B U L L E T I N

Happy New Year!

1. New Year Message - A purposeful life – Huffington post
2. A Note about Sean Hannity, Stuart Varney and Fox News –request
3. Note about Bridgette Gabriel’s comment on Fox News – upon request
4. American Muslims are proud of taking the right step - Link
5. Moderate Muslims Speak out? Link

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rama, a Muslim perspective

Personal note: I sincerely debated about writing this piece. Should I compromise and let things go, as I may turn a few Muslims and a few Hindus off. But I beleive, that is the mistake most of us make; afraid to speak up. No body wants to lose one's social connections or get chewed out by a few. A wise man said once, when you speak without compromising, God is with you. Speaking up for creating better societies is the right thing and should not be compromised. If the world has to change for better, we have to make that happen.

RAMA :: A Muslim Perspective

As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, faith is in the heart of the believer.

There is a consistent theme in Qur'aan of looking the world from a pluralistic point of view. Qur'aan, Al-Hujurat, Sura 49:13 " O mankind, we have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah know and is aware of everything."

For a moment forget about religion and look at the day to day situation. Whenever there is a conflict in an office, party or elsewhere, there is always one wise person who will straighten things up. Just as water finds its own level, people will figure out a balance.

God has sent 124,000 messengers to every tribe, nation or community. The 124,000 number is a number to rerpesent everything, and for us to include any one who has brought a message of peace to the society. God also speaks through Krishna in Bhagvad Gita that whenever there is adharma, some one will bring the dharma back to you. We will find similar message in every revered book, that is God's wisdom emerging in different places at different times.

The Name Krishna or Rama is not specified in Qur'aan, so are the 123,976 other names. Does that mean the 123, 976 did not exist? or was left open deliberately so we can use our judgement.

Islam means peace! Peace means absence of conflict and a sense of living in harmony. Prophet Muhammed set the model for peace making earlier on in his life when he removed the conflict and forged cooperation between the competing Quraish tribes to lift the sacred stone called Aswad, in a piece of cloth by involving every party in peace making. That is what Islam means, reducing conflicts, and creating peace.

God has given us all the resources to keep that Meezan ( Sura Rahman) the balance around us. Now, it behoves the Muslims of India at their own free will to accept Ram as another prophet of God whom we revere.

Muslims do not have to place an idol of Ram, as they do not do with Jesus's image or Prophet Muhammad's image. It is just acceptance of Ram, as the peace maker.

By doing this we fulfill the primary role of a Muslim, the peace maker, being a catalyst to reduce conflicts between the communities. I am sure Hindu's do not have a problem accepting Prophet Muhammad as one of their own Gurus. Whether they accept it or not is not the issue, the question is, are we willing to be the peace makers and create inclusive societies and fulfil God's vision of knowing each other and living in harmony.

I support Firzo Bakht Ahmed's piece below. Faith and reason don't go together, it is what you believe. Hindu's believe Lord Rama was human manifestation of God himself and that is their belief. We have to respect every belief, as the author has rightly quoted, to you is your faith and to me is mine. Such is the freedom available in all religions, we just have to learn to free ourselves from shackles put on us by traditions.



Mike Ghouse
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
www.MikeGhouse.net


To Muslims, Ram is their Imam-e-Hind

IANS Firoz Bakht Ahmed

September 20, 2007

On behalf of all Muslims who believe in reason and sanity, I declare that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) affidavit (since withdrawn) questioning the existence of Hindu god Ram was vitriolic, scathing, unfortunate and blasphemous - not just to Hindus but to all those who cherish our pluralistic cultural heritage. How can a government decide the veracity of a figure like Ram?

He Ram ke wajood pe Hindostan ko naaz/Ahl-e-nazar samajhtey hein usko Imam-e-Hind!

Iqbal, the poet of the East, has written a wonderful and moving poem on the authenticity of the existence of Ram. Logic and science have their say but not in matters of faith. In a nation where religion percolates to all levels of culture, secularism and modernity, themes like Ram, Mohammed, Mary and Moses are all interwoven within the existence of the people. A denial can drive people into a frenzy.

As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar rightly puts it, one cannot dismiss Sri Ram as a mythological character just because a lot of miracles were reported in his life and there are no scientific evidences to prove them. There were unproven miracles in the lives of the religious figures of every faith. Just because we can't prove the parting of the Red Sea, we can't say that Moses was a fictitious figure. Just because there were miracles in the lives of Jesus, Moses and Mohammed, you cannot call them mythical figures.

Historical evidence of most of the eminent religious figures would be difficult to find. Nevertheless, the authenticity of Ram's reality cannot be doubted, as most legends and myths have their roots in real incidents and actual happenings of religious figures. So far as Ram is concerned, there are numerous places in India and Sri Lanka closely linked to his life including Ayodhya, Janakpuri, Dhanushkodi and Rameswaram.

The whole debate about whether or not Lord Ram existed or not is redundant. Even if he did not exist, this is not going to diminish his importance because he actually exists in the hearts of not only Hindus but also Muslims. According to Islam, 120,000 messengers were sent to the earth. According to Muslim belief, Ram not only exists but also is part of the community's religious legacy.

Nearly a billion Hindus believe that Ramayana happened and that Ram existed. If there is no archaeological evidence to this effect, it is something for ASI to keep in their records, not for a secular government to pronounce from rooftops.

To a Muslim it is a surprise that it is only the Hindu groups that have taken umbrage at this affidavit. The average Hindu is by and large silent. In contrast Muslims would have risen en masse in protest against such blasphemy.

Ram is entrenched deeply in the minds of a vast majority of people of all faiths, including Muslims of Indonesia. Ram is the MaryadaPurushottam to all irrespective of caste, creed or faith.

Questioning a largely tolerant and pluralistic people to provide proof that their god actually exists is driving them to aggression. The weakness lies here with the Congress party, which time and again has failed to handle sensitive issues pertaining to faith.

However, the Congress was able to salvage some ground by withdrawing from the Supreme Court the offending affidavit questioning the existence of Ram. But the secular credentials of this government have been sacrificed.

The author is a commentator on social, educational and religious issues and the great-nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He can be reached on firozbakht @rediffmail.com

Enjoyed this post? Recommend it to Others

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Jews Muslim pray together

Jews and Muslim worship together in Argentina

Peace just does not happen, it has to be worked at. If I am peaceful, I can reasonably expect the other to be. If my words and my actions are blowing up the conflict instead of mitigating it, then I cannot expect the other to not repeat after me.

It is the small things that lead to the big ones. Like a small step on the moon was a giant leap for the mankind.

Mike Ghouse
http://www.MikeGhouse.net


Jews and Muslim worship together in Argentina

Jewish and Muslim communities celebrated together the beginning of Rosh Hashana and Ramadan, respectively. Quoting the psalmist, Rabbi Shlomo Ben Hamu says "it is pleasant and good for brothers to dwell together".

http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?idarticle=11046
Saturday, September 15, 2007
By MISNA

In Argentina, the Muslim and Jewish communities celebrated together respectively the start of Ramadan, the holy month of Islam, and ‘Rosh Hashana’, the Jewish new year. The commemoration was held in Buenos Aires on the San Martín Square, headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cults of the Republic of Argentina.

According to the local press, the Secretary of Religion, Guillermo Oliveri, took the opportunity of the coincidence of the two festivities (regulated by the different calendars) to emphasise the consistency of inter-faith dialogue in the country. He stressed that such a positive atmosphere “needs care like a garden and this gathering is a small step forward for the difficult situations in the world where there is no peace”.

Among the interventions at the gathering, participated by leaders of both religious communities, were also those of the Sheikh of the Islamic Centre of the Republic of Argentina, Ibrahim Moustafá Gabr, and the Great Rabbi Shlomo Ben Hamú. The Sheikh underlined that “this ceremony is a show of fraternity and union in the main goal of achieving love and peace in the world”, explaining that the Koran encourages to “maintain good relations with other nations” and prohibits instilling fear.

The Rabbi, in turn, cited a verse of the psalms, “it is pleasant and good for brothers to dwell together”, adding that in the orations of the Sabbaths, his community prays “for peace in the nation” that in this new year “is called for the entire world”. The director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, Claudio Epelman, added that “Jews and Muslims, both like heirs of Patriarch Abraham, are brothers in faith”.

Bishop Carlos Malfa and other figures of the Catholic community were also present at the gathering. This joint event, which can already be considered a tradition in the making, came as a result of the gathering of two years ago that brought together the national leaders of the three “religions of the book” (Judaism, Islam and Christianity) for the funeral of the late president of the Islamic Centre of the Republic of Argentina, Adel Made.

On that occasion, the spokesman for the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Father Guillermo Marcó, emphasised that the president of the Islamic Centre “was the initiator of the dialogue we have today”. As written by the journalist Sergio Rubin in an editorial of August 2005: “Those who in these days say they do not believe in cohabitation of the Jewish-Christian west with the Islamic world must come over here to Argentina”.

Missionary International Service News Agency (MISNA)

Israel Lobby & Democracy

Israel Lobby & Democracy

The neocons, the lobby, the Islamists and the Hindutva brigade have figured out that the good for nothing majority can be pushed around endlessly. They are also equipped with the mechanism to crucify the persons who speak out. They know how to defame and disown all those who speak out. The true peace makers like Naom Chomsky in America and several in Israel are discounted and disowned by the Lobby propoganda.

Watch the movie, the life of the bees.

As people of the world, we have to seriously give a thought about peace. What brings about peace, and what is that we have to do to build lasting peace for the humankind, what does it take. The policy of the extremism has failed and we are still letting them carry on with more destruction. Bush will go down in the history in less than polite terms, "Bush, the killer of a Million Iraqis" as I remember the title "Eichman, killer of 6 Million Jews". It is time for the silent majority of Jews to speak up, just as Muslims, Christians or Hindus majorities need to speak up against the few who run over our lives. Shamelessly in our names, they are endangering the world peace. When will we wake up?

Here is a letter to Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that is worth the read:
“Smear campaign stifles U.S. debate”

From: Robert B. Colgin
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sunday, September 16, 2007.Letters Page C5 -Responses to Richard Cohen's column, "Why Israel matters to America: A Question for the Heart," Sept. 12 issue.

“Smear campaign stifles U.S. debate”

The study of the Israeli lobby by professors Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer destroys the doctrinal orthodoxy that American and Israeli interests are identical and inseparable.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful and feared lobby in U.S. politics, has perpetuated this odious myth. AIPAC controls the discussion of Middle Eastern affairs in many ways, notably brandishing the threat of being tarred as an anti-Semite. That is the most toxic charge in American politics. Fear of this smear is used as an intellectual blackjack to stifle discourse concerning the issue of Israel and its value to America. Nothing is more damaging to U.S. interests than to not have an honest and informed debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

ROBERT BOSTON COLGIN, Atlanta

Mr. Robert Boston Colgin
rcolgin@bellsouth.net

You can also refer to: http://www.mikeghouse.net/LawofKarma_and_theIsraelLobby.asp

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net

Congressman Under Fire for Mentioning AIPAC
U.S. House Democrat Said Pro-Israel Lobby Promoted War

By Amy Gardner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 15, 2007; B05

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) has again come under fire from local Jewish organizations for remarking in a magazine interview that the "extraordinarily powerful" pro-Israel lobby played a strong role promoting the war in Iraq.

In an interview with Tikkun, a California-based Jewish magazine, Moran said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is "the most powerful lobby and has pushed this war from the beginning. I don't think they represent the mainstream of American Jewish thinking at all, but because they are so well organized, and their members are extraordinarily powerful -- most of them are quite wealthy -- they have been able to exert power."

Moran's remarks were criticized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the National Jewish Democratic Council. Ronald Halber, executive director of the first group, said Moran's remarks are anti-Semitic and draw on ugly stereotypes about Jewish wealth, power and influence.

"He uses several age-old canards that have been used throughout history that have brought violence upon Jews," Halber said this week. "He uses clearly anti-Semitic images such as Jewish control of the media and wealthy Jews using their wealth to control policy."

Ira N. Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said in a published statement that there is nothing wrong with criticizing the pro-Israel lobby but that Moran's statements go beyond that to defamation by making a "phony" connection between AIPAC and the Iraq war.

"Rep. Moran's comments are not only incorrect and irresponsible," Forman said. "They are downright dangerous."
In an interview last night, Moran said he was dismayed at the reaction to his remarks, which he stands by. The pro-Israel lobby has not represented mainstream U.S. Jewish opinion in recent years, he said -- most notably with its Middle East policies, which he characterized as directly aligned with those of the Bush administration.

"The problem with addressing the groups who have argued strongly in favor of a long-term American military presence in the Middle East is that they raise arguments that are not related to the point," Moran said. "I would like to have a reasonable, objective discussion about AIPAC's foreign policy agenda. But it's difficult to do that because any time you question their motives, you are accused of being anti-Semitic."

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun also defended Moran's position in the article, which appear in the magazine's September-October issue http://www.tikkun.org/magazine/tik0709/frontpage/israellobby .

"It's the kind of statement I would have made to any religious community, or to any labor movement audience, citing their own failures to act as a critical factor in why we had gotten involved," Lerner wrote in the article.

Halber said he welcomes criticism of AIPAC's policies, but he said Moran is wrong that the advocacy group supports the war in Iraq. Most American Jews oppose U.S. involvement in Iraq, he said, and AIPAC has remained neutral.
According to the organization's Web site, AIPEC supports U.S. military aid to Israel but does not openly support U.S. intervention in the Middle East.

"I think Mr. Halber's being disingenuous in suggesting that the AIPAC board has not been strongly supportive of military involvement in Iraq and now in Iran," Moran said yesterday.
Although hailed for forging ties with the region's Muslim community, Moran has gotten into trouble with the local Jewish community before. In 2001, he angered groups by saying in an appearance before the American Muslim Council that then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was coming to Washington "probably seeking a warrant from President Bush to kill at will with weapons we have paid for."

The next year, Moran returned $2,000 in political contributions from a Muslim activist with ties to the anti-Israeli groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

And in 2003, at an antiwar forum in Reston, Moran said: "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this. The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should."

Said Halber this week: "There are only so many mistakes he can make before it's fair to call him an anti-Semite."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/14/AR2007091402171_pf.html

Muslim converts risk life

Muslims who convert risk being killed

The concern of Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester expressed in the Guardian article below may be legitimate, and is undoubtedly based on conflicting ideas about apostasy and Islam.

I am pleased that 50 out of 57 Islamic nations have chosen no capital punishment for apostasy; we have to work the other 7 to see the spirit of Islam.

Most Muslims understand this dilemma and have made a serious attempt to clarify the issue, so the next generation of Muslims and the members of the communities of world have a clear understanding.

Here is the scoop at www.ApostasyandIslam.com

Mike Ghouse

Freedom of Faith

While affirming Islam as the way to Salvation, Muslims also affirm the Freedom of Faith, because Islam is by CHOICE. Recently, Muslims of diverse background issued a statement upholding the Freedom of Faith.

Muslim Academics/Scholars/Imams/Professionals uphold the Freedom of Faith and the Freedom to Change one's Faith

Apostasy (riddah) is a major issue that affects the understanding of, and perception about, Islam. Historically, Muslim scholars have not factored in the distinction between apostasy (changing one's faith, which is strictly a sin against God) and treason (strictly a civil offense against an established public order) when it is stated that Islam mandates capital punishment for riddah. That unnuanced perspective about apostasy has fueled negative propaganda against Islam and a negative image of Muslims. In recent years in some notable and well known cases, a fatwa (legal, non-binding opinion) was issued against alleged apostates and, at times, even a bounty was announced on their head.

Many Muslim scholars and academics have argued against the stated historical position as inconsistent with the Qur'an and on the grounds that killing someone for making a considered choice negates the very Islamic value and principle of freedom of choice, affecting Islam's position on universal human rights.

Freedom of choice in faith is central to Islam. This has been exemplified in the Qur'anic narrative regarding the choice made by Satan in contrast with Adam and Eve, and the broad agreement of Muslim scholars that only faith freely adopted is meritorious before God. Throughout history prophets and the communities of their believers have struggled to secure freedom of faith for themselves. Indeed it is a principle quintessential to both Islam and humanity.

Choosing a path in line with our beliefs about salvation has significant consequences in terms of our afterlife. In this world that freedom is bestowed upon us by God, which, by implication, must include the possibility of changing one's faith. Freedom of religion is meaningless without the freedom to change one’s religion. Denial of such reciprocal rights is also inconsistent with the principle of justice (adl/qist), as clearly enunciated in the Qur'an [4/an-Nisa/135].

The Qur'an does not specify any worldly punishment or retribution solely for apostasy. Similarly, there is no clear prophetic judgment on apostasy, nor examples that such punishment was meted out (during the time of the Prophet or in the period of the Righteous Caliphate) to someone solely for abandoning Islam as a creed, in contrast with apostasy-cum-treason, involving taking up arms against the Muslim community or the state.

Islam upholds the fundamental principle pertaining to freedom of faith ["Let there be no compulsion in Deen" 2/al-Baqara/256; also see 39/al-Zumar/41]. Thus:
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We the undersigned Muslims from diverse backgrounds affirm:
The freedom of faith and the freedom of changing one's faith.
In light of the Qur'anic guidance and the Prophetic legacy,
the principle of freedom of faith does not lend itself
to impose in this world any punishment or retribution solely for apostasy;
thus there ought not to be any punishment
in the name of Islam or fatwa calling for the same.
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In addiiton, we call upon:

• our esteemed scholars (ulama) and jurists (fuqaha), to address this inconsistency between the Islamic principle of freedom of faith and the position mandating punishment for apostasy, and to bring our legacy of Islamic jurisprudence and general Islamic discourse up-to-date for the times with reference to indisputable and categorical Islamic principles.

• our fellow Muslims, to be informed of Islam's position on apostasy and to uphold the principle of choice so that we may exercise tolerance towards those who have left the "straight path" and deal with their subsequent views and actions (even when they are against Islam) within the conext of human rights and civil liberties allowed by law.

• Imams and religious leaders, to educate and sensitize Muslim masses about notions of fairness and justice inherent in Islam and respond to apostasy in a dignified, constructive and patient manner.

• governments of Muslim-majority countries, to address this matter constitutionally as well as legally, and actively engage in a process that eventually discards any law entailing punishment for apostasy.

• Islamic organizations, to uphold universal human rights (not inconsistent with Islam) and to defend the rights of ex-Muslims in regard to apostasy.




Bishop warns that Muslims who convert risk being killed
Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
Sunday September 16, 2007
The Observer

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2170160,00.html#article_continue
One of the Church of England's most senior bishops is warning that people will die unless Muslim leaders in Britain speak out in defence of the right to change faith.

Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, whose father converted from Islam to Christianity in Pakistan, says he is looking to Muslim leaders in Britain to 'uphold basic civil liberties, including the right for people to believe what they wish to believe and to even change their beliefs if they wish to do so'.

Some Islamic texts brand Muslims who convert to other faiths as 'apostates' and call for them to be punished. Seven of the world's 57 Islamic states - including Iran - impose the death penalty for conversion.

Now Ali, who some see as a potential Archbishop of Canterbury, has told Channel 4's Dispatches programme of his fears about the safety of the estimated 3,000 Muslims who have converted to other faiths in Britain.

'It is very common in the world today, including in this country, for people who have changed their faith, particularly from being Muslim to being Christian, to be ostracised, to lose their job, for their marriages to be dissolved, for children to be taken away,' Ali said. 'And this is why some leadership is necessary from Muslim leaders themselves to say that this is not what Islam teaches.'

The bishop warns that Muslims who switch faiths in Britain could be killed if the current climate continues. 'We have seen honour killings have happened, and there is no reason why this kind of thing cannot happen.'

In 2004, Prince Charles asked British Muslim leaders to renounce laws of apostasy and the death sentence for converts in Islamic countries, but no public statement was ever made.

Dispatches obtained Islamic texts sold in Britain that say the punishment for apostasy is death - according to all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence. One text called for Muslims to cut off the head of those who reject Islam.

The radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which some in Britain want to see banned, states in its constitution that in countries that practise Sharia law, apostates are to be executed. Its message is disseminated on university campuses across Britain and has found a following among a minority of young Muslims.

A poll of more than 1,000 British Muslims, conducted by the Policy Exchange think-tank this year, found that 36 per cent of Muslims aged between 16 and 24 believe those who convert to another faith should be punished by death.

Sheikh Mogra, a senior member of the Muslim Council for Britain, told Dispatches: 'We live in a country where we respect people's choices. It is not right for any British Muslim to harm in any way whatsoever; to bully them, to intimidate them, to threaten them, is all against Muslim law.'
One convert interviewed for the programme told how his local Muslim community in Bradford closed ranks against him after he switched to Christianity. 'They told me categorically had I been in an Islamic country - Pakistan, Middle East - that they would actually be the first to chop off my head,' he said.

'Dispatches: Unholy War' will be on Channel 4 at 8pm tomorrow.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Festivals of September

FESTIVALS OF SEPTEMBER

Janmashtami, Paryushan, Enkutatash, Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, Ganesh Chaturathi, Mabon/AutumnEquinox/Freyfaxi, Dussehra/Durga/ Gowri Puja, Yom Kippur, Sukkot

Greetings (http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Index_Greetings.asp )

This is essentially a month of reflection in general, and the three festivals stand out to expresses our innate desire to reflect, measure and fine tune our own spirituality, they are; Paryushan, Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan. Every festival indeed is a reflection.

I have some good articles on each one of the festivals, God willing, time permitting, I shall post these on the websites :
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ by this weekend.

May you all be blessed and refresh yourselves in your mind and body and be a good human being to one and all.

Mike Ghouse.
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_Holidays/2007_SeptemberFestivals.asp
_______________________________

Janmashtami - September 3
Celebration of the birthday of Krishna; features a day-long fast broken at midnight, the time of Krishna's birth.

_______________________________

Paryushan - September 2-9
A week of reflection on the past year and starting the new year with new goals

_______________________________

Enkutatash - September 11
Coptic, Ethiopian Christians
Ethiopian New Year; traditions include a family meal, singing, and visiting friends

_______________________________

Ramadan - September 13 - October 12
y month in which the Qur'an was revealed; a time of worship, Qur'an reading, charitable acts, and individual reflection and purification.
_______________________________

Rosh Hashanah - September 13 - 14
Jewish New Year, anniversary of the creation of the world; a 2-day observance (begins at sundown on the 13th).
_______________________________

Ganesh Chaturathi - September 15
Celebrates Ganesha, the elephant-headed god and destroyer of obstacles.
_______________________________

Pagan/ Wiccan/ HeathenSeptember 21
Mabon/Autumn Equinox/Freyfaxi
Pagan observance of the second harvest festival; a time to give thanks and look inward. To mark the Fall Harvest, Heathens celebrate a festival for the God Freyr and the Goddess Freya.
_______________________________

Dussehra/Durga Puja - September 15
Festival celebrating the victory of good over evil; honors the ten-armed goddess of fertility and the third embodiment of the Devi, Durga
_______________________________

Jewish
Yom Kippur - September 22
Day of Atonement; humans' fates for the coming year are sealed by God (begins at sundown the night before).

_______________________________

Sukkot - September 27 - October 3
Feast of Booths; harvest festival commemorating the divine protection of Israelites during their 40-year wandering in the desert (begins at sundown September 26).

_______________________________

Mike Ghouse
SPEAKER THINKER WRITER
(214) 325-1916
Foundation For Pluralism
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/

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.

THE SEVEN COMANDMENTS OF PLURALISM

1) We shall not ridicule anyone that God has created.It amounts to ridiculing their Creator.

2) We shall not attempt to undermine the divinity of other faiths.It amounts to arrogance, a quality to get rid of, and become a righteous person.

3) We shall not commit another sin in attempting to enforce that one religion is better than another by claiming that we have the best solutions, or hinting any superiority.

4) We shall not blame any religion or a group for the acts of the individuals
just because they belong to that faith or group.

5) Let’s learn to differentiate the wrong doers from the religion,while appreciating the goodness of each religion.

6) We shall strive to rid ourselves of greed, anger, hate, haughtiness,ill-will, pettiness, malice, and ignorance to achieve spirituality.

Our salvation, our peace of mind, our nirvana, our Moksha, our mukti, our freedom
and our joining the kingdom of God is directly dependent on living a prejudice free life and a life as described in the 6th commandment. Every religion frees us from the negative engagements. When we truly believe in the ultimate oneness of God and the ultimateoneness of mankind, we have accepted God’s greatness and parity of human beings.

The world is a better place today because of the spirituality, without which there would be chaos.All the religions are on the same side; that of goodness for mankind.

If you wish to join the discussion group:
Please send an email toFoundationforpluralism-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Does God have a religion?

DOES GOD HAVE A RELIGION?

You can clearly substitute your beliefs and your scriptures with that the one's I have quoted, as I am familiar with them.

Qur'aan - Sura Ikhlas

112:1 SAY: "He is the One God:
112:2 God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being.
112:3 He begets not, and neither is He begotten;
112:4 and there is nothing that could be compared with Him.

The Vedas and Bhagvad Gita have identical words, they will be added over this weekend.

Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and Bahai's are trained to know that GOD is not a physical being, he or she is genderless, it is not an object nor is it definable. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) experienced the presence of God during Meraaj and was described as Noor or the light. Is that the experience of being nothing and being everything as the Hindu Philosophy puts it. Nidi Nidi. Sarmad went nuts with the idea as well and Moses saw the light too.

God has consistently asked in Qur'aan not to define him in human terms, it is an abstract energy that gives life and that is the cause of all existence. It is just one single source. The Jews go even further and resist containing G_d in words.

Whereas, the Christian and Hindu theology trains one to believe that God created humans in his own image, and they have come to understand God in human terms, God is personal and God has appeared in human form for them and that is how they relate with the creator.

The Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian, Shinto and Tao are trained to be Karma centered rather than God centered. Everything has to have a balance, when one loses that balance through bad actions, a trade off for regaining that energy becomes necessary. Which the other religions explain in terms of repentence, forgiveness or doing lot of good to offset the bad karma.

All the belief systems are legitimate to the believers. The above are not crystal clear boundaries, there is a lot of overlapping in all the ideas above. I hope you can see the essence in all these beliefs; Accountability, Justice and Equilibrium.

Equilibrium is the key, every thing is created to have its own balance including humans with themselves and with others. When the balance is disturbed, Law of Karma becomes operative squaring out the negative and positive energies, and those items that are not squared out, has to be squared out, if not in this world, it will be in the mysterious next world either through the concept of re-birth or eternal life after death.

The idea of re-incarnation or continuation of life after death in different theologies has the same essence; when the rest of the issues are squared out in our life time, the unsolved justice will be accounted for in the continuum after this life. This gives hope to the mankind that Justice prevails and inturn brings about an equilibrium to the human psyche. Whether we watch a movie or bad things happen to us in our real life, we yearn for that elusive justice and it is there.

Does God have a religion?

Well, he created us, each one of us with our own fixtures. Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware."

God continuously acknowledges the existence of the human kind in all its glorious forms, indeed Qur'aan begins with the idea of the world(s) 1:2 "All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds," and ends with,114:6 "from all [temptation to evil by] invisible forces as well as men.". Men meaning the human kind.

One may see the clarity and acknowledgement of different pathways laid out by the creator and he tests us 109:6 "Unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine!" Contrast this with the verse from Al- Hujurat, Surah 49:13 above

Religion is a manual to understand oneself and one's relationship with the creator (creation).

I do not think God has or needs a religion, we have and we need it. I am open to learning through your comments. It is an open field, let's enhance each other with knowledge.

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 television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of 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

http://www.mikeghouse.net/ http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/
http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Karma & the Israel Lobby

Law of Karma & The Israel Lobby
Mike Ghouse, September 1, 2007


The Israel lobby started out with a legitimate need; to protect and defend Israel’s right to exist.

Power is corruptive, and the lobby is no exception to that. In their enthusiasm and their ability to influence the President, Senate and the house, they have gone far off bringing diminishing returns. For every two steps they take, they will have to back at least one, and if they still don’t get it, the law of karma takes over and they may have to back peddle several steps to catch up with the eternal act of balancing.

The Law of Karma is simply based on the idea that for every good you do, you gain positive energy that is nourishing and brings peace to oneself and to what surrounds him/herself. Where as, for every bad action, you loose your moral ground as well as your energy. There is a payback and trade off for every thing that is not just.

What is good? It is the act where one earns things for him/herself without taking advantage of others. Such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace. When applied to individuals; the relationships between spouses become unhealthy if one takes advantage of the other. The rulers have proven it as well, when they become unilateralists, we have seen what happens to them, and have seen them all. Whether they are fascists, dictators, monarchs or democratically elected rulers, they see no light at the end.

Organizations are no exception, the Israel lobby has extended it’s tentacles to its own disadvantages. The more they fight to suppress the sane voices, the more they will sink in the quick sand. It is yet to be known whether they schemed in defaming President Carter on his book, if they are involved in belittling the Jewish warriors of God documentary or if they attempted in blocking Passion of the Christ movie. There is a concerted effort out there to quell any dissent and the Australians have a word for it; Boomerang.

The best thing for the Lobby or any organization is to pursue the work for a world of co-existence through inclusiveness and participation. Let them direct their efforts towards justice and equity to both Israeli and Palestinian humans with a firm grounding in commonly held values.

The lobby’s policies are hurting Israel and their reluctance to repair their arrogance of being the most powerful lobby in the world, will weaken the security of very people they are claiming to protect.

It is in the interests of the Majority of Jews, Israelis’ to speak up and let them not be run over by a few. By their silence, they are allowing the wrong policies to perpetuate. The Israeli children deserve safety and security as much as the Palestinian Children, blaming the leaders of each other will not cut it, the majority has to speak up and debates must be carried out and above all, the dissenters and those who speak out must be allowed, as the truth emerges some where in between the extremes.

Are the majority of Israelis and Jews going to do it? Yes, they will. Why do they need to do it? Because they are powerful, they can take the lead with “Justice” as the foundation for any deal, if not it will not sustain in the long run. Justice is the only thing that will bring peace and security to any people.
http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2007/09/karma-israel-lobby.html

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 television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of 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 Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. For a full bio: http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Unity Day USA A 9/11 Event

YOU ARE INVITED

We are pleased to invite your kind presence at the 3rd Annual Unity Day USA event. On this Unity Day USA, we, the people of the United States of America; of every faith, race, ethnicity, culture and background, gather to pray for peace, unity and security of our nation.

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14315 Midway Road, Addison
When: Sunday, September 9th between 4:15 PM to 7:00 PM
RSVP: Unityday911@gmail.com


Our theme this year is One Nation under creation. Our religious prayer leaders will seek guidance and wisdom from their respective faiths. Our Civil servants and community leaders will echo the same sentiment and suggest ways in which we as individuals can work toward cohesive and thriving local communities.

The Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress have taken the initiative to remember one of the greatest tragedies in the history of our nation by bringing about a positive response to the 9/11 event. We honor thousands of fellow Americans who sacrificed their lives by committing to make this day, in their honor, the Sunday before 9/11, a day of Unity of Americans to pledge to the peace, prosperity, unity and security of our nation

As Americans we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. All our faiths reinforce the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."

Mike Ghouse
Chairperson, Unity Day USA, (214) 325-1916
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ / http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Power Point: http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_UnityDay/UnityDayUSA_PluralismWebsite.pps

90 Organizations, http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_UnityDay/UnityDay_PastOrganizations.asp

Religious leaders - http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_UnityDay/UnityDay_Past_SpiritualLeaders.asp

Civic Leaders - http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_UnityDay/UnityDay_Past_HonoredGuests.asp

Comments: http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_UnityDay/UnityDay_Past_Comments.asp

Different Religious Greetings - http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Index_Greetings.asp

Understanding religion, all religions monthly workshops : http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Calendar.asp