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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Pluralism & Muslim Congress

Foundation for Pluralism & World Muslim Congress.
A paradigm shift in the religion administration in the making
Mike Ghouse, August 6, 2007

“Pluralism is equivalent to Religionless society. Are Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress together? Should not they be separate from each other?
My friend, Jai Mutreja has asked me to demystify this myth.The idea that World Muslim Congress and Foundation for Pluralism are two opposite things, comes from a basic misunderstanding of what Pluralism is all about.

Pluralism is not about a 'religionless society', but it is about a society of religions and it is about learning to respect every religion. Pluralism is an acknowledgement of every which way one worships the creator. Our mission is to promote understanding of every religion and this year alone in our workshops, we have explored the wisdom of Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Judaism, Bahai, Islam and Buddhism. This month we have scheduled Sikhism and I invite you to join us and learn about this faith. For a full schedule for the year check this link: http://foundationforpluralism.com/Calendar.asp
Learning about Sikhism does not make one a Sikh, nor greeting Satsri akaal will make one a Sikh. It would be childish to think in those terms. Learning about other faiths need not imply infidelity to one's own, but rather the search will enhance one's own faith knowing and affirming that every faith aims to bring a balance to an individual and to the societies.
Pluralism is not a religion; it is an attitude of accepting and respecting the God given uniqueness to each one of the 7 billion of us. As a Hindu (or?) if you have developed the capacity to remove prejudice towards Christians, Muslims, Jews or any one, then you are a Hindu as well as a Pluralist. You are a Hindu and an Indian-American; as I am a Muslim and an Indian-American.
Conflicts are real and imaginary, real conflicts come into play when i) One does not respect other's space ii) grabs their food and iii) hurt their loved ones. All other conflicts are imaginary and are solvable through respecting the three with a dialogue.
President Kennedy was a Catholic and Jimmy Carter was a Baptist, who knows, who the next president would be. Should we shy away because one is a woman, African American, Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Muslim or a Jew?

At this time, I head the World Muslim Congress and also head the foundation for Pluralism. In the next few years when the Foundation for Pluralism gets firmly grounded*1, I foresee Swami Nityananda Prabhu (Hindu), Maryann Thompson-Frenk, Farooq Hemani (Muslim), Dr. Howard Cohen (Jew), Dr. Shariff (Muslim), Kevin Rafraf (Bahai), Dr. Poras Balsara (Zoroastrian), Rev Mark Hernandez (Christian), Upendra Reddy (Hindu) and others to take their turn and enhance this idea of inclusiveness.
We are looking for individuals with an open and mind and an open heart towards their fellow beings, and individuals with no prejudice towards any religion, race, nationality, culture or ethnicity are very welcome. Please visit the 'about us' section of http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ if you are qualified to be a part of this mission write to us.
On the other hand there is a major paradigm shift in the making. The world has indeed become a global community, everyone is a neighbor to everyone else; we aspire to nurture the concept of good neighborliness in the world. The world culture has not caught up with this change and the World Muslim Congress is taking the initiative to bring on its advisory board, individuals representing every faith. It is time for us to be equal citizens of one world, our home. This is a major paradigm shift in how the religious organizations would be conducting their business in the coming years.

There are myths about other people and other faiths, those who seek the truth will find them otherwise. It is one’s own responsibility to find the truth, as Bhagvad Gita puts it. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said; find the truth before you believe some one is wrong, as it puts the burden on your conscience to think negatively about an individual who could be innocent. No religion teaches hate, and that is the truth. You have to find it yourselves to believe and am willing to facilitate the study if you genuinely seek the truth.Truth brings salvation, mukti, nirvana, moksha, Nijaat and just plain freedom. Seek it and you wouldn't want anything else.
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local TV networks discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com . Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town.
*1 = it is indeed grounded and has done events, workshop and seminars on the subject for nearly 14 years now. The thanksgiving Celebrations, Unity day and the workshops on understanding religion and eight years of radio with 2 years exclusively devoted to the daily hourly program called wisdom of religion, all the beautiful religions.

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