Saturday, May 14, 2016

Rockville, MD – Interfaith Meeting on how to deal with violent crimes

As a Muslim I don’t want sympathies, what I want is what everyone wants, a sense of security and letting me live my life as others live theirs. Throw me in a jail for the crimes I commit, but don’t blame me or my religion for the acts someone else commits. As fellow Americans this is what you can do for the other members of the family of faiths, and become a consistent voice to propagate the following narratives…. in the text below. Mike Ghouse
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May 12, 2016, Rockville, MD – The Faith Leaders response team of Montgomery County’s Faith community working group held their monthly interfaith meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville.

The MCPD Asst. Chief Darryl McSwain and Asst. Chief Luther Reynolds, and MC Fire Chief, Scott Goldstein shared their perspectives in developing safe communities.  Both the departments offer facility orientation programs, that is,  training and preparing the members of worship places to ‘what if’ scenarios in case of a gunman walking in,  a fire breaks out or any other untowardly events.

Response Team Portrait
Montgomery County Faith Leaders – Photo Courtesy: Chuck Lee

Rev. Dr. Carol Flett facilitated the meeting attended by nearly 30 individuals representing many faith communities.

A member from each table shared the general conversation of his or her given table.  From our table, we shared the needs of various communities. Imam Hadji Sall from Silver Springs Mosque talked about the space needs for his Mosque, he and I have agreed to have a discussion and present the possible solutions to the group. There was an acknowledgement needed for bullying that goes on with Hindu kids along with Muslim and Sikh kids, Richa from the Chinmaya Mission shared that information.

Rabbi Gerry Serotta, Executive director of interfaith council of Washington shared about the upcoming Interfaith Bridge Builders Awards on June 2, event as a head of the Interfaith council of Metropolitan Washington, one of the pastors shared that they pray for the both the victims and the offenders in case of crises.  Of course, Scott Goldstein shared what the Fire Department does in case of crises, he made it little humorous about catching the animals.

I found the following powerful quote from the signature line of Rev. Dr. Carol Flett worth sharing, as it resonated with the theme of the verse 49:13 from Quran that I have been elaborating on for over 15 years. It is a Martin Luther King Quote, “”…I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.”
AjaibSinghSiddhu-MikeGhouse ImamHodji-MikeGhouse

It was a joy to meet with Dr. Ajaib Singh Siddhu and his wife Hema, who are also friends with Dr. Harbans Lal since their college days. Hema said she and Harbans graduated from the same college same year one got the PhD and the other D. Lit.  Dr. Lal is a father figure to me, and I have always admired him and continue to seek his wisdom from time to time.

Great food, the families brought in so many varieties of vegetarian food that I have enjoyed at the Jain Temples in the past.

PROPOSAL TO THE GROUP

I am pleased to propose to the group, that in one of the upcoming meetings, we can facilitate a talk on the First Amendment; we will also hold a workshop on First Amendment at our facility at the United Methodist building soon. There is a continual need to understand the first amendment on a regular basis.  Please let me know the first time slot available to do this.

The discussion on how we are dealing with the recent violent incidents in Paris, Brussels, Lahore and our County, with members of our congregations. Let’s discuss practical ways we can reduce anxiety and xenophobia in our own communities, and continue to build a socially cohesive and compassionate county.
I am pleased to share my write up.

Dealing with violent incidents in Paris, Brussels, Lahore and here in the United States

The bottom line of every religion, government and the society is to create cohesive societies that function well, where rule of law is the norm, and where no one has to live in fear, or apprehension of the fellow beings.

It is our duty to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Hate is one of the many sources of disrupting peace in a society, and it is our responsibility to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it.  Ultimately, my safety hinges on safety of others around me.
There is wisdom in the saying, “Sin is the problem and not the sinner” when we focus on the sin, there is a chance to redeem the individual from the sin, where as if we attack the sinner, we will kill the chances of redemption. The idea is to single out the cause for the situation and work on finding solutions.

Similarly, we single out the criminal responsible for the crime,  and not  blame his or her spouse, parents, siblings, kids, family members, rabbi, imam, pastor, Pundit or religious leader, mayor of the town, governor of the state, president of the country or the religion.

If a rapist is running around in our neighborhood, everyone gets apprehensive and makes sure the doors are locked, alarm is set and family members are guarded. The moment that creep is caught, everyone sighs and takes a deep breath of relief.

What’s happened here is,  the “trust” is restored in the community; people feel safe and start living their normal life again.  There is nothing like feeling secure.  Indeed, Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) work was to build secure societies and he likened the sense of security to mother’s lap where the child feels secure. No matter what is happening to him/her, the child knows he or she is safe in her mother’s lap, the child knows mother will take care of him/her.  Mother is one’s security and trust is the key.

The Prophet vision of a civilized society was when a single woman loaded with Jewelry and fine clothing could go from the City of Madinah to the City of Damascus and return without being harassed, chased or robbed of her dignity. That was the kind of civility he had envisaged.   A majority of Muslims got that message right and have become the source of such civility; however a few did not get it and we have to work with them.

Those who did not get their religion right, no matter what religion, region or race they belong to cause death and destruction. The list is endless; Brussels, Paris, Grand Bassam, Ankara, Gaza, Mumbai, Bali, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, Iraq and several more across the globe including the latest rampages of ISIS.   Here at home we have San Bernardino along 354 Mass murders in 2015.   Individuals wear suicide vests and hurt others, while nations wrap mega ton bombs to their fighter jets and destroy nations and cities.  All of us should reflect on the ugliness embedded in a few men from each one of our faiths.

There is not a religion out there that preaches discrimination or hatred for others.  Isn’t that the case with Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism or any faith?  Religion doesn’t teach, but the Guardians make a villain out of God towards others. God is not a villain, he/she/ it is about justness, fairness, equity and kindness to the entire creation.

What can we do to cut down the fear mongering and pitting every one against Muslims?
As a Muslim I don’t want sympathies, what I want is what everyone wants, a sense of security and letting me live my life as others live theirs. Throw me in a jail for the crimes I commit, but don’t blame me or my religion for the acts someone else commits.

As fellow Americans this is what you can do for members of the family of faiths, and become  a consistent voice to propagate the following narratives;
  1. Individuals or cult leaders are responsible for their crimes and not anyone else.  Let’s not even blame their parents, pastors, mayors, or their religion or their nation.
  2. We bring justice by punishing the criminals and restore trust in the society, no one but the criminal is responsible for his or her acts.
  3. Religion is like the Nuclear power, in the right hands it is beneficial to the mankind, but in the wrong hands, it brings death and destruction.   Neither religion is bad nor the nuclear power; it is the users and abusers who are good or bad.
  4. We absolve religion from any blame, as religion is an intangible entity which you cannot kill, kick, murder, slaughter, hang, shoot or bury. Trust cannot be restored in the society by barking aimlessly in the dark.
  5. War on terror is a dumb idea; it should be war on ignorance through education and knowledge.
References:






Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine, motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) at www.TheGhousediary.com

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Interfaith Happiness

Interfaith Happiness

I began writing a series called Festivals of the world in 1993 – first it was in my newspaper in Dallas, then it was broadcasted on my weekly radio show from 1996-2001, and has continued on social media, blogs and facebook.

This morning Google notified an entry with my name, and I clicked it, there it was an image of Hanukkah Menorah with the title of my theme.  Hanukkah is not today, but someone had posted my work at: http://digitalmindsoft.org/hanukkah-2015.html and
is the link to that piece in Huffington post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/festivals-of-the-world-es_b_4349512.html


Deva Ramsaroop had once called me a Honorary Hindu or some such thing  people also thought I was a Christian, Baha’i, Buddhist and even Jewish, while I was a humanist at that time.  It’s genuine interfaith happiness to me.

Being a pluralist does not mean you follow a mixture of religions, being pluralist simply means you expand your wings to accommodate everyone in your fold, you become a part of the whole and yet remain who you are and I am a Muslim and a pluralist.  You have to feel secure enough to tell that all religions are beautiful, by acknowledging the goodness in other faiths; your faith does not depreciate even by an ounce.  I respect every religion as much as I respect my own, no religion is anything less or more than mine, all are beautiful paths to its followers.


“Festivals of the World” is an educational series by Mike Ghouse developed in 1993. When we live as neighbors and in the same communities, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for members to participate in festivities as well as commemorations of each other, or at least understand each other’s joys and sorrows. Please note, the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can function cohesively.

Mike Ghouse
www.interfaithspeaker.com

Friday, April 22, 2016

Church of Scientology and Pluralism

Church and Pluralism | www.InterfaithSpeaker.com 
My message: You are wrong and not your religion.

April 21, 2016, Washington, DC -- Today, I am pleased to have learned a bit about the Church of Scientology. Way back in 1979, I visited their office in Los Angeles and was impressed by their work, and had read the fascinating book “Dianetics” by L. Ron Hubbard.  More about the church at http://www.scientology.org/

Rev. Susan Taylor of Church of Scientology explained everything an individual needs to know about her church and have brought a lot of material to read.  We discussed various things today and it was good to hear firsthand about the Church of Scientology.  As we walked around the building, what I saw on the walls was fascinating reading. It is amazing how much there is to learn, here are ‘some’ of the pearls of wisdom in no particular order that I felt connected with.

The creed of the Church of the Scientology

·         That all men of whatever race, color or creed were created with equal rights  
·         That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices
·         That all men have inalienable rights to their sanity
·         That all men have inalienable right to think freely, talk freely….
·         And that no agency less than God have the power to suspend or set aside these rights, overtly or covertly.
·         That man is basically good.
·         Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today and you make your tomorrow.
·         Be true to your own goals




Susan and I talked about what we can do to mitigate the conflicts we all have with each other and nurture good will.  I am considering a monthly workshop series on wisdom of religion, all the beautiful religions that that I had organized in Dallas. Would you be interested in it, if we broadcast it?


By the way, the courts have cleared some of the false allegations against the Church of Scientology.  I am familiar with the insecure men with established churches (nay, not the churches, but the individual men who run it) have always made a point to denigrate the new comer. They are afraid of losing their customers and the donations that go with them.  They have ganged up against all new groups including Mormon, Reformed Church, and Unificationist Church etc.

I have been associated with Rev. Moon’s Unificationist Church as well. I have seen the ministers make fun of it, and he was accused of so many false things. There was a time people of other faiths denigrated his ministry… I found it to be otherwise. Rev. Moon has a great message to humanity about being one with God (he calls is God’s lineage).

Individuals err, not religions. However, if we are sincere about seeking the truth, we need to study a faith that is maligned. Finding the truth is our own responsibility, even if the clergy or scholar of the faith tells you what his or her faith is; don’t believe until you read it yourselves.  Keep studying until your bias is gone, if it does not, then you did not get the message.

As a pluralist, meaning, an individual who embraces humanity with no prejudice, and finds himself in the same tent as all others, I am blessed to have relationships with everyone I could possibly know from Atheists to Zoroastrians and every one in between.  I will continue to be a part of the 7.2 billion people on this planet.  Jesus is one of my mentors and following him means to be like him – a pluralist.

When I visit or hear sermons from different faiths*, what I hear is not the literal words, but their essence.  How following their ideas-sans-rituals will contribute towards creating a cohesive society and my interest is in the bottom line of all religions – and i.e., do they bring comfort, comport and balance to an individual and with what surrounds him.  Indeed, all religions do that with a few exceptions.

When you hear an ugly sermon in a Church, Synagogue, Mosque, Temple or any place of worship, it is not God’s words they are speaking, but their understanding of those words. God is not a bloody villain of his own creation, God loves us all, but a few men from the pulpit spew their hatred and ill-will towards others in the name of God, what a shame!

Is there a minister out there, who has the confidence, faith, and is secure to say that other faiths’ are equally good? And never in their language would they express that theirs is superior.  If you know someone, please let me know, we need people like that.  They are the true religious people and want to give them the megaphone.


Religion is about living in peace within and with others. If you are not at peace and malignant towards others, they you did not get your religion right.  You are wrong and not your religion.Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine, motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) at www.MikeGhouse.net and www.TheGhousediary.com for his exclusive writings.

Monday, April 11, 2016

God fearing or God Caring

The phrase God-fearing has come to mean fearing God. Why do you want to be afraid of God, he is not a devil, criminal or a villain who is hell bent on punishing us at the drop of the hat.  What it really means is – fearing our own weaknesses, fearing doing things that will hurt others and harm others, and in-turn saps our positive energy with guilt, conscious or subconscious.

God loves us all without conditions; after all, we are his creation, or a product of his system. However the idea of rewards, grace and punishment is human and is necessary to build cohesive society and faithfully guard the safety of every fellow human.  All of us want a fair, just and a caring society.    

God Caring may be a better phrase.

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This was in response to my friend Mary Ann Thompson’s note:



“I get tired of people saying so and so is a ‘God-Fearing’ person, like that’s a good thing. Personally, I don’t fear God. Nor do I want to.  I’m in love with God.”

So no, I am not a ‘God-Fearing’ person. I am a ‘God-Loving’ person, and I respect Creator with a heart that is sublimely in Love, not one out of forced respect based on fear.  We often talk about Creator as father, as mother, but Creator is also our first and final Love.

Embrace Creator, however you define Spirit, and your heart will feel the deepest joy in the communion.” 

Mike Ghouse 
www.InterfaithSpeaker.com  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Religious freedom wins in Malaysia – Islam and Christianity win

World Muslim Congress
Contact:  Mike Ghouse (214) 325-1916
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
MikeGhouse@aol.com
Religious freedom wins in Malaysia, re-conversion to Christianity is a landmark ruling.
Washington, D.C., April 6, 2016 —  The World Muslim Congress welcomes the landmark ruling by a High Court in Malaysia that recognized the  freedom of religion is a fundamental human right.
The right to follow one’s conscience is the God given right of every human.  When Adam was given the choice to eat or not eat the forbidden fruit with the given set of consequences, Adam ‘chose’ to eat the fruit. God could have stopped him, but God wanted to set an example of living up his own word and what freedom should mean until the human race lives on.
Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2016-03-30 16:12:42Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com
The court struck down a decades-long government policy that had made it tough for Christian converts to renounce their former Islamic faith without the consent of an Islamic court. The had another great judgment in the case of Lina Joy.
The Association of Churches in Sarawak praised the decision “as a ratification of the fundamental right to freedom of religion in Malaysia,” Herald Malaysia andChristian Today reported.
“This judgment reaffirms the supremacy of the Federal Constitution, which under Article 11 defends every Malaysian citizen’s right to freedom of religion,” the group said.
High Court judge Yew Jen Kie of the Kuching High Court, Sarawak state granted the petition of Rooney Rebit asking judicial authorities to declare that his belief in Jesus Christ was a fundamental human right.
Rebit, 41, from a village in Sarawak, was born a Christian but was converted to Islam by his parents when he was about 10 years old and renamed Azmi Mohamad Azam.
Judge Yew ruled that Rebit is “free to exercise his right to freedom of religion and he chose Christianity.”
Indeed, Mr. Rebit is free to exercise his right to freedom; the Quran says 2:256, “… Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error …” This is Islam’s unambiguous affirmation of freedom of faith, which also applies to changing of faith. The Qur’an illuminates before the humanity the two highways [90:10], one of which leads to salvation. Islam is an invitation to the highway toward salvation, but it is based on FREEDOM OF CHOICE (http://apostasyandislam.blogspot.com/).”
We applaud the ruling as it clarifies the propaganda that Muslims compel others to stay in their fold through coercion and compulsion, which was never true or Islamic, even though it was practiced by a few Muslims.
We appreciate the efforts of the Government of Malaysia to uphold the inalienable rights of her citizens, which are God given and inherently Islamic.  We seek God’s guidance in helping us restore the pristine Islam of freedom, justice and mercy to mankind. Amen!
Dr.  Mike Ghouse is a fellow at World Muslim Congress, a think tank committed to removing the dust Islamic practices has gathered over a period of time.  To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful existence of humanity.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bad People are bad people, common sense cards

click on the image to see the larger version
Please feel free to share 

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine, motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) at www.MikeGhouse.net and www.TheGhousediary.com for his exclusive writings.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holi Celebrations

Happy Holi Celebrations

Holi is a Hindu festival of radiance and celebration of spring with colors that nourish one’s joyous moods and complements the function of respective elements in the atmosphere. The essence of Holi is liberation and breaking the barriers between adults and children, family members and friends, and the festivity opens up to each other. 

It is celebrated through out India, and in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, British Guyana, Suriname and other places.   


Although Holi is part of the Hindu tradition, most Indians participate in it, it presents unity of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians and of course, Jains, Zoroastrians, Baha’i, Jews, Buddhist and native traditions
Legend has it, that Lord Krishna is believed to have complained to his mother about his dark complexion while Radha's had a lighter skin. Krishna's mother decided to apply color to Radha's face (Reverse Make up?) The celebrations officially usher in spring, the celebrated season of love.
Several years ago, my son, daughter and I were drenched in Holi colors at the Hindu Temple festivities and were driving home. At a stop light, people in others cars on either side stared at us and looked scared and drove off screeching on the green light... the three of us laughed and looked at each other…  it dawned on us that we looked bloody, green, yellow and mellow.......colors in our hair, face and clothes…

Prasad's daughter, Prasad Thotakura | Jasmina, Mike and Jeff Ghouse

My kids thoroughly enjoyed throwing the colors in liquid and dust forms on me, they loved it. I would also call it friendship festival as it removes inhibitions
.
The picture below reflects that sentiments - all colors coming together to create oneness, thus the phrase Vasudaiva Kutumbukum; the whole world is one family. Similar expressions are a staple in every faith.
Radiant Colors of Holi

Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna which usually falls in the later part of February or March.

Since 1993, I have been writing about every festival on the earth, have done a weekly Radio program called "Festivals of the world" and shared about each festival.  Make it simple enough that most people can get the essence of it. For Hindus there is lot more depth and meaning to it, but for the non-Hindus, this gives them an idea about the festival. It is a part of the Pluralism education, so we all can know each other and appreciate our own uniqueness. Each one of is a model of our own.

Happy Holi and please enjoy the songs;

From the movie Lagaan, Radha Kaisay na Jalay - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fwe7PwZqpLI

Another one that reflects unity -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NocV6jsegVY

Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, and cohesive societies.www.ProfessionalSpeakerMikeGhouse.com and current articles atwww.TheGhousediary.com

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mr. Trump, Islam does not hate us

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 
Washington, DC 
www.AmericaTogetherFoundation.com
SpeakerMikeGhouse@gmail.com



Mr. Trump, blaming Islam amounts to barking at the wrong tree.
Washington, D.C.  March 10, 2016 – Mr. Trump in an interview to CNN Anchor, Anderson Cooper said, “There’s an unbelievable hatred of us, we have got to get to the bottom of it, and there is unbelievable hatred of us.”Anderson interjects, “In Islam itself?” Trump responds, “You have to figure that out, ok, you will get another Pulitzer.” (Video)


He continues, “We have to be very vigilant, very careful and we cannot allow people coming into this country with this hatred of us”.

I want to assure Mr. Trump that Islam does not hate America, nor does Islam kill people, just as Guns don’t kill, but individuals do. 

Mr. Trump is seeking guidance when he says, “we have to get to the bottom of it” and I am pleased to offer my services to coach him in Islam and Muslim psyche.
Jesus did not give permission to Christians to go on the crusades, inquisitions, genocides of Native Americans, Holocaust, Bosnia and massacres etc? It is not Christians, but the men who did not get Christianity committed those crimes.

Muhammad (pbuh) did not give permission to Muslims to gas the Kurds, commit 9/11, genocide of people in Darfur? He did not give permission to the ISIS animals to forcibly subject Christian, Yazidi and Shia women to sex abuse?  It is not Muslims, but the men who did not get Islam committed those crimes.

If we are inclined to believe in that non-sense, we have a serious responsibility to find the truth, and truth shall set us free.

Bad things happen because those creeps did not get their religion right.
Who do you blame, religion or the creeps?
 
If you blame the creeps what happens? 
 You’ll hunt them down wherever you can find them,  and punish according to restore trust in the society, so no one can live in apprehension or tensions. 

If you blame the religion what happens? Mr. Trump, nothing happens! It is the dumbest thing to blame the religion!  Religion is not a being, it is an intangible item, and you cannot shoot, kick, beat, thrash, hang, kill or bury a religion. Let’s not bark at religion, it does not good and no problem will be solved except aimless barking.

Problem remains, people will continue to remain apprehensive and fearful of each other. Let’s find solutions to these problems.

We are indeed committed to build a cohesive America, where no American has to live in Apprehension or fear of each other.

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 talk/text
www.MuslimSpeaker.com 

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorismhuman rightsIndia,Israel-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.
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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 

Experiments in religious understanding

Experiments in religious understanding

Baptized Muslim Mike Ghouse in Jordan River

Baptized Muslim Mike Ghouse in Jordan River
I was blessed to be baptized in River Jordan last year in the same spot where Jesus was baptized. It was an enriching experience to me, particularly feeling the symbolic transformation. Jesus is my mentor, a true pluralist who had no barriers between him and humanity, as a Muslim I felt the affirmation of that thought; of being boundless. Article and pictures at http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/04/happy-easter.html

Interfaith Experiments

Interfaith Experiments

Interfaith Radio, wisdom of religion, all the beautiful religions

Interfaith Radio, wisdom of religion, all the beautiful religions
At the conclusion of two years of the daily Radio program called “wisdom of religions all the beautiful religions", where both Atheism and Pluralism were included, a handbook of Religion was released in 2005. Over the period of two years we read the Bible, Torah, Quraan, Bhagvad Gita and the other holy books. I will talk about the program in my speeches; it is thrilling to know that we all seek truth in our own ways. Finding the truth is our own responsibility.

TALK TOPICS

  • Ultimate Interfaith dialogue
  • Experiments in truth
  • Reversing Roles
  • God does not sign exclusive deals
  • Purpose of Religion
  • Psychology of Prayers
  • Arrogance and Humility
  • Wisdom of Religion

Pastor Robert Jeffress was challenged to find the truth

Pastor Robert Jeffress was challenged to find the truth
Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas (unfortunately representing the First Baptist Church of Dallas) called Quraan an evil book written by a false prophet, his congregants rewarded him with a standing ovation. However it cannot be the church doctrine, it was his individual take. Mike visited the pastor to offer the right translation of the Quraan so he can find the truth and share with his congregation. It was followed by interviews on Local Fox News and NBC channels, followed by Dallas Morning News exchanges leading to Quraan Conference to demystify the myths. Mike’s challenge to the Pastor was to “find me three verses in Quraan that are evil, and if you do, I will join your ministry.” The pastor has blown the opportunity to harvest the poor souls; he chickened out from holding the conversation on his turf in his church. Details, videos and write up at www.QuraanConference.com

Interfaith experiments, public understanding of other religions

Interfaith experiments, public understanding of other religions
Religious leaders representing different religions were asked to share about their religion in three sentences, then towards the end of the program audience was randomly given to read (other than their own religion) a 100 word summary of each one of the religions. It was an eye opener for the people to see the difference in what the media and the politicians say, and the holy books of the respective religions say. You have to read it yourselves the whole paragraph or chapter and not a sentence to get a fuller picture.

Interfaith Solidarity; standing up for the Gazans and the Israelis.

Interfaith Solidarity; standing up for the Gazans and the Israelis.
We have to stand up for the rights of all people, joined in at the Gaza Rally protesting the killing of Gazans and led the Pluralism Prayer for the wellbeing of the people of Gaza and Israel at North Haven United Methodist Church. Love and Prayers are the positive energies that prevent your heart from contamination of ill-will, malice, hate and prejudice. We have to be blind when it comes to justice and not appease or pander to any one.

Arab Imams on Interfaith

Arab Imams on Interfaith
I thank God for presenting limitless opportunities to talk about the Pluralistic values embedded in Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) being an interfaith dialoguer. I have been a small part of the interfaith dialogue movement in Saudi Arabia, which began in 2003 in Dallas. In 2010 about twelve Arab Imams visited Dallas and I hosted the luncheon to talk about Interfaith in Islam. I can sum this up in one sentence, “those imams were ahead of us in pluralism in Islam, for every sentence I uttered, they produced Prophets Sayings and verses from Quraan.” God willing one major good is going to come out of it; stopping the printing and distribution of mistranslated Quraan by Muslims; Al-Hilali translation.

The Prestigious Slater Award

The Prestigious Slater Award
Mike Ghouse was honored with teh prestigious Slater Award as the Religious communicator fo the year.