Interfaith Speaker

Interfaith Speaker
email to: SpeakerMikeGhouse@gmail.com or text to (214) 325-1916

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Can Muslims and Christians co-exist – Symposium report 1 of 2

Can Muslims and Christians co-exist – Symposium report 1 of 2

San Antonio, TX, Saturday, February 27, 2916 -- Pastor Charles Flowers of Faith outreach center called on Christians and Muslims to share their perspectives on the subject matter in a symposium organized on Friday and Saturday.

 

No matter how difficult these conversations are, they are necessary to understand and learn about each other. God almighty in Quran says, the best ones among you are those who take the time to learn about each other, when we learn about each other conflicts fade and solutions emerge.     God has created everything in order and in balance, and human greed and insecurities knock this balance off, and God advises us to restore it for our own good.  The act of restoration is indeed a religious inspiration. 

Every religion is beautiful and each one is designed to bring peace, tranquility and salvation to oneself, one learns to live in peace with himself or herself and with others.  There is a shortage of Pastors, Rabbis, Imams, Pundits and religious men and women who have the integrity to say that others religions must be equally beautiful.  My daughter said when she was around 10, “Dad, if the pastor tells the truth that all religions are beautiful, why would any one flock to his church?"  The minute one feels or claims that his faith is the truth (and others are not),  and is superior, it is religion no more, politics and greed have taken over the soul. To sell religion and have larger congregations, one has to lie about other faiths, what a shame!

Thanks to Pastor Flowers and Mrs. Janice Flowers for organizing this event, we were able to clarify a few misunderstandings, but a whole lot more needs to be done. God willing we will continue to strive to create heaven on the earth, where no one has to live in fear of the other. Pastor Flowers is a genuine guy, as he moderated the event with utmost sincerity and honesty, I applaud him for that.

Misinformation about Allah, Islam, Quran and the Prophet was painful to sit through and listen, particularly coming from my brothers who were former Muslims. May God bless them, and give them the knowledge to see that God is God of all humanity despite how we perceive him, her or it is one and the same.  

On the other hand, we (Muslims) have failed to question the authenticity of the Hadiths, Ibn Hisham's Seerah, the Sharia and the exegesis by Tamiya, Katheer, Maududi, Banna and others.  Some of us have put these books on par with Quran, which we should have never done. In the next few yeas, we will be ready to sign a joint declaration that Quran is the only book for Islam - and the only quotes from Quran about Islam will be considered authentic.

We have to fix some of the Hadiths and Sharia books to be authentic and reflect Prophet Muhammad's character who was a mercy to mankind. I don't blame some of our friends from other faiths for being scared of what they read, and most of the time, they quote from these doubtful books, sincerely 
believing that it is Islam.  As a Muslim, Quran is the only book for me, the material in other book will be authentic,  only if it contributes to building peaceful cohesive societies. (Two Islams


The format of the symposium did not allow me to present another point of view except shaking my head in disagreement when I heard things were way off.  I was tempted to walk out a few times, instead I started scribbling Jesus' mantra to turn the other cheek, meaning don't do or say anything to aggravate the situation and started praying like them, asking the lord to forgive them, for they know not.   
We cannot blame others for misunderstanding us without clarifying such misunderstandings, and making an effort to know others' perspective. We have a lot of work to do. As Muslims, we have the responsibility to create a better world for all humanity.

The speakers included three former Muslims; Daniel Akbari, Kamal Saleem and Taufiq, and two practicing Muslims Raheel Reza and Mike Ghouse. Lt. Col. Roy White, and Joe Carey,   both Christian Activists laid out the programs to counter Jihadis. 

The social issues were addressed by four different speakers. Bishop Harry Jackson offered three lenses to look at the presidential candidates and I applaud him for his inclusivity, he responded positively if the candidate were a Muslim or a Hindu, if he or she would be qualified to serve.  What a joy it was to hear him out.

Mrs. Alice Patterson presented how the primaries and precincts work. Her story of overcoming bias is worth listening to, and I have fought with myself not to have any bias towards another human and related with her story. Indeed she played a major role in organizing prayers when a Blackman Alfred Wright was dragged to death in Jasper, Texas in 2013.

 Dr. Fernando Cabrera’s talk on education resonated with me, indeed, his parents told him exactly what my parents did – get education!

Gilbert Hernandez’s presentation was a big hit for me, and I hope to dedicate time for his project.  So many young men and women are lost to the vultures form Gangs and Drug cartels. Muslim Youth are also facing similar problems, as a community we are deeply concerned and want to do everything to safeguard our kids from being recruited by the extremists.   Gilbert’s passion to save our youth is admirable and I hope to connect him with Muslim organizations, they have a good system down to address this sorry state of affairs.

Blessed are the peacemakers, said Jesus on Mount Beatitude, which Prophet Muhammad practiced, and became a mercy to the universe. Following in their footsteps, unwaveringly, I hung on to their wisdom and remained a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer.

Raheel Raza and I gave our presentations on Friday night, which were received very well. I have full written up on my presentation, and will be available under the title of “My speech at San Antonio interfaith symposium about Muslims and Christians” at www.TheGhousediary.com

My commentary on the presentations of Kamal Saleem, Daniel Akbari, Lt. Col. Roy White, and Joe Carey will be finalized after the video or audio presentation becomes available to make sure I can quote them verbatim.

Pastor Charles Flowers concluded each segment with a summary and a graceful prayer. Fortunately, he chose to advance my calling that finding the truth is one's own responsibility. 

My last offering towards the very end of the program was that I will review each item and share my comments and suggestions about the program and publish it.  Those who want to see another perspective are welcome to it. 

My responsibility is to address the phobias and allay the fears; no American has to live in apprehensions or fear of fellow Americans.  My role is to build bridges and free my friends from ill-will and malice.

Yes, Muslims and Christians have coexisted and will continue to do so, despite the shortcomings on both sides that mess up the relationships. I'll summarize the historical, theological and social perspectives at a newspaper and then at the websites American Muslim Institution and ATF. 

This is one of the rarest conferences I have attended where the host has set the highest standards of hospitality.  How many people can I thank? Rosalie Astran, Zulmarie Santiago,  Abraham Martinez and of course,

Twenty years from now our pastors, imams, rabbis, pundits, shamans and all the religious clergy will be telling the truth – that faith is in the heart of the believer just as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

My faith is Islam and it is not superior to any religion, nor is any religion superior to Islam, claiming superiority is arrogance, and God in Islam does not favor arrogance, as it is the root cause of all evil and conflicts. Most Muslims get that right and a few don’t, just as with all other religions.

May God bring humility to us.












Thank you,

Mike Ghouse, 
(214) 325-1916
Washington, DC 

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Interfaith Language (Shouting v Chanting)

Interfaith Language | http://FoundationforPluralism.blogspot.com
As a Pluralist (i.e., respecting the otherness of others) my ears are trained to be sensitive. In one of hte discussion we had going, a Professor wrote, “Thousands of them (Hindus) are "roaming" along the banks of the Ganges in Kashi/Gaya (India) shouting "Hare-Ram! Hare Ram!"

My response?
Dear Professor, I would prefer, “Chanting Hare Ram, Hare Ram” to the phrase “shouting Hare-Ram! Hare Ram!" Likewise, I would prefer Chanting Allahu Akbar rather than shouting Allahu Akbar.

We have do the best we can in choosing the words that would not hurt others. Words can change one’s attitude towards you.
Thanks
Mike Ghouse
www.InterfaithSpeaker.com

Genuine Interfaith Dialouge

Genuine Interfaith Dialogue | FoundationforPluralism.blogspot.com

In a Genuine interfaith dialogue, we respect the otherness of others and never claim our faith to be superior to the other as it amounts to arrogance. Religion is about humility that builds bridges between peoples and the communities, and not about arrogance which kills relationships and breeds conflicts.


One of the key things about genuine interfaith dialogue is to develop the ability to see the beauty in other faiths, without having the anxiety to flaunt yours as the best. If we were selling religion like used cars, we have to put others down to make ours look better.

But religion is not a business, it is a system to help an individual achieve his or her own peace within, and peace with what surrounds; life and matter.


When my daughter was going to the Baptist Church, I mentioned to her that if the Pastor decides to denigrate other faiths in his sermons, don't be gullible to buy it. She came back with a powerful response, "Dad, if the Pastor tells all religions are equal or beautiful, why would people go to his congregation?" He has to tell the people that others are not worthy.

Is religion a business? Is one's income tied to the number of congregants? Ultimately what difference does it make if you believe in God the Christian way, Muslim, Hindu or any other way?  God loves his creation, all of his creation, and if he does not, then why do we need a God like that?

Over the years, I have heard different versions of the following sentences uttered by Imams, Rabbis, Pastors, Pundits and clergy from other faiths. "No other faith offers this connection with God" - "Only _______ offers salvation" - "Our faith is based on science", " _____ is a very logical faith", "No other faith gives a purpose in life like our _______ faith, "  Every time I hear that, I cringe. Why are they duping their congregants?   I make quick notes and invariably ask the clergy, if they were aware that other faiths also offer the same ideals, here they are....  they walk away, or double down on it. 


A few have said to me, look, if people want to believe in my claims, let them. I reminded them that it borders on dishonesty,  as a religious person, doesn't he owe the truth to his congregants?  

I hope a day will come when more of us can speak about other religions honestly and sincerely.  That is, for a Jew to speak about Christianity as a Christian would speak and vice-versa, a Hindu to speak about Islam as a Muslim would speak and vice versa, and for a Sunni Muslim to speak about Shia, as a Shia would speak about his tradition.  We should have the integrity to articulate other people’s faith honestly, or have the common sense to believe that others faiths must be equally good for them to follow.    

You are who you are, and I am who I am. 
I can never be like you, nor can you ever be like me,
Your faith is as dear to you, as my faith is dear to me.
I like my faith as you like yours, but...

 I will never claim my faith is superior, as it generates conflict, and religion is not about conflict, it is about removal of apprehension and bringing peace.


As I study the beauty of all faiths, I pick things here and there to share.  Here is a chapter from Quran,  called Kafirun,  which has the similar language as the above four lines, and I am hoping to hear from my fellow religionists to share something like this from their tradition. No religion is superior to the other, period! Here it is - http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2008/07/sura-kafirun-un-believers.html

You will find a handful of religious people, who are honest enough to acknowledge the beauty of other faiths, without worrying that their faiths will become less valuable, or others may criticize you.Again, I am blessed to have written up about every faith tradition; you can Google search the following:


  1. Atheist Mike Ghouse
  2. Bahai Mike Ghouse
  3. Buddhist Mike Ghouse
  4. Christian Mike Ghouse
  5. Hindu Mike Ghouse
  6. Jain Mike Ghouse
  7. Jewish Mike Ghouse
  8. Native American Mike Ghouse
  9. Pagan Mike Ghouse
  10. Sikh Mike Ghouse
  11. Wicca Mike Ghouse
  12. Zoroastrian Mike Ghouse
You can also Google Search
  1. Name of (most major) a Festival Mike Ghouse

God has blessed me with the ability to stand up for every one, and I have to complete compiling the list, meanwhile, you can check these out.
  1. Standing up for Atheists - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/04/speaking-up-for-atheists.html
  2. Standing up for Christians - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/01/standing-with-christians.html
  3. Standing up for Hindus - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/04/standing-with-hindus.html
  4. Standing up for Jews - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/02/standing-up-with-jews.html
  5. Standing up for Sikhs - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/08/standing-up-for-sikhs.html
  6. Standing up GLBT - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/05/standing-up-for-gays-and-lesbians.html
  7. Standing up for Immigrants - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrjU0KULv-Y
  8. Standing up for others - to be completed. 
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

#Muslim Rally against ISIS on the steps of Lincoln Center

PRESS RELEASE

Mike Ghouse (214) 325-1916
Mike@AmericanMuslimInstitution.org
website: www.AmericanMuslimInstitution.org


American Muslims against ISIS gather up on the steps of Lincoln Memorial

Washington, DC, November 19, 2015 – Muslims around the world and particularly Americans Muslims have been sick of the terrorists, particularly the ISIS and the Al-Qaeda guys ever since they started terrorizing the lives of innocent people. We mourn the loss of lives in France, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and elsewhere in the world and firmly stand against the terrorists.



Given the short notice prior to the Thanksgiving weekend, the Muslims of Washington, DC have organized a gathering of Americans of different faiths to come together on the steps of Lincoln Memorial and make the statements of condemnations.
We hope this event effectively conveys a message to the terrorists that the world is against them, and that we are all in this together; opposing terrorism and condemning ISIS.  


You are all invited to join us on the steps of Lincoln Memorial:



The purpose of this gathering is to send a clear message to the ISIS and their ilk, that American Muslims are angry about their actions. They are to be charged for the violations of human rights, forcing women into slavery, conversions at gun point, harassment of Christians, Yazidis, Shias, Jews, Sunnis and other minorities, and most certainly creating chaos and abusing the name of Islam. 

We cannot tolerate any of these acts and we urge our president to speak out in behalf of fellow humans,  and give them three days notice to back off, surrender, and repent for their actions or face the consequences.

We invite Americans of all faiths and no faiths to join us in standing up against ISIS.  Yes, we the Muslims are as angry as average American. Indeed, we are all in this together.

We pledge that we are one nation under the flag, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.


Please join us on the steps of Lincoln Memorial.

# # #


SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS 

We will be listing as many participating organizations as we can. Please send an email with the name of your organization, website and your phone number,  and we will add to the list below.


01. ADAMS Center, All Dulles Area Muslim Society
02. American Muslim Institution, Washington, DC
03. Washington Area Jews for Jewish Muslim Understanding
04. Geotrees, An Intercultural Crossroads for the History of the Future
05. Islamic Community Center of Potomac
06. Foundation for Pluralism
07. The world Organization for Resources development and Education.
08. Muslims for Peace, Justice and Progress 
09. United Maryland Muslim Council
10. Howard County Muslim Council
11. UMA Interfaith Alliance
12. Muslim Community Center of Maryland
13. Montgomery County Muslim Foundation
14. Islamic Center of Greater Toledo 
15. Islamic Center of Long Island
16. IMANA International Collaboration
17. UMMAA Broadcasting
18. Hillside Islamic Center New Hyde Park NY

We appreciate the PSA announcements from Stuart Varney and Jennie Lubart of Fox News and we invite them to cover this event. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

McKinney Texas; police brutality is not acceptable, we demand an investigation.

Mayor Brian Loughmiller and council Members 
City of McKinney, Texas
Honorable Mayor Loughmiller,
In reference to the mistreatment of fellow Americans by your police force,  We hope you will do the right thing. Indeed, you will have the benefit of doubt until you fix the problem.

The mistreatment of fellow men and women who are Black amounts to slapping God for creating us in so many tribes, communities, races, ethnicities and faiths. If God is not in your equation, that is your choice, you have your freedom, but it will create distrust in the society, which will lead to anarchy and chaos. None of us want that to happen. 

Video- 

http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/06/texas-cop-goes-on-violent-rampage-at-pool-party/ 


........
A few in your police force lack sensitivity and as a civil society that is not acceptable, not at all. There was no need to use the foul language to show off his authority, was he trained to stereotype the Blacks, that they will understand foul language? There is discipline and there is an abuse, a police officer is a protector of the safety of our citizens and not an abuser towards those who look different. All of this needs to be addressed and investigated thoroughly. 

We have come a long way in learning to respect the otherness of others. Our founding fathers laid it out in our immortal declaration of independence that we were all created equal, indeed we are. That declaration pays the highest tribute to God, that he created all of us with his will. God is a good guy and we need to accept his will for each one of us to be different. 

To those men and women who are biased towards the others, please wake up, and don’t live in fear and pass that on to your children. Don’t mess with their future, and don’t make them unfits to live in a pluralistic society. Very soon, you will find people of different faiths, cultures, ethnicities, races, nationalities and social backgrounds working, eating, playing, marrying, and doing things together. Prepare them for it, rather than prison them in your own tiny silos. 

We need to prepare ourselves for those eventualities to prevent possible conflicts, and lay a good foundation for nurturing goodwill and effective functioning of the societies. Exclusive communities will become a thing of the past. If you live amidst others, you must also respect the otherness of others, as you expect them to do the same for you.

Let’s be brave and free and learn to live and let live
.

If you agree, please sign and share this petition
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/McKinney_Texas_Mayor_Brian_Loughmiller_McKinney_Police_to_be_investigated_for_training/?nyAtaab




Mike Ghouse
American Together Foundation

www.AmericansTogether.org 2665 Villa Creek Dr
Dallas, Texas 75234
(214) 325-1916
MikeGhouse@aol.com 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Pheonix bikers draw cartoons of Prophet Muhamad

PRESS RELEASE

 Contact:
Mike Ghouse, President
America Together Foundation
Dallas, TX | Washington DC
(214) 325-1916

MikeGhouse@aol.com

www.AmericansTogether.org

Let the Bikers draw Muhammad Cartoons in Arizona


Mike Ghouse of America Together Foundation, has released the following statements.

Let this be clear to my fellow Americans, w
e all have a collective responsibility to communicate and understand different values and learn to respect the otherness of others. ( An appeal to add to Friday Sermons is also made at the bottom).  

Let the Bikers draw cartoons of the Prophet, look to this as an opportunity to follow the practice of the prophet, he was a mercy to mankind and it is time for Muslims to demonstrate that.  What did he do when he was harassed on his way to Taif? He prayed in the tradition of Jesus, "forgive them God, for they know not".  God's will was to show a way to build better societies by mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill and not aggravating it.  Thus he turned the other check as Jesus had and prayed for the well being of all.


This Friday, I urge Muslims around American Mosques to open up their hearts an minds of understanding, instead of sulking, retrieving to a corner, getting angry or harboring ill-will, I ask them to pray for the well being of Biker Americans in their Friday Sermons across the land and hopefully across the globe. Let them make an effort to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  Let’s do our part right and seek God’s help in repairing our relationships.


I request the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix to welcome the guests with abundant supply of bottled water, leave it on the tables outside. If I can make it, I would like to be there and meet with our biker brothers and sisters.  I am one of them in free spirit, and one of you in practicing Prophet’s kindness.  More details at:  www.AmericansTogether.org

The free speech is an enduring value and the hallmark of civilizations, and we simply cannot compromise on it, however much a few may abuse it.  Indeed, Free speech is one strong element that will bind Americans together. 

Criticism can fade away or rain on us depending on how we respond to it. Lack of conviction in one's faith breeds intolerance towards criticism, whereas firmness in faith can lead us to learn from criticism, explore the infinite wisdom and realize the strength of our faith (Imaan); a worthy feeling to have, instead of living in doubt and shooing criticism away.

We need to handle criticism of Quran, Islam and the Prophet with grace, and respond to it gracefully. At least it increases the chances of mitigating the conflict and restoring harmony. The other way around is fighting back, which guarantees further aggravation of the conflict and isolation. Let freedom of speech remain the corner stone of Islam.

I urge fellow Muslims to be open to all the criticism with confidence, let the doors of communications be open.  Islam stands on its own; it does not need our defense, and it is silly to protect God or the Prophet, they are not weaklings or our property to protect, they belong to the whole universe, don't they?

APPEAL FOR FRIDAY SERMONS:


I hope and pray that we will let the world know that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to mankind, through our acts.   God willing,  over a period of time, we will replace the wrong perceptions accumulated about us in the last 30 years,  and go back to good times of respecting each other. Ask your Imam to pray for the well being, safety and security of every American whether we agree with him or not. Prophet Muhammad was all about mitigating conflicts and nurturing good will, and let's consciously do that, so once again the world can believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to mankind.  



As Muslims we seriously appreciate the gains we have had, that far outweigh the tensions given by a few who know not.
# # #

 References:




  • Criticism of Islam, Prophet and Quran
    http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2012/11/criticism-of-islam-prophet-muhammad.html
    Thank you


    mike
    Mike Ghouse, Speaker
    Motivation | Pluralism | Human Rights | Religion.
    (214) 325-1916 text/talk

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

    Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on PluralismIslam,IndiaIsrael-PalestinePolitics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News with Sean Hannity and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mother's Day Interfaith Celebrations - Huffington Post

Mother is the ultimate definition of selflessness! No matter what happens to the world or even her, she is there for you in your need; she recognizes your need much before you know it. Of course every day is Mother's day, and each one of us honors her in a variety of ways. From simple caring to doing things for her that makes her happy. Mothers don't need a whole lot; they just need to know that you care. Remember you were showered by her attention when you needed it.
2015-05-07-1431017127-5376304-Mothersday.Huffingtonpost.MikeGhouse.black.jpg
Every religious tradition has elevated mother to nearly the status of God, because she possess many a qualities of God; kind, merciful, beneficent and caring among thousand other qualities. Mother is the reason for our existence; sustenance, nurturance and shaping who we are. I dedicate this write-up to my Mother, and all the Mothers out there. There is a beautiful song in Urdu/Hindi language

Full Report with Mother as she is called in over hundred global languages and almost all South Asian Languages - continued at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/mothers-day-interfaith-ce_b_7233900.html

# # #
Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day- all about him at www.MikeGhouse.net