "If (husband) Todd said don't run, would you not run?"

"I can't imagine my husband ever telling me what to do politically," Palin responded. "He has never told me what to do when it comes to a political step, and I appreciate that. I respect you for that, Todd; thank you."

Bachmann identifies herself as an evangelical Christian. Her congressional office said recently that she has been attending a nondenominational church as her schedule allows.

She has shown over the years that she is fluent in "Christianese," using words and phrases that ring true to evangelical listeners.

She has long been a darling of evangelical voters, serving as keynote speaker at anti-abortion events in Washington and making the rounds at prayer rallies at the Capitol. It is one of the reasons she is expected to do well in Iowa, where the GOP base is filled with evangelical voters.

Her faith has caused a few bumps in the road in the campaign. Her husband's Christian counseling program came under fire by critics for a controversial therapy. She formally pulled her membership in her former church days before she formally announced that she was seeking the White House.

But Marx points out that fielding a question like this in a debate only helps her. "In Iowa, it reiterates that evangelical identity she has."

And, he noted, the last Republican to win the Iowa caucus in 2008, former Southern Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee, got asked a lot of questions about the finer points of his faith, too.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 5 of Ramadan 2011


Friday, August 5, 2011 | Ramadan 5, 1432
PURPOSE: To share and appreciate the diversity within Islam.

THE PLAN: Iftaar at a mosque from every denomination including: Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Shia, Sufi, Sunni, Warith Deen Muhammad, Wahabbi and others. You are welcome to join me or experience it yourselves, we have to learn to respect the differences and appreciate the uniqueness of each tradition. God says the best among you is the one who knows each other for peaceful co-existence.

......................................... ...

God willing, I will highlight the uniqueness of each tradition on a daily basis and I hope we as Muslims can cherish it. I encourage each one of you to experience it and write about it.


Terms: Listed below

Sahri (Pre-dawn meal): Oat meal in Soya Milk
Iftaar (refreshments): Dates, Chana Masala (spiced Chickpeas) and Milk
Iftaar (Dinner): Fresh Salad, Pita Bread, Rice and Chicken Korma (curry)
Mosque: Shia Masjid, Momin Center, Irving
Culture: Urdu Speaking Muslims from India and Pakistan and others

Praise the lord, they have expanded the Shia Mosque in Irving, it’s almost double the size from last year and they have added a room, a beautiful sanctuary with hardwood floors. Several picture frames were set on the wooden cabinets with the names of twelve Imams in the Shia tradition with the name of Abbas son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib (first Shi'a Imam and fourth Rashidun Caliph) placed prominently in the middle and a brass plate with hand symbols hung in the middle. I believe they call the sanctuary the Imam Bara. I just could not resist noting my Dad’s election symbol which was the hand when he ran for the Mayor of Yelahanka Town Municipality in the early fifties.

Of all the Mosques I have been to, this Mosque has the best carpet with inlaid design for the prayer rows demarcations, and I loved the color of the carpet – it’s kind of greenish Khaki. Mujahid, one of the leaders of the community said that it was imported from Turkey and they had placed heavy padding under the carpet. Indeed, it was a luxury to sit on that carpet.


The breaking of fast occurs nearly 20 minutes after the sunset; the dusk is interpreted as the disappearance of light after the sunset an uniquely Shia Tradition. The fast ends with Azan (Adhan) the prayer call and everyone breaks the fast with dates and other refreshments, water or the Milk followed by the prayers. The Iftaar dinner is after the prayers and they had the delicious Chicken Korma (curry) that reminded me of my Taiba Uncle's curry, which will never fade out of my memory. Apparently it was cooked by the Aunt of Abbas a friend I have known for nearly 16 years. Compliments to her for the wonderful Chicken Korma.
The 2nd Prayer call is to gather the worshippers for the ritual prayer called Namaz or Salat. During this call, when the name of the Prophet Muhammad is recited, the Muezzin (the reciter) and the congregation both recite the full Darood (Peace prayer to the Prophet and his progeny). This practice is unique to the Shia branch of Islam.

As the people gather up, the prayer begins, unlike the Sunni Mosques where the Imam invariably asks the congregation to stand in straight lines and shoulder to shoulder, this Mosque assumed that they do and did not make the call.

Another unique item is the biscuit size round clay tablets placed on the floor to rest the forehead during the prostration posture.

As the prayer begins, the worshippers drop their hands to their sides while the Sunnis bring their folded hands together on the abdomen. At the end of the recitation of first chapter of Quraan, the word “Amen” is uttered silently.

During the Ruku (kneeling) the Imam (prayer leader) recites out in audible voice the name of God three times along with sending peace and blessings (darood) to the Prophet, a Shia Tradition. The process is repeated during the prostration as well.

On the 2nd Unit of the prayers, in the standing position, after reciting the first chapter of Quraan and an additional chapter, the Shias lift their hands and do the supplication prayers, the only other place I have seen that practice is at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Finally at the end of the 3rd Unit of prayer – they do not turn their head to the right or the left while saying As-salaamu aliakum o Rahmatullah as the Sunnis do.

During the month of Ramadan, most mosques bring guest Imams and here at the Momin Center, Imam Nabi Raza was visiting from San Jose, California. He is from Richmond Town, Bangalore, and a fellow Bangalorean and has been in the states for nearly 20 years. He was excited about my visit to every mosque during Ramadan so we can learn to respect the uniqueness of each tradition. He talked about the extensive programs they have in the bay area Mosques where all the Sunnis and Shias gather up on occasions. He mentioned that they gather up 15-20,000 Audience in Bangalore to celebrate Prophet’s birthday (Maulood, Milaad). Insha Allah, God willing we may coordinate visiting Bangalore as I give a talk “Prophet the peace maker” every act of the prophet had one thing in common – conflict mitigations and goodwill nurturance.

Nabi Raza’s talk topic was Sura Baqara, verse 2:183

Al-Baqara (The Cow) 2:183

2:183 (Asad) O YOU who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God: -

He talked about what constitutes Muttaqeen, the pious one and he honed on Hazrat Ali’s speech, the number one item (of the 101) is to “speak precisely and to the point” He referenced Prophet Muhammad’s saying where he had said, the most important gift to human beings is intelligence and the tongue (ability to speak) and must be used discreetly, as it is the tongue that can hurt others, can bring troubles in the communities and families.
One of the final attainments in the stage of piety is the ability to receive guidance from God – he used the word Wahi, the revelations. When you have achieved the purity of your being, all that comes to you is God’s wisdom. Indeed, I believe in that as the Sufis do and most Christians subscribe to that whereas it is not a part the Sunni tradition.

The most appealing item of his talk was – God does not need your prayers or fasting, it’s for your benefit that you do. He said if all the humanity abandons God, it does not make any difference to him, or if the whole humanity worships him every minute of the day, it does not make any difference to him, we are a speck (Carl Sagan?) in his unlimited Universe. Indeed the Bhagvad Gita says, even serving others, helping other is for selfish reason; it is an act of self preservation and self balancing. Just the other day, I was sharing with a few friends that I am a Muslim for me and not for anyone else. Several of my Sunni friends attempted to correct me – You are a Muslim for the sake of God. I reiterate that I am a Muslim to be in tune with the universe to seek my own balance in the whole.

Islam is not a monolithic religion and it will take another generation of constant exposure for Muslims to learn to accept and respect the otherness of other. The same goes with the Christian denominations, they are in the same boat of not accepting the other denominations as legitimate and you will find that in every religious tradition. That is not religion; religion is indeed about humility and not arrogance. Together we all have to grow up to enjoy the beauty of humility and valuing the God given uniqueness of each one of us.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, writer and a thinker nurturing the pluralistic values of Islam. More at:

POLITICS OF RAMADAN: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2011/08/politics-of-ramadan-on-moon-sighting.html
Sahri - Pre-Dawn meal before early Morning Prayer (fajr).
Iftaar - Sunset Meal as a conclusion of the fast.

Sawm - fasting from sunrise to sunset - No food, no water, no nothing and no intake of any food or water. More critically it is a practice to abstain from ill-will, malice, anger, temptations and human desires. Don't hear, see, speak or act less than goodness.

Rituals - There are several variations in rituals and they vary from place to place. In Bangalore where I am from, the whole family gets up early around 4:00 AM and together cook extensive meals for Sahri /Suhoor, while others choose to cook earlier night and just warm it up and eat in the morning. The Iftaar is done elaborately at mosques, homes or other gatherings where friends from different faiths are invited to break bread and nurture goodwill. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Muslims in India - An Honest Look

I was hopping from video to video and dawned on this video on IBN with Shabana Azmi. Every word she has said resonates with me. The link is at the end of my note.  Ramzan is getting to me… I will be counting the next two hours to Iftaar and looks like every minute is an hour.   I am planning to go to the Shia Masjid (Momin Center)  for Iftaar on the 5th day of Ramadan. 

I really put the label Muslim on me after 9/11, as she took it after Babri Masjid. Prior to that I did not call myself a Muslim like she did not, I was a cultural Muslim, I was rather an Atheist. Amazing words and incredible experience! I have written each one of those words in my write ups...

When she said to the politicians why do you consult the bearded...? I have written almost that in Huffington post, "The Ground Zero Mosque, nay, the Muslim community center in New York was a major turning point in adding the average American Muslim to the media mix of the public faces of Muslims who are not only moderates but also contribute to the overall peace, prosperity and security of America." I was a product of that.

She also talks about digging in her heels for a forced identity on her and attributes the increasing Hijab wearing to that event. Hijab is something new to a lot of us from the early fifties. Hijabs are everywhere now. One of my Doctor friends came to visit us in Hospital when late wife was going through surgery for her cancer… the one thing he mentioned as both of us noticed Hijabi doctors walking around… where do they come from?

Shabana was truthful about her being a cultural Muslim, I am sure a few don't like it to hear it, so was my case. A few Muslims did not like me for being truthful about my identity that I did not claim to be a Muslim, it was the 9/11 and study of Pluralism that really turned me around and claim my religious and spiritual identity as a Muslim.

She talks about Eid celebrations where to be a Muslim meant wearing Gharara, eating Biryani... on Birayani deal, way back I had sponsored her show with Farooque Shaikh and after the show she came to our home for dinner. She loved the Hyderabadi Kacchay gosht ki Biryani and double ka meetha that my late wife had cooked. Shabana said for the first time in some 20 years she got to eat delicious Biryani and she acknowledged over eating.

She wanted to go for a walk, she and I walked around the lake in front of my house...she was curious about how the city and school system worked - She could not believe those Cities, Schools and most organizations are supported by local taxes as opposed the Government. As we talked further I realized I had the socialist inklings once, but have moved to accept the responsible capitalistic economic system for growth and prosperity. It was a great conversation... The next day we had a fund raising dinner for her school in her home town.

Shabana Azmi reflects what an average Indian Muslim is all about; an active participant and contributor towards the society he or she lives in.

I hope you watch this video; it is one of the best analyses of the Muslim experience. I believe most of the Desi Muslims can relate with her. My dear friend Shariff (Sachar Report guy) and I grew up in Bangalore as main stream Indians and we rarely found ourselves to be any different than others. Fortunately we both know her. We were very integrated in the society and thank God I have never felt that I was not a main stream person in America either. Issues are faced by all, but rarely have I been identified as anything different other than the Pluralism I preach.

I did not mean to write this… I like Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar and their activism. They are the symbol of average integrated Muslims in the society and I am glad to be one as well.

Shabana Azmi on the Muslim Experience, an old video but a timeless piece. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQq9pGWfj34&feature=related

Mike Ghouse committed to a cohesive America.
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Muslims condemn Vandalism at Toronto Jewish School

The World Muslim Congress Condemns Vandalism at Toronto Jewish School

Dallas, Texas – August 5th, 2011 - The World Muslim Congress condemns the  vandalism of the Robbins Hebrew Academy which is attached to the Beth Tikvah synagogue in Toronto and calls on police to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. According to a report, vandals spray-painted a swastika and the words “Islam will rule.”

The world Muslim congress endorses the following press release by CAIR Canada. Much of the world is torn apart due to a few rogues among us, Mike Ghouse, President of the World Muslim congress adds, "No Canadian or American has to live in disgusting harassment by other. I urge the Canadian government to find the miscreants and punish them to the maximum punishment available under the Canadian Law.

And I urge the Muslims around the world to condemn these men for tarnishing the name of Islam, no one gave them the permission to do that and Islam clearly forbids any denigration of other faiths.

I urge the Jewish community to condemn the bad guys and not their families, ethnicities and religion. We need justice and it can be achieved only by blaming the individuals and not the religion.

Quraan, 49:11 - “O you who believe, no people shall ridicule other people, for they may be better than they. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they. Nor shall you mock one another, or make fun of your names. Evil indeed is the reversion to wickedness after attaining faith. Anyone who does not repent after this, is the transgressors.

Quraan, 22:34 - For each congregation we have decreed rites whereby they commemorate the name of GOD for providing them with the livestock. Your god is one and the same god; you shall all submit to Him. Give good news to the obedient.

Mike Ghouse, President
 World Muslim Congress

(214) 325-1916
# ##

CAIR-CAN Condemns Vandalism at Toronto Jewish School
- For immediate release -
(Ottawa, Canada – August 5th, 2011) - The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today condemned the recent vandalism of the Robbins Hebrew Academy which is attached to the Beth Tikvah synagogue in Toronto and calls on police to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. According to a report, vandals spray-painted a swastika and the words “Islam will rule.”
“CAIR-CAN stands firmly with all Canadians in denouncing this act of hate and intimidation. We wish to unequivocally voice our support for all victims of such intolerant and divisive acts. It is clear that the individual(s) responsible are deeply ignorant of the basic tenets of mercy, understanding and compassion inherent in the Abrahamic faith traditions."
“In January of this year-CAN issued a Statement on the Sanctity of Sacred Spaces which complements our earlier Statement on the Sanctity of Sacred Texts. The latter was released in September 2010 as a response to the proposed Qur’an burning in Florida,” said Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director.
“CAIR-CAN urges local politicians and security officials in Toronto, as well as provincial and federal governments, to work together to continue to relentlessly combat all forms of racism including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We call on the authorities to prosecute the perpetrators of these acts to the fullest extent of the law to send a strong message against hate crimes and intolerance.”

“We also urge the synagogue and community leaders to remain vigilant and to immediately report suspicious behaviour to the proper authorities in order to establish a clear record of such incidents.”

CAIR-CAN is a national, non-profit, grassroots organization striving to be a leading voice that enriches Canadian society through Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director, 613.254.9704; 613.853.4111

- 30 -

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Talking about religion after Norway

Talking about religion after Norway means not letting fear define what faith is all about. Deliberate attempts to understand religion, uncomfortable as it may be, must be part of the path forward.

The recent tragedy in Norway, the worst attack the country has experienced since WWII, shocked and pained the world. It has also forced us as a global community to look more closely at religion, identity, and how we see the “other” – as well as ourselves.

In the West, religion is often an uncomfortable topic of discussion, and the recent terror attacks in Norway have forced many of us, especially in the United States and Europe, to re-examine issues of religion and identity.

So, how do we talk about religion after Norway?

In the early responses to terror attacks, blame was quickly assigned to Muslims. Once it was revealed that the perpetrator, Anders Breivik, was actually an anti-Muslim right-wing extremist who self-identified as Christian, the proclivity to blame his actions on religious fundamentalism quickly vanished. It’s easy to point to the hypocrisy – to call people out on their inclination to assume Islam promotes violence while at the same time being quick to wash Christianity’s collective hands of any hint of wrongdoing.

Pointing fingers merely addresses the symptoms and not the actual problem of a worldview that chooses to view the other from a position of fear instead of love. And to address this problem, no matter how uncomfortable, religion must be part of the conversation.

Our religion, or lack thereof, shapes who each of us are and how we function in the world. When we believe in an idea, faith expression, or sacred text, these beliefs form our very identity – influencing everything from our politics to our relationships. For many, these beliefs are what give us hope that a better world is possible – a world where fear does not reign, and where compassion and service drive our actions instead.

Yet religious identity can also influence people to commit acts of violence and hatred. Common to fundamentalists of any religion are fear-based attempts at control. By insisting upon being right at all costs they reject the Christian discipline of trusting in God, or the Muslim call to submit to Him.

But for those who allow themselves to be formed in ways that respond to the other with love instead of fear, religion grants the means to build a better world. Orienting oneself around the needs of others strengthens the common good instead of selfish individual desires. Reclaiming love of neighbour as a religious and not merely a political mandate is therefore a necessary step in addressing the corruption of religion by fundamentalisms.

As a person of faith, I see this “lived out” faith looking like the response of Hege Dalen and her partner, Toril Hansen, to the attacks. When they heard screams and gunshots from their campsite opposite Utöyan Island, they immediately hopped in their boat and dodged bullets in order to save some 40 people. We can’t all be heroes, but choosing a life of helping those in need, no matter who they are, is the basis of any religion that would rather build than destroy. Speaking up about the religious values that motivate us to reach out, and being willing to listen to those who do the same but who come from other traditions can help change the way our cultures view religion.

Talking about religion after Norway means not letting fear define what faith is all about. Examining our own beliefs and living out our faith through selfless acts of love can move the conversation past the toxicity of fear.

Deliberate attempts to understand religion, uncomfortable as it may be, must be part of the path forward. Engage in conversation or read a book by someone who is “other” than yourself. Partner with people of other beliefs on relief or community development projects to understand how our different faiths motivate the same generous actions. And join in honest discussions about our differences to discover what we can learn from each other.

Living in secular societies does not mean ignoring our religion. Instead, we can choose to use that part of our identities to build a better world.

Julie Clawson is the author of Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).


Email to: SpeakerMikeGhouse@gmail.com

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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 (www.UnitydayUSA.com) 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.

URL- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/08/planned-muslim-response-to-quran_18.html

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.