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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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Krishn Janmashtami Mubarak

Krishn Janmashtami Mubarak

Celebration of Janmashtami is honoring the man who gave us so much wisdom in Bhagvad Gita. The book is an encapsulation of Krishna’s advice to Arjuna when he goes through different phases of thoughts and actions. It is one of the best self improvment books to read. Today is Janmashtami, the celebration of Sri Krishna’s birthday, the Hare Krishna devotees prefer to call it appearance of Prabhu rather than birthday celebrations.


Perhaps it comes from the conversation in the Bhagvad Gita, ‘Whenever the balance of the universe is disturbed by external interference from any of its parts, then I reveal myself as the Power of eternal balancing. For the protection of those who are in harmony, and the rectification of everything disharmonious, I incarnate myself at every juncture of time.’ So, it is assumed that the form of God will return back on earth for the establishment of peace, religion and prosperity in society once again when required.

The other version of the same quote is. “Whenever Adharma (un-righteousness) takes root in the society, God will infuse himself and restores the dharma (righteousness) to the society. In other words the operative word is the self balancing mechanism.

Celebration of Janmashtami is honoring the man who gave us so much wisdom in Bhagvad Gita. The book is an encapsulation of Krishna’s advice to Arjuna when he goes through different phases of thoughts and actions. It is one of the best self analysis books to read.

Indeed, my life is greatly influenced and affected by one single verse from Bhagvad Gita “finding the truth is one’s own responsibility”. I owe my critical thinking to this verse and I owe my return to Islam to this verse, it is very dear to me and there is not a week that goes by without quoting this truth in one context or the other. As I am writing this, I recall the famous couplet from a song by Sahir Ludhanavi in Urdu/Hindi language;

Quraan no ho jis may o dharam tera nahin hai
Gita na ho jis may o haram tera nahin hai

Your religiosity and your righteousness in incomplete without Quraan
and most certainly your worship place is incomplete without Gita.

It is one of the most powerful interfaith couplets I have read and often think about it and sing that song. India has a long history of Pluralism and diversity. It is one of the oldest nations on the earth that has welcomed every one that was persecuted elsewhere; and those who found the freedom to be themselves such as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians and others, besides giving birth to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism an Sikhism, it is indeed home to one of the top five Bahai shrines in the world.

If you are a good Hindu, then you are automatically a good Muslim, good Bahai or a good Christian, if you are a good Jew then you automatically are a good Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Wicca or a Zoroastrian or a follower of the native traditions. Essentially religion and the rituals lift you up to become boundless, universal and God like; where distinctions of color, religion, ethnicity and race fade. You feel a sense of relief and freedom. Bhagavad Gita says, the whole world is one family, just as every religious text calls out loud to be one universse and one world.

Perhaps this is what Krishna meant, “Surrender to me” and Jesus meant, “Follow me” and the Quraan asks to "submit to the will of God". Urging and goading us to become like God, to be free to be a part of the ocean and yet have out unique identity as a human, as a follower of one tradition or the other, live in one geographical zone or the other and born with one skin color or the other.

The other Sholoka Shri DD Maini shares with me frequently is - do your work, and don't look for the fruit. kaam kiye ja kiye ja... something very reflective of Buddha’s teachings.

When I was a baby, I was dressed up as Krishna and a matka (clay pot) with Makhan (butter) was placed in front me and apparently I did just like Sri Krishna did with the Makhan; ate it. My pictures were in many homes, I have to go find them... after 58 years!

I visited Brindavan, the birth place of Sri Krishna, it was very inspiring to think about the man who changed so many lives, and I was privileged to see that place where he was born. Sri Krishna is one my mentors and inspirations in life and I hope to learn a lot from reading about him.

Indeed, one of the best teachers in Bhagvad Gita in Dallas is Swami Nityananda Prabhu at the Hare Krishna Temple. He shares the Pluralistic vision of the Sri Krishna. He and I reviewed the whole Bhagvad Gita on my radio show in about two plus years every Thursday of the week, where we learned the wisdom of a religion, every beautiful religion, every day in the morning.

In Brindavan, I bought several tapes but still could not find the original song... . I was frustrated because I could not find the song by Rafi and Lata and instead had to be content with Sonu’s copies. After walking all over Brindavan, I found it.

Here it is on you tube my favorite Janmashtami Song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKy_OtSbNFo

Murli Wale Murli Baja Suraiya in Dillagi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCCA0MHVQAc

Kanha Kanha aan padi my tere paas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTWB3BlgKCQ

Radha kaisay na Jale
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=872LRkujZ3E

Tere Bharosay ai nand lala
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh6UVSx_o2A&feature=related

Govinda Bolo Hari Gopala Bolo – my 2nd favorite
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEAdHRsU3-w&feature=related

More Songs at the end.......................................................


God in Quraan has said that he has sent a messenger to every nation, every community and tribe to restore righteousness in that society. I am pleased to pay my respects to one of my mentors Sri Krishna today. I continue to learn and emulate a fraction of wisdom from Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Nanak in particular and many in General including Bahaullah, Ali, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Aga Khan, Rev. Moon and Obama. No confusion, I am a Muslim and I do not worship any one except the invisible, formless creative cosmic energy called God by different names.

Please go get yourselves a copy of Bhagvad Gita by Chinmaya Mission or the Hare Krishna temple and a copy of the Quraan, translated by Mohammad Asad..and if you have the money to buy the Torah, Bible, Gurugranth Sahib, the Kitab al-Muqaddas and other holy books. it is a gift to yourselves to enrich with the spiritualiy. Read the books as God's guidance for us to live in harmony, honoring the uniqueness of each other. All the books are pluralistic, have the mind set to see it.

Janmasthami Mubarak!
Happy Janmashtami


Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, religion, Islam and India and is a frequent guest on the media offering pluralistic solutions to the issues of the day. His work is expressed in 22 blogs and 3 websites listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

# # #
Note: This article is a compilation from various sources including the Bhagvad Gita

Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna in the battle of Mahabharata and contains all that is knowable in whole cosmos and particularly as a human being. The knower of Bhagavad Gita becomes omniscient. One gains enlightenment and finally salvation Moksha in Hinduism. It is one of the best self help books.From the very first verse to the the 700th verse, Bhagavad Gita teaches one the true essence meaning of life. The knower of Bhagwad Gita becomes an enlightened being. Prophet Muhammad had suggested metaphorically, if you want to learn and improve on your life go farther.The content of the Gita is the conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna taking place on the battlefield before the start of the Kurukshetra war. Responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma about fighting his own cousins, Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborates on different Yogic[5] and Vedantic philosophies, with examples and analogies. This has led to the Gita often being described as a concise guide to Hindu theology and also as a practical, self-contained guide to life. During the discourse, Lord Krishna reveals His identity as the Supreme Being Himself (Svayam Bhagavan), blessing Arjuna with an awe-inspiring vision of His divine universal form.

The direct audience to Lord Krishna’s discourse of the Bhagawata Gita included Arjuna (addressee), Sanjay (using Divya Drishti gifted by Rishi Veda Vyasa) and Lord Hanuman (perched atop Arjuna’s chariot) and Barbarika, son of Ghatotghaj who also witnessed the complete 18 days of action at Kurukhsetra.


Historians calculate that the birth of Lord Krishna goes back to the Dwapar Yug. It is in the year of Visvavasu around 3227 BC when Lord Krishna was born. He was born on a dark, stormy night on the day eight day of the second fortnight of the month of Shravana which now corresponds to the month of August-September in the Gregorian calendar. Born in the prison of Demon Kansa, from Kansa’s sister Devaki and Vasudeva, Krishna was declared to be the savior of mankind and the end of Kansa even before his birth. Krishna, right from the day of birth exhibited that he was a special child and there was extraordinary powers with him. Throughout his childhood and adolescence in Gokul, he did many things which made people believe that he was a form of God. Since then, the people of Nandgaon celebrated the birth of Krishna as a day of fortune.

Even thousands of years after his heavenly abode, people observe this day as a day of fortune and commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna by fasting and feasting. People believe Krishna to be the ultimate savior of the world. One who unlike other gods, can be regarded, as a lover, friend, divine guru or one’s own child. People mesmerized with Krishna’s persona and deeds can be seen singing and dancing in the name of Krishna to eternity on the day of Janmashtami. It is the deep faith and devotion of people towards him that the festival is still celebrated with a great honor, joy as well as elation as it was celebrated thousands of years back.

Krishna Janmashtami Rituals & Traditions

FastingThe most common and essential ritual followed on the day of Janmashtami is the fasting by devotees. Most of Lord Krsihna’s devotees fast for on this day and open the fast at midnight when it is assumed that Lord Krishna has been born. At the time of midnight also, the people who have observed fast whole day prefer to have only milk and milk products as they are considered auspicious as well pure. Some of the ardent devotees of Krishna observe the fast for the entire day even without consuming water- it is called ‘Nirjal Vrat’. There are other devotees who observe two day fast in the honor of Lord Krishna.

ChantingIt is said that chanting Lord Krishna’s name with entire devotion brings immense joy and pleasure in the life of the devotee. So, on the birthday of Lord Krishna, devotees indulge in continuous chanting of Krishna’s name for the entire day. They chant sholkas, mantras, richas from the Veda. They also read Bhagvad Geeta and sing bhajans in the name of Krishna. It is said that chanting 108 names of Lord Krishna brings auspiciousness in one’s life.

Devotional Songs & DancesBhajans are a vital custom of the Janmashtami celebrations. Devotees sing and dance with fervor in the name of Lord Krishna. In many temples of Mathura and Vridavana, you will find devotees mesmerized and overwhelmed with their love and devotion for Shri Krishna. In the midnight celebration, people gather at a place and sing several kinds of bhajans to highlight his feats and his divine characteristics.

Plays On Lord KrishnaVery much like the Ramleela, devotees of Lord Krishna organize plays on the life of Lord Krishna called Krishnaleela. In these plays organized by professional as well as amateur artists, several important deeds and legends associated with Lord Krishna are staged.

Offering SweetsIt is known to everybody that Lord Krishna was extremely fond of sweets and dairy products. So on the day of Krishnashtami, devotees of Lord Krishna prepare umpteen varieties of sweets and dairy products and offer them to the idols of Krishna. This ritual is called ‘bhog’. Later, these sweets are distributed amongst the devotees as ‘ Prasada’.

Swings At many places in the country, devotees tie swings on the trees and take rides on that. It is said that taking a swing ride on the occasion of Janmashtami is considered auspicious. This ritual is extremely popular in the rural parts of the country.

Bhajan

Radha Na Bole Na Bole Re - Azaad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQUrbFsHJuw&feature=related

Mere Shyam Tera Naam
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ty_WykHhPw


radhike tune bansari
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbpVwopnohE&feature=related

Darshan Do Ghanshyam Nath
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UYtyMXwEuo&feature=related

madhuban mein radhika nache re
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIWtdQwaoz0&feature=related

Man Tarpat Hari Darsan ko Aaj
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyLdgQinxpY&feature=related

Baat Nihare Ghanshyam
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhIl5LGGr3I

Kanha too ne peer na janany
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91qC_0p77NA&feature=related

Gokul ko choray gaye ghanshyam
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBRkGxBpJ1g&feature=related

Brussels: Halal hotel rooms

Products should not be looked in terms of religiosity, but from the business angle.

There are no-smoking rooms and no smoking hotels to cater to that niche, and red light districts for those who want to wander . There is a market for Halal Hotel Rooms, Vegetarian food and those businesses's that jump to cater to it will earn their market share, and perhaps attract a few more customers. China is amazing with their business attitudes - Swim Suits for Muslim women and they have garnered that market well, while others are pondering why didn't they think about it? Perhaps their arrogance that why should I "pander" to a group?

Muslims are comfortable with the Kosher meat, especially when they are traveling on the plane or in a new place. They trust the authenticity of Kosher food over the Halal due to its rigorous inspections, an example would amplify it; two years ago, Australians packed Pork and labeled it Halal Pork... that is the funniest thing about ignorance from a company that specializes in the product. A friend of mine was excited to have purchased that... then I told him that Pork itself is Haram (un-authorized) for both Jews and Muslims and it cannot be even labeled Halal.

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net

Brussels: Halal hotel rooms

Starting in 2011, hotels in Brussels could get a halal label. No porn channels, no pork, but with a Koran and a prayer rug, and a pointer towards Mecca.

The label will be awarded by BECI (Brussels enterprises, commerce and industry) starting in 2011. It is a European first.

"The aim at first is to award a label to rooms per floor. But we don't rule out to later have a type of 'omni-halal' label for whole hotels, which have separate pools, among other things" says Bruno Bernard, a consultant for BECI.

Bernard says attention is being paid to all the details. For example, it shouldn't be possible to deliver a ham sandwich by mistake to a halal room, and the hotel should ensure that there are no prostitution on its premises.

Asks if this concept won't encounter resistance, Bernard told La Libre Belgique: "When you go on vacation in Egypt or Turkey, you're happy that you can calmly drink a beer in the hotel bar. Halal-rooms in Brussels are simply the same."

Several hotels, including some owned by Persian Gulf citizens, showed interest. In a quick survey of six Brussels hotels, only the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel - which said they have no special rooms for Muslims, but that they always meet their customer's specific needs - showed any interest, but added that religious tourism is not their main business. Other chains preferred not to comment. Bruno Bernard prefers to speak of 'cultural tourism and business'.

This is not BECI's first step in the halal market. Bruno Bernard says it's a great market niche, but one with very few players, and a recent study showed that 17% of Brussels residents eat halal. In March BECI launched a halal certificate for industrial products, and was roundly criticized for it, with some saying that they encouraged the creeping Islamization of society.

Olivier Willocx, BECI managing director, says the project was misunderstood. He's still surprised by the 'passionate outburst' prompted by the initiative. He clarifies that the certificate is meant for non-meat products for export, and not for the local market. They wanted to ensure transparency in this field. There are some 'certificators' who charge 20,000 euros to certificates that aren't recognized by everybody, and there's also fraud. Products are presented as halal without actually being halal.

BECI, who say they want to facilitate halal and not to certify it, charge every company that wants a halal certification for its product 1500 euro. A European certificate is recognized everywhere in the Muslim world. The charge is used to pay for the imam who comes specially from Algeria (a country which recognizes the link between church and State), and inspects the production site for three days before deciding whether to issue the certificate. Spot checks are also provided, and in case of fraud, the certificate is rescinded for five years, says Bruno Bernard.
BECI now gets an application for their new label every day, and they hope to get to 500 certificates a year. Still, companies are very discreet about being certified. The only companies to advertise their labels are Colona (sauces), Charlemagne (chocolate) and Night Orient (non-alcoholic festive drinks). Bruno Bernard points out that this certificate opens many doors, including those of the lucrative Middle East market.

islam in europe

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pluralism Greetings at Grace Seminary

Pluralism Greetings delivered at Grace Seminary Summer Commencement
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Duncanville High School Auditorium

By Mike Ghouse

Congratulations, as you go out into the real world, you will face a world that is very diverse, completely different than you have been a part of.

God loves us all and through the spiritual masters he has communicated to us, how to have a balance in our life and balance with others.

We have to learn to live with each other with our differences. God has deliberately created diversity and tests us how we fare and how we deal with it. You have your own unique thumb print, your own DNA combination and we have to learn to respect that uniqueness, which is God given and not let that divide us and create chaos. No one is superior or inferior, but just different as God intended. Your role in the society is to become a catalyst for a positive change to maintain social cohesion for peaceful co-existence.

Today, I am assigned to share with you the first thing about religious diversity with a common theme. It starts with the greetings. Every society, every tradition and every religion has designed Greetings and it holds three critical components; i) Acknowledgment of the other, ii) Extending a hand of friendship and iii) seek to establish a relationship.

Every greeting seeks to condition each other by using the phrases such as “Namaste” the essence of which invokes the goodness in other to connect with the goodness in me. The Abrahamic faiths actually use the word peace in their greetings; Shalom, Peace and Salaam and all other traditions included similar elements of peace and goodwill. May you be drenched in peace, soaked in peace and talk and act peace; Amen!

I will share a few religious greetings now, you are welcome to repeat after me loudly, quietly or you don’t have to do anything. There are more, but due to the time constraints we will let the nine greetings represent all.

Baha’i faith – Allahabho
Buddhism – Buddha Namo
Christian – Peace to you
Hinduism – Namaste
Islam - Salaam
Jainism – Jai Jinendra
Judaism – Shalom
Sikh – Satsri Akaal
Zoroastrian – Hamazor Hama Asho Bed
Now let’s pray:

Causer of the universe and creator of the cosmos, please accept our gratitude in every name we call upon you; be it Ahura Mazda, Wahe Guru, Ishwar, Buddha, Allah, Yahweh or Jesus Christ.

Guide us to do the right thing every moment of the day.

Guide us to open our hearts and minds to fellow beings.

Guide us to shed the arrogance and bring humility to us

Guide us to learn to respect everywhich way one worships you.

Guide us to become conflict mitigaters

Guide us to become goodwill nurturers

Guide us to say, act and think goodness

Amen.


Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the issues of the day, in this case, at least another point of view for us to be fair and human. He is a frequent guest of the Media and his work is encapsulated in 22 Blogs and 3 Websites listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jon Stewart's Humor on Ground Zero Mosque

It appears that Jon Stewart's dialogue in this clip are identical to mine at least three of them, my write up was done a few days prior to Jon's show.This is the most humorous way of communicating the issues, kudos to Jon Stewart for making it easy and driving the point home.

SIX MINUTES FUNNY VIDEO ON THE TOPIC:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-august-10-2010/municipal-land-use-hearing-update

About Saudi Arabia

Some clips at this link : http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/08/ground-zero-mosque-articles.html

Indeed, Newt calls the Saudi Regimes names, and I do too, but when he was in power, why did not he go build a church there, and maintain it at our tax payers funds?The Saudi Police has done harm in preventing people of other faiths from practicing their religion in open. I do condemn the Saudi government for that intrusion and I have written to their embassy and the condemnation is on the blog and groups; however, no one is barred from worshipping indoors. There was a Catholic and Mormon Service conducted every Sunday in Saudi Arabia that I know of. Norman Powell was the Mormon pastor from Houston (1977-1980)If Saudi is bad country, why does Newt want us to emulate them?

I wrote in facing off with Newt Gingrich

http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2010/08/newt-gingrich-v-mike-ghouse-on-cordoba.html

There is no Church or a Synagogue in Saudi Arabia, simply because there is no indigenous Christian or Jewish populace out there to worship, those who work there are on a short term work permit. It is dumb to build a Church, and for whom? And let's say if it were built, who is going to maintain and upkeep once the visitors have moved out, are they willing to pay for it or is it our Government? Should Government be in the business of building Churches?Indeed, Newt calls the Saudi Regimes names, and I do too, but when he was in power, why did not he go build a church there, and maintain it at our tax payers funds?

There is a lot more common between Michael Bloombergs speech, my Washington Post Article and Jon Stewart's dialogues

Mike Ghouse in Washington Post

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/07/on_mosque_us_should_stand_on_moral_high_ground.html

Michael Bloomberg's speech, several commonalities in my talking points with his http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/03/mayor_bloomberg_on_mosque/index.html

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Islam and Pluralism offering pluralistic solutions to media and the publice on issues of the day. His work is found at 22 blogs and 3 websites listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

References: About 32 Articles for and against are listed at this linkAbout Saudi ArabiaSome clips at this link : http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/08/ground-zero-mosque-articles.html

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ramadan Mubarak - Happy Ramadan

Muslims around the world will begin fasting from Wednesday, August 11, 2010 and for a whole month thereafter.

Thanks to Washington post, they will publish three articles on Ramadan; The Politics of Ramadan, The Rituals of Ramadan and the Spirit of Ramadan towards the third of Ramadan.True fasting is self-purification; and from this, a rich inner life brings about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy - values that are indispensable for the success of the community.

Consciousness of behavior and vigilance over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the heart focuses on the attachment to the divine. That is when Ramadan really becomes a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas goes beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity and caring.

For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Wiccan, Zoroastrian, other faiths and importantly the native traditions.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Islam and Pluralism and is a frequent guest at Media offering pluralistic solutions to the issues of the day. His work is listed on 22 of his blogs and two websites listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque Articles

We have to respect and honor the sentiments of every one who was a victim of terrorism and their friends and relatives who have suffered through this….

The Ground Zero Mosque is engaging the American Public and bringing out emotions and intellectualism to the forefront to tackle the issue of co-existence. The questions abound…..

In behalf of the men and women who have lost their loved ones, a few are genuinely opposing the building of the communtiy Center, a few are Altruistic and want the center to stand out as a beaocon of hope and peace and yet a few are falling prey to the political opportunists. At the end, if we envision an America that is good for all, we have to consider dropping the “me, me, and me” and yeild to what is good for America, the land of the free.

If Saudi is a bad country, why do we want to emulate them?

Continued: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/08/ground-zero-mosque-articles.html

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer of Pluralism and offers pluralistic solutions for the issues of the day. He is a frequent guest in the media and his work is encapsulated in 22 Blogs and 3 websites listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Julia Roberts is Hindu:

Julia Roberts is Hindu: Is America ready for a Hindu sweetheart?

The comments on this article in Washington Post are not reflective of the majority of Christians. Except the right wingers who are abusing religion and patriotism, you'll find right wingers among Muslims, Hindus, Chrisitans, Jews and others act the same.

However, an overwhelming majority of Americans are moving away from exclusive claims to God and accommodating different systems of beliefs including Hinduism. If one looks beyond the rituals, Hinduism is as divine and beautiful as any other religion. You have to have an open mind to see it.

A survey is definitely warranted.

America is indeed getting ready to embrace Hinduism; it does not mean every one will become Hindu, just as not every one will become an Atheist, Baha’i, Muslim or a Buddhist. It simply means accommodating Hinduism in Public Square without opposing. The negative attitudes are fading and positiveness towards the otherness of other is emerging.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day, his work is encapsulated in 22 blogs and 3 sites listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/
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Julia Roberts is Hindu: Is America ready for a Hindu sweetheart?
By Elizabeth Tenety

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/undergod/2010/08/julia_roberts_is_hindu_is_america_ready_for_a_hindu_sweetheart.html#more

Julia Roberts has long been called America's sweetheart.
But is America ready for a Hindu sweetheart?

The star of the upcoming movie Eat, Pray, Love revealed in an interview in Elle magazine that she, along with her family, is a practicing Hindu.

From a People excerpt of the Elle interview:
"You make these people and you love them and you want them around for a thousand years," she says about her three kids - 3-year-old Henry and 5-year-old twins Phinnaeus and Hazel - with cameraman Danny Moder. "And you want to be there for them for a thousand years."
The entire Roberts-Moder family, she reveals, goes to temple together to "chant and pray and celebrate. I'm definitely a practicing Hindu," says Roberts, who grew up with a Catholic mother and Baptist father.

And since in Hindu cosmology souls can be reincarnated in other bodies, where does she see herself in the next life? "Golly, I've been so spoiled with my friends and family in this life," she says. "Next time I want to be just something quiet and supporting."
(Learn more about what Hindus believe at Patheos.com)

Roberts' embrace of the faith that inspired the enlightenment of Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert puts her far outside the American mainstream in terms of religious affiliation: 78 percent of Americans identify as Christian; only .4 percent define themselves as Hindu. But Roberts' seek-and-ye-shall-find spirituality is actually quite reflective of American religious practice: 44 percent of Americans currently identify with a different religious tradition than the one in which they were raised.

Still, recent events indicate that Americans may not be ready to fully embrace the Hinduism already in their midst.

Aseem Shukla, On Faith Panelist and co-founder of the Hindu-American Foundation, pointed in a recent post to the examples of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley (both converts to Christianity --Jindal from Hinduism, Haley from Sikhism) as evidence that association with Dharma traditions is a public liability.
"Haley endured ludicrous, unsubstantiated allegations of infidelity, and she and Jindal both faced down racial slurs and epithets on their road to victory. But listen to the buzz around Haley's improbable rise and Jindal's electoral success, and what is abundantly clear is that a politically post-racial America does not mean that a pluralistic America has emerged."

"In their public remonstrations of their parent's faiths, Jindal and Haley tell well over three million Hindu and Sikh Americans that their time has not yet come as people of faith."

What do you think? Is America ready to embrace Hinduism? Why or why not?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Why Jews should support mosque near Ground Zero

Why Jews should support mosque near Ground Zero

Rabbi Levine and Rabbi Ellenson;

The pastors and Rabbis from Texas stood up for the rights of other Americans. Your voice adds strength to the belief that a majority of us are inherently good people.The indelible message of Passover needs to be re-learnt by all of us.

Last week I wrote here at the Washington Post about the issue and raised similar questions. http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/07/on_mosque_us_should_stand_on_moral_high_ground.html
The majority of Americans of all hues are recognizing the value of inclusion to create safer and sustainable societies, the right wingers are loosing it out and have resorted invoking a negative sentiment over the issue. I hope they quickly learn to be in tune with the American public who not like divisive policies and cheap opportunism.

I do hope the right wingers recognize that Bin Laden is hated intensely by Muslim Majority more than any other people; he brought misery to the ordinary American Muslim and messed up the name of Islam. Of course, good humans such as you know the distinction.

We have stood up for the Holocaust survivors, the refugees and the oppressed people in Bosnia and elsewhere in the world and we need to continue to stand on moral high ground. Let the world look up to our model of co-existence and follow us, rather than stoop down to the level of dictators and fascists.

Mike Ghouse
http://www.unitydayusa.com/

Why Jews should support mosque near Ground Zero
By Robert Levine and David Ellenson
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/08/why_jews_should_support_mosque_near_ground_zero.html
One of the most beautiful stories to emerge from the devastating attacks of 9/11 was told by a Pakistani Muslim, Usman Farman, who was employed at the World Trade Center. Fleeing north as the first tower was collapsing, he was felled by a missile of glass and debris. Stunned, he laid on his back as frightened safety seekers stampeded by him. The pendant he usually wore, inscribed with an Islamic prayer for safety written in Arabic, gleamed through the darkness. Suddenly, a Hasidic Jewish man bent over him, took the pendant in his hand and read the Arabic out loud. With a deep Brooklyn accent he said, "Brother, if you don't mind, there is a cloud of glass coming at us, grab my hand, and let's get out of here."

9/11 is a tragedy that is permanently etched in our nation's consciousness. Future scholars will pour over the historic record asking not only how we acted in the aftermath of that catastrophe. They will also ask what we have learned from it. We are confident that future historians will want to emphasize that on September 11, 2001 an ultra-orthodox man looked past centuries of religious division, saw a human being in danger, and sought to help even as it was becoming known that extremist Islamic terrorists were wreaking unspeakable horror on the citizens of New York and the United States.

As Jews, we seek any and all such examples of righteousness shown in the face of Nazi horror. The "Garden of the Righteous of All Nations" at the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Museum Yad Vashem recognizes the altruistic and courageous deeds of Gentile rescuers of Jews. We celebrate these men and women for their moral courage even as we wonder why more people could not act in concert with the values they purported to live as these heroes did.

Today we ask whether we will be similarly proud of the fact that large numbers of politicians and others, including Jews, have banded together in an attempt to stop the building of an Islamic Center and Mosque two blocks north of Ground Zero. The reasoning of these critics of this proposed Center is that building such an Islamic Center so close to Ground Zero is an act that desecrates the memory of those who died on 9/11. We also suspect that opposition to the construction of this Center on the part of some is also an act of political opportunism upon which some politicians wish to capitalize in the heat of current and forthcoming political campaigns. While the emotions expressed are understandable, imposing a standard of collective responsibility and guilt upon all Muslims that would block the construction of this center because of the deeds of these terrorists is un-American and should not be tolerated.

As Jews mindful of Jewish history, we are extremely sensitive to incidents in which Jews have been scapegoated for the misdeeds of others and where collective guilt has been projected onto all our people on account of the crimes of a few. A particularly shocking incident from our own American past took place in December 1862 when General Ulysses S. Grant issued his infamous General Order No. 11, an order which expelled all Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The justification for this expulsion was the raging black market in southern cotton on the part of unlicensed traders, including some Jews. In the emotional climate of the war zone, prejudices flourished and Jews became the target of unwarranted and discriminatory regulation. Describing the "Israelites" as "an intolerable nuisance," Grant issued his order and expelled Jews from these three states.

Weeks later, President Lincoln rescinded Grant's order, stating his conviction that "to condemn a class is, to say the least, to wrong the good with the bad." He drew no distinction between Jew and Gentile, and would allow no American to be wronged because of his religious affiliation. Lincoln deemed such proscription of an entire religious class intolerable.

Lincoln's words still resonate today and powerfully reflect the sentiments of President Washington who, in a 1790 letter, assured the Jewish citizens of Newport, Rhode Island, regarding the fundamental liberty that Jews would enjoy in this country. Our first President wrote, "For happily the Goverment of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens."

Again, we surely understand the visceral pain expressed by some who lost loved ones in these unspeakable assaults. However, this sentiment does not provide sufficient grounds to prevent the building of this Center. To refuse to allow this project to go forward would suggest that all Muslims are terrorists or covert supporters of terrorism, and that an Islamic House of God cannot preach and practice divinely inspired values of justice, freedom and human dignity for all races and religions. This is patently insulting and unsupportable.

Every year Jews emerge from the Passover Seder table with one indelible message -- remember that you were strangers in the land of Egypt, that you were degraded and humiliated for no reason save that you were Jews. As Jews, we therefore must raise our voices and do all in our power to prevent such bigotry from being directed at any other people or faith. The empathy taught by our tradition demands that Jews neither be silent nor forbearing in the face of such injustice.

Since 9/11, many Muslims have felt similar broad brush rejection just because they practice the faith of Islam. No distinctions among Muslims are made by their critics. Blame and derision are unconscionably hurled upon an entire faith. History has well taught us how indecent and immoral it is when an entire faith group is held culpable for the acts of a few.

An Islamic Center and mosque north of Ground Zero will make the powerful statement that persons of all religious faiths can stand together as children of God. Historic memory requires us to behave with simple decency and affirm the proposed plan of our moderate and law-abiding Muslim sisters and brothers to construct this Center. We look forward to the day when we can join together with our colleagues of all faiths in dedicating this religious center which will represent the triumph of love over hate, humanity over insanity.

Rabbi Robert Levine is Senior Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. Rabbi David Ellenson is President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

References:

Mike Ghouse On Hannity Show - Http://Wisdomofreligion.Blogspot.Com/2010/08/Mike-Ghouse-On-Hannity-Radio-Show-About.Html

Just Read Michael Bloomberg's Speech, Several Commonanlities In My Talking Points With His Http://Www.Salon.Com/News/Politics/War_Room/2010/08/03/Mayor_Bloomberg_On_Mosque/Index.HtmlMy

Article At Washington Post Http://Newsweek.Washingtonpost.Com/Onfaith/Guestvoices/2010/07/On_Mosque_Us_Should_Stand_On_Moral_High_Ground.HtmlLeonard

Pitts In Louisville Courier Journal
Http://Www.Courier-Journal.Com/Apps/Pbcs.Dll/Article?Aid=2010307220006

Dallas Morning News Had Published A Fine Article Written By Several Pastors And Rabbis Who Stood Up For The Freedom Of Religion.
Http://Religionblog.Dallasnews.Com/Archives/2010/07/Texas-Faith-Is-A-Mosque-At-Gro.Html

Now The Charleston Daily Mail Has Asked Me To Write About Moderates... And Am Developing The Piece At Http://Mikeghouseforamerica.Blogspot.Com/2010/07/Moderate-Republicans-Need-To-Speak-Up.Html

Mike On Fox News - Http://Www.Youtube.Com/Watch?V=Fqf0ips81ja

Is A Mosque At Ground Zero Religious Freedom Too Far? Http://Wisdomofreligion.Blogspot.Com/2010/07/Is-Mosque-At-Ground-Zero-Religious.Html

Senator Crocker’s Hate Filled Letter To Obama
Http://Www.Congress.Org/Congressorg/Bio/Userletter/?Id=152489&Letter_Id=5537567546

Republicans Against Mosque
Http://Www.Nydailynews.Com/Ny_Local/2010/07/22/2010-07-22_Newt_Gingrich_Comes_Out_Against_Planned_Cordoba_House_Mosque_Near_Ground_Zero.HtmlJohn
Mccain Videos.... Bigoted Ad:
Www.Johnmccainvideos.Com/Tag/Mosque - CachedHttp://Www.Youtube.Com/Watch?V=Gg2muppwpyi&Feature=Player_Embedded

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mike Ghouse on Hannity Radio Show about Mosque

http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/08/mike-ghouse-on-hannity-radio-show-about.html

Here is a quick report about my talk on Hannity Radio show with Brigitte Gabriel and Hannity. The talk was to be the Mosque near ground zero, they had a different agenda. Brigitte has memorized some cooked up stuff, she recites the exact same words every time I have been with her. I made at least three attempts to drag them back to the topic, but they were attacking someone else and associating it with the Mosque. My talking points are listed below and I was able to get a few out.

I did make my points by telling Brigitte:

• To tell the truth to the American People
• Not to cook up information or use rare stuff to malign the mainstream
• Imam Feisal is not the issue, he is here and gone tomorrow like everyone else
• Muslims have nothing to do with 9/11, Islam did not approve it either.
• Mosque is the issue, and am glad it will be built

Brigitte thinks Americans are dumb people or some such thing, she claims that the book Imam Feisal wrote was in Arabic/ Malay and English - as if it is a code language no Americann would know about it. For her information every language of the world is spoken and written in America. No langauge is secret implying it is dumb.

As a Jew, Christian, Hindu or a Muslim it does not matter to me who builds my place of worship, my intention matters to me that I pray the place of worship. Addition: There are churches, monuments around the world that were built on the dead bodies of the people they did not like, those places are in place and are worshipped. The intent of the builders does not matter. Working in Bush Admin, Clinton Admin or going to a church where the pastor is accused of child abuse does not change my faith or my working or going there.

Qardawi had said to Kill Americans – first of all he is a criminal to incite people and secondly it is against the principles of Islam to kill any one unless in self defense. That guy must be rounded up.

Imam Feisal was talking about Sharia – not the one like in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan but the one that is about Justice.

American Muslims do not want that kind of Sharia in America, and millions of Muslims will stand up against that ( No Sharia in America - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/sharia-law-not-in-america_b_653250.html )

Hamas is a terrorist Organization for what they have said about Jews and Israelis, the Israeli Leaders have said the same things about Palestinians – neither one of them means it.

Who are the folks opposing or supporting the Mosque near Ground Zero? The revelations are as clear as the day light, while the religious leaders are speaking boldly for freedom and co-existence, the right wing politicians have gone berserk and hanging on to tiny branches to save their political careers.

My article at Washington Post http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/07/on_mosque_us_should_stand_on_moral_high_ground.html
# # #

Some of the talking points I have written and borrowed from others are as follows:

1. It is really a positive example of how we can move forward from 9/11.

2. The establishment clause protects the freedom of all religious groups, especially the ones that the majority might view with suspicion.”

3. Are Muslims not Americans, too? Is that what we're saying now?

4. Islam did not sponsor the terrorist acts of 9/11. The Islamic extremists who did do not represent all of Islam any more than abortion clinic bombers represent all Christians.”

5. But the location also makes it the best place to redress the horror. It has the potential to be a place of permanent penance and an olive branch of peace.”

For the same reason, just because Timothy McVeigh clung to a twisted version of faith and patriotism when he chose to bomb the Murrah Building, we will not ban churches or patriotic organizations from erecting buildings in Oklahoma City

To ban any Muslim presence from the neighborhood because of the actions of 19 terrorists is to fall into the same flawed ideology of the terrorist who label all Americans as evil.

America has led the world in Science, technology, innovation and has remained a beacon of morality and a defender of human rights. Our constitution is an exemplary document of democracy and now the time has come to lead the world in Pluralism and co-existence.

We have to be a model to other nations \The other nations need to look up to us and not the other way around. We need to set higher standards of civility and NOT stoop down to the level of Talibans or some dictators and monarchs around the world. If we want other nations to behave, we need to lead the way. We need to stand tall and on a moral high ground and be an example of morality and civility to the world.

This is the very reason we need to support the Mosque to show to the world what freedom of religion means: to demonstrate our spirit of liberty and set an example of how a nation treats its minorities.

Bin Laden pulled two of our symbolic buildings down and murdered nearly 3000 Americans; He is still at large. We need to find this criminal and punish him instead of creating a deficit and ruining our economy with the war. Bin Laden is the most hated guy for American Muslims than anyone else; he has provoked prejudice towards Muslims and has made their lives miserable.

The right wingers on the other hand will pull all of us Americans down from the moral high grounds we have held for nearly a century and sink us in bigotry. We have stood up for the Holocaust survivors, the refugees and the oppressed people in Bosnia and elsewhere in the world.

It also paves the way for critical thinking that we can distinguish between terrorists and Muslims, doctor killers and the Christians, Fred Phelps and Christianity. This is the very reason we need to support the Mosque to show to the world what freedom of religion means: to demonstrate our spirit of liberty and set an example of how a nation treats its minorities.

It is time for the moderate Republicans to speak up and wrestle out party leadership from the right wingers for survival. As Americans, our loyalty ought to be for our system of checks and balances. It is in the interest of sustainable and just policies to have each house run by Republicans and Democrats respectively.

Most mistakes by our government have occurred when all the three branches of government were run by the same party. Monopoly in governance leads the other to resort to divisive politics.

Who are the folks opposing or supporting the Mosque near Ground Zero? The revelations are as clear as the day light, the right wing politicians have gone berserk and hanging on to tiny branches to save their political careers, and it is an abuse of Patriotism to have political gains.

If you have surfed through the internet, you might reasonably conclude that the ones opposing are the right wing Republicans like Palin, Gingrich, Paladino, Corker, Tancredo, Rowe, McCain and others. They continue to fall in the abyss of ignorance and are out of touch with the American public. The pied piper Limbaugh had led them once and his cooked up support will blind them again.

Until they come up with concrete alternative solutions for the difficulties our nation is facing, they will continue to hang on to anything they "perceive" will save them. The American public does not like divisive politics and I hope they understand and honor it, and become conflict mitigaters and goodwill nurturers.

The religious leaders are speaking boldly for freedom and co-existence, while the politicians have gone crazy;

Senator Croker writes, "These Muslims will stand inside their mosque and "gloat" over their "victory" and plot and plan more mayhem and murder!" Another one writes "Would Muslims in any part of the world let the Jews or Christians build a Church/Synagogue". Gingrich writes, "America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization." Not to be left behind, Sarah Palin appeals to the Muslims on twitter, "Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts." There seems to be a competition among the right wing Republicans as to who can be the ugliest twister.

The right wingers have made their business to mislead us, and now they are bent on making an issue out of a cultural center like the YMCA or the JCC and calling it a mosque as if it is not a place of worship and a dungeon where the public is not allowed. In reality, it is an open place where they will teach co-existence and pluralism and will be open to all Americans. The Republican PAC has produced a commercial that mixes the Muslim call for prayer with the destruction of our twin towers. This is destructively divisive. The center is not on the spot of Ground Zero but two blocks down. Does speaking the truth weaken them?

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a write on Pluralism and Islam and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day; a frequent guest on the media. His work can be found in three websites and 22 blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

# # #

REFERENCE LINKS

Just read Michael bloomberg's speech, several commonanlities in my talking points with his - http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/03/mayor_bloomberg_on_mosque/index.html

My article at Washington Post http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/07/on_mosque_us_should_stand_on_moral_high_ground.html
Leonard Pitts in Louisville Courier journal -
http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2010307220006


Dallas Morning News had published a fine article written by several Pastors and Rabbis who stood up for the freedom of religion.
http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/07/texas-faith-is-a-mosque-at-gro.html

Now the Charleston Daily mail has asked me to write about Moderates... and am developing the piece at http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/07/moderate-republicans-need-to-speak-up.html

Mike on Fox News - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQF0ips81jA

Is a mosque at Ground Zero religious freedom too far? http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/07/is-mosque-at-ground-zero-religious.html

Senator Crocker’s hate filled letter to Obama
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/bio/userletter/?id=152489&letter_id=5537567546

Republicans Against Mosque
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/07/22/2010-07-22_newt_gingrich_comes_out_against_planned_cordoba_house_mosque_near_ground_zero.html


John Mccain Videos.... Bigoted Ad:
www.johnmccainvideos.com/tag/mosque - Cached
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG2mupPwpyI&feature=player_embedded

Monday, August 2, 2010

World Religious Leaders Endorses Anti Terrorism Statement

Jeremy Jones shares the good news of religions working together, rather the convergence of religions on issues facing the humanity.

Indeed a continous reaffirmation and subscription will have its own lasting impact.

The world Muslim Congress was formed in 2003 and esablished in 2006. we are hoping to get the non-proflit status this year....

The world has indeed become a global community. Everyone is a neighbor to everyone else; we aspire to nurture the concept of good neighborliness in the world. Our advisory board will be represented by individuals from every faith. It is time for us to be equal citizens of one world, our home. This is a major paradigm shift in how the religious organizations would be conducting their business in the coming years.

Religion has never been the problem, those few who don't get it are the problem, we are all in it together and jointly work on developing workshop in understandign each religion. Thank God, we have done that in Dallas under the banner of Foundation for pluralism.

Please include our organization as an endorsee to the declaration

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse,
Foundation for Pluralism (http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ ) and
World Muslim Congress (http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/)
__________________
Shared by Jeremy Jones,
interfaith activist,
Sydney, Australia


Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders Endorses Anti Terrorism Statement

In a tribute to the memory of former Indonesian Prime Minister Abdurrahman Wahid, a founding member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, members of the EBWRL signed a statement against terrorism, composed originally for a summit meeting between President Wahid and Chief Rabbi Bakshi Doron (See Wisdom, January 2010). The statement and its signatories are copied below. We ask for your help in further disseminating this statement.

Combating Terrorism

We the undersigned, religious leaders who believe in a creator God, guide of the universe, firmly express our conviction that our religious traditions categorically oppose the use of terrorism. Terrorism is an abomination in the eyes of God and opposed to a proper understanding of our respective scriptures. It is also opposed to every principle of humanitarian concern. In all our religions God is affirmed as merciful and compassionate and calls on us to be compassionate and merciful accordingly. Causing suffering in God’s name is opposed to the will of God. We affirm the highest religious value to be the sanctity of human life. We condemn those expressions of our religions that speak in the name of our religions and that endorse the use of terrorist means, such as suicide homicides, to achieve political or other goals. While we recognize the value of deep belief in our faiths, to the point of offering our lives for them, this must never be confused with harming innocents in the name of a cause. We also believe that one of the consequences of terrorism is the creation of immense suffering not only for the victims of terror, but also for those who seek to benefit from it, or through it. We encourage religious leaders of all traditions to firmly express their religious conviction against terrorism, thereby helping to purify our religions from a contemporary cancerous growth that threatens to destroy our human face.

Original Signatories:
Dr. Abdurrahman Wahid, Rector of Darul Ulum Univeristy in East Java, President of the Non Violence Peace Movement, Indonesia
Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, President of the Israeli Sephardic Community Committee, Israel

New Statement Signatories:

Buddhist Leaders
Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Abbess Emerita, San Francisco Zen Center
Ven. Bhikkuni Kusuma, Ayya Khema International Buddhist Mandir, Sri Lanka
Ven. Jinwol Lee, President of United Religions Initiative of Korea
Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena, Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, India
Dharma Master Hsin Tao, Museum of World Religions, Taiwan

Christian Leaders
Bishop Frank Griswold, Episcopal Church, USA
Bishop Lennart Koskinen, Church of Sweden
Metropolitan Nikitas Lulias, Orthodox Church, USA
Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, Former Secretary of the College of Cardinals and Vatican Chief Librarian and Archivist
Archbishop Boutros Mouallem, Catholic Bishop Emeritus, Haifa and Galilee, Israel
Abbot Primate Notker Wolf O.S.B., Titular head and first representative of the Benedictine Order

Religions of India Leaders
Swami Agnivesh, India
Swami Amarananda, Centre Védantique, Switzerland
Swami Atmapriyananda, Ramakrishna Mission, India
H.H. Chandra Swami, India
Guruji Sri Rishi Prabhakar, India
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Chairperson of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, UK
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Art of Living Foundation, India

Jewish Leaders
Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Israel
Chief Rabbi Menachem Hacohen, Romania
Rabbi Richard Marker, USA
Rabbi Michael Melchior, Chief Rabbi Emeritus Norway, Former MK, Israel
Rabbi David Rosen, Chief Rabbi Emeritus Ireland, President, International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC)
Rabbi René-Samuel Sirat, Chief Rabbi Emeritus France

Muslim Leaders
His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Jordan
Dr. Wahiduddin Khan, Center for Peace and Spirituality, India
Imam Plemon T. El-Amin, Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, USA
Dr. Yihya Mossa Basha, Chairman of the Muslim American Coalition, USA
Sayyed Jawad Al-Khoei, Assistant Secretary-General of the Al-Khoei Foundation, UK
Dr. Adamou Ndam Njoya, President of the Cameroon Democratic Union (CDU), Cameroon
Chief Kadi Ahmed Natour, President of Israel's High Shari'a Court of Appeal (Chief Kadi), Israel
Moulana Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, President of the All-India Association of Imams and Mosques, India

Rumi on mystery of Balance

Maulana Rumi said, "Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged".

Being a student of Pluralism, understanding the essence of creation, existence, life and matter is my constant search, and my understanding is that every piece of matter (stone, ground, and mountain) is created with a built in balance (peace) and self balancing mechanism. Then every religion (Christian, Zoroastrian....) teaches one to attain a balance within and with what surrounds him/her; life and matter.

Rumi had reached the universal level of consciousness that all of us aspire, where the distinction between you and what surround you is embedded in awareness. In Hinduism the word is Brahman, when you reach that level of consciousness, there is no more you and God, it is all one cosmic energy. I suppose Jesus may have meant the same when he said follow me or when Qur’aan says surrender to the will of the creator.

Every scriptured religion and Oral tradition seek to embrace the whole humanity, their ideas, thoughts and practices for all of us to co-exist in peace. The more you learn about religions, the more you find in tune with the cosmic energy Rumi talks about. God speaks through science and religion, so al of his creation can live in harmony. Religion is the expression of love by the creator for his creation in different languages, rituals and systems.

Feroze, let us take a few steps to understand religion;

1. Religion is not needed to be a good human, indeed, we don't need a religion. Atheists are good humans and they live their lives in peace just as the people of religion. If ration...ality prevails and permeates in every human soul, we don't need a religion.

2. Rituals? Is there any human, any at all who is free from rituals? Not one my friend. When you wake up, you have a routine, a set of rituals; between brushing teeth, shaving, shower, commode, dressing up... you have a ritual. No one is free from it and we may justify that it is efficient to put the pants first or shirt first. When you eat, there is a ritual, when you go to gym, there is ritual, when you sleep, there is a ritual and when you make love, there is ritual. There is absolutely no escape from rituals.

Rituals are pathways to achieve certain things. When you reboot your computer it refreshes it and functions much more effectively than struggling with several programs working at one time.

Ritual in religions is no more than re-booting yourselves. When you are confused with too many things at one time, your effectiveness (every human) reduces greatly. But when you pray, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, Wiccan, Sikh, Buddhist, Maya, Jain or any way, it will transform you from one state of mind to the other more coherent state of mind.

3. Religion is a formulae, God given or man created or wisdom generated, it helps individuals answer the loss of loved ones, the brutality of the war mongers, terrorists, thief’s, misery…. There is a belief that those who are rapists, cheaters and other evil doers will pay for it in the next life, if they get away from murders in this life.. That belief builds (reincarnation or life here after) faith in humanity. How? The fact that others will drive in their lane and observe the traffic rules, gives you faith that you can go anywhere and come back home relatively safely.

Religion has never been a problem in the world, it is the abuser. Invariably, every evil that you can count has a man or a woman behind it, not their parents, nation, ethnicity, race or religion. Nuclear power in the hands of some is destructive; in the hands of others is beneficent. Tell me if the evil is Nuclear power, religion or the individual?
See More

Thanks to my face book friend Habib M. Akhtar from prompting me to write.

Mike Ghouse speaks on Pluralism and Islam and offers pluralistic perspectives on issues of the day. His work can be found in 22 blogs and two websites listed at www.mikeghouse.net