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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ramadan Reflections

A few questions are answered here; why do we celebrate on different days? What is it with the Moon? How do you greet Muslims on this day? What kind of culinary delights are out there? How do Muslims celebrate in different parts of the world?  Ramadan TV Commercials? A bit of politics too.
I urge Muslims around the world to take a minute to stop and appreciate the men and women who serve our nation, police, firefighters and others who are out there for the safety of individuals and families.  I have done this time and again, and I always remember the Louisville experience, where the police officer asked me to forward the email to him, asking Muslims to appreciate them, and after the Eid prayers, he had forwarded it to many police officers.  I urge Muslim organizations to issue a press release to this effect, and this is our appeal from the World Muslim Congress, a think tank committed to building a cohesive America.
Pluralism is alive and kicking in Islam – i.e., respecting the otherness of others! Indeed, there are many schools of thought, and the good clergymen always point out the different traditions, Dr. Imam Kavakci, one of the leading Muslim Scholars, always advised on that basis.  It is up to the individual to follow what he or she is conditioned or comfortable with.  The non-pluralistic Muslims resort to name calling the others who take a different path. But all of them celebrate the festival.
A month-long fasting should clean up our bodies, hearts, and souls, it means you are no biased towards anyone, you have no wall between you and another human and that you are committed to peace and harmony.  What others do to you does not matter, but how you behave towards others is all that matters in making America great again. By the way, I am an independent, and not a Republican or a Democrat and I am a Pluralist Muslim, like a majority of Muslims – i.e., respecting the otherness of others, and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of his beautiful creation.
Mike Ghouse
When is the Eid? Ramadan Celebrations?  Is it Friday, Saturday or even Sunday? For some, it will depend on when the moon (first day) is sighted.
Pluralism is alive and kicking in Islam – i.e, respecting the otherness of others! Indeed, there are many schools of thought, and the good clergymen always point out the different traditions, Dr. Imam Kavakci always advised on that basis.  It is up to the individual to follow what he or she is conditioned or comfortable with.  The non-pluralistic Muslims resort to name calling the others who take a different path. But all of them celebrate the festival.
Since the beginning of Islam, there have been debates as to what constitutes moon sighting. Some interpret that there has got to be a minion to declare that they have seen it themselves with their own eyes, while others do not accept it unless they have seen it themselves. It is also acceptable if the moon is sighted elsewhere, but now, each group has to have their own moon sighting. In the United States, there is an organization that monitors moon sighting and announces it in advance. Over the millennium we learned to accept and respect the otherness of other.
Politics plays a crucial role in our Temples, Synagogues or Churches, Mosques are no different. A few scientifically-inclined-Muslims have adopted NASA’s calculations believed to be precise. However, four different traditions are operating concurrently; i) Strictly Calendar, ii) NASA  iii) Sighting with bare eyes and iv) sighting by others in the community.
The NASA-oriented and the Calendar-group miss out the fun, joy, and exhilaration of waiting and watching the needle thin moon on the horizon. The whole family gets out on the rooftops, or higher grounds, some even climb electric poles, and a few will drive out where they can see the sky without obstacles, kids would climb on parent’s shoulders, and a few go from place to place shouting in excitement, did you see it? It is like the belief in Santa Claus, Angels, and other myths, each tradition fulfills one’s emotional needs and every one becomes sentimental. After all, if celebration does not have the excitement, it is not a celebration.
America’s spirit of freedom touches every soul, no matter what religion or tradition they follow. American Muslims are no different, they prefer to have a pre-set date to start fasting and the celebration called “Eid” pronounced as Eeed as in Eeel. The idea is for them to take a day off from work or get an optional day off for their children from the schools. Always, the joy multiplies when the family and friends celebrate it together. They prefer to start on a pre-set date and trust the calculations.
The conflicts are the same everywhere on the earth. Each group subscribes to one of the four systems mentioned above. America is no different; you will find celebrations on one or three different days in any given city, the Sunnis, being the largest group has the greater division within, while the Sufis, Shias, Ismailis, WD Mohammad, Bohra and Ahmadiyya follow the pre-determined dates.
The consensus may be attributable to having central spiritual leadership in all groups except the Sunni. However like the American Public wishes to see the Republicans and Democrats drop the party lines and focus on what is good for America, the Muslims also wish they could celebrate the Eid on one single day. It ain’t going to happen, it is human to differ. It is against the spirit of Ramadan to denigrate, diminish and devalue other practices.
The essence of Ramadan is to become humble, simple and free from ill-will, anger, meanness, and hate. Let’s fill our hearts with goodwill and honor Ramadan by saying “Eid Mubarak” or Happy Eid to everyone who celebrates on a different day in the same town. The essence of Ramadan is joy and let’s not prick the bubble; God has not signed a pact with anyone behind other’s back to favor one and disfavor the other.  Let’s allow God to be an honest God who is just, kind, merciful and loving as Quran says. Let’s rejoice the differences of interpretations. If you want to celebrate every day, go to every celebration.
In the spirit of Ramadan, I pray that Ramadan gets into our hearts and minds and make us embrace all factions of Muslims without undermining their tradition and further pray that we treat every human on the earth with dignity, respect, and care.
The Shia-Sunni conflict we see in Iraq is new to both groups of Muslims, conflicts have always been there but the violence in conflict took birth after we (The Americans) invaded Iraq and sowed the seeds of division. Shamefully, the Shia and Sunni played it out. Our short-sighted foreign policy is pitting Saudi Arabia against Iran. Iran is not a threat to anyone, it is the false propaganda by Netanyahu, and salesmanship of defense contractors to sell Arms to Saudi, and the stupid Saudi monarchs have bought the idea, I wish we can sell peace and democratic education that will benefit us all in the long haul. I wish, the leadership of these two nations make a bold move and meet in Singapore and hash out the differences.  I also wish in the spirit of Ramadan, the Pakistani people will wake up and correct the ugliness in their constitution that shamelessly discriminate Ahmadiyya Muslims. Above all, I wish Muslims chose to follow the foundation of Islam; Amin, that is caring for every human being and seeking peace and harmony by respecting the otherness of others.
That is indeed the wisdom expressed in Qur’an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: “O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware of everything you do.”

MUSLIMS MUST DO THIS

I urge Muslims around the world to take a minute to stop and appreciate the men and women who serve our nation, police, firefighters and others who are out there for the safety of individuals and families.  I have done this time and again, and I always remember the Louisville experience, where the police officer asked me to forward the email to him, asking Muslims to appreciate them, and after the Eid prayers, he had forwarded it to many police officers.

WHAT ELSE? 

Everything you always wanted to know about Ramadan is here at www.RamadanNews.com
Ramadan Commercials by McDonald at http://ramadannews.com/ramadan-commercials/
What does God want? http://ramadannews.com/happy-ramadan-what-does-god-really-want/
You can also read “The Rituals of Ramadan” followed by the “Spirit of Ramadan”.
Usually, Arabic Speaking people call it Ramadan, all others call is Ramzan, both are acceptable terms.
There should be at least 100 ways of wishing the festivities:
Ramadan Mubarak!
Salamat Hari Raya
Eid Mubarak
İyi Ramazanlar
Ramadan Kareem
Hayırlı Ramazanlar
Hoşgeldin Ramazan,
Happy Eid-ul-fitr
If you know the greetings in any other langauge, please send an email to MuslimVision2020@gmail.com to be included for the next Eid.
      
                     
Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day through the Center for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and its affiliate sites including www.RamadanNews.com and www.MuslimSpeaker.com and www.InterfaithSpeaker.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What is Islam

Islam is a beautiful system, like all other faiths devised to restore sanity and common sense in a given society through simple basics like building trust, being truthful, be a security to fellow beings, stand up for justice, practice non-judgementalism,  jettison arrogance and adopt humility, and kindness.

These are the seven principles of building cohesive societies where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other,  indeed that is the foundation of Islam and a few Muslim have forgotten it. We have to restore it now for building a cohesive world, where people live their lives and let others live theirs. 

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) laid that foundation, and those seven principles made him an Amin, an individual who lives his life per those principles.  Unfortunately, a 
few have made Islam to be a political system, which it is not. Indeed, sadly all religions have become political systems of you or me, rather than spiritual system of we are in this together.

Preparing a talk on the subject.

Mike Ghouse
www.MuslimSpeaker.com
www.InterfaithSpeaker.com 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Defending Islam

Dallas Morning News - http://www.dallasnews.com/news/columnists/steve-blow/20100919-In-defense-of-Islam-pursuing-9397.ece 

By Steve Blow sblow@dallasnews.com Published 19 September 2010 02:28 AM


Over and over you hear it said: If Muslims oppose terrorism, why don't they stand up and say it?

If that has been you, Mike Ghouse ought to be your hero.

It is hard to imagine that anyone has worked harder than the Carrollton resident to demonstrate the peaceful and moderate side of Islam.

And that effort includes personally visiting Dallas' First Baptist Church last Sunday just to put a friendly face on the "evil, evil religion" that the Rev. Robert Jeffress denounced a few weeks before.

"It was wonderful," Ghouse said of the visit. "We were so warmly received."

He hopes a quick chat with Jeffress will be the start of deeper discussion about Islam and the importance of respect between religions.

"I want to have a dialogue with him, not to say he is wrong but to share another point of view," Ghouse said.

The 57-year-old Muslim was born in India and has lived in the United States for 30 years. He owns a small property management firm. But most of his day is devoted to building bridges between people of different faiths.

"It is my passion," he said in his distinctive raspy voice.

He has been a guest a dozen times on Sean Hannity's TV and radio talk shows. "I don't like the way Sean cuts me off, but I have to honor him for giving the American public a semblance of another point of view."

Ghouse said he can understand fear and criticism of Islam because he went through a time of similar feelings. As a teen, he was troubled by passages of the Quran. He called himself an atheist for a while.

But he said deeper study led him to realize the Quran had been purposely mistranslated down through history.

In the Middle Ages, European leaders commissioned a hostile Quran translation to foster warfare against Muslim invaders.

Later, Muslim leaders produced another translation to inflame Muslims against Christians and Jews.

"It was all for politics," he said.

Ghouse said he hopes to present Jeffress with a modern, faithful translation and challenge him to find evil verses.

"If he can, I will convert. I will join his church," Ghouse said. "If he can't, I will call on him to retract his statements and become a peacemaker."

Ghouse acknowledges that deep problems persist within Islam. "Three steps forward, two steps back," he said with a sigh.

And he agrees that mainstream Muslims have not done enough to counter violent images of their faith.

"That is very true," he said. "But part of it is that many Muslims have given up hope that we will ever be heard."

He said repeated denunciations of terrorism seem to fall on deaf ears.
And some efforts have backfired - like the proposed Islamic information center in New York. He said it should be hailed for furthering the moderate Muslim cause.

Instead, it has deepened hostility toward Muslims.

I have been astounded by the amount of anti-Islam propaganda that circulates via e-mail. Tons of it has come my way in the last few weeks.

One theme is that people like Mike Ghouse can't be trusted, that Islam encourages deception.
But Ghouse says actions speak louder than words. And he points to elections in Muslim nations.

More than half of Muslims live in countries with some degree of democracy. And time and time again, Islamist parties are overwhelmingly rejected in favor of secular, mainstream parties.
"The religious parties don't get more than 3 percent of the vote," Ghouse said.

Polls show deep mistrust of Muslims. "But the most important question in those surveys is: 'Do you know anything about Islam?' " Ghouse said. "Most people say no."

What keeps him going is faith in Americans, he said.
"The majority of Americans, if they know the truth, they will change their minds."

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Muslim Speaker Mike Ghouse

The Voice of Moderate Islam in America - Mike Ghouse:
email: SpeakerMikeGhouse@gmail.com 
Text/talk: (214) 325-1916 Washington | Dallas


 
Since 9/11, Americans across the political spectrum have been asking, “Who are the authentic moderates of Islam, and where are they?” And, “Who speaks for American Muslims?” Talk show hosts, journalists, lawmakers, interfaith authorities and thought leaders have asked: Where are moderate Muslims to join the debate on social, civic, religious and political issues, including racism and violent extremism?

Their spokesman is Dr. Mike Mohamed Ghouse, who recently has moved to Washington, D.C.

Dr. Ghouse is a proud, unapologetic Moderate Muslim and a passionate advocate of Pluralism in religion, society, politics, race, dining, clothing, dancing, sports and every aspect of life. He is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator who is considered an authority on Pluralism and Interfaith relations in America, and he offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Who is a Moderate Muslim? Some one who lives his life and let others live theirs, and some one who minds his own business. He or she will not look down upon other people's faiths, traditions and practices, but considers them to be as unique as his or her own, but never inferior.  In every group; religious, social, national, political or racial, there is always the right and extreme right who is intolerant and wants to impose his or her ideals on others. The left and extreme left on the other hand has no boundaries. Moderates are usually 90% of any group, but they do not engage in anything and mind their own business and take up when things  when they really get out of hand. The new breed of Moderates like Dr. Ghouse are full of passion to save the nation and the communities for the common good of all Americans. 

What is Pluralism? It is simply, he says, “respecting the otherness of others, and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us. When we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.”

He is respected by his peers as a patriotic American and firmly stands for the American values such as the freedoms established by the First Amendment. In fact, Dr. Ghouse considers the U.S. Constitution a sacred document that respects and honors every human being.  He exalts America’s immortal Declaration of Independence.  While living in Dallas for more than three decades, he became a fixture at Veteran’s-Day ceremonies and July 4th parades.  He has spoken at innumerable luncheons for homeless veterans and visits with veterans at VA hospitals.  Dr. Ghouse drives around the Veterans’ cemeteries on Memorial Day and offers prayers for all those who have defended our freedom.  He will fight and defend the freedom of America any time and all the times.

Dr. Ghouse also served as a Commissioner at City of Carrollton, Texas for two terms.

He has contributed significantly to the richness of America, and his gift to America would be the gift of Pluralism, an old attitude emerging as a new discipline that he intends to teach and promote through workshops. Dr. Ghouse hopes to train America’s candidates for higher office regarding what the founding fathers meant when they declared that “all humans are equal.” 

Dr. Ghouse believes in building a cohesive America, where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other and which will be achieved through personal interaction.   To that end, he has organized 17 Thanksgiving celebrations; 12 Unity Days USA; and 10 ceremonies to honor victims of Holocaust and Genocides.

Dedicated Both to Islam and to ‘the Other

Dr. Ghouse defines “moderate Muslim” as someone who respects the otherness of others and accepts the God-given uniqueness of each person in God’s creation.  He has published more than 1000 articles on diverse aspects of Islam and maintains a blog on QuranShariaBlasphemy, Apostasy, Hijab, Reforms, Ramadan, Women’s issues and community relations.  He is driven by the pluralistic wisdom in Quran, and his mission is authenticated by many a verse from Quran, including 49:13, which generally means because each one of us is created to be an unique individual, we are bound to have conflicts between family members, nations, religions and communities, and it is because we don’t know each other and when we start to genuinely learn about the other, myths disappear into thin air and peace dawns on us.”  There is a full video of his talk on 
Pluralism in Islam.

Continued at: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-voice-of-moderate-islam-in-america.html

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Moderate Muslims in America

The Voice of Moderate Islam in America - Mike  Ghouse
 
Since 9/11, Americans across the political spectrum have been asking, “Who are the authentic moderates of Islam, and where are they?” And, “Who speaks for American Muslims?” Talk show hosts, journalists, lawmakers, interfaith authorities and thought leaders have asked: Where are moderate Muslims to join the debate on social, civic, religious and political issues, including racism and violent extremism?

Their spokesman is Dr. Mike Mohamed Ghouse, who recently has moved to Washington, D.C.

Dr. Ghouse is a proud, unapologetic Moderate Muslim and a passionate advocate of Pluralism in religion, society, politics, race, dining, clothing, dancing, sports and every aspect of life. He is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator who is considered an authority on Pluralism and Interfaith relations in America, and he offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Who is a Moderate Muslim? Some one who lives his life and let others live theirs, and some one who minds his own business. He or she will not look down upon other people's faiths, traditions and practices, but considers them to be as unique as his or her own, but never inferior.  In every group; religious, social, national, political or racial, there is always the right and extreme right who is intolerant and wants to impose his or her ideals on others. The left and extreme left on the other hand has no boundaries. Moderates are usually 90% of any group, but they do not engage in anything and mind their own business and take up when things  when they really get out of hand. The new breed of Moderates like Dr. Ghouse are full of passion to save the nation and the communities for the common good of all Americans. 

What is Pluralism? It is simply, he says, “respecting the otherness of others, and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us. When we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.”

He is respected by his peers as a patriotic American and firmly stands for the American values such as the freedoms established by the First Amendment. In fact, Dr. Ghouse considers the U.S. Constitution a sacred document that respects and honors every human being.  He exalts America’s immortal Declaration of Independence.  While living in Dallas for more than three decades, he became a fixture at Veteran’s-Day ceremonies and July 4th parades.  He has spoken at innumerable luncheons for homeless veterans and visits with veterans at VA hospitals.  Dr. Ghouse drives around the Veterans’ cemeteries on Memorial Day and offers prayers for all those who have defended our freedom.  He will fight and defend the freedom of America any time and all the times.

Dr. Ghouse also served as a Commissioner at City of Carrollton, Texas for two terms.

He has contributed significantly to the richness of America, and his gift to America would be the gift of Pluralism, an old attitude emerging as a new discipline that he intends to teach and promote through workshops. Dr. Ghouse hopes to train America’s candidates for higher office regarding what the founding fathers meant when they declared that “all humans are equal.” 

Dr. Ghouse believes in building a cohesive America, where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other and which will be achieved through personal interaction.   To that end, he has organized 17 Thanksgiving celebrations; 12 Unity Days USA; and 10 ceremonies to honor victims of Holocaust and Genocides.

Dedicated Both to Islam and to ‘the Other

Dr. Ghouse defines “moderate Muslim” as someone who respects the otherness of others and accepts the God-given uniqueness of each person in God’s creation.  He has published more than 1000 articles on diverse aspects of Islam and maintains a blog on QuranShariaBlasphemy, Apostasy, Hijab, Reforms, Ramadan, Women’s issues and community relations.  He is driven by the pluralistic wisdom in Quran, and his mission is authenticated by many a verse from Quran, including 49:13, which generally means because each one of us is created to be an unique individual, we are bound to have conflicts between family members, nations, religions and communities, and it is because we don’t know each other and when we start to genuinely learn about the other, myths disappear into thin air and peace dawns on us.”  There is a full video of his talk on 
Pluralism in Islam.  


Print Media: Dr. Ghouse has published more than 3000 articles on a variety of topics, of these, there more than 1000 on Pluralism, including 225 pieces on Pluralism in the “Texas Faith” column in the Dallas Morning News and 130 articles at Huffington Post.  He also has published articles on politics, foreign policy, movies, sports, culture and motivation.

TV and Radio: Dr. Ghouse has appeared in more than 150 TV shows, including 102 with Sean Hannity alone. He has served as subject expert hundreds of times on nationally syndicated radio. Many listeners have heard his informed opinions at the time of the Quran Burning issue in Mulberry, Florida, and the period of Quran Bashing in Dallas Texas.  He notably defended the 9/11 Mosque in Lower Manhattan, and he has blogged on the Peter King investigations and other issues. He is in the forefront of dealing with issues and offering pluralistic solutions.

On the day of 9/11, he was on Radio all day, taking calls from Mayors, religious and community leaders across the City to bring coherence to the chaos created on that day, and ever since, he has dedicated that day every year to serve and unite Americans for a strong America.

Politics:  A political independent, Dr. Ghouse says that he votes for the candidates who put America first, whether he or she is a Republican or Democrat. He refuses to compromise his loyalty to America with loyalty to a political party.  He maintains a blog on Politics and has written more than 300 columns on politics in America.  He has written about Presidents Bush and Obama, and presidential candidates Clinton, McCain, Romney, Gingrich, Cain, Perry, Christie, Bush, Trump and Carson.

Foreign policy:  Dr. Ghouse has always taken a moderate approach toward foreign policy issues and offered pluralistic solutions on issues of the day, including but not limited to Israel, Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia and other nations. 

Human rights:  Dr Ghouse has stood up for the rights of every human regardless of his or her affiliation and has been writing a forthcoming book titled, Standing Up for Others, Standing up for the rights of all; from Atheists to Zoroastrians and every one in between including Native Americans, and the LGBT community.   This book will be dedicated to Sean Hannity, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and Harbans Lal (his first boss) with a special note.

Quran:  It is one of the most misunderstood books on the earth, even by Muslims.  He sees it as a pluralistic document to build cohesive societies, where God is not an exclusive property of anyone but a universal energy that belongs to all, loves us all, and cares for our well being.  Dr. Ghouse is producing a short book addressing the myths and facts about Quran, and this book will be dedicated to Pastor Bob Roberts of Texas, the big name among Evangelical Pastors and Imam Zia Shaikh from Irving, Texas, both of them have understood the full meaning of pluralism, i.e., respecting the otherness of others.

Film:  Sacred is a full feature film, and it is about changing perceptions about Muslims and Muslims adopting the non-violent principles enshrined in the teachings of Jesus Christ, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Mahatma Gandhi.

Documentary: Dr. Ghouse’s documentary film in progress is premised on America’s promise that all humans are created equal. He believes that we have seen a tremendous progress since independence, but we have a lot more to do.  A rough draft of the film is in a video clip at  
www.AmericaTogetherFoundation.com

Pope Francis:  He is a blessing to mankind, and is one of the greatest human beings of this century.  Dr. Ghouse has written more than 25 articles on Pope Francis with lots of love and admiration for the man.


Dallas Morning News "Over and over you hear it said: If Muslims oppose terrorism, why don't they stand up and say it? If that has been you, Mike Ghouse ought to be your hero."

Phyllis Curott:  Vice Chair, Parliament of Worlds Religions," Mike Ghouse has the courage of his convictions - he carries a spark of inspiration that can only be called Divine. It illuminates the world around him, enabling him to see clearly the beauty and grace that resides in every sacred path and in each person who walks that path.” 

Religion News Service
: " (RNS) A Florida pastor plans to burn a pile of Qurans on the 9/11 anniversary, and interfaith activist Mike Ghouse says, “It is not what (the pastor) will do, it is what we do as Americans and American Muslims that matters.”

Phillip M Ramsaroop: "
I first met Dr. Ghouse in the mid-nineties as Past President and a member of the Board of the Dallas Fort Worth Hindu Temple and as a member of the Chapel Committee of Thanksgiving Square in Dallas, Texas.   I was pleasantly surprised, though a Muslim, he participated and volunteered his time and resources on the Hindu Temple’s projects and activities.  I later discovered that he did the same for other religious and cultural communities"

Mulberry Ledger : "The book burner (Terry Jones) came to Mulberry in hate and the Muslims (Mike Ghouse) came to Mulberry in peace to counter the hate. The Muslims summed it up best when they prayed for the fallen heroes who died on 9/11.”
 
Saudi Gazette: "Thank you for your commitment towards a peaceful solution, Mike. It is the media who should thank you for your commendable cause."

Bill Matthews:  "Mike Ghouse’ exemplary work for pluralism exudes acceptance to bridge beyond imagined differences to express the exemplary conviction that humanity lives and thrives on working together towards common goals, to overcome fear, suspicion and prejudice."



Links to the writings of Dr. Mike Mohamed Ghouse