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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gujarat Massacre & Justice

Gujarat Massacre & Justice
Mike Ghouse, October 22, 2007

The blame should be placed squarely on the individuals, not on their family, not on their religion and not on their ethnicity or culture. Blaming a religion is a futile act, as you cannot punish an intangible, and the criminals go Scot free.

On February 27, 2002, in the State of Gujarat, India, a compartment of the train was set afire when the train stopped in the town of Godhra leaving 59 men and women burnt beyond recognition. It was alleged that the Muslims set the fire and poured the gasoline in the bogey carrying the 59 karsevaks (volunteers) returning from a pilgrimage to Ayodhya where a 15th century Mosque was razed to ground by the extremists claiming that it was built on a former temple.

Immediately following the Godhra incident, the State of Gujarat witnessed the ugliest of all genocides in human history butchering and burning pregnant women and children by the extremists killing nearly 1500 people and leaving thousands homeless. One of the instigators was a Medical doctor by the name of Dr. Parveen Togadia.

According to the Human rights activists and reports, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi was tacitly involved in the carnage. The Federal government run by the right wingers at that time, did not condemn this mayhem, instead the home minister gave a clean chit to the Chief Minister.

Justice is the driving machine of the world peace, whenever there is adharma, dharma (righteousness) counters back to bring an equilibrium to the society. Truth had to emerge one time or the other; you cannot commit a crime and remain quite forever. Justice has to be met. Hope has to be restored to the victims. When there is justice, people feel secure, knowing that no one is going to take advantage of them or vice-versa, it is one of the safest feelings one can have in a civilized nation and that assures sustainable peace and prosperity to one and all. The other choice is to live in fear, if you do the wrong to a people, your own psyche won’t let you live in peace, unless you do your pra-es-chit (repentance) or restore justice.

The collective conscience of India and the peace loving Hindu community was repulsed and outraged at this act of violence. Thanks to the Indian media for playing a fair role in reporting. Except the right wing newspapers, almost all the media was outraged.

Documentaries have been made and ample proof is available now.

On October 22nd, 2007, Tehelka, India’s leading investigative Magazine has captured the criminals on Camera, admitting their involvement in the genocide, and deliberate annihilation of Muslims. All the while police did nothing to stop the carnage. The Chief Minister apparently gave three days to the extremists to clean out the Muslims.

Parallels can be drawn between Hitler and Modi. Both of them had an Iron clad grip on some of their people, both of them brought economic prosperity while one was annihilating Jews, the other was tacitly letting Muslims be butchered. The ones who were/are reaping the benefits of the unprecedented economic prosperity considered both the men as their God given leaders; their word was the final word to them. However deep down, any soul should feel the intense pain and suffering of the victims, after all without such feeling, one cannot be called a human. Adharma is a bigger killer of a civil society than any weapons of mass destruction.

As a thinker, I have consistently maintained that the blame should be placed squarely on the individuals, not on their family, not on their religion and not on their ethnicity or culture. Blaming a religion is an useless act, as you cannot punish an intangible, and the criminal goes Scot free.

Blaming Hindus or Muslims will arouse the sentiments of a whole lot of people and nothing will get done. Just blame the criminals by their name, and punish them, very few will squeak. If a Mohamed Ali is punished, it is Mohamed Ali who is to be punished and not a Muslim that is punished. If a Parveen Modi is punished, it is Parveen Modi the individual and not a Hindu, the religion, and no Hindu should take an offense to that, nor a Muslim should be offended if Mohamed Ali is meted out the punishment allowable by the law. If we can get to this point and understand this principle, we can fight terrorism bravely and clean out the terrorists’ one at a time.

It is the duty of all Citizens, and it is in the interest of keeping peace and harmony to punish the criminals who set the fire to the train, and those who were responsible for the massacre. The Central Government should ruthlessly pursue and punish all criminals, it will build an atmosphere of justice and every Indian can feel that justice will be met for all the injustices.

Breaking News

• Tehelka investigation – open each item in the link to read:
• Chronology of events : http://www.onlinevolunteers.org/gujarat/reports/pucl/vv_annexure2.pdf

Justice is the most critical aspect of human life, when it is not met in this life, we are assured, through our faith traditions, that it will be served, that is how the spiritual equilibrium is achieved. One set of faiths believe in life after death, where one is accountable for the deeds in the world and receives grace and blessings or punishment depending on how he or she lived the life. The other set of faiths believe that life is cyclical; one is born continuously through re-incarnation and birthing in lower forms of life as a payment for living the wrong life or will complete the life cycle and get the salvation for living the life of goodness. Either belief set has the same essence - behavior modification in this life and sure justice at the end.

It is in the interest of our nation and the psyche of Indians to bring justice, as it brings to rest all the un-rest, so peace and prosperity can take root. Every individual should feel a sense of comfort that no one will take undue advantage of them, justice will prevail. It is the most secure feeling the Government of India can offer her Citizens.
Link: http://mikeghouse.blogspot.com/2007/10/gujarat-massacre-justice.html
Comments: http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2836166316876981645&postID=2928599973738160325&isPopup=true

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the www.FoundationforPluralism.com and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the www.WorldMuslimCongress.com 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 Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com For a full bio: http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp

TV channels blacked out in Gujarat as riot sting played

By IBNlive.com

Friday October 26, 10:23 PM

Ahmedabad: For the Patel family based in Ahmedabad, it
turned out to be a futile attempt on Thursday evening.
They couldn't see their favourite news channels while
the rest of the country sat glued to their TV sets,
watching the Tehelka expose on the horrors of 2002
riots. For many Gujaratis, the anxiety actually turned
out to be killing.

"We wanted to watch the programme, but TV is off since
Thursday," said an Ahmedabad resident.

The Gujarat Government blacked out several TV channels
on Thursday night after the channels started beaming a
sting operation done by Tehelka that accused Chief
Minister Narendra Modi of inciting the 2002 Gujarat

Moments after the channels started beaming the expose,
the state government got into action mode. The
District Magistrate of Ahmedabad, Dhananjay Dwivedi �
who is also the district election officer � directed
all cable networks not to show channels like CNN-IBN,
IBN-7 and Aaj Tak � the channels that were showing the

An order issued by the Ahmedabad District Magistrate
and District Election Officer Dhananjay Dwivedi said:
"From 19:30 hours (IST), onwards, dated 25.10.07,
there are programmes like Tehelka-Aaj Tak Khulasa,
Operation Kalank and Gujarat ka Sach being telecast on
Aaj Tak and IBN7 depicting visuals and statements of
people pertaining to the 2002 communal riots. As per
Clause 5 of the Cable TV Network Regulation, 1995, no
entity can broadcast or re-broadcast any programme,
which is not as per programming code."

Subsequently, all these channels went off air in most
parts of Gujarat from 1930 hours (IST) on Thursday.
The administration claimed it's a violation of Clause
5 of Cable TV Network Regulation, which deals with
broadcasting programmes which could create communal

The state authorities accused the TV channels of
spreading �more communal discord� in the state than
the people who actually featured on the Tehelka tapes.

For instance, the language used by leaders like Babu
Bajrangi, Haresh Bhatt, Dhabal Patel and Madan Dhanraj
in the tapes could easily turn the situation far more
dangerous than what was being shown, they say.

The Central Election Commission, however, washed its
hands off the controversy. It said it didn't issue any
such orders. The clarification came in the wake of
large-scale complaints from viewers all over Gujarat
that they were not able to watch the programme.

The three channels have remained off-air when reports
last came in as the ban order has no time-frame as to
when the ban will be lifted.


For Immediate Release:

Friday, October 26, 2007: Several prominent
Indian organizations and individuals based in US
& Canada are calling for the immediate dismissal
of the state government in Gujarat, India
following an exposé by the Tehelka news magazine
in which many top Hindu nationalist figures
linked to the administration admitted to their
active role in orchestrating and perpetrating the
massacre and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in 2002
in Gujarat. The exposé reveals active
participation of key state institutions including
police forces and judiciary in the anti-minority

Several national and international human rights
organizations including Amnesty International and
Human Rights Watch have maintained since 2002
that the Gujarat government led by the BJP Chief
Minister Narendra Modi orchestrated these
pogroms. Following widespread protests by many
Indian American organizations, Modi was denied
visa by the United States administration in 2005
on account of his human rights record.

The Tehelka tapes present incontestable evidence
of the involvement of state machinery in the
massacre. It captures several confessions
including that of
- The state prosecutor Arvind Pandya who
stated that the "mass killings of Muslims in
Gujarat should be celebrated every year as a
victory day" and that "Every judge was calling me
in his chamber and showing full sympathy for me -
giving full cooperation to me, but keeping some
distance- the judges were also guiding me as and
when required - how to put up a case and on which
date- because basically they are Hindus"
- Another confession came from Babu Bajrangi
who stated that "to get me out of jail, [Chief
Minister] Narendra Modi changed judges thrice".
- Yet another MLA acknowledged that Modi gave
him "three days to do whatever violence they

In a further disturbing incident that reflects
upon the dictatorial nature of the presiding
administration in Gujarat, reports are pouring in
from the ground that state government is forcing
the TV operators to block/censor the telecast of
the exposé.

The following organizations and individuals
endorsing the above statement are calling upon
the government of India for:

1. The immediate dismissal of the Narendra
Modi administration and imposition of President's
rule in Gujarat.
2. The immediate arrest of the all criminals
who have confessed their crimes in the Tehelka
3. The transfer of all legal cases pertaining
to the Gujarat pogroms of 2002 to a court outside
of Gujarat.

Endorsing Organizations:

1. AFMI: American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin
2. AIM: Association of Indian Muslims
3. Dharma Megha
4. FIACONA: Federation of Indian American
Christian Organizations of North America
5. FOSA: Friends of South Asia
6. GMAA: Gujarati Muslim Association of America
7. India Foundation
8. IACP: Indian American Coalition for Pluralism
9. IMC-USA: Indian Muslim Council – USA.
10. IMRC: Indian Muslim Relief & Charities
11. International Service Society
12. NRI-SAHI: Non Resident Indians for a Secular and Harmonious India.
13. SANSAD: South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy
14. Seva International
15. SHRI: Supporters of Human Rights in India
16. Vedanta Society of East Lansing
17. Washington Watch

Endorsing Individuals:

1. Abraham Mammen (President, FIACONA)
2. Dr. Angana Chatterji (California Institute of Integral Studies)
3. Biju Matthew (Associate Professor, Rider University)
4. Firoz Vohra (President GMAA)
5. George Abraham (National Coordinator, NRI-SAHI)
6. Ghazi Akailvi (Chairman, SHRI)
7. Prof. Hari Sharma (SANSAD)
8. K S Sripada Raju (Director, Washington Watch)
9. Kaleem Kawaja (AIM)
10. Khalid Azam (IMC-USA)
11. Manzoor Ghaori (IMRC)
12. Ms. Mayuri Poddar (Director, Vaishnava Center)
13. Najma Sultana (NRI-SAHI)
14. Nasir Chhipa (Washington DC)
15. Nilesh Modhwadia (New Jersey)
16. Raju Rajagopal
17. Rasheed Ahmed (President, IMC-USA)
18. Saeed Patel (IACP)
19. Dr. Shaik Ubaid (Founder President ImanNet)
20. Dr. Shakir Mukhi (AFMI)
21. Shrikumar Poddar (Director, International Service Society)


1. Dr. Hyder Khan, Supporters of Human Rights in India: Tel: 612-889-7334
2. George Abraham, NRI-SAHI, Tel: 917-544-4137
3. Rasheed Ahmed, Indian Muslim Council-USA: Tel: 630-670-8875
4. Dr. Shaik Ubaid, Indian American Coalition for Pluralism: Tel: 516-567-0783

Washington Post: Hindus Detail Involvement in Deadly '02 Riots in India

Sify: News Channels Blacked Out After Tehelka exposé

Gujarat 2002 - The Truth: In the words of men who did it

'To Get Me Out On Bail, Narendrabhai Changed Judges Thrice'

'All The Cops Helped, Even Gave Us Cartridges'

'It Should Be Something History Has Never Seen'

'They Hacked Him Bit By Bit, Then Burnt Him Alive'

'Explosives Experts Helped Make The Bombs'

'KG Shah Is Our Man. Nanavati Is Only After Money'

'Muslims, They Don't Deserve To Live'

Open Case: Gaping Loopholes; Shut Case: Proof Of Subversion

Read my blog at http://antihistory.blogspot.com
Tehelka Fallout


Oct 26, 2007, 14:06 GMT

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) The Tehelka expose into the Gujarat 2002 communal violence Friday saw strong demands for the ouster of Gujarat chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s poster boy Narendra Modi as well as for his arrest and a fresh Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the carnage.
The Congress party, which was cautious in its initial reaction fearing a Hindu polarisation in the election-bound Gujarat, Friday demanded Modi's resignation for his alleged role in 'sanctioning' the communal violence in the state.
'If the constitution of India is to be upheld, if we still call ourselves a civilised society, if the right to life has any meaning at all, if human rights are to be upheld, Narendra Modi should immediately step down from public office,' Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said.
An undercover operation conducted by Tehelka weekly caught Hindu activists, accused in the sectarian violence, as alleging that Modi 'sanctioned' the 2002 riots, in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.
'The BJP needs to come clean on this issue and explain its position to the nation,' the Congress party said.
The BJP put up a brave face to the charges, and declared that the expose would in no way affect its prospects in the state assembly elections due in December.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in the national capital that the BJP has asked the Election Commission to check the attempts at aggravating communal polarisation in the state through the expose.
Among others who attacked Modi was Congress ally and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad. He demanded immediate arrest of Narendra Modi and BJP leader L.K. Advani for 'orchestrating the mass murder' in the state after the Godhra train inferno.
'The sting operation by Tehelka aptly christened 'Operation Kalank' (disgrace) has exposed Modi's deep involvement in the post-Godhra Gujarat riots. People now know the real faces involved in the crime against humanity,' Lalu Prasad told reporters in Patna.
He added: 'Since Modi enjoys the patronage Advani, the opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, the latter cannot escape culpability for the mass murder.'
However, the railway minister echoed the apprehensions of the Congress leaders, who said Modi might use the sting operation and its fallout to polarise the voters. He said the BJP could utilise the sting operation to once again whip up passions in the state with an eye to the elections.
Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary A.B. Bardhan wanted the Election Commission to stop Modi from contesting the state elections. 'The Election Commission should ensure that all those involved in the incidents should not be allowed to contest the elections,' he said.
The state goes to elections on Dec 11 and 16.
Both the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Congress pleaded to the Supreme Court to expedite the cases pending against the culprits in the Gujarat genocide.
'The Tehelka tapes should be taken as prime facie evidence and the Supreme Court and the central government should move expeditiously to see that all those guilty are brought to justice.
'The central government and the law enforcement agencies have a special responsibility in this regard,' the CPI-M politburo stressed.
In a statement, Congress leader and Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said: 'We hope and pray that the Supreme Court will decide on the long pending requests before it expeditiously, to meet the ends of justice and to uphold the majesty and supremacy of law.'
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him to order a fresh Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Gujarat violence.
'The manner in which the direct involvement of the Gujarat government and some close allies of the ruling BJP has been brought to light in the sting operation ... clearly shows how the massacre of members of a particular minority was undertaken with evident state patronage,' the chief minister noted.
BJP spokesperson Prasad questioned the timing of the operation, saying: 'Has Tehelka done any sting operation against any Congress government, whether at the state or central levels?'
He charged Tehelka with acquiring benefits during the Congress regime and said one of Tehelka's investors, Shankar Sharma, had got heavy tax relief.
He said a judicial process was already underway in Gujarat to punish those guilty of violence. 'Court trials are on and a commission of inquiry is trying to come out with the truth about what happened there.'
In Ahmedabad, the BJP maintained a cool facade with state party chief Purushottam Rupala saying the expose would not impact on the party during the elections.
'These issues were the same as those raised during the 2002 elections. The outcome of that poll showed that they did not cut any ice with the electorate. If they did not have any impact then, it can hardly have any effect five years later,' Rupala told IANS.
He said the sting had no 'evidentiary value' under the Indian laws. 'The various matters raised were already before different courts. The allegations now will certainly have no impact,' he said.

Collector acted on his own, no order from Gujarat poll panel’
Special Correspondent
Cable operators refuse to say whether there was any instruction
AHMEDABAD: No instruction has been issued by the State Election Commission to black out telecast of the Tehelka expose on the 2002 communal riots. It seemed that Ahmedabad Collector Dhananjay Dwivedi issued an official order, on his own, to cable television operators in his jurisdiction to black out the telecast, sources in the Chief Electoral Officer’s office said.
The Commission is reported to be enquiring from the Collectorate the reason for issuing the order, copies of which were also sent to the Principal Secretary, the Home Department, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner and the Office of the Entertainment Tax Commissioner.
Consequently, almost all news channels, barring a few, which had picked up the Tehelka expose and had been running discussions and reactions on the programme telecast since Thursday evening, were blacked out by cable operators in Ahmedabad, while showing the entertainment, sports and other channels normally. A large majority of the viewers in the State, particularly in urban areas served by the cable television network, could not view the expose. For, most networks had gone off the air since Thursday evening, just as Aaj Tak and Headlines Today started showing the Tehelka expose.
“Technical problems”
When contacted, cable operators declined to confirm whether there was any instruction from the government to switch off the channels. They claimed that they could not telecast the channels due to some “technical problems,” but could not explain how the problems occurred simultaneously in different parts of the State.
Voluntary organisations working for protection of human rights, condemned the Ahmedabad Collector’s order. The Delhi-based non-governmental organisation, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy, criticised the “undemocratic decision of the Gujarat government” to stop telecast by the news channels showing the Tehelka expose.
There was no official reaction from the State government on the Tehelka expose and Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was accused of direct involvement in the post-Godhra riots, remained incommunicado. The BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders who were shown in the sting operation went underground. Some of them were reported to have gone out of the State.
While Congress leaders are worried that the timing of the expose could again polarise Hindu votes in favour of Mr. Modi, State BJP spokesman Vijay Rupani said it would have no impact on the December Assembly elections. Blaming the Congress for “manipulating” the sting operation, he said, “Let any Muslim say he had been harassed in Gujarat in the last five years.”
State Congress president Bharat Solanki, refusing to comment on the expose, said, “Let people decide.” However, some senior Congress leaders, on condition of anonymity, said the expose had come at a very inopportune time for the party and Mr. Modi would try to present it as a concerted effort by his critics to “defame Gujarat” all over the world.
The then Minister of State for Home, Gordhan Jhadafiya, named in the expose as having supported the rioters, has turned a dissident and is hobnobbing with the Congress.
Most of the leaders named belonged to the VHP, but the Congress would not be able to take advantage of their dissatisfaction with Mr. Modi, these leaders point out.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Say no to intolerance

An initiative of Jewish voice for peace

Petition - say no to intolerance

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 duty to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it. We have an obligation to bring and maintain a balance in the society.

We lose the balance and that elusive equilibrium if we let hate mongers, hate sermons and hate lectures creep in our societies.

It is ironic that there is actually shameless campaigning going out to promote hate against another people. How are they different than KKK and the Nazis?

Peace involves using the language and action that mitigates conflict and not enflare it.

We need to dialogue with Spencer, Horowitz, Colter, Santorium and Emerson, the premier group that erroneously creates chaos hoping it leads to peace. My prayers and invitation to these men and woman to have a true conference about the issue, and do it in a civil democratic fair way. That which is sustainable and Just.

Hating Muslims or any one, will not bring peace. Peace comes when one can act and talk peace.

The Jewish voice for peace has taken the initiative to bring about some sense to this senseless spread of hate. Please sign the petition and forward it to your friends. Remember, peace is the moral responsibility of each one of us, if we cannot do anything, at least express our support by signing the petition.

Say No to Intolerance and Islamophobia, click and sign

Your comments: http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6736957828074326611&postID=3440489842171816229&isPopup=true

Original story below:
No to intolerance and Islamophobia!

On October 22-26 the so-called Terrorism Awareness Project, will send extremist speakers to campuses across the country to spread a message of intolerance and Islamophobia, in a campaign billed as "the biggest conservative campus protest ever."

The list of speakers include:

> Ann Coulter, who recently made quite a splash with her unabashed Jew-hatred;> Robert Spencer, who calls Islam, "the world's most intolerant religion;"> Rick Santorum, who compared homosexuality to incest and bestiality;> And of course, David Horowitz whose long history of racism has included attacks on affirmative action and the statement that 'guns don't kill black people, other blacks do.'

These and other hate-mongers will be demonizing Islam and portraying a one-sided and bigoted view of a faith held by billions of people around the world.

Mike Ghouse

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jesus: Islam & Christianity

Jesus: Islam & Christianity
A discussion in WMC Forum

You may find this discussion on Christianity and Islam interesting, you are welcome to respond, and we will carry this in both the groups; WorldMuslimCongress and Foundationforpluralism.

Theologically, the two faiths, as practiced today, have a different understanding of Jesus. However, both the faiths respect Jesus to the fullest extent possible. Both have the commitment to defend Jesus's persona. Indeed, the Muslims and Christians joined together to protest against the film Da-Vinci, neither was willing to accept Jesus less than who he is. For Muslims, belief in Jesus is part of one's faith, indeed it is a requirement for a Muslim to believe in all the messengers of God and their message to humanity. I hope, we can search for common grounds without having to cross the boundaries of the faith.

What are we going to do about it?

We have to accept and respect each others belief in respect to Jesus. A Muslims by his faith is required to believe in Jesus as a Messenger of God where as the Christians take him as a divine person. It should not be the reason to have a conflict, the difference it is, but conflict it is not.

The average Christian believes that those who do not follow Jesus will not get the salvation, at the same time most Christians understand, but may not verbalize, that any one who is a good human, will earn the Salvation with of without Jesus. What about the theology? Is Salvation available to every one whether one accepts Jesus or not?

A Muslim cannot compel any one to believe what the other does not want to believe and God has made it easy for Muslims with several verses, two of them are as follows:

1) There is no compulsion in the matters of faith

2:256 Let there be NO COMPULSION in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

The issue for the literalist Christians or Muslims, (not for the majority) is the Word Allah - that it is a different entity. No Sir/Madam, Allah is another name for God. God is the most generic name.

2) To you is your faith and to me is mine.

109:1 SAY: "O you who deny the truth!
109:2 "I do not worship that which you worship,
109:3 and neither do you worship that which I worship!
109:4 "And I will not worship ~hat which you have [ever] worshipped,
109:5 and neither will you [ever] worship that which I worship.
109:6 Unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine !"

You have the same rights as I do. What applies to you, applies to me as well. I am neither above or below you. I believe, arrogance is at zero level in the above chapter 109, called Kafirun.

I know we have fanatic Muslims who do not want to give other faiths the respect they are accorded by their own scriptures, and you will find them boys in every faith. Thanks God, Muslims do not have a monopoly over fanaticism. Just listen to the Falwell, Graham, Robertson, Osama Bin Laden, Mufti of Mecca, or the Suicide Bombers... they all have one thing is common - Arrogance, that which God does not like and is the root cause of all evil. It would be our mistake to consider their opinions main-stream.

At the end, if we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Those who are in Dallas, please attend the workshop on "Understanding Islam" this Sunday. Do bring your non-Muslim friends, we are going to address some tough questions.

Understanding Islam
Sunday, October 21, 2007

5:30 - 6:30 Understanding Pluralism - Mike Ghouse
6:30 – 7:30 Understanding Islam - Imam Zia-Ul-Haq
7:30 – 8:00 Q&A Panel
Coffee and Light refreshments provided - We welcome sponsorships.
All are welcome - There is no fee.

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14315 Midway Road, Addison, TX 75001
Directions: Click Map : From LBJ, north on Midway, after Spring Valley.
Confirmation: ConfirmAttendance@gmail.com
Series Schedule: http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Calendar.asp

Mike Ghouse, President
World Muslim Congress
Dallas, Texas
From: Mustafaa Carroll
Date: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:42 pm
Subject: Re: MuslimAgenda :: Re: Muslim open letter to Jews and Christians

ASA Mike,

Thought-provoking conversation, but another mistake we Muslims make is not taking advantage of resources at our very finger tips. Many converts/reverts were practicing Christians before they accepted Islam, however do we ever think to ask them what it was they believed as a Christian before Islam? I was one of those active, practicing Christians before I accepted this deen at the ripe old age of 19 (I turned 20 shortly thereafter). We should be careful with this discussion that we are having on Prophet Jesus (may Allah be pleased with him) as the "son of God". In much of Western Christianity today, this concept is much more than a "metaphor". Many Christians do not just use it in the sense that God is the "father" of all things and therefore metaphorically speaking Jesus is the son of God.

Most Christians that I know believe that Prophet Jesus was the literal son of God and that he is God in the flesh on earth, and all salvation is through believing in and accepting him as such. This is juxtaposed to Islamic belief, and it is THE nerve that theologically can cause some stress between two religions. Muslims are strict monotheist, believe in Tawhid or the oneness of Allah (God), and Christians believe in the Trinity ... that God is three in one. For Muslims, this is associating partners with Allah (God) which is forbidden in Islam, and Christians are just the opposite ... that is - if you do not believe that Prophet Jesus is the son of God, you cannot go to the paradise. These are fairly mainstream thoughts respectively in the two religions.

Mike, in order for us to have a good understanding, I believe it is important for us to make clear those things that are distinctly different, especially with regards to religion. I think it may APPEAR to be misleading when we attempt to make all religions sound as though they are generic ... or the same ... but different names. We are definitely not all the same. I want Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc... to understand Islam and what Muslims believe. I do not want them to think that Islam is another form of Christianity although we have many, many commonalities. I embraced Islam because of it's distinct characteristics in the Worship of our creator ... other than that I could have remained a Christian. ASA.

From: El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan
Date: Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:25 am
Subject: Re: MuslimAgenda :: Re: Muslim open letter to Jews and Christians

In a message dated 10/14/2007 11:42:40 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, mike_ghouse@yahoo.com writes:
We say Jesus is not the son of God based on our interpretation of "Son" as one that was given birth to in a physical way, and they have come to believe that he is "the son of God" in a spiritual way or a representative way.

Assalaamu Alaikum:

With all due respect, Islam requires us, as Muslims, to make things clear. This is especially critical on such important matters as the reality of God. I come from a Christian background, and I know for a fact that when the vast majority of Christians say "Jesus is the son of God," they mean Jesus is the manifestation of God in the flesh - that Jesus IS God (part of the trinity: "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit/Ghost").

The refutation of this idea is a constant theme throughout ALLAH's last revelation to all humanity (the Qur'an). As such, this is something that CANNOT be compromised on or philosophized away (for the sake of interfaith harmony)! The implications of this issue - and the fate of those who are blindly attached to it - is much too grave to be played with. Let us be compassionate, respectful, and sensitive in our discourse around this issue with our non-Muslim friends - but let us also be CLEAR. JESUS IS NOT THE "SON" OF GOD!

El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan
Director of Operations
The Peace And Justice Foundation

"They disbelieved indeed, those that say ALLAH is Christ, the son of Mary. Say: Who then has power against ALLAH, if His will were to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, his mother, and everyone else on this earth? To ALLAH belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He creates what He pleases; for ALLAH has power over all things. Both the Jews and the Christians say: 'We are sons of ALLAH, and His beloved.' Say: 'Why then does He punish you for your sins?' No you are but men - of the men He has created..." - Surah Al Ma'ida (5:17-18)
From: Rashid Samnakay
Date: Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:11 am
Subject: Re: MuslimAgenda :: Re: Muslim open letter to Jews and Christians

Dear Mike- The following refers with my humble comment:

“One of the mistakes, we, the Muslims make on our part is to view Christianity through our lens” Here it must be made clear that our lens is the 'religious' lens and not in the light of Quran.

Muhammad’s book, the Quran, came five centuries after Jesus’ teachings, hence the former was well aware of Injeel and Biblical dogma. In spite of that Quran designated the Christians, along with others, ahlul-kitaab- people of the book. The argument should end there for those with understanding!

“Your Deen with you and my Deen with me” is further confirmation of live and let live.

From: javed jamil
Date: Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:12 am
Subject: Re: MuslimAgenda :: Re: Muslim open letter to Jews and Christians
Peace be upon all!

When we say God is "omnipresent", we mean that God's Rule prevails everywhere. God is present in every bubble, every drop of an ocean and every molecule not physically but through his all-pervasive Rule. Everything that is in the heavsns and the earth testifies to His presence; as I have discussed in "theory of Physics derivede from Quran", everything rotates and revolves relative to God, and the universe as a whole too bows to Him in thankfulness to His guardianship. The whole universe is like a state and God is One who created it, governs and sustains it.

Muslims have no objection to calling God as Father and Jesus as the Son of God in the metaphorical sense. God of course is closest to what an ordinary human being can hope from his dad: affectionate, loving, caring but also one who wants his sons to be disciplined. But God is not a bilogical father and Jesus not a biological son. If we recognise the whole mankind as the sons of God, metaphorically speaking, Jesus was certainly a very special son. But if most of the Christians believe in him as the begotten child, this is where Islam differs from them. This is because it makes God as nothing more than a super human being. But of course, as long as these Christians are not endangering peace, even in Islam, they have full right to believe the way they like. Morevover, it is the right of both Muslims and Christians to air their views about the Nature of God. Muslims however believe that it will be more useful to discuss the functions of God, which human minds can understand, rather than His structure, which human minds and machines can never know.

Dr Javed Jamil
From: Marylou Ghyst
Date: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:48 pm
Subject: Re: MuslimAgenda :: Re: Muslim open letter to Jews and Christians

Thank you immensely, Mike. Your explanation below is perfectly clear and accurate about Christian metaphor. While we're on the subject we may as well deal with another scripture and make sure everyone understands that it also is spiritual metaphor. Ps. 82:6 - "Ye are gods, children of the Most High." This is never to be taken literally, it's only a metaphor to emphasize the power of spiritual guidance. If a scripture or story doesn't sound logical in the Bible, treat it as spiritual metaphor.

There is one question I would like clarity on. Given the Muslim's view of where God is located, does that mean that Muslims rely only on the Quran for guidance? In other words, personal divine guidance is not available?

Thanks again for all you do, and I continue to hold you and your wife in prayer.

Blessings, Marylou
In a message dated 10/14/07 10:43:26 PM, mike_ghouse@yahoo.com writes:

One of the mistakes, we, the Muslims make on our part is to view
Christianity through our lens, although it is natural to do that, as
that is generally our only reference point, but in a true dialogue
we miss out seeing another point of view completely. We say Jesus is
not the son of God based on our interpretation of "Son" as one that
was given birth to in a physical way, and they have come to believe
that he is "the son of God" in a spiritual way or a representative
way. If we can go beyond the words and make a serious attempt to
understand what the word "son" stands for, conflicts will fade and
solutions will emerge.

From Mike Ghouse

One of the mistakes, we, the Muslims make on our part is to view
Christianity through our lens, although it is natural to do that, as
that is generally our only reference point, but in a true dialogue
we miss out seeing another point of view completely. We say Jesus is
not the son of God based on our interpretation of "Son" as one that
was given birth to in a physical way, and they have come to believe
that he is "the son of God" in a spiritual way or a representative

If we can go beyond the words and make a serious attempt to
understand what the word "son" stands for, conflicts will fade and
solutions will emerge.

This particularly came after 9/11 – when one of our mosques held an
open house for all. When the visitors started walking in for a tour
of the mosque, some of the tour guides started off, that we don't
believe Jesus is the son of God… that was the most ridiculous thing
to start with. Thanks to the leadership of the Mosque at that time –
Mr. Mohammad Suleman listened to my idea that we need to orient the
tour guides, what to say and how to say. It worked like a charm
afterwards as the conflict was diffused at the very beginning.

As I have pointed out earlier, our concept of God is that of
energy, all pervasive, formless and abstract, thanks to Dr. Javed
Jameel for clarifying that in a physical sense God is a non-entity,
but God is not an non-entity spiritually. Marylou added that "Both
Christians and Hindus use metaphor to describe how we experience
God -- Jesus introduced the metaphor of Daddy, Papa or Father." And
personally I have given up using the world " Idol" in reality it is
an ICON representing an aspect of the creation. Raouf Abdullah's
has made some interesting comments as well. The bottom line is
faith. The reason and logic fails with faith, if it is applied to
Christianity, it has to be applied to Islam as well – then neither
will make sense to the other. It is indeed a privilege to have
Michael Arian – and several of our Christian, Jewish, Hindu,
Zoroastrian and members of other faiths.

The world would be a better place, if all of us understand each
other, help correct misperceptions and mis-understandings. Each one
of us is responsible for working for a world of co-existence and

On the other hand, the mistake a few of the Christians make is,
pushing their idea of Islam on Muslims, that which it is not, and
sadly it gets currency through the media.

I will go back to one of my original thoughts about the phrases "
follow me – Jesus ", "surrender to me – Krishna" or "Submitt to my
will – Allah". I do not see conflict in any of these statements,
they all have the same essence – i.e., God is saying become like me –
then everything that surrounds you becomes yours, and when every
thing is yours, there is no conflict and that brings peace to the

I am glad to see the dialogue moving forward, unfolding some of the
delicate ideas and I urge, to be open about it, express it as you
understanding – not as absolute truth.

Mike Ghouse
From: Michael Arian

Dear Mike

First may I say, I was unaware your family was under such duress.Â
I will add your wife and yourself to my prayers.Â

Have always admired the respect and candor of your contributions,
and this “letter” just seemed out of sorts. I didn’t
perceive any threat from the letter, just a wish to press a
theological creed not my on.Â
As a Christian, I belong to this group at the pleasure of it’s
members. I appreciate this privilege.

May the Lord heal you wife and continue to work in you lives.
In Christ

Mike Arian
From Raouf Abdullah

The trinity is the human being. The human develops in three stages
(trimesters of 3 months each). The human has a body, an intellct,
and a soul. The human has three deaths. The Creator has no
beginnig, no end and no gender. The Creator has no father, no
mother, no brothers, no sisters, and no children. The
anthropomorphic god is the product of ancient wisdom devoid of the
guidance of the prophets. Jesus in the New Testament declares that
he is not G-d. Jesus prayed, despaired, was born, and died. Jesus
shall be resurrected. Jesus is the Word of G-d - this is the
revealed word of the Bible and the Qur'an. The worship of Jesus is
no more valid than the worship of Appollo or the worship of Hercules
(two other "sons" of an anthropomorphic god).

Jews struggle with the question of whether G-d is the symbol of the
Jewish community. Christians have fought wars for over one hundred
years on the question of the mortality of Jesus. Muslims who
understand the Qur'an and Prophet Mohammed know that there is G-d
and there is everything else. If Jesus is G-d, there can be no
Christians. Christians are people devoted to be like Christ. No
one can be like G-d.

Raouf M. Abdullah

The spirit you express is what I call the holy spirit. May G-d
preserve and bless you.

Raouf M. Abdullah
From Marylou

Responding to Dr. Javed Jamil:
Your explanation below is very welcomed -- I appreciate it
immensely - it explains why Christians and Muslims sometimes have
difficulty relating to each other. Since I personally, and many
other Christians, do not believe in a literal trinity, or that Jesus
was God, I will not respond to your last sentence about God taking
form in the person of Jesus. However, I do defend the right of
other Christians to believe this. If half of Christianity wants to
believe in a literal trinity, I have no problem with it ... as long
as they are peaceful, law abiding, and do not harass me or others
for our beliefs.

My Christian tradition believes that God is everywhere present
(omnipresent), including in the very air we breathe. God is the
life force in everything that exists, including the life force in a
flower, a bug, a person, etc. Therefore, God is "closer than hands
and feet" and becomes very, very personal -- we are speaking of that
portion of omnipresent God that resides in our physical bodies,
giving spiritual life to our bodies, minds and emotions. God within
us is the spiritual dimension we seek and, according to Jesus, can
easily be found -- Seek and you shall find ... The Bible describes
experiencing God as "a resurrection from the dead."

You say: He exists outside not inside the Universe. It is good to
know your teaching, so we can see each other's frames of reference.
We teach the opposite - on the basis of Jesus' teachings, heaven and
God are within each person and can be experienced now.

Jesus taught that God was unconditional love -- our branch of
Christianity honors all peaceful paths (Jesus as God, Buddhism,
Hinduism, Islam, etc.). If God is unconditional love and,
therefore, honors all paths, why shouldn't we do likewise? One of
the great Christians writers said: "We have the right to climb into
the lap of our heavenly father any way that we can." Every one's
path is slightly different - the goal is just to get there - on the
basis of Jesus' teachings, we do not delay heaven or experiencing
God until after we die. Jesus had a personal relationship with
God. The term "father" Jesus used to described God is more
accurately rendered as "daddy" or "papa." These are very endearing
terms and clearly show an extremely personal relationship between
Jesus and God -- this is what Christians strive for. Do I
understand that Muslims believe this is not possible?

I have immensely enjoyed reviewing the 99 names of God. In fact,
before I retired, I challenged our congregation to come up with as
many names for God as they could, based on their own experience. It
challenged the members to think.... explore.... and experience .....
to open their minds and hearts to how many different ways they
experienced God. Then we reviewed the 99 names of God which they
found most interesting. You say: His creatures cannot describe Him
in the words they know. How can that be? How did Islam come up with
the 99 names?

My personal request is that Muslims and Christians dialogue more
about the nature of God and our own personal experiences in
particular, in an effort to bring more understanding and respect
between us. My thanks to you for taking time to explain the Muslim
view of God, and many thanks to Mike for setting up a forum where we
can dialogue in respect and peace.
Blessings, Marylou

Raouf Abdullah

Dear Friends,

The open letter directly speaks to the troubling practice of
showing the world any particular enthic group or image as the
manisfestation of G-d. When we show a picture of Jesus, the Son of
Mary, Peace on him, as G-d in the flesh as G-d, we are promoting
religious and social racism. Let us see G-d as above and separate
from the human family. That is how G-d presents himself in the holy
scriptures and that will allow us equal dignity before G-d.

Raouf M. Abdullah


The issue of the divine nature of Jesus, Peace on him, has been with
Christians since Jesus walked the earth. The first followers of
Jesus spoke and interacted with him as a man. They did not pray to
Jesus or ask him for mercy, blessings, or forgiveness. The debate
among Christians as to the divinity of Christ came from Paul. The
tactic of presenting Jesus as a blond, blue-eyed person is an
extreme example of the social injury and social injustice that
happens when we present G-d as a human.

Europeans would never accept an African or an Asia as G-d. Why must
we be asked to accept a European as G-d? Lets come to an agreement
that we will not raise up gods from our children.

Raouf M. Abdullah

From Marylou

"the concept of abstract, formless, genderless god of Judaism and Islam is alien to Christians and others. How do you worship the non-entity? And Muslims are bewildered how can Christians & Hindus worship to a definable limited physical entity?"

The thought occurred to me: Both Christians and Hindus use metaphor
to describe how we experience God -- Jesus introduced the metaphor
of Daddy, Papa or Father. Also mother, best friend, etc. appear in
the Bible along with others --- these are metaphors, not "definable
limited physical entities." And of course many Christians (not
all) feel right at home in a Hindu temple - every statute and
picture is a metaphor of how we experience God ..... not idolatry,
but metaphor!

When Paul went out to give the teachings of Jesus to the Romans and
Greeks, they had statues to their gods -- the statues were metaphors
for the qualities of their unseen gods -- they also had a statue to
an "unknown god" -- Paul gave them Jesus -- a metaphor for a loving
God to replace their "unknown god" -- it appears that in time the
metaphor took on a life of its own and ceased to be only

Maybe this solves the mystery? Christians are so accustomed to
thinking in terms of metaphors - the Bible is filled with metaphors
that we have to interpret. Does this help to understand where
Christians and Hindus are coming from? Metaphor explains our
experience of the invisible God.

Blessings, Marylou
From Raouf Abdulla

The expression "son of G-d" is not limitd to Jesus in the Bible.
That is why the term "begotten" was later added. When we use the
term "Son of G-d" without explaining the esoteric meaning, we are
complicit in perpetrating corrupt and pagan concepts. Jesus never
claimed to be the Creator and he ever said that he is the heir
apparent half god half man. Jesus said that he was the Word of G-d,
in human form. Paul was the person who sold Jesus as a man-god to
the innocent so-called Gentiles. His motive is clear that he saw
the Gentiles as fodder because he said that they were grafted and he
referred to them as his "little children."

Those of us who insist on eradicating racism in religion, are
accused of religious bigotry. Those of us who love Jesus, the
Christ, decry the portrayal of Jesus as a man who sought to be
deified. Jesus said Our father our father hallowed be thy name.
Thy will be done. If G-d is our father, then I am the son of G-d.
Therefore, worship me.

Raouf M. Abdullah
From Dr. Javed Jamil

The "abstract, formless and genderless God" does not mean a "non-
entity". It only means that God is not a physical entity in a manner
that is understood by humna beings. To be a physical entity in the
way we understand it, God must be a part of the universe who follows
the physical laws of the universe and is made of the matter and
energy that too follow the physical laws of the universe. The
matter, energy and laws -- all are the creations and not the part of
God; God created laws for the universe; He exists outside not inside
the Universe. He encompasses whatever is there in the heavens and
the earth, which folow His laws and receive all forms of supplies
from Him. As God is beyond the laws of the universe that he created,
His creatures cannot describe Him in the words they know. But they
can surely understand His functions within the universe. For that
too to understand fully, they need continuous exploration of the
metods they have been provided by God.

Did God assume His "gender" and "form" only after the birth of Jesus

Dr Javed Jamil

From Mike Ghouse

Dear Marylou Ghyst and Mike Arian,

Your immediate note is appreciated. I apologize for not reading
the "Open letter" thoroughly, nor did I write the usual commentary.
My laptop does not lend me do the things that I normally do through
my regular machines. I did overlook something like this letter.

I am in hospital since Friday, a week ago, 24 hours a day, with a 3-
4 hours break to go home, change and come back. My wife has reached
the normal white blood cell count today, after a full 8 days of low

Let me study the letter in full and write back sometime today.

A thought came to my mind – if you shout "Vacation" in front of
North Dallas Rich kids – they will think of Hawaii, Disney or some
such exotic place – Same word will generate local entertainment for
folks who cannot afford it. And if you went to India and
utter "Vacation" to the kids there, it simply means going in the bus
to the next town or going to the park.

Unfortunately, the concept of Trinity is alien to most Muslims,
although it should not be, at least to the learned ones who wrote
that letter. Similarly the concept of abstract, formless, genderless
god of Judaism and Islam is alien to Christians and others. How do
you worship to the non-entity? And Muslims are bewildered how can
you worship to a definable limited physical entity?

The resolution to this dilemma is – understanding the essence of
God, what is that God does? What is it that he, she or it stands
for? (Hindus and other faiths do not limit God to a male gender).

I believe the essence of that letter was to work towards peace as
equal partners, by the virtue of goodwill, not just Christians and
Muslims, but all. For starters, the two faiths make up nearly half
of the global population and it become necessary for them to take
the lead.

Much of the conflict is really not religious, but political – who
wants to have the say in the world affairs is driven between the the
politicians in the guise of religiousleaders.

The language as you have pointed out in that letter is wrong, and
could be perceived as threat. Allow me to read the whole letter
again and, I will sincerely appreciate and criticize the letter.
Again, thanks for pointing this out… it is this propensity to
clarify and understand issues that will lead us to peace.

Peace is the basis of all faiths and I am humbled and grateful that
God has endowed me the ability to understand different points of
view. More than that understand the essence of the issue and see the

Mike Ghouse

From: Marylou Ghyst
Date: Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:33 am
Subject: Re: MuslimAgenda :: MUSLIM "OPEN LETTER" TO

Mike, am I misreading this? In my perception, it comes across as a
threat to those Christians (who knows what percentage?) who believe
in a trinity .... it's one thing to disagree, but it's quite another
to threaten ..... If a Christian had written something on your e-
mail forum resembling a threat, I would be the first to say "Back

In essence, his email says: love God (not a trinity) and love your
neighbor, or the planet stands in grave danger. I cannot imagine a
Fundamentalist Christian saying: "Accept JC as your personal
savior or the planet stands in grave danger." Marylou

From his e-mail:
Given the Qur'anic perspective, the Letter was inevitable, and
exceedingly  "timely." World leaders, must know that unless such
a call for "peace and reconciliation" (such as this) is heard and
that  "timely" steps "with deliberate speed,"---are taken to halt
the rage for war---- the planet stands in great danger---such as Â
that described in all of the Holy Books.

Reconciliation ?? In the Holy Qur’an, God Most High enjoins
Muslims to issue the following call to Christians (and Jewsâ€"the
People of the Scripture): Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a
common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God,
and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us
shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then
say: Bear witness that we are they who
have surrendered (unto Him). (Aal ‘Imran 3:64)
From: "Michael Arian"
Date: Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:06 am
Subject: RE: MuslimAgenda :: MUSLIM "OPEN LETTER" TO
CHRISTIANS/JEWS/et.al. seareachnorth@comcast...

Throughout this letter, you try to negate the fact that Jesus Christ
is the Son of God. Not that Jesus was created, rather that Jesus,
God the Father and God the Holy Spirit have always coexisted. What
you mean by saying there is no associate to Allah, is that Jesus is
but a man. So, this letter seems just another attempt at
To be sure, we should all pursue peace, with respect and love
towards all. This includes respect and tolerance for other faiths.

In Christ Jesus, our risen Savior
From: Marylou Ghyst
Date: Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:06 am
Subject: PS -- MuslimAgenda :: MUSLIM "OPEN LETTER" TO

Forgive me Mike if I sounded rather "un"peaceful in the previous
email ..... my concern was and still is that we will never have
peace if peace depends on Muslims and Fund. Christians agreeing on
the nature of God. It's not going to happen.

Fund. Christians will never give up the Trinity -- I pray that this
never, never stands in the way of peace. I have dialogued briefly
with Fund. C's on this issue - Jesus never taught a trinity - no
mention of "trinity" in the Bible, in fact, there is so much
emphasis in Jesus' teaching of God being greater, but we get nowhere
with the Fund. C's because they are relying on the Nicene Council.
And I have come to realize it just does not matter.

Here's something to consider -- I was raised Catholic - taught to
pray to saints -- for years I did just that and for years I got
answers -- good answers, answers that brought salvation from pain
and suffering. When I converted to Liberal Protestant, I learned
monotheism and continued to get good answers, answers that brought
the same salvation as before. I have learned that God honors what
is in our heart, not necessarily our head. Because God is
unconditional love, God honors prayers to saints, to Jesus, to
whomever and whatever .... I've known atheists who receive
guidance .... the closer we draw to God, the more we realize that
nothing should separate us from loving others - that is the key. I
asked God how I could love Osama bin Laden, and I got a beautiful
answer. Muslims have to learn to live with the trinity .... and
Fund. C. have to learn to live with Muslim's refusal to accept the
trinity. You think that's possible?

To me, that is what peace is all about - honoring, without
accepting, others beliefs. And I think that is what you and your
Foundation are all about.

Blessings, Marylou

Your Comments: http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6736957828074326611&postID=5971582481818550894&isPopup=true

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ with a simple theme: "Good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is http://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/ Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com For a full bio: http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ramadan Triangle

God bless you with peace and prosperity.

Ramadan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan - Eid Mubarak) to those who celebrate on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, heck even on Monday. Let's not ruin any one's joy. Let's leave the judgment to Malik-i-yomiddin (Master of the Day of Judgment);

it’s been an age old tradition to disagree on sighting of the moon and or deciding the day of the Eid. Why is it such heartburn? My opinion is one of the 1.3 billion ones, but I hope, it will give you an insight into this age old conflict.

We go through this pain every year, let's accept that, it is going to be there till eternity, as it has been there since the very beginning. We can choose to be frustrated, bring about a change or just let it go.

Arrogance is the root cause of all conflicts; the belief that my understanding is superior to yours is the sole reason for this dispute. It is an embarrassment that we have not brought a resolution to this conflict. We have not even defined and agreed upon the intent and purpose of Eid.

Eid is an occasion to bring the whole community together, as Hajj brings the Muslim world together. It is an occasion to forgive each other's mistakes, apologize for the wrongs and start it all over with a clean slate of good relations. God loves those who forgive and those who are humble.

Sighting of the moon is a uniting factor, assuming that the moon is visible on the same day to all and all communities connected and prayed on the same day barring time zones.

The difference is between the literalists, essentialists, and now the scientists are a part of the triangle. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said; celebrate the Eid when you see the moon.

The literalists interpret that one has to see the moon him/herself to declare the Eid. Seeing is critical to them, every thing else is secondary.

The ones, who understand the essence, believe that Eid was for the community to come together and celebrate. Thus if one sees the Moon in Chennai, it was good for every one. If some one in Karachi, Fez, Kuala Lumpur or Mecca sees it... it is good to go. To this group, celebrating the Eid as a community is of greater importance.

The Scientists say, they can track down the moon and predict it precisely, and they prefer to go by that. As the day to day prayers are based on precision, let everything be planned, it makes life easy.

There is another group who has come to enjoy the ritual of looking out for the moon, the anxiety, the waiting and the surprise is part of the fun to them. They fly from that point.

Essentialists have no problem celebrating the Eid if every one goes along on any day, where as the literalist will not budge, rightly so from their own point of view, there is a rule and it has to be followed, i.e. ., physically see the moon to celebrate. Scientists say we could not be clearer than the factual representation.

Scientist will not gain the attention for at least one more generation, as it kills all the sentiment and fun of celebrating and sighting the moon, going shopping... jumping on the feet and getting ready for the Eid. It is a festive occasion and the surprise of the day is part of the celebration.

Two analogies for consideration:

First, you don't want to know the gender of the baby before it is born and second, making love is an emotional experience and not a scientific one; science kills the whole joy of it.

THE IRONY: Praying Salat is mandatory - Fard, a duty. The timing for five prayers a day is set up to the minute with no disputes. Whereas Eid is not Fard, it is Wajib – Recommended, thus there is A room for human input and choice element in this decision, and when there is a choice, politics creeps in and it has to be "my way". That is the problem.

Let's wish happy Eid to those who celebrate on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, heck even on Monday. Let's not ruin any one's joy. Let's leave the judgment to the Malik-i-yomiddin.

Eid Mubarak! May Allah bless all of his creation with peace.

Your Comments: http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=3462242975774901312&postID=6959487023287239227

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ with a simple theme: "Good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is http://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 Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com For a full bio: http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Understanding Islam Workshop

Understanding Islam
Monthly workshops on wisdom of Religions

The Foundation for Pluralism has undertaken the role of bringing practical living knowledge about religions to your town. “We believe knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of another point of view”.
The goal is to bring people of different faiths together and provide a platform for them to share about their beliefs, their systems and rituals, while expanding the knowledge zone of each group.

We hope at least a few of the attendees will walk out with an open mind and an open heart towards fellow beings. It is rather difficult to shed the prejudices, but once we do, there is genuine freedom in it. We have to change the perception about others, so we can invite full contributions and participation partnerships from all faith communities in the nation building and building our own lives in peace and security.


Everything you wanted to know about Islam, you can learn about it in this short 90 Minutes workshop.

Essence is the crystallization of what each idea, philosophy, faith or practice is about. Islam can be summed up as Justice. When justice is the norm of a society, people live a secure life knowing that no one will take advantage of them, when justice becomes the soul of the society, fear dissipates and peace prevails paving way for prosperity to one and all. Justice is the single most human craving that needs to be met for societies to live and let live.

Justice is a floating equilibrium that maintains the balance in one’s life and what is around him or her. Islam stands squarely on the principles of justice, equality, peace and respect to God’s creation; life and matter.

Ritual is a necessary step towards achieving the serene, blissful state of mind. Where one follows the instructions laid down in a manual, to Muslims that manual is called Qur’aan, each faith has its own manual that works for followers. Whether you want to have a good physique or keep good health, you have to follow the routines in the gym and in your diet to get there. Just as you have to drive the vehicle through the road hazards and follwing traffic rules to reach the destination. Islam has 5 such rituals, traditionally called Pillars of Islam, they are: i) Pledge, ii) Prayer, iii) Fasting, iv) Charity and v) Pilgrimage.

Finding the truth is one’s own responsibility, as truth frees one from the bondage of hate, malice and ill-will.


5:30 - 6:30 Understanding Pluralism
6:30 – 7:30 Understanding Islam
7:30 – 8:00 Q&A

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14315 Midway Road, Addison, TX 75001
Directions: Click Map : From LBJ, north on Midway, after Spring Valley.
Confirmation: ConfirmAttendance@gmail.com
Schedule: http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Calendar.asp

In affairs of the world, religion appears to be a source of the problem; it certainly is not. You can always trace the wars, genocides, oppression and other atrocities to evil insecure men. Please remember, the purpose of religion was to fix the evils of humankind and it continues to do so while some men still don’t get it. Thanks God, the world is a better place today because of the Religion and spirituality, without which there would be chaos. Every Religion is on the same side, that of goodness for humankind. Finding the truth is one’s own responsibility as the truth brings salvation.

If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, then faith is in the heart of the believer. Let every one find peace his/her own way

Mike Ghouse

Pluralism Workshop:

What is Pluralism? What is a pluralistic attitude? Learn its application at work place, home, social situations and other circumstance. It is about co-existence ** (Questions to ponder - listed below)


1. Is attempting to undermine divinity of other faiths amount to arrogance?
2. Is blaming a religion, race, or ethnicity for the acts of individuals’ amount to deception?
3. Is holding greed, anger, hate, or malice in our hearts depleting our freedom?
4. Is ridiculing a person amount to ridiculing the creator?
5. Is judging others without knowing them personally amount to prejudice?
6. Is God free or some group owns him/her? Are we not limiting its limitlessness?
7. Does God make deals behind our back and favor some? Could God do such a thing?

In affairs of the world, religion appears to be a source of the problem; it certainly is not. You can always trace the wars, genocides, oppression and other atrocities to evil insecure stupid men. Please remember, the purpose of religion was to fix the evils of humankind and it continues to do so while some men still don’t get it. Thanks God, the world is a better place today because of the Religion and spirituality, without which there would be chaos. Every Religion is on the same side, that of goodness for humankind. Finding the truth is one’s own responsibility. Truth brings salvation.

If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, then faith is in the heart of the believer. Let every one find peace his/her own way.
Link: http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2007/10/understanding-islam-workshop.html

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ with a simple theme: "Good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is http://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/ Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mahatma Gandhi's Message

Mike Ghouse, October 2, 2007

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the five humans on the planet who has impacted my life profoundly. He was a messenger of peace; his language nourished reconciliation, and his actions encouraged co-existence. Whether it is the conflict between Hindus or Muslims or with the British Raj, his words mitigated conflicts and directed one's thoughts and actions towards solutions.

He was one of the most powerful leaders we have had in the last two centuries. He did not want anything for himself, nor did he want to control anything or lead any one. All he wanted to do was create a society of mutual respect and co-existence. Every one always wonders how did he get to make people listen to his message of non-violence? The answer is simple; People knew, he gained nothing from what he does, but instead they gained from his effort. Indeed, those who are un-selfish have invincible moral strength. Nothing frightens them or cows them down. You will find the same commitment and moral strength in Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Zoroaster, Mahavira, Confucius, Nanak, Baha'u'llah, Mother Teresa and so many other great souls. Muhammad is my other mentor who had all the power on the earth during his life time but lived a simple life, and told his own daughter that she ain't going to get a free pass to God, she has to earn it by doing good deeds, i.e., doing things for other's good. Every one of the above teacher's strength lie in one simple thing: Their sense of justice was strong as a mountain and they were absolutely un-selfish.

Mahatma Gandhi's non-Violence movement is a model that will last for centuries to come. Every great teacher listed above has taught the same message over and over again. The idea is that there is a balance of energy in every human, doing bad things deflates that energy and doing good things recoups it. You may have experienced the elated feeling of having a great day, when you helped someone in dire need. Non-Violence is a belief that the tyrant is blessed with the same energy, but is not aware of it and we have to help him realize it after enduring the suffering. Fighting out may bear the result for short run, but in the long run, the fighting and the avenging continues. Whereas the non-violence method of achieving the objective is sustainable, justice ultimately brings lasting peace, and non-violence sustains it, violence disturbs the balance.

I have a special connection with the Mahatma, and am making this disclosure for the first time in public. I have met the Mahatma twice in my dreams; first time was way back in 1971 when the Mahatma, the Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University Dr. Narsimaiah and myself were talking over a meal and he gave a pat on my back and told me that I have a lot of work to do. Then again in 2005, I saw him smiling at me encouraging me to continue with the work of Pluralism.

My message on this day is watch what you say; does it conflagrate the dialogue, does it make the opposing parties dig in? or does it propel people to work towards solutions. You can apply this formula at your work, home or any situation and see the difference. Be a winner, by making the others a winner too.

Mahatma Gandhi probably would have endorsed my view that, if we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness to each one of seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. That is the mission of the foundation for pluralism.

Today, October 2nd is Mahatma's birthday, may this day make our leaders think, and believe that there is a greater joy in creating peace. Here is a message from Arun Gandhi, Mahatma's Grand son. I am also honored to have shared the conference space with Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi as a co-speaker at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2006.


A Message from Arun Gandhi
Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi on Gandhi's birthday

Mahatma Gandhi would be disappointed -- and troubled -- by the growing religious intolerance here in America and around the world.

Yet, my grandfather would be a source of inspiration, guidance and strength -- as he would sit down with you -- to humbly offer his suggestions for meeting these difficult challenges.

Because in every part of the world: religious hatred and polarization are increasing. And extremists are fanning the passions of intolerance and fear (and sometimes outright violence) in the name of God -- and in pursuit of their narrow political agenda.

Here in America and elsewhere in the world, religious extremists have been quite successful in manipulating their view of religion for political and economic gain.

Like you, I have been disappointed to hear Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell misuse religion - by damning their political opponents, by claiming the partisan support of God, and by polarizing America with their extremist political agenda.

Meanwhile, some national leaders in Washington DC are now trying to divide the world according to religion - by oversimplifying and demonizing other religions and people.

As a board member of The Interfaith Alliance, and as an American, I've put a lot of thought into the problems we face as a people and as a country. You see, I have personally faced severe religious intolerance in Tennessee and elsewhere in America. And I've seen too much injustice and violence -- meted out in the name of God -- to allow these developments to go unchallenged.

I've also devoted my life to preserving my grandfather' s writings and furthering his tradition.

And I am absolutely convinced he would support the important reconciliation work of The Interfaith Alliance - which draws its supporters from over 65 faith traditions to work together to challenge religious political extremism - while promoting the healing role of faith in public life.

...I was fortunate enough to spend my teenage years with him, as Mahatma Gandhi calmed violent crowds - with only his frail body, famous walking stick, and words of profound wisdom.

In these difficult times, Grandfather Gandhi would remind us to:

1. Be open to the beauty of beliefs that are different than yours.

The Interfaith Alliance brings people from Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Catholic, Sikh, Buddhist, and Jewish traditions - to build better lines of communications and to point out the many things we all have in common - so we can peacefully address whatever may trouble us.

Resist the temptation to wall yourself off from all the fears in the world.

Don't play into the hands of extremists who say the best solution is to divide the world as well as people in America along religious lines.

Don't let the media and our current religious leaders scare us into mistrusting or hating our neighbors in the world - because they wear a head scarf, or speak a different language.

In this modern age, we are unavoidably connected to the world, and these futile attempts to wall ourselves off from people who disagree with us, is simply the wrong strategy.

2. A neighborhood is not a community.

A neighborhood is only a geographic distinction -- a place on the map.

In far too many neighborhoods, the residents don't even know the people on their block. And people who are different are often shunned, ignored, hurtfully misunderstood or harassed.

My welcome to Tennessee was also marred by harassing phone calls from a local preacher.

Every other morning for four months, a fundamentalist minister in the Religious Right would call my house at 5 or 6am - to tell me I was not wanted, I was an evil heretic, and that I should move from Memphis because of my beliefs and obvious dark skin. When you are faced with such ignorance and visceral agitation, I hope you too will find comfort, wisdom and strength in the teachings of my grandfather - and in the powerful examples of perseverance by people like Martin Luther King Jr., who was by the way gunned down in my town.

Likewise, I have not let this fundamentalist zealot silence me or stop me in my pursuit of a more just, fair, open, civil and peaceful community, country and world. Nor should they stop you!

My father was imprisoned many times in South Africa for his moral opposition to Apartheid, my cousin was assassinated by political opponents, and I've seen many decent, moral and good-hearted people spit upon, beaten up, ridiculed, banished, or even killed for their beliefs.

So, if I can do anything in honor of these enlightened souls, it's to encourage you not to despair.

Don't let the other guy win because he seems more powerful - or gets more media attention.

3. Popular support does not validate the "correctness" of our opponents.

Mahatma Gandhi spent most of his life (as have I) trying to defend the rights of persecuted religious sects or ethnic groups who were being ignored, discriminated against, or slaughtered.

Time and time again (as in America right now), the dominant forces believed in their moral superiority because of their apparent strength in numbers at that point in time.

Some Americans are even suggesting that proper morality or ethics can only be found in their narrow view of ultra-conservative Christianity or whatever extremist vision they're promoting.

But grandfather told us and showed us that the soundness and fairness of our ideas will ultimately prevail -- regardless of the size or power of the opposing forces - IF we show the required tenacity, inner strength and flexibility required for the longer struggle for justice.

And his storied life demonstrated the power of love, forgiveness, patience, conviction, nonviolent activism, polite discourse, and a search for common ground and better understanding.

That's why I hope and pray that you will support a citizens group here in America that is trying to carry forth my grandfather' s vision for interfaith cooperation. The Interfaith Alliance offers us an intelligent, sober and resourceful mainstream alternative for reconciling the religious animosities now plaguing us.

The Interfaith Alliance has also shown: there is much more that unites us here in America and around the world amongst religions, than divides us. And calmer heads like yours are needed. So, please help us to promote the positive and healing role of religion in public life and compassion, civility, and mutual respect for human dignity.

While grandfather would admit that, "Democracy necessarily means a conflict of will and ideas, involving sometimes a war ? between different ideas," he would also point out that claims of religious supremacy are dangerous - if not challenged by fair-minded intelligent souls like you.

Fundamentalists have created an explosive atmosphere all over the world.

Whether it's Christian extremists here in America, radical Hindu nationalists in India, or Muslim fundamentalists in the Middle East or South Asia: these religious extremists have exploited their religion and followers -- to debase and misinterpret other religions and people.

And the violence and hatred they preach only leads to more destruction and polarization.

While we can be respectful in our protest and civil in our activism, we cannot afford to sit back and allow the Christian Coalition or any other group claim that our government should adopt one version of religious beliefs for its policies and laws.

Nor can we allow any fundamentalist group to claim that God supports their political agenda while your religious beliefs or political leanings are labeled "evil" or shameful in the eyes of God.
The violence in the Middle East is a visible reminder of the divisive power and awful human toll of religious disagreements when combined with politics.

These religious conflicts also point out the important role for voices of moderation.

So, won't you stand up with me for sensible dialogue and cooperation among religions?

...[We] need to remember the Golden Rule. Martin Luther King Jr. and many other powerful historical figures have likewise urged us to love our enemy. Mahatma also pointed out: "Love is the subtlest force in the world."

He said we need to respect people who may be different, and this requires much more of us than merely tolerating people's differences. With "tolerance," you could believe you don't need to like or even talk to the other person - the stranger, the foreigner, and the "infidel" -- and we all lose. The point is: showing respect requires much more effort, more humility and more understanding.

Respect only comes about when we learn more about one another - and this is one of the most important functions of The Interfaith Alliance - as it pulls together leaders and adherents from more than over 50 different faith traditions - for open dialogue and respectful cooperation.

Mahatma Gandhi learned many lessons from his long battles to end discrimination, to lift the standards of living for the Untouchables, to prevent violence, and to overthrow the strongest imperial power on the globe when India won its independence from Great Britain.

One simple reminder he left us is:

4. Listen to your inner voice ? and become the change you wish to see.

We all have a tendency to wait for the other person (particularly our opponent) to make the first move - to change before we are willing to change.

We also know the path of hate, retribution and a thirst for "an eye for an eye" justice will make the whole world blind.

And Mahatma Gandhi taught us that it's important to start with yourself in seeking the transformation you want to see realized in the world and in your community. He would gently remind you that we all have an obligation to do our part, no matter how difficult the task may seem.

Inspirational Quotes from Mahatma Gandhi

# There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all, i.e., the voice of conscience even though such obedience may cost many a bitter tear, and even more, separation from friends, from family, from the state to which you may belong, from all that you have held as dear as life itself. For this obedience is the law of our being.

# The test of friendship is assistance in adversity, and that too, unconditional assistance. Co-operation which needs consideration is a commercial contract and not friendship. Conditional co-operation is like adulterated cement which does not bind.

# Non-cooperation is an attempt to awaken the masses, to a sense of their dignity and power. This can only be done by enabling them to realize that they need not fear brute force, if they would but know the soul within.

# Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

# Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.

# It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.

# Democracy is an impossible thing until the power is shared by all, but let not democracy degenerate into mobocracy.

# They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.

# I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

# Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.

# Whenever I see an erring man, I say to myself I have also erred; when I see a lustful man I say to myself, so was I once; and in this way I feel kinship with everyone in the world and feel that I cannot be happy without the humblest of us being happy.

# I have but shadowed forth my intense longing to lose myself in the Eternal and become merely a lump of clay in the Potter's divine hands so that my service may become more certain because uninterrupted by the baser self in me.

# An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody will see it.

# Even as wisdom often comes from the mouths of babes, so does it often come from the mouths of old people. The golden rule is to test everything in the light of reason and experience, no matter from where it comes.
# Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

# Fear is not a disease of the body; fear kills the soul.

# The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.

# An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

# Weeding is as necessary to agriculture as sowing.

# Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities.She has the right to participate in the minutest details in the activities of man, and she has an equal right of freedom and liberty with him. http://www.interfaithalliance.org/site/pp.asp?c=8dJIIWMCE&b=120703

Arun Gandhi, one of The Interfaith Alliance's Executive Committee Members at-Large, is a prolific author and co-founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, Tennessee. The mission of the Institute is to teach and to apply the principles of nonviolence and resolve personal and public conflict. Mr.. Gandhi is the fifth grandson of Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi and grew up in South Africa during the system of apartheid. He learned from his parents and grandparents the importance of creating social change through nonviolent acts. Drawing on these lessons, he and his wife dedicated their lives to improving their Communities. In India, they designed and implemented programs that address social and economic depression reaching over half a million people, and the programs continue to grow. Most recently, Mr. Gandhi and his wife Sunanda co-authored, The Forgotten Woman: The Untold Story of Kastur, the wife of Mahatma Gandhi. They lecture worldwide, but are based at the Institute in Memphis.

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Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the www.FoundationforPluralism.com and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the www.WorldMuslimCongress.com 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 Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com

For a full bio: http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp