Sunday, January 13, 2019

Book Release - American Muslim Agenda

THE BOOK – American Muslim Agenda
Muslims Together Building a Cohesive America

 What is the book about?  

You will be pleased to see your vision of America resonate in the book. Even though the title is ”American Muslim Agenda,” it is for all Americans.
One of the purposes in naming the book is for my fellow Americans who have misunderstood Muslims to pick up the book and read, and my fellow Muslims who have misunderstood Islam to take a look the at the pristine Islam that they long for, it is not lost, we have to revive it. Islam is not about ruling or dictating others; it is about living your life and letting others live theirs, one of the 12 strongest values of Islam is freewill that Muslims have forgotten.   I have cited the Quran extensively with reinforcing practices of the prophet.
There are occasional references of wisdom drawn from Atheism to Zoroastrianism and every faith in between. You will see Jesus in Muhammad, Torah in Quran or Bhagavad Gita’s reflections or Buddhas Middle path or Nanak’s service to humanity.
You may like this note that Dr. Frank Islam has highlighted.
“I am intrigued by the book, particularly the chapter on the Essence of Islam. The great Talmudic sage Rabbi Hillel in the first century BC said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this—to study it!” Dr. Ghouse responds to Rabbi Hillel with a corollary on Islam, “God wants us to respect the otherness of the others and accept the uniqueness of each human. That is the whole Quran; the rest is the explanation of this—to study it!”

MUSLIMS TOGETHER BUILDING A COHESIVE AMERICA

This book, The American Muslim Agenda, is a primer, a blueprint, a road map for American Muslims to consider. A Muslim is someone who is a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer, following the formula for peaceful societies practiced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and guided by the Quran. As a community, American Muslims have not developed any concrete plans to extricate themselves out of the chaotic situations, hostility and incessant Islamophobic rhetoric we face. Each time a terrorist acts out, we start praying and wishing that the terrorist not be a Muslim. We are Americans, and we can do better than that. This book paves the way for us to own the mistakes we have made, remedy them, and become fully integrated Americans. There is only one America, and all of us are fully integrated parts of that nation. We need to learn to engage with those who are opposed to us, and I have some good success stories to share on that front. When we start defending America and American values we are in! We become an integral part of American Fabric.

What do the Scholars say about the book?

Bob Roberts, Renowned Evangelical Pastor & Founder of Global.net Author Bold as Love
I’m so grateful for the work of Mike Ghouse and his desire to build bridges.  You will love this book, it’s about how Muslims in America think, and how we should all be connected regardless of faith.  For too long, we’ve ignored the divide between Muslims and Christians and the result is we are prone to believe the worst about one another.  Thanks, Mike for this important book.
* * * * *
Bob Crane, first Muslim US Ambassador
Mike Ghouse’s path-breaking book, American Muslim Agenda, recommends a new agenda in the form of a paradigm shift from the negativism of attacking Islamophobia to the constructive support of America’s founding vision as a model of every world religion’s essence in compassionate justice. This is based on the interfaith search for transcendent truth from both scriptures and natural law in order to translate this wisdom into principles of both ethical value and jurisprudence.  These principles, in turn, are essential to guide the modern think-tanks that shape policy agendas, as well as to inform the voters and legislators who have the practical responsibility to translate the vision of compassionate justice into both societal and institutional reform.  This is what it has always meant to be an American.
Fi Aman Allah,
* * * * *
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, first Muslim woman scholar to translate the Quran sensitively! 
Endorsement for The American Muslim Agenda by Mike Ghouse The author presents a challenge to American Muslims to lose their egos and integrate themselves into being fully Muslim, fully American. They have a Muslim example to follow and it is that of spiritual chivalry (javanmardi, futuwwah).
Spiritual chivalry is that the spiritual warrior constantly strives for the sake of others. It is not seeing yourself as superior to others, to be an enemy of your own soul for the sake of your Lord, to act justly without demanding justice for yourself. Spiritual chivalry is to manifest a beautiful character.
The spiritual warrior (fata or the feminine, fatat) is a person who has a sense of honor, is called ‘he who breaks the idol.’ God Most High has said [in the Quran], ‘We heard a spiritual warrior named Abraham speak of them [the idols Abraham broke]’ [21:20]. And He said, ‘And he (Abraham, the spiritual warrior) made them [the idols] fragments’ [21:60]. The idol of every person is his own ego, so in reality, whoever opposes his own passions is a ‘spiritual warrior’.
* * * * *
 Dr. Tariq Cheema, Founder, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists
“Bold and brilliant Mike Ghouse. He has not just drawn a roadmap for Muslim Americans to contribute to the society meaningfully but highlighted the unique value proposition of Muslims that mainstream America can bank upon to progress. In fragmented America today, the hope lies in the people of faith who believe in social justice and cohesion. This book is an open invitation and a call to action for all those men and women of conscience.”
* * * * *
 Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Executive Director, Interfaith Conference of Washington
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a warrior for conflict resolution and a partisan for non-partisan dialogue. He aims to bring all voices to the table of religious pluralism that he sets with the “agenda” in this book.  He and I have shared presentations on panels where the perspective centers on covenantal pluralism, the idea that a God who can treasure one faith community must have the will and power to treasure all moral communities of whatever faith or of no faith.  May his efforts in articulating the agenda for his beloved Muslim community inspire other faith leaders to delve self-critically and responsibly into the resources within their own religions to move beyond tolerance to a loving and robust mutual appreciation.  Our times need his voice and need others to speak out as well.
* * * * *
Dr. Harbans Lal, Emeritus Professor, and Chairman, 
Dept of Pharmacology & Neuroscience, UNT Health Science Center, Texas
It is only recently that many courageous scholars and public servants began to tell what the real Islam was. Guru Nanak wrote hundreds of hymns in the Sikh scripture on who is a good Muslim. I am glad to see the recent book by Mike Ghouse. Mike began nearly 15 years ago to set the stage right. He started with a radio show on the world’s religions. I remember my frequent participation there and answering Mike’s piercing questions. Then he contributed hundreds of columns in leading newspapers and magazines. Now, he came up with his book that elucidates the purpose of religion in general and the role of Islam in particular as a member of the community of faiths.  I recommend this book to the Muslim community and their neighbors who are the followers of other religions. In facts, the adherents of other religions might consider Mike’s approach in spreading the sacred words of the founders of their beliefs.
* * * * *
Dr. Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times International.
This beautiful, well-written book, is the next level thinking for the Muslims, many of whom still live in the medieval paradigm of ‘them’ versus ‘us.’ Mike Ghouse is the Messiah for pluralism to pull the Muslims out of a sectarian vision, to a genuine universal brotherhood and sisterhood, befitting our global village, for the 21st century.
It is a must read for every Muslim living in the West, who is desirous of genuine integration, to benefit from all the good that rational and democratic human societies have to offer.  By the same token, it is a must-read for every Westerner, who wants to grasp the genuine peaceful and inclusive vision of true Islam.
The book is a breath of fresh air, away from the political Islam of the Islamists or the Islamophobes, a futuristic vision of coexistence, where we not only tolerate our differences but celebrate them.
* * * * *
 Dr. Frank Islam, Philanthropist, and a Scholar, Washington
I am intrigued by the book, particularly the chapter on the Essence of Islam.
The great Talmudic sage Rabbi Hillel in the first century BC said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this—to study it!” Dr. Ghouse responds to Rabbi Hillel with a corollary on Islam, “God has created us into different races, religions, sizes, colors and other uniqueness’s, respecting the otherness of the other and accepting the God-given uniqueness is the whole Quran and the rest is the explanation of this – to study it.”
* * * * *
Dr. Safi Kaskas, Modern translator of Quran, his translations have been referenced in the book.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a courageous American Muslim. At a time when Muslims are under attack, he courageously stood tall and walked into the enemy’s camp to talk to them and to explain Islam as he knows it.
His book, American Muslim Agenda, is the summary of his experiences and vision for his Muslim community and America his country. I think we Muslims will be wise to listen to what he is saying and take steps away from our antiquated stands of us and them toward a new Quranic vision of competing in doing what is good.
The future of Muslims in America is what Muslims decide to make of it. In order to be successful, we need to think and really understand the environment in which we live. We also need to understand Islam with fresh eyes on the future, taking in consideration the need to find new solutions to the new problems we are facing without compromising our basic beliefs. This requires courage and resilience. It requires leadership coming from within the Muslim community, with the ability to unite and lead.

 Talking points of the book

I have acknowledged the mistakes Muslims have made,  including an apology to Jews, Christians, and Hindus and have offered solutions to go forward.
Every question you have about “American Muslims” will be answered
in a book signing event, or a special meeting you may consider organizing.
1. Why I wrote the book?
2. Muslim Woman President of the United States in 2036
3. What does it take to run for public office?
4. What are the 12 Islamic Values to shape future societies?
5. Why is this book a reference Manual?
6. Are Muslims a part of the American story?
7. What does it take to be an Amin?
8. Spineless Muslim Leadership9. Mistakes Muslims have made and fixing them10. Rejecting public Sharia
11. Criticism of the Quran, Islam and the prophet
12. Dealing with conservatives
13. Pristine Islam
14. Extremism
15. More
Contact information:
Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916
Washington, DC
AmericanMuslimAgenda@gmail.com
Dr. Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His new book, the “American Muslim Agenda” guides Muslims and non-Muslims alike to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill. The book will be available at the end of January 2019 in all the bookstores. Mike is a public speaker, author, interfaith wedding officiant, and the executive director of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. More about him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Holocaust and Genocides

14th Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides

Approx. 3:30 PM Sunday, January 27, 2019, | First Event at 2:00 PM
Jewish Muslim Perspectives on Mysticism at Islamic Society of the Washington Area
2701 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20905 


CLICK FOR:   RSVP | INFO | ABOUT
 
The Center for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress are deeply committed to education and regularly bring Americans together to learn about each other’s joys and suffering. It is an initiative to build responsible civic societies, where justice and co-existence are our values.

The 14th Annual Holocaust and Genocides event is an effort to stand with all the men, women and children who have endured the apprehension of Holocaust, genocides, massacres, bombs, annihilation, land mines, hunger, rape, torture, occupation, and inhuman brutality.


The least we can do in the process of healing is to acknowledge everyone's pain in one voice. We have begun the process of coming together as one people and stand with each other, we are indeed one world and only humanity, and caring for each other bring safety and peace to all of us. I cannot be safe if the people around me are not, and I will not have peace if people around me don't. It is in my interest to seek a peaceful world for one and all.

There is a shameless cruelty in us, either we shy away from facing or refuse to acknowledge the sufferings of others, worrying that it will devalue our own or somehow it amounts to infidelity to our cause. We cannot justify massacres arrogantly believing that the victims deserved it or asked for it.

We have to learn and to acknowledge and reflect upon the terrible things we have inflicted upon each other and have to commit to ourselves to resist the temptations to be prejudiced and stereotype others. We cannot demand peace unless we are peaceful ourselves.

This particular date was adopted by the sixtieth session of the United Nations on November 21, 2005, “Resolves that the United Nations will designate 27 January as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.”  Our events are scheduled on Sundays to accommodate the Jewish community’s presence.

Our safety hinges on the safety of others around us, and it behooves us to work for the safety and security of others on this little planet. We have to be continuously aware of the Holocaust and Genocides and prepare us to avert such tragedies.

We are working on initiating a course on tolerance education, so one day; we all can learn to have a heart that opens to the pain of every human, yes, we can do that.

Bringing people to understand the suffering of people has been my drive, I must say that through this program, many non-Jewish people have come to know about the Holocaust for the first time. You can see pictures people from Atheist to Zoroastrians and everyone in between has been a part of this event. Moreover, everyone has shared a prayer in the past commemorations. We have to create the awareness to get people to become activists and speak up and Never say again.

________________________________________________


FIRST EVENT AT 2:00 PM
Program: Getting Closer to God: Jewish and Muslim Perspectives on Mysticism

Gabrial Abasi will speak on Selfless service and commitment to mysticism
Herb Levy is a teacher of Kabbalah
Andra Baylus will speak on the Sufi-inspired spiritual leader Meher Baba

Organized by: Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society
________________________________________________


SECOND EVENT AT - Approx 3:30 PM
Program: 14th Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides

Holocaust
Syrian Refugee Crisis
Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing - Bob Marro,
Uyghur Chinese Muslims - Omer Kanat
Crimean Tartars - Walter Ruby
Organized by the Center for Pluralism

Supporting Organizations:

  1. Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society- http://Jids.org
  2. Islamic Society of the Washington Area - http://iswamd.org/
  3. World Muslim Congress - http://worldmuslimcongress.org/
  4. JAMAAT - Jews Muslims and Allies acting together
  5. Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
________________________________________________

The Center for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress are deeply committed to education and relentlessly pursue building cohesive societies where no human has to live in apprehension and fear of the other.



INFO
https://holocaustandgenocides.blogspot.com/2018/12/14th-annual-reflections-on-holocaust.html

ABOUT US
http://centerforpluralism.com/mission-accomplished-at-the-center-for-pluralism/


Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916
http://holocaustandgenocides.blogspot.com  


Dr. Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, author, interfaith wedding officiant, executive director of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.  More at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Make America Great Again

At this point in history, we are going through difficult times.  Whether you are on the right, left or the center, you are concerned about the liberties and freedoms of all Americans.  The divisiveness, even though temporary, has caused us to lose trust in each other to function effectively as a nation.

So what can we do?

Our President John Kennedy had famously urged us, “Ask not what the country can do - ask what you can do for your country.” and Professor William James had written that our actions can change the moods.

Here is what we can to do to restore America where no Americans feels left out, but feels included in nation building.

Let’s close 2016 on a positive note, let’s come together as Americans, and celebrate our collective Festivals of Hanukkah, Christmas, Milad, Kwanza, Janamashtami, Gurpurab and the festivities of Native Americans, and other traditions including Atheist/Humanist. Each group will get to sing honoring their faith tradition.

When we are together, it is uplifting!
We can change our moods! 

The following video has clips from Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Milad, Janamashtami and other great celebrations.  On the actual day of Festival of Faiths, Americans Together will celebrate their traditions.  

  1. Video   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjhbRkN7soQ 
  2. Details   http://centerforpluralism.com/festival-of-faiths/
  3. Attend  RSVP – Eventbrite
  4.  Sing?   If your group likes to sing Register@Centerforpluralism.com    
  5. List?     Please send an email to   Register@Centerforpluralism.com   
  6. Op-Ed  Ask not what the President can do for us?” will be released soon
  7. More     http://Centerforpluralism.com/Workshops
  8. Browse Tabs at  www.Centerforpluralism.com
  9.  Event   Celebrating America –Festival of Faiths on Sunday, 12/18 – 12 to 2 PM
  10. Where   Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC 


***** 

Dr. Mike Ghouse is founder and president of Center for Pluralism aka Americans Together. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. All about him in 65 links at www.MikeGhouse.net

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