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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Friday, April 30, 2010

Dallas 2014 - Parliament of Worlds Religions

Thursday, April 29, 2010 - An exploratory committee was formed to discuss the strategy and the organization for Texas interfaith coalition that will put together the plans for 2014 Dallas World Parliament event.

Members involved at this time: Tatiana Androsov, Dr. Judie Arkow, Dr. Karen Hollie, Revathi Srinath, Alexis Jaami, Rev. Petra Weldes, Rev. Bill Matthews, Ann Garner, Zulfi, Amy Martin, Yanina Vashchenko, Eram Saeed, Christine, Dr. Harbans Lal, Mike Ghouse and Sulaiman Hemani ( Please not that this is not the official communication, it is merely an informal list, all the names will be added and updated in formal communications).

The Parliament meets once in five years, the last ones were at Melbourne (2009), Cape Town (2004), Barcelona (1999) and Chicago (1994). The very first event was also in Chicago in 1885. We hope and pray that America bags the 2014 event. Belgium, Thailand and Indonesia are vying with us at this time.

This event has a potential to bring awareness and familiarity with different world religious traditions and God willing opens people's heart and minds towards each other. About 8-10,000 people from across the globe and over 250 religious traditions are expected to attend. The world is moving towards greater understanding and pluralism, i.e., co-existence.

If you are in Dallas, you can join us for a dinner event on Friday, May 7th. I will post it on Facebook later on today. Please note seating is limited.
Location: Dallas, Texas

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

South Park incident with a Muslim

First of all the idiots who threatened the South Park producers must be condemned and rounded up without any delay. It is a law and order issue. One of the pieces of my conversation with Sean Hannity was about the South Park incident

2. Secondly, it is really not a Muslim or an Islamic issue, it is an issue of radicals who do not like the freedom of others, it is about the people who like to mess other's peace. It is not a Muslim issue because

Continued: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/04/south-park-incident-with-muslim.html

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hannity, Fox, Police, Rev. Graham and Mt. Vernon

Hannity, Fox, Police, Rev. Graham and Mt. Vernon

What an exciting day! Friday, April 23, 2010. I got the call from the Sean Hannity Radio show to be on the air with Gabriella Bridgette and Sean to talk about Rev. Franklin Graham’s statement. Rev. Graham made some uncouth remarks about another religion.

I pulled over in Mt. Vernon, Texas and could not find a Starbucks to check on the internet and prepare my talking points. Howver, driving through the town, I found the public library and walked in and talked with the receptionist about my need for a room to be on the radio show, she was excited to hear Sean Hannity and suggested me to use the room upstairs, there was no one up there. During the show, strange things happened at the Library and I have summarized it in the funny side of the story below.

Continued at: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/04/hannity-fox-graham-police-mt-vernon.html

Monday, April 19, 2010

PROJECT SOAM 2010

PROJECT SOAM 2010

You are invited to participate in Project Soam 2010.

Project Soam 2010 is collaborative service project amongst local volunteers and various local and international service, relief and development organizations to promote volunteerism, social awareness, solidarity, development and co-existence amongst humanity.

Where : Center for Spiritual Living - 4801 Spring Valley, Dallas, Texas 75244 Ph: 972.866.9988
When :: Thursday, April 22 from 7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Who :::: American Red Cross, Dallas Habitat for Humanity and other organization
You ::::: Are invited to Join us and learn about volunteering your services
Fee ::::: There is no fee, it is all about volunteerism

Please confirm your attendance with either one of us below or send an email to:
confirmattendance@gmail.com

Kamran Cheikh, Foundation for Pluralism - (574)-520-3551
Mike Ghouse, Foundation for Pluralism - (214)-325-1916

Come join us on for a night where organizations who work on both local and international causes will speak about their experiences and the importance of service and volunteering. After the lectures there will be representatives present at the event hoping to recruit volunteers for their causes. Organizations that have local causes will be recruiting volunteers for projects that will be performed the next week during the Week of Soam in which individuals will choose a day during that week to dedicate themselves towards the local cause of their choice

More about the project: http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/02/project-soam.html

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Religious Freedom, international coaltiion

Japanese Unificationists Believed to Be Resisting Confinement
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Articles/Religious_Persecution_in_Japan.asp

Press release follows my note.
One of the most beautiful things religions teach us is living for the sake of others; seriously, when we are concerned about ourselves, and each one of us becomes utterly selfish, and care about ourselves in the moments of our strength, what happens to us in our vulnerable moments?
Religions help us sustain peace and balance in the society in the times of our spiritual, physical and societal ups and downs. Living for the sake of others is not a charity or even a noble thing to brag about; it is indeed the pragmatic thing to do.

There is a joy in doing “good” to others and we have plenty of opportunities every day of our life, we need to be unselfish to serve our selfish interests. Here is an opportunity to support the religiously persecuted in Japan. The least we can do is sign a petition, would you put your name if we present it to you?

Mike Ghouse is a frequent guest at the media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. He is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam, India and Civil Societies. His work is reflected at 3 websites & 22 Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/
PRESS RELEASE

http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/04/religious-freedom-international.html
Japanese Unificationists Believed to Be Resisting Confinement


Press Contact:
United States: Dan Fefferman: 301-789-1589; dfeff@aol.com
Unification Church in Japan: 03-3467-3181. Yoshio Mitoma; mitoma@uc-japan.org

Japanese Unificationists Believed to Be Resisting Confinement

Courtesy of www,Familyfed.org: http://www.familyfed.org/news/index.php?id=119&page=1&apage=1

It is believed that three young Japanese Unification Church members who went
missing several months ago are enduring psychological harassment after having been confined and held against their will because of their faith, according to Mr. Shunsuke Uotani, a Unification Church member and vice-secretary general of the Universal Peace Federation in Japan. These missing members are Momoyo Yamada (31, kidnapped Sept. 18, 2009), Fusako Tomoda (22, kidnapped Jan. 15, 2010), and Yoshiko Majima (31, kidnapped Feb. 7, 2010).

However, it is believed that professional faithbreakers were successful in persuading Yuko Majima (60, confined since October, 2009), Masako Kudo (35, confined for nearly 2 years), and Takashi Nishikawa (26, confined in August, 2009) to renounce their faith. These persons were reported to be under confinement on www.Familyfed.org on Feb. 2, 2010.

“We have determined that they are not under detention. They indicated that they renounced their faith -- although we do not know whether their statements are true or disguised,” Mr. Uotani tells familyfed.org by email.

Some Unificationists held against their will have pretended to renounce their beliefs in order to escape confinement. Mr. Toru Goto, held by his family for more than 12 years, signed such renunciation letters. Mr. Goto is currently the president of the Japanese Victims' Association Against Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion and has spoken out frequently during the last year against the scandal of selective enforcement of the law protecting Japanese citizens from kidnapping. He revealed in 2008 that his family had starved him almost to death during the last year of confinement in an effort to break his will.

Mr. Goto and other victims gave their testimonies to representatives of human-rights organizations meeting at the recently-concluded 13th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, according to Rev. Peter Zoehrer, an official of the Vienna-based Forum for Religious Freedom. Several victims also have been interviewed by U.S. government officials in Japan.

Since 1969 more than 4,300 members of the Unification Church have been kidnapped and confined by misguided relatives and opponents of the church, according to Mr. Dan Fefferman, President of the International Coalition for Religious Freedom. Some of the victims have been beaten, sexually assaulted or tortured while in captivity.

Mr. Goto’s public awareness campaign has motivated his opponents to publish their counter-attack in the April issue of Monthly Times, a Japanese news magazine. In the article, Mr. Yoshifu Arita, an independent journalist, reports his roundtable discussion with three veteran critics of the Unification Church: Prof. Sadao Asami, a professor of religion who also describes himself as a cult expert, Mr. Hiroshi Yamaguchi, a lawyer and Mr. Takashi Miyamura, professional anti-cult activist who attempted to break Mr. Toru Goto. Monthly Times did not contact Mr. Goto or any other Unification Church member for comment. All participants in the discussion deny that kidnapping and confinement of Unificationists takes place as charged by Mr. Goto. Prof. Asami speculates in the article that Mr. Goto falsely claims that he was starved while in confinement, suggesting that Mr. Goto starved himself.

The journal has been denounced by Japanese-speaking residents of the United States who have endured kidnapping and psychological torture at the hands of professional faithbreakers in Japan. Mr. Hiroshi Jimbo, a Japanese member of the Unification Church residing in New Jersey tells familyfed.org that the article is unbalanced and misleading. Mr. Jimbo heads an organization of U.S. residents who survived coercive conversion in Japan and who are demanding that the U.S. government investigate the kidnapping scandal in Japan.

“As the representative of U.S. Victim Association, when I read the article, I was amazed at the attitude of those featured in the Times,” Mr. Jimbo tells Familyfed.org. “They asserted their innocence that there was no evidence of confinement, but it is a fact that I and many of my fellow Unificationists have experienced the physical confinement where the only exit is to give up the faith and surrender,” he added.

Mr. Jimbo continued: “Inside the closed room, abuse and assault are taking place, even there are cases of harassment or rape., Some of victims suffer Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Some ended up committing suicide. The promoters of this coercion need to hide such matters, which is why they made this article,” he commented.

Dan Fefferman, President, ICRF
7245 Hanover Parkway, Suite A
Greenbelt, MD 20770-3607
Email: dfeff@aol.com
www.religiousfreedom.com

Friday, April 9, 2010

Honoring Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci today

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Dallas, Texas

I am pleased to share a few interfaith moments about Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci, a scholar of Islam, a lawyer and an Imam. He has now established an institution with his name to impart education to the youth born and raised here in the D/FW Metroplex.

http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/04/honoring-imam-dr-yusuf-zia-kavakci.html

Tonight, April 10, 2010, he is being honored for the international recognition he has brought to the Dallas Forth worth Metroplex. He is listed among the 500 influential Muslims around the world.
When we initiated the Unity Day program in 2005, a 9/11 memorial event to bring Americans of all hues together to rededicate our pledge for the safety and prosperity of our nation, I ran into a conflict, one of my volunteers wanted additional time be given to Muslims in the interfaith prayer sequence of 10 religions, a suggestion was even made, that since it is a Muslim initiative, they should have the floor first.

However, as a Muslim deeply committed to the pluralistic values of Islam, I strongly believed in the egalitarian values embedded in every aspect of Islam including the rituals, and I was having difficulty with the idea of being treated special. I wanted every one of the ten religions be given equal time, and to avoid conflict of priority, we put them in an alphabetical order. A few of the volunteers were making it difficult for me for not listening to them.

So, I go to Imam Yusuf before the situation gets out of handle. He listened to me intently and offered this brilliant choice:

“Brother Mike, Religiously you are right, that is the right thing to do, we have to believe and practice equality, but if you want their support, you decide what you want to do, but do the right thing."
That was exactly what I wanted to hear and I asked him if I could put those words, " Islamically it was right to treat all faiths on par" that in the email and send it to the group, he said go for it, and with that conflicts faded and solutions emerged.

I cherish that moment with Dr. Kavakci.

In another personal incident about 15 years ago, when I was marrying my late wife Najma, I wanted my friends Mr. Maini and Mr. Sharma, who are Hindu by faith, to be the required witnesses of the wedding ceremony as I considered them my elder and brother, but the tradition was for the Father, Uncles or brothers to be the witness, generally Muslim, in my case they were the ones for me.

So, Imam Yusuf, Najma and I went for a walk in Dr. Asif Syed’s ranch and being an out of box thinker he was, he suggested that we increase the number of witnesses to five and include two of my friends with the other three. I adored him for that and have been admiring him since then.

Last year at the SMU, the students hosted a talk on Human rights in Islam, and one of the greatest moments of my life came upon me when I found out, I was the co-speaker with Dr. Kavakci, what an honor! A humble man by nature, he wanted me to sit right next to him during the Q& A session, and goaded me to answer the questions first, I found an unusual safety in it, after my response to the students, he would start saying perfect and then quote Qur’aan to support my response. He made my day.

Imam Yusuf calls himself a Khaksaar, a humble soul and a person who serves the humanity. I recall my Grand father also used the same title with his signature in his correspondence with Allama Mashriqi.
Imam Yusuf has been on my Radio show several times, one of them was a daily show called the Wisdom of Religion, all the beautiful religions and the other was a Saturday program called Festivals of the world, where we shared the essence of every festival you can imagine in that given week. He and I have shared many delightful moments on the radio. He is an amazing orator.

I have always enjoyed walking into his office and hear him say that, I am one of the Muslims he can speak without guards. He also gives me immense value in saying that I could bring the communities (intra and inter) together. I am proud of that. A few months ago, I wrote an article about intra faith and dedicated that to him. Today, I have reserved a table with great enthusiasm and labeled it “Islam intra-faith table” and have invited two Muslims each from Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Shia, Sunni and Warith Deen Muhammad traditions to start a conversation.

I am delighted to see this great scholar, Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci has been recognized as one of the 500 influential leaders in the world.

Here is an article written in February honoring him: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2010/04/there-is-only-one-islam.html

A few Pictures from the dinner event and some old pics: A few dinner pictures and other pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157623704109391/show/

Jazak Allah Khair

www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
Good for Muslims and good for the World
To be a Muslim is to be a conflict mitigater and goodwill nurturer

Mike Ghouse, Mike Ghouse is a frequent guest at the media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. He is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam, India and Civil Societies. His work is reflected at 3 websites & 22 Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/