Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Interfaith Christmas: Boundless God

No matter what faith you profess, the interfaith Christmas can offer everything you had always wanted; to live in peace and harmony with fellow beings without apprehension or fear of the other.  I hope this essay shines a light on the larger idea of humanity, and gives you a sense of connection with fellow beings without being a Christian.  
Full article - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/interfaith-christmas-making-god-boundless_b_2347856.html


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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him

Muslim Leap of Faith: Offering Interfaith Prayersat Newtown

Would Mahatma Gandhi go to heaven? Even though each member of the faith will thoughtfully acknowledge that he would, but the ones who live in cocoons, would say, not until he calls on Jesus as his savior, or recites the Shahadah (Muslim pledge). A Muslim took an incredible leap of faith on the national TV on the eve of interfaith prayers in Newton Connecticut, in presence of the president, watch the video.


   Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

God belongs in our hearts and not school

The need to keep God in our hearts is important, he remains a loving God, but when we project him in public square or schools, it has a chance to hurt one child or the other, who does not see God the same way as others. Should we not respect that individual?

Would God like any one of his children be hurt invoking his, her or its name?

There 'may' be a way out, if we all can agree that God is a convenient name to the energy that caused, sustains and terminates life, and each one of us can respect each others' belief that it could to be a male/ female or genderless, one, none and many, nameless/ multiple names, existent or non-existent being, specific or generic... isn't that causer universal? Shouldn't we?

Isn't better to keep God in our hearts than dump him in school and hurt him? Have we not created him in our own image, as others have in their own image?
 


 
I see a lot of sense in keeping God to ourselves, and within our hearts. We can always pray anytime and anywhere, one the bus, in the shower or in a quiet moment. Until such time when all of us can accept to school prayers, not the majority, but the unanimity across the board, we need to respect this particular law. Our model is something other nations can emulate some day, a model where every human is valued for who he is, what he eats, drinks, wears or believes. As long as one’s actions do not affect public safety, he or she should have the freedom to do anything. My freedom hinges on freedom of others that surround me.
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Interfaith prayers in Richardson, Texas for families affected by the Connecticut shooting

We have to work on developing a society, where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. We pray for peace and kindness to prevail, please join us for the interfaith prayers to honor the ones who have lost their lives.


Dec. 15, 2012 - We stand with the families, who have lost their loved ones at the Connecticut shooting today, and we pray for the safety and security of the ones shaken by the incident, and pray that confidence is stored to the children and families who are scared.

As Americans we have to come together to mourn and reflect on this tragedy, and find sustainable solutions. We have to assure our children, or those children who have no one to assure, that what happened is bad, and we all have to work to prevent it.

We have to remember that no matter how hurting it is, we cannot blame an ideology or guns; it is the reckless attitudes of the deranged individuals that caused the killing. They need help, if we spot such individuals, we need to report them to find help for them, it is our silence that is bad, and we need to let our children know that if they see any one behave unusually, they need to tell the parents or their teachers in school. We have had four incidents this year in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Illinois and now in Connecticut and we cannot have our children live in fear.

We pray for peace and kindness to prevail, and seek the divine guidance to bless us with guidance to prevent these tragedies. At this time, we have to come together to express our support to the victims and their families.

We have to work on developing a society, where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. We are all in this together.

Join us tomorrow for interfaith prayers, at 3:00 PM at 1210 E. Beltine Road, Richardson, TX 75081 
 


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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The right winger in you

URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-right-winger-in-you.html

It is not you, nor is there a group called right wingers. It is each one of us once a while, occasionally or frequently a right winger.  There is a right winger in each one of us be it politically, ethnically or religiously at least once in a life time.  Check the following seven things out;

  1. No tolerance for criticism of the president, as long as president is from their own party. For example, a right wing Republican would not tolerate any criticism of Bush, it amounts to disloyalty to the nation and without blinking an eye, you are unpatriotic, and they will accuse you and blame your religion, race, ethnicity or immigrant status or whatever they can find that is different in you.  
    They usually attack the person instead of the issue, the far left Democrats have the same germ in them. The attacks on Obama by these right wing possessed individuals is pathetic, they lost the election, and instead of gracefully accepting the will of the people, they attack the person of Obama, some of those assess, even attack Michelle Obama. This is not good for the nation.  For every accusation you hurl on Obama, the same can be hurled on his predecessor - Obama went to Vegas when Sandy hit the shores, what did Bush do when Katrina hit Louisiana?
  2. If you are Chinese, Nigerian, Brazilian, German, Arab or African, simply substitute the words India or Pakistan with the name of your nation, the following experience would be the same. The Indian and Pakistani right wingers are no different. Criticism of what goes on there amounts to India or Pakistan bashing to them, they find it easy on their intellect to go ahead and make a judgment on you, instead of dealing with facts. Of course,  facts don’t matter to them. They hunger to create passionate supporters by painting the other guy their enemy. I see this every day among these two groups as well as the Bangladeshis’, switch it to Nigerian or Libyan and see if it works.

  3. Religiously, the right wing Muslims, Christians, Jews or Hindus behave the same. By the way, there are right wingers among Buddhists, Sikhs, and even Bahai’s.  I have experienced all of these; it will be in my book, something you already know. No matter what is suggested, their minds quickly decide that others are attacking them, and that the others are their enemies. They ruin the joy of their life by living in constant anxiety.
  4. By the way, conservatives are not right wingers, although right wingers can be conservatives. The right wingers are calling themselves conservatives, they are not. Conservatives want to stick with what is proven, what is known and what is working, and resist experimentation. They are not risk takers. You and I are conservatives in some areas and in the same areas occasionally, frequently or never. 
  5. What makes one a right winger? You can observe the following; facts don’t matter to them, they insist their version is the final truth, and how dare you not accept their view as a fact? They are usually blunt and tell you that you are wrong, facts don't matter to them.  If you disagree with them, they become a passionate enemy of you; they will make the time to tell all the bad they they imagine about you, and tell others. They are risk takers, and are not embarrassed if they make the sense or not, if they don’t, they get louder and chase you to the end of the world. They usually bond on the basis of hate for others, which are temporary associations.  
  6. Relax, you are not a right winger, if you are reading these words. Right wingers moved on out after item # 1 and have already responded in their minds, or passed it on to their friends… They rarely read things… remember facts don’t matter to them. They may be engaged in item # 5 right after # 1.
  7. We need to be compassionate, I wrote this as an example, some of my closest friends are right wingers in religion, politics, culture and cuisine and I have found a way with some of them in my workshops, talks and dealings - to respect the otherness of others and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us. Pluralism is an attitude of respecting who you are, without having to agree with you. I have found that their attitudes are molded by lack of knowledge about you, of inexplicable phobias....if you take the time, and when they see that you care, the fears vanish for them. They can become great friends with the same intensity for friendship. 
God bless us all with peace, may our anxieties recede, and may we give each other full value as we give to ourselves. Amen! We may all learn to respect the intentional diversity of God's creation, it amounts to genuine worship of God.

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.

Majlis e Aza, Maulana Hayder Shirazi

URL - http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2012/12/majlis-e-aza-maulana-hayder-shirazi.html


I attended the Majlis-e Aza, a Shia Muslim gathering at my friend Aftab’s home, over 50 families attended to listen to the visiting Maulana Hayder Shirazi in the Majlis (gathering).
The experience was spiritually enriching and broadening my horizons of accepting the otherness of others. Indeed, it is time for us to get to know each other, we don’t have to agree or disagree with our madhabs (denominations) and rituals, but we can develop the capability to respect each other and find solutions to live in harmony. We need to include in our teaching, that disrespecting Allah's creation, fellow humans, amounts to disrespecting God. Indeed, God says in Quran, killing one person amounts to killing the whole humanity, and saving one life is like saving the whole humanity.


Two teenagers sang the Marsiya (melancholic songs) followed by a chorus, “Mere Abbas Jahan ho” it was powerful and moving. 
Abbas was the 32 year old brother of Imam Husain (as). He was Imam Husain (as) and Islam's flag bearer. He is known for his utmost loyalty to Imam Husain. He was brutally martyred by Yazid's (self proclaimed, evil king) army when he went to fetch water for the very young children within Imam Husain's family who had been thirsty for more than 3 days.

Ali Asghar  was a six month old son of Imam Hussain, who was prevented from getting water from the river for his sick child, while he was waiting and holding Asghar in his arms, Yazid’s men (evil king) shot an arrow at the baby and martyred him. This sad story is a reminder of what the evil is capable of doing, and the need for us, each one of us, to speak out against evil things happening in our daily lives.


The program began by praying for a Shia girl killed in Pakistan. I felt the surge of blood in my veins, what is happening to Pakistan?   During this Muharram (first month of Islamic Calendar and the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain on the 10th) an endless number of Shia Muslims were killed,  a few weeks ago a bus was stopped and all the people were asked to get out, and they killed each one of the 19 Shia in the bus, sparing the Sunni. This is simply not acceptable. Until we feel the suffering, and until we stand up for the rights of others be it Muslim or not, the humanness in us gets depleted. These Murderers are disrespectful to God.

Like all minorities around the world, the Shia, Ahmadiyya, Hindus and the Sikhs minorities in Pakistan are constantly harassed and hounded. As I reflect upon it, the issue is much bigger than Shia-Sunni, it is the majoritarian arrogance that wants to oppress the minorities.  It takes violent form in Pakistan, but takes different avatars in different places including our own United States, Israel and other nations. Even though we are a blessed country, we still have bigots running and saying things that don’t make sense. Thanks to the founding fathers for making this nation respect the rule of law, which ensures every citizen, a relative safety. 

The civility of a nation hinges on how it treats its weak, its women, its minorities and the ones in the ditches.  

While sitting in this particular Majlis, for a few brief moments, I asked myself, are we not all Muslims? We eat the same food, we look the same and we speak the same language, and most of us espouse the same faith. What causes the hatred and ill will that is going on in Pakistan? Why do we exclude others in our conversations?

Of course, the Maulana addressed the Shia more than once; after all it was a Shia gathering. The same thing happens at the Sunni, Bohra, Ismaili or Ahmadiyya gatherings; their talk does not include other Muslims at all.   

 Yet, I have heard the all-inclusive-prayer, even today, as in every Mosque I have been to, “Allahum maghfirli wali walidaiyya wali ustadhi wali jam'il mu'minina, wal mu'minat wal muslimina wal muslimat - Dear God! Forgive me and my parents, and my teachers, and all the believers, the Muslim men and women.” Do we mean it or we just recite it to get it over?    You cannot seek peace for just one, and not the other, as our peace hinges on peace to others. 

 Well, that is the case with every place of worship I have been, whether it is Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism.  That is contrary to the teachings of all religions, each one of them ….taught to get along and respect the other.  We have to learn to know each other, the more we know the other, the less conflicts we would have (Quraan 49:13).


Maulana Hayder Shirazi has that calmness on his face that generates tremendous respect for him, a humble man, as most of the Imams I have known in Dallas.  He is visiting from London and studied in Qom, Iran for 14 years! I was glad to hear that they also teach about other denominations of Islam, as an optional subject.  The teachers are Shia who teach the Sunni version of Islam, I am sure it will be honest, as I have known the Sunni Imams who respectfully talk the Shia version, as Shia understand it.

Maulana talked about loyalty and obedience to the principles, and elaborated Ateeullaha o Ateeur rasool very well. If you are not loyal to your wife, and vice-versa, more than likely you will not be loyal to the creator, if you don’t listen to parents, more than likely…. I was watching the youth listening to him attentively. He communicates well with his message.

He also talked about Tasweef; that is procrastination. He shared the story of two brothers from Baghdad who went to India, and one of them could not go to Hajj while the other did. The point he was making was, if you postpone Hajj, you can justify it to perform next year, or when you get older, or if it is about repenting, we cannot wait till the last breath, as we may not get the chance to repent it. His advice; do it now.

He was talking about the Ghayab Imam, or the Imam who would appear one day, and he will, if we do our part, be righteous. 

The Haram and Halal conflicts ends with life on the earth, he said one would be free from such conflicts in heaven. God can do anything kun fa ekoon, he just thinks and it happens. 

He was telling the story of Karbala  and when he narrated the part, where Yazid wanted Zainab be killed and brought to him in disgrace. Thanks to Munawar-Ali Abbas for sharing the following, "Zainab was the sister of Imam Husain (as). She accompanied Imam Husain (as) to Karbala. After the brutal Martyrdom of Imam Husain (as) by the army of "evil king," Yazeed (la), the women and children of Imam Husain (as) were made captive by the army of Yazeed (la). They were all taken in great disgrace and were tortured from Karbala to Kufa, and from Kufa to Syrai (Shaam)."

She would not compromise her principles but willing to die for it instead. The adults started crying out loud, and for a few minutes, I was the only one who did not. As the story progressed, listening to the humiliation of Zainab endured against Yazid’s unabashed harassment, I could not hold myself from crying. I just could not believe I did that. It felt good to intensely feel the suffering, humility and pain. You always salute those who stand up for the righteous principles.

At the end of the program, everyone got up and followed the unique Shia ritual, of beating the chests with both hands; it was loud and in unison and went on for about 15 minutes. The chanting was “kat gaye aale Muhammad ke gharanay walay” - martyred are the prophet’s family members. 

Everyone was deeply involved in the chanting and the chest beating, and momentarily I felt odd…and out of place, but was admiring the bonding it was facilitating. There was a temptation not to be an odd ball and do what others were doing… but I was severely fighting within myself, then I chose not to, as it would be something other Sunni or other Muslims cannot replicate, but we need to know each other.  My comfort increased when I invoked Pluralism ideals in me that we all have to learn to respect the otherness of others, and we do not have to agree with each other, but be respectful of each other. Indeed, that model was provided by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as expressed in the link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsbuwRSnvNY

And that is what knowing each other means in Sura 49:13 is expressed in the following video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCDwxcz65XY

The food was good, it was lentil-meat with Naan and Halwa!

Insha Allah, I will be writing the essence of Hanukkah, Christmas and other festivals in December, so we can now about each other. Please make an effort to participate in Shia, Sunni, Bohra, Ahamdiyya, Ismaili, Deen Mohammad and other Muslim events. To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill.


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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place and standing up for others as an activist. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.

Building Bridges on Turkish TV with Mike Ghouse

BUILDING BRIDGES - MIKE GHOUSE ON TURKISH TV-A9

God wants us to live in peace, and harmony with each other.  If we follow the Sunnah (practice) of Prophet Muhammad and follow the Guidance of Quraan, we can seldom go wrong.   What does it take to build that momentum… to bring about a change in a society,   I am glad to see Muslims taking the initiatives to build a cohesive world. The Role of Muslims in building cohesive societies was broadly the topic, and Pluralism, co-existence, Islam, Israel and peace were part of the conversation.  Continued http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/11/building-bridges-on-turkish-tv-with.html


VIDEO http://www.harunyahya.com/en/works/154210/

 

Thanks to the Turkish Television A9 for their program building bridges with guests from around the world. If you get the time, check out some of the fascinating interviews.

I was called to talk about Role of Muslim in the world, and Pluralism, co-existence, Islam, Israel and peace. What can we do to bring about a change in a society, what does it take... I am glad to see Muslims taking the initiatives to build a cohesive world.

On my part, I have a lot more work to do, one of them is to get Jews, Christians and Muslim to start including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Baha’i, Wicca, Earth based and native traditions as a part of their casual conversation.

My message at the end was, God has intentionally created us to different races, religions, ethnicities and cultures, let’s honor gods wish for us to live cohesively.

God willing and media willing, I will be on a few more TV talk shows in 2013, but my dream is to be on Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow Shows, I will make the effort to communicate pluralism with humor.


Thank you.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, Israel, India, Pakistan, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.

Interfaith Thanksgiving story

REFLECTIONS INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING 
 
Expression of gratitude is the ultimate balancing act in everyone's life. We know whom we receive the good from and offer our gratitude. The absence of a simple thank-you creates an imbalance in the relationship and spiritual energy, while a simple thank you restores it. What do you do when you don't know who to thank?
 
The unforgettable story of Appaiah and the interfaith views from Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Sikh, Wicca, Native Americans and others. 

 
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, Israel, India, Pakistan, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.

Texas Faith: Why do we say grace over a meal, including at Thanksgiving?

http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/11/texas-faith-why-do-we-say-grace-over.html

Expression of gratitude is the ultimate balancing act in everyone’s life. We know from whom we receive the good and to whom we offer our gratitude. The absence of a simple “thank you” creates an imbalance in the relationship and spiritual energy while a simple “thank you” will tie the loose ends and restore the balance - Mike Ghouse



 
Texas Faith: Why do we say grace over a meal, including at Thanksgiving?

The Texas Faith blog is a discussion among formal and informal religious leaders whose faith traditions express a belief in a transcendent power – or the possibility of one. While all readers are invited to participate in this blog, by responding in the comments section, discussion leaders are those whose religion involves belief in a divine higher power or those who may not believe in a transcendent power but leave room for the possibility of one. Within this framework, moderators William McKenzie and Wayne Slater seek to bring a diversity of thinkers onto the Texas Faith panels.

But why do we say grace over a meal, including a traditional one like the Thanksgiving dinner?

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

Life is a self-balancing act. Everything we do and say is spiritual as well as a real-life transaction that moves the needle from balance to imbalance, and back to balance.
 
The mechanism is built around forgiveness, repentance, service and gratitude. These values are a product of co-existence and inculcated through religious teachings. However, atheists would also achieve the same without invoking God.

The accountant chants that for every debit there is a credit. The physicist has proved that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And the doctor declares that blood lost from the body of an individual must be replenished with an equal amount of blood to sustain life.
 
As a spiritualist I say, for every wrong we do, an equal amount of energy is drained from us. And for every good we do, energy is recouped. We are constantly receiving and giving energy. Intake and output must be equal to have a healthy living, or else we are thrown off balance.

For every hurt we hurl on others, an equal amount of burden gets dumped on us. Until we say “sorry” and repent genuinely, the energy balance within us deteriorates. The transaction remains incomplete.

Why do we say grace over a meal?

Expression of gratitude is the ultimate balancing act in everyone’s life. We know from whom we receive the good and to whom we offer our gratitude. The absence of a simple “thank you” creates an imbalance in the relationship and spiritual energy while a simple “thank you” will tie the loose ends and restore the balance.

When the giver is not identified, to whom do we give thanks? The accident we got out of safely, the job we did not lose or the meal we are able to have must be accounted for. 

For believers, that source is identified as God, and it behooves them to say grace over the meal. The transaction will be fully complete when we become considerate to those who do not have the same basic things in life as we do. Prophet Muhammad had said when you have nothing to give to others; the least you can give is hope, and a smile to let them know that we care.

Published in Dallas Morning News. Message from all contributors at:
http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2012/11/texas-faith-why-do-we-say-grace-over-a-meal-including-at-thanksgiving.html/

 




 

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, Israel, India, Pakistan, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.

Veterans Homeless Luncheon Blessings

Mike Ghouse
The Homeless Center for the Veterans held a luncheon in Dallas, and I was pleased to deliver the Islamic and Pluralistic benediction at the event. The Jewish Benediction was delivered by WWII Veteran Harry Kabler and Christian Benediction by Rachel Roberts.

The Pluralism Prayers covers most of the faiths including Atheists wishes. By the way, no matter where I get invited, I do make a point to represent as many religions as I can, at least ten in any given time.


The annual event was Organized by Teresa House-Hatfield, Director of the Center in Dallas, and the food was sponsored by the 256 Jewish Battalion. 


URL: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/11/veterans-homeless-luncheon-blessings.html



PICS: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157632016152185/show/

Here was my part;

First of all I am thankful to our creator for blessing us with life,  and secondly, I appreciate you and the men and women in uniforms for defending our freedom and guarding our safety. I am pleased to acknowledge your service to the nation, and I appreciate the sacrifices you have made to keep us guarded.

I was at the Veterans Day parade in Down Town Dallas the other day,  and it was good to see the public support.

Now, I am pleased to share the Universal prayer, also known as the Pluralism prayers.

Dear creator, please accept our gratitude in every name we call upon you; Mahio, manito, Yahweh, Elohim, Ishwar, Buddha, Wahe Guru, Ahura Mazda, Mother Earth, Allah and Jesus Christ.

Thank you lord for enriching our nation, represented by different races, nationalities, ethnicities, orientations, languages, cultures, ideals and religions, we are your own country, a cosmic representation of your universe.

Dear causer of the Universe, in your name we want to create a cohesive and peaceful America with care, kindness and dignity to every one of the 312 million of us as well as 7 billion of us in the world.

Dear God, guide us to talk, act and believe that we are one humanity and one nation under you.

Dear God, as we undertake the mission of building cohesive societies, where no one has to live in apprehension of the other, we are painfully aware of the ignorance, fear, mistrust and ill-will that divides us, help us open our hearts and minds towards receiving each other.

Dear God, Protect our men and women in uniforms committed to our safety and well being.

Dear God, help us think, speak and act peace every moment of the day.

Dear God, guide us to value and practice the principles of liberty and justice for all of your creation, just as you treat us.

Dear God, give us your infinite wisdom and give us the courage to do the right thing, every moment of the day.

Dear God, help us learn to respect the otherness of other in each one of us, and help us accept the uniqueness you bestowed on each one of us.

In your precious name we bow.

Now the Muslim prayer

Al-Fatiha (The Opening)

In the name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace: 
All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds,
The Most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace, Lord of the Day of Judgment!
Thee alone do we worship; and unto Thee alone do we turn for aid.
Guide us the straight way.
The way of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings,
and not of those who have gone astray and did not follow your guidance.

Now, I render the same in Arabic.

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ (1:1)
الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (1:2)
الرَّحْمـنِ الرَّحِيمِ (1:3)
مَـالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (1:4)
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ (1:5)
اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيمَ (1:6)
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ (1:7)



Amen!

God bless us, and God bless America.

MikeGhouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.

Happy Diwali



Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, and light symbolizes hope and positive energy, it indicates the victory of good over evil; a new beginning; seeing the light at the end of tunnel and light is also a symbol of knowledge as it is an internationally used.
People decorate their homes with lights and Rangoli (colorful paintings on floor). Their surroundings filled with colorful light to enliven the day, to mark the dawn of a new era in one's life.

Although Diwali is a Hindu tradition, people of all faiths in India participate in celebrations - Hindus, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and others.

My childhood is filled with good memories of Diwali; the sparklers, the food and everything joyous you can imagine.

Happy Diwali to you my friends, may this Diwali bring happiness, serenity and peace to you. Amen!

Diwali ki shubh Kamnayein aap ko mubarak

White House:

President Obama’s DIWALI message:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edwfv2kreUs

Statement by the President on the occasion of Diwali:

Today, here at home and across the globe, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists will celebrate the holiday of Diwali -– the festival of lights. Diwali is a time for gathering with family and friends, often marked with good food and dancing. It is also a time for prayer and reflection about those less fortunate. It is a testament to the compassion of these communities that so many of them have helped those that have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Many who observe this holiday will light the Diya, or lamp, which symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. As that lamp is lit, we should all recommit ourselves to bring light to any place still facing darkness. Earlier this year, we were reminded of the evil that exists in the world when a gunman walked into the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and opened fire. In the wake of that horrible tragedy, we saw the resilience of a community that drew strength from their faith and a sense of solidarity with their neighbors, Sikh and non-Sikh alike. We also saw compassion and love, in the heroic actions of the first responders and the outpouring of support from people across the country. Out of a day of sadness, we were reminded that the beauty of America remains our diversity, and our right to religious freedom.

To those celebrating Diwali, I wish you, your families and loved ones Happy Diwali and Saal Mubarak.

30 some rangoli themes...  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=331967&id=851280248&l=56e2895228

My Religion is the truth

I am intrigued by the blatant as well as the subtle claims that, "my religion is the only true religion," by numerous religious leaders. Of course it would be a truthful statement, if they consider adding, "...to me, as others are true to others."


 
Please share, like, and tweet. A whole series is emerging, there is a comment and my response to it, you might be able to write a better response, please do so. 

Interfaith Dialog Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Congratulations to Hon. Judge Patty Larson for the life Time Achievement award, and Commissioner Maureen Dickey for the community service Award. The awards were bestowed at the 10th Annual friendship and awards dinner at Renaissance hotel, organized by the Institute of Interfaith Dialog.


Kamil Celik, president of the organization shared the genesis of the institute of interfaith dialogue. He said he was a teen when he participated in an interfaith dinner organized by the Turkish Islamic Scholar Fethullah Gulen. The attendees were the Chief Rabbi of the Turkish Jewish community, heads of Catholic, Greek Orthodox and other religious groups. He was inspired by the event and has become the torch bearer in Texas carrying the tradition for the 10th year. The Gulen movement has attracted a large number of supporters in Turkey and across the globe for his teachings of common good that all faiths can deliver together. He injected good humor in his talk, and I really liked the lightness of his speech. 

Dr. Mike Miles, superintendent of Dallas Independent School District was the key note speaker, and shared how each one of us can function as multiple spokes in a wheel, learning and functioning different aspect of knowledge. He has an impressive resume and the good news is he is considering cross cultural education which will help the kids as they would live in a multi-cultural societies; the real America. He is open to teaching cultural pluralism in schools.  We need to pull 10 years worth of pictures and videos of the Annual Thanksgiving Celebrations, 7 years of Unity Day events and 6 years of reflections on Holocaust and Genocides as examples of cultural and religious pluralism. 

Dr. Miles talked about the entrepreneurial spirit to be included in the curriculum and there is a model program at Richardson School District’s on the topic. They do it for children across the school district and kids come out understanding the concepts of how businesses are run.

Congratulations to Commissioner Maureen Dickey for the community service Award and the life Time Achievement award to Hon. Judge Patty Larson.

Judge Larson is an amazing person and I see her from time to time. I was a neighborhood commissioner at the City of Carrollton a few years ago and have known her for nearly a decade. I am pleased that she is recognized for her life time service to the community. She talked about mock courts with school going children as a part of education. She also performs interfaith weddings as a service to the community.

At my table, besides Isabel,  we had Turkish and Iranian American scholars and students. Dr. Mahmoud Sadri teaches interfaith, and Ali is working on his PhD on Corruption and its effects on economy, Jobin is going to Medical School and Bilal heads the Dallas Islamic Center, Dr. Korca and his wife were equally interested in interfaith dialogue. I was amazed; rather continue to be amazed that even Muslims don’t put their finger on the first interfaith dialoguer in the world. I have tested this in several groups and failed. I have to write more and speak more about it. Then we had a nice conversation about Prophet Muhammad the pluralist,  and talked about Food Pluralism as the food was being served.

Nature is simply amazing, how deficiency in one sensory organ is compensated by powerful sense in the other. Rhanda Hasley does not have the sight and she simply goes by the voice, and it is powerful. She heard me ask a question, a very short one to Dr. Miles if the School district has plans to teach Cultural Pluralism. She knew,  it was me, she had heard my two year long Radio program “Wisdom of Religion, all the beautiful religions” almost 9 years ago. She made a point to find and talk with me. I was completely floored. Then she wanted to stay in touch and I paused before offering her my business card, she said, just tell me the name of the site… I was simply admiring her ability to register and remember the name. God, I wish I had that ability.
Closing remarks were delivered by a Rabbi, Pastor and and an Imam.

I am pleased to have attended this event, as it is my cup of tea. Many including Dr. Jacqueline Romano indicated an interest in learning about Pluralism. Here is my CV and the tentative Curriculum for teaching Pluralism. Pluralism in its simplest form is respecting the otherness of others and accepting the genetic uniqueness (God Given) of each one of us. 
--------- Comments from facebookKathy Runkel The longer you are "out there" as the world's first interfaith dialoguer, the more your concepts and efforts will be noticed and appreciated, Mike. I am one of your cheerleaders, and applaud your vision and devotion to building a better world. Thank you!

Thank you Kathy, you made my day!
MikeGhouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes everything you want to know about him.