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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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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Indians, Pluralism and Parliament of religions

http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2008/11/indians-pluralism-and-parliament-of.html

Indians, Pluralism and Parliament of religions
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Chandra Siv comments on “Questions to fellow Indians” Moderator Response follows

Dear Mike,

Let's not lay blame at the idiot Politicians for making an idiot of each one of us (Indians).

Unfortunately, Mankind's tallest Religious Leaders over the last century, since the First Parliment of Religions was held in Chicago in 1983 have not agreed on a fundemental principle -Equality of all Religions. Each of these tallest leaders of their respective faith have claimed ownership on the uniqueness & one and only way or path to Salvation for their faith.

- Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.

-- "And We did not send any messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We revealed unto him (saying): 'There is none who has the right to be worshiped but I (Allaah), so worship Me (Alone and none else).'" [Al-Anbiyaa:25]

The Parliament of Religion, a coming together of significant religious figures, some ordained, some not, from multiple denominations and spiritual traditions -- Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Taoism, as well as African religions and other native groups -- is an even rarer and surely more difficult occurrence than any of the other attempts at interreligious collaboration. It is, nevertheless, a clearly crafted one. Six themes order the agenda: human rights; essential needs; creative engagement with the public arena; understanding and cooperation; sacred practice; and community and life.

In a society that has never been more unified and more fractured at the same time, religion is a major factor in the making of war as well as in the keeping of the peace. The parliament itself, after an initial assembly in Chicago in 1893, never met again for 100 years.

The functions of the Parliament of Religion, according to its governing body, the World Council of the Parliament of Religion, is to "promote understanding and cooperation among religious and spiritual communities around the world." It is a first public step in the global response of religion to major questions, And the public is responding. Scholars, ideas agents, activists are religious leaders from around the globe are scheduled to offer over 700 workshops, seven major plenary assemblies and multiple cultural and liturgical experiences culminating in a "Call to Guiding Institutions" to adopt a common global ethic.

Dialog, critical reflection on the major issues facing the human community with an eye to determining

The Parliament of Religion may well be an impossible task. It may even be, if women religious leaders are as invisible there as they are in most religious gatherings, an anachronism. On the other hand, it may be the first dawn of hope in the cusp of a new millennium. The question is, is the Parliament of Religion a sign of things to come as borders collapse and interdenominational contact becomes more a fact than a project? Or is this just one more religious jamboree with all the historical overtones of factionalism, fundamentalism

The reason for doubt on any Interfaith Initiative is the below compilation of motives as to why folks indulge in Interfaith initiatives. The broad-based assumption of many, many, Indians have on intefaith-initiatives is that such programs are there to further cross-religion "understanding" and "peace" and "harmony". Is this really True?

a) In recent times (post 1947), the 1st major initiative for interfaith dialogue came from Vatican in 1960s. The motive for these dialogues was clear: to promote understanding of Christianity amomgst the non-believes so that they over a period of time, become more open, flexible and receptive of Christian ideas. Here is what their official position on interfaith dialogue:

"The Christian who wishes to enter" inter-religious dialog must "first of all be a firm believer (Christian). ...as "interreligious dialogue is a deeply religious activity". It is a tool to promote Christianity.

So inter-faith dialog is God's way of bringing non-Christians way to your door, and you have to expose them to God's path.

b) Most of the Protestant organizations have used these guidelines more or less as the get involved in inter-faith dialog activities. Thus, in brief, the over-arching motive of the Christian leadership sees inter-faith dialogs as a tool to subtly promote Christianity.

c) Post these developments, the combined leadership of Catholic and Protestant faiths went one step further. They have used interfaith forums to advocate the idea of "religious freedoms" and "freedom to convert" as a cornerstone in inter-faith strategy. For instance, George Bush recently spoke at a mega-interfaith summit (11/13/2008) where he aruged: "We strongly encourage nations to understand that religious freedom is the foundation of a healthy and hopeful society".

e) The Muslims have taken upon themselves to hop on to the inter-faith train, as launched by Vatican in 1960s so as to further their own agenda. Two examples come to my mind. The first one is a directive by CAIR (Center of American-Islamic Relations, an org which also reportedly funds extremist orgs) which promotes its own set of inter-faith initiatives so that others are able to understand Islam better (euphemism for conversion). Just this year, the most fundamentalist nation on Earth, S. Arabia, officially launched its own hi-profile interfaith conference (led by none but the King of S. Arabia) in November. He started on his Interfaith yatra by calling a meet of 57 Islamic nations "to lead a new age of scientific, economic, and cultural achievements that would echo the golden age of Islam from the 9th through the 13th century, and reach out to other faiths to avoid a clash of civilizations" .

d) One Semitic group, which is not clear whether it should participate in inter-faith dialogs is the Jew. The more traditional Jews, "refuse to participate in interfaith dialogues because they believe that Judaism's prohibition of proselytism, combined with other religions' "missionary zeal", creates an unbalanced power dynamic such that the "dialogue" effectively becomes a monologue. However, other sections of Jews, who believe in converting others to Judaism do participate in inter-faith dialog.

Equality of all Religions should be the Foundation for all Interfaith Dialogue, Can this forum be the first to pioneer the slogan "Equality of all Religions" and build a movement that spreads this message all over???? or are we not there yet????.....

Chandra Siv

# # #

Moderator: Dear Chandra, I am responding to your questions, it is really a full time subject and takes up a lot of time. We already have a forum for this “Foundation for Pluralism” . Once in a while we have posted about different religions, indeed, I have posted the essence of each faith and each festival regularly. You are new and have missed quite a lot, but you must have at least seen the recent postings on Ramadan, Diwali, Rosh Hashanah and Paryushan. You can to go the website www.foundationforpluralism.com . It has got a lot of stuff about every beautiful faith.

Let me address a few key points you have raised, there is hope and I have written towards the end.

The Parliament of religions ….have not agreed on a fundemental principle -Equality of all Religions

Most people agree on it, a few don’t, and every thing negative you hear about religions is from a very few. Less than 1% of each group. There are more good people than bad people on this earth its 99:1. Unfortunately that group is the most vociferous ones.

- Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.

There is a beautiful sentence in Bhagvad Gita –“ finding the truth is one’s own responsibility” although Pope is regarded as an authority on Catholicism, he was selling his version to his buyers as do most clergy in every faith. Jesus’ message was simple; love the mankind, treat others as you would want to be treated. Most people follow it, a few don’t, that is the formula of life. Pope was addressing the political aspect of his congregation and not the religious essence of Christianity

"And We did not send any messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We revealed unto him (saying): 'There is none who has the right to be worshiped but I (Allaah), so worship Me (Alone and none else).'" [Al-Anbiyaa:25].

This is the tragedy of life, again Bhagvad Gita comes to our rescue, finding the truth is one’s own responsibility. There are 60 sentences in Qur’aan that have been deliberately mis-translated and put on the net, without checking the veracity of it. Even the USC has done the same.

You can access correct translation by Mohammad Asad by going to http://www.islamicity.com/QuranSearch/ or go to WorldMuslimCongress.com and find the world Qur'aan Search on the right panel. You can go there any time and this is what you will find. Al-Anbiya (The Prophets) 21:25 and [this despite the fact that even] before thy time We never sent any apostle without having revealed to him that there is no deity save Me, - [and that,] therefore, you shall worship Me [alone]! The first Quran was translated in 1042 and the European kings paid the translator to deliberately paint Muslims in bad light, so their subjects hate the other and they get to consolidate their own powers. The even called it a Mohammadan cult to create hate. Most of the hate and wrong information comes from that false foundation. I have the information on it, if you want to understand it.

When Bhagvad Gita says, finding the truth is one’s own responsibility, one of its meanings is, that the truth removes hate and ill-will, which means mukti to the soul and peace and tranquility to the being.

Do you see the difference? I will be happy to explain if you want to clarify the misunderstandings.

Function of world parliament of religions is to "promote understanding and cooperation among religious and spiritual communities around the world."

It is a good function and and most people practice it and a few don’t. Most Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists…and others follow their religion, of being good to others. A few don’t. The problem is not religion, nor the World Parliament of religions, it is the I N D I V I D U A L S that are bad no matter what religion they wear.

The reason for doubt on any Interfaith Initiative is the below compilation of motives as to why folks indulge in Interfaith initiatives. The broad-based assumption of many, many, Indians have on intefaith-initiatives is that such programs are there to further cross-religion "understanding" and "peace" and "harmony". Is this really True?

No doubt there are mal-intent people out there in the name of interfaith, but an overwhelming majority of people do it for the good of mankind’s co-existence. Is there any job, any trade, any organization that does not have bad people?

I ran a radio program for two years called “wisdom of religion- all the beautiful religions, it was an hour a day” The beauty of every religion was presented, as Muslim myself, I presented 1 hour a week for Hinduism, Christianity and Islam and then others were allocated, but all got equal opportunity. There are Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Christians like me who honor and respect other faiths. Get out and meet them in the interfaith groups. The hateful guys are just a few… yes very few out there. A majority of us are good people. I did a workshop on every religion last year. And Now we are looking to build a campus where every faith will be taught.

"The Christian who wishes to enter" inter-religious dialog must "first of all be a firm believer (Christian). ...as "interreligious dialogue is a deeply religious activity". It is a tool to promote Christianity.

Yes a few use it as a tool to promote Christianity, but a majority of them are to promote respect and tolerance for each other. Attend ten events, you may find two to be businesses, attend 100 events, you may still find those two, but 98 to be good ones. I am very much a part of the interfaith movement.

The Muslims have taken upon themselves to hop on to the inter-faith train, as launched by Vatican in 1960s so as to further their own agenda. Two examples come to my mind. The first one is a directive by CAIR

Every one should, that is the right thing to do. You have forgotten the Indian history; The Rishis from different traditions used to gather to discuss a variety of traditions and experiences; The ancient Indians (American) used to meet in the pyramids, the would come from all over the Americas – from Chile to Alaska and exchange the knowledge in their campus to take it back to their native tribes and share it.

The first official king in the world to have done the interfaith work in the world is Akbar, who had translated great work of Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagvad Gita into Persian and Arabic Language. He regularly discussed Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism in his counsel. Then there was another interfaith model in Spain , the Jewish people call it the golden period of Jewish history.

Let’s go further back – Prophet Muhammad initiated the Madinah pact, first of its kind in the world around 612, where Muslims, Jews, Christians and others would practice their faiths and had the freedom to do so. There is a lot of misinformation out there to malign Islam and create hate… and of course, there is money in it for some bad people, they will continue to do it. We need to look at the history with an attitude of co-existence.

Equality of all Religions should be the Foundation for all Interfaith Dialogue, Can this forum be the first to pioneer the slogan "Equality of all Religions" and build a movement that spreads this message all over???? or are we not there yet????.....

Yes it is and we are on the verge. Again it is like the nuclear power, mostly it is used for peaceful purposes, it is also used to kill people. Who is evil, the Nuclear power or the individual using it?

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Manod Padhi comments - Can a Muslim be Savithri and a Hindu be Ahmed?

No

Our given names are not only names but they also reveal our religion and family.

If any one proud to reveal his religion, in addition to his family - then at least first name or last name should be changed suitably to match the common names written in their religions scriptures.

Chinese in America change their names after embracing Christianity.

Here is the latest..
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/michael-jackson-converts-to-islam/78674-8.html

London: Pop singer Michael Jackson has converted to Islam and changed his name to Mikaeel.

The 50-year-old star pledged his allegiance to the Koran in a ceremony at a friend's mansion in Los Angeles , the Sun reported.

Moderator: Manoj, Name is a name, no one owns it, nor is it my dada ki property or your Nana ki property. We Indians are opening up now, for a long time, we were stuck up with names, we were too small in our minds. Thank God, the new generation is changing.

Savithri is a beautiful name – Indonesian Muslims keep that name, The Arab Christians use the name Ahmed. There are many names that are common – Sahil, Roshni, Reshma…there is a whole list of common names. Sita and Hind are Arabic female name as well. If we get out of the small rat holes of our minds, we will see a larger universe. Neither Islam, nor Christianity nor Hinduism or Sikhism have stamped the names to be Muslim, Christian or sikh…. We have made it for our convenience and that is fine.

No one should regulate a name. We need to grow up and get freedom from such things. Let’s learn from the American Culture, they value a name with what it represents.

If Michael Jackson became a Muslim, It does not make a bit difference to me or you or any one in the world. Let some celebrate some feel sad. Why should they and if they do, what is our problem?
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Original Posting: From: Mike Ghouse
Subject: Dallas Indians :: Questions to my fellow Indians
To: "Mike Ghouse"
Received: Thursday, November 20, 2008, 7:31 AM

Questions to my fellow Indians Let me ask you a few Questions;

An overwhelming majority of us Indians are good people; only a handful are confuse and are behind in learning to be open and enjoy the life.

Is there anything wrong if you enjoy Gulab Jamun and me to enjoy Laddu?
Is there anything wrong If I worship Shiva and you worship Krishna?
Is there anything wrong if you eat roti and I eat chawal?
Is there anything wrong if you wear dhoti and I wear a pantaloon?
Is there anything wrong if I worship Jesus and you worship Allah?
Does any one of these acts affect you?
Can a Muslim be Savithri and a Hindu be Ahmed?

Does some one own these, does someone has copyrights to these... should I prevent you from keeping a name Matthew? Who am I to do that?

What is my problem if you eat Jamun, worship Jesus, wear Sherwani and call yourselves Sukhdev?

Let's not get fooled by the idiot politicians (not the good ones though) who make an idiot out of you and I and make us hate each other. Is it worth it?

This is a question to every Indian, and not to a Mexican, Japanese, Pakistani, Saudi, French or Nepalese or a Sri Lankan, it is about us, others don't matter to me, first us.

Let me be the first to say this - I respect every Indian no matter what he wears, who she worships, whatever he eats, and I will not keep a score if you do it or not, it is up to you. Peace and co-existence is each one's responsibility. If you want a better India, you do your share.

Mike Ghouse

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