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, May 27, 2014

Texas Faith - What does the decision by Southwestern Baptist to accept a Muslim student say about how one faith can reach out to another?

SHOULD BAPTIST SEMINARY ADMIT A MUSLIM STUDENT ??

God emphasized in Quran to “know each other”, and those who make that effort; he called them the noblest. Jesus called them "Blessed are the peacemakers." Indeed, every religion and every civil society organizes itself to create peace for the individuals and what surrounds him/her: life and environment. If we can learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

I would urge Southern Baptist Seminary President Paige Patterson to consider developing a teaching policy based on the essence of Jesus’ mission: peace on earth. If all religions can genuinely teach about other faiths to their students, the world would be a much better place.

Here is my fortnightly piece at Dallas Morning News:
http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2014/05/texas-faith-what-does-decision-by.html

 
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What does the decision by Southwestern Baptist to accept a Muslim student say about how one faith can reach out to another?


By Wayne Slater | wslater@dallasnews.com | 1:33 pm on May 27, 2014 | Permalink
The decision by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to admit a Palestinian Muslim to the school’s Ph.D. archaeology program has stirred attention. For one thing, the decision was an exception to the seminary’s admissions policy. Southern Baptist seminaries have historically admitted those who intend to become Southern Baptist ministers. Churches send money to help pay for each student’s tuition. And the idea that churchgoers were sending their money to educate a Muslim student didn’t seem right in some quarters.

Seminary President Paige Patterson says the student is “a peace-loving man” who worked with other Southwestern students at the school’s archaeological dig in Israel and will abide by the school’s moral conduct requirements. He said non-Christians have been accepted in the past in rare cases with hopes they would convert.

Texas Faith contributor Jim Denison, a former faculty member and alumni of Southwestern, raises the issue on his website of religious exclusivity. “For a Baptist seminary to admit a Muslim student seems like the Republican National Convention inviting Bill Clinton to be its keynote speaker.  Both decisions would make headlines.”  http://www.denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary/1049-muslim-enrolled-at-baptist-seminary-why-is-this-national-news

All religious faiths are exclusive in one form or another. All have their rules, regulations and conventions. No question that Southwestern has the right to set the conditions for admission – and even the obligation to do so in furtherance of its religious faith. Denison asks a question: What’s the best way to engage people of other faiths?

The Southwestern decision raises some provocative questions: If it were a, say, Methodist seminary, not Southern Baptist, would it have been news? What if the student hadn’t been Muslim? When are a religious faith’s principles and guidelines helpful and when are they not? How should people of one faith engage people of another faith?



Texas Faith Panelists share their views, here is Mike Ghouse:
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas

The discussion about why and how to engage people of other faiths becomes a good foundation to build upon cohesive societies, where none of us has to fear the other and continue living in peace. I am glad the issue of admission of a Muslim student at the Southwestern Baptist Seminary has come up; it’s a pivot for a positive change.

God created everything in harmony and set the matter aspect of the universe to be in balance – like the Jupiter, Moon and other items that function precisely on a trajectory in their own space. However, when it comes to humans, one of the other aspects of creation, God did not put us on auto-pilot. Instead, he gave us freedom and a brain to figure out such balance, maintain, and restore if lost.

Being the programmer of the universe, and because he intentionally created each one of us to be different, he knew we are bound to have conflicts and tear each other apart.  So he offered guidance to each tribe, community or a nation to preserve that harmony and live in peace.

The Quran is one such book of guidance and God says in verse 49:13 (Asad translation), “O men! Behold, we have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.”

God’s emphasis is on “knowing each other” and those who make that effort; he calls them the noblest among you.  Indeed, if we can learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Jesus called on such individuals on the Mount of Beatitudes, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Indeed, I would urge Seminary President Paige Patterson to consider developing a teaching policy based on the essence of Jesus’ mission: peace on earth.

If you trace the bloodshed, hatred and ill-will over the last 12 known centuries of conflict between Muslims and Christians, a few men among them have gone against the teachings of their own faiths. Indeed, more students of other faiths need to be admitted, not to convert, but to teach “blessed are the peacemakers” and the “noblest among you” and produce conflict mitigaters.

Note: I had a radio show called Wisdom of religion, all the beautiful religions and the Dallas Baptist Seminary had called me to let me know that they are recording it, and teaching it.
To read the views of other panelists please visit Dallas Morning News at:


http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/05/texas-faith-what-does-the-decision-by-southwestern-baptist-to-accept-a-muslim-student-say-about-how-one-faith-can-reach-out-to-another.html/#more-39668

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mr. Narendra Modi’s hypothetical India speech on Monday, May 26, 2014

NARENDRA MODI'S HYPOTHETICAL INDIA SPEECH ON MONDAY 5.26.14

Mr. Narendra Modi will deliver one of his most memorable speeches on Monday, May 26, 2014 upon taking the oath of office of the Prime Minister of India, and I am going hypothesize the contents of his speech based on my embryonic understanding of him firmed up over the last few weeks.   


MR. NARENDRA MODI, INDIA'S PRIME MINISTER
This is the biggest historic moment in the world of governance. Never in the history of mankind, there has ever been an individual freely elected to govern by such a huge mandate, the largest number of people on the earth have voted Mr. Narendra Modi to lead the democratic Republic of India.  On Monday, May 26, 2014, Mr. Modi will take the oath of office of the Prime Minister of India. The theme of his speech would be simple: inclusive development.   


Mr. Narendra Modi’s hypothetical speech on Monday, May 26, 2014

Submitted for publication on Friday, May 23, 2014 - Published at Oped news at
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Mr-Narendra-Modi-s-hypoth-by-Mike-Ghouse-2014-Elections_Bharatiya-Janata-Party_Governance_Historicism-140525-136.html


Other articles of Modi at: http://mikeghouse.net/Articles/Narendra-Modi-India.asphttp://mikeghouse.net/Articles/Narendra-Modi-India.asp

Mike Ghouse is an Indian American Public Speaker, thinker and a writer committed to offer pluralistic solutions on issues of the day - wwwMikeGhouse.net
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day Reflections

It is a day of remembrance and reflection, it is time to pray for those have passed away, whether they are related to us or not. Let’s take a few moments to remember all those who have influenced, affected and cared for us, and those who cared for others whether we know them or not. It is an act that enriches our souls and brings humility and connects us back with ourselves.
 

Please do not wish "Happy Memorial Day" – it ain’t, it is rather a day of reflection. Of course it may be nothing for you other than the weekend to relax, and that is fine too.
 
You might find it meaningful to stop and say a prayer at one cemetery or the other, it is merely symbolic, and you don’t have to make an effort, just pull over on the road side of any cemetery and reflect on life for a few minutes.

 You don’t have to be religious to say a prayer – a prayer is merely “wishing goodness” to others. You may see it or not, we are all interconnected and the joy comes from seeing everyone connected is in harmony and peace. The idea of this prayer may be selfish, as we find ourselves some serenity.

If you could, please pray for our men and women who gave up their lives to defend our freedom and safety that we cherish. There is a joy that accrues to you by expressing gratitude.

My Grandfather had advised me to visit a cemetery or attend a funeral of a stranger to pay respects, and he added, for every wedding you attend, match it with attending a funeral or visiting a cemetery, he believed, it will straighten us out as humans, and I found that profound and enriching to the soul.

Of course, you pray for the beloved ones every day, but this is a special day, the national day of remembrance and it would be nice, if we as a nation pray for the well being of all.

I will take a few moments to remember all those who have influenced, affected and cared for me, and those who cared for others whether I knew them or not.

There is a beautiful all inclusive prayer that most Muslims say almost every day – the gist of which is ; Dear God forgive me, forgive my parents, my relatives, my friends, my community,  those who are alive, and those who aren’t. By the way when we seek forgiveness, we are suggesting to ourselves to find relief from all the burdens we carry in our day to day life and cherish a few peaceful moments. May we all be at peace, Amen!

Mike Ghouse is a motivational speaker and all his info is at www.MikeGhouse.net

Monday, May 19, 2014

Narendra Modi's speech on good governance, a very good speech

Narendra Modi - I have spent 5 hours this morning  in understanding Mr. Modi.
CAVEAT EMPTOR
: Please read the note at the bottom 

Good governance by Narendra Modi 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK9vMM9bHWE

This is one of the best speeches on good governance and a developmental economic model. Some may say that someone else may have written it, that is fine, but he has owned it by delivering it so eloquently and I hope he means every word of it.

He says, “Good governance starts from good intention, and it survives on lasting institution and reaches across national boundaries and even beyond. Quality of life, business environment and economic growth depend on effective governance”... and the humorous part, “lack of good governance is like diabetes….”


I am looking to write about participative democracy and representative democracy, and he has addressed that well. We have a problem with number of contestants from a constituency and the representations - though Modi has a landslide victory, he has only 31% of the popular vote.

One of my write ups articulates his other interview with NDTV at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/indias-modi-on-his-best-behavior-can-we-trust-him_b_5280892.html#es_share_ended  


Zee Media’s exclusive - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQP5qbnnsS8&t=23m29s
Modi has responded well, but has dodged many questions, and the interviewers did not press him either.

REGRETS

I have seen interviews by Karan Thapar, NY Times reporter and the Zee TV – all of them asked the same question – in fact they made it easy for him. “Do you regret what happened in 2002?” or, “Do you at least feel, you could have prevented it”…  That is the most difficult part for any human to understand, why Mr. Modi is not facing it? Why does he run away from it?  He has the guts, but that guts should make him humble not arrogant.  It is the same question I have for George Bush – does he regret murdering nearly a million people with his deliberate decision? How do they live with that is beyond me, all I can see is they do not have guts to face it.
The Trusteeship he talks about around the 7th minute, referencing Gandhi is also the Islamic concept of governance - but how many Muslim majority governments are following it? And again there is a good talk at the 32nd minute – about one’s intention – that sounds word for word from a Friday Muslim sermon. There is a gap between the talk and act that needs to be bridged.  I hope Modi means what he says and pray for his success, if he succeeds India succeeds.


Summary of my write ups in 2014 at:
http://mikeghouse.net/Articles/Narendra-Modi-India.asp

CAVEAT EMPTOR: I have been critical of Mr. Modi ever since Gujarat Massacre took place in 2002, and have been an activist and written extensively about the policies to govern. I have consistently sought justice for the victims of Gujarat and restoration of their livelihood and recommended on building desegregated societies for the ultimate good of India, but rarely have I sought the pound of flesh. In the last two weeks, however, I have written optimistic notes about Mr. Modi, based on his interviews and his speeches.  In the coming 100 days, IF I see his actions match his good words, and he does some praischit as a part of the raj dharma, I will admire that human quality in him, and would believe that he has the potential to be become one of the visionaries of India like Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru who was instrumental in building a stable democracy, that his daughter could not undo. Because of my write ups, I continue to lose a few my friends and that is ok, I don't need friends like that. We have to learn to live with our differences, and my commitment remains  building cohesive pluralistic societies and I like the new found inclusive language of Modi.


Mike Ghouse, 
Center for Pluralism
www.Foundationforpluralism.com
www.MikeGhouse.net

Respecting the otherness of others.
Studies in Social, religious, cultural and political pluralism

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Pakistani American Doctor's Organization Is a Model of Pluralism and Is Worthy of Emulating

EXEMPLARY PAKISTANI-AMERICAN ORGANIZATION

They had every reason to celebrate, what was a normal thing for them was an extraordinary thing to an outsider; the group demonstrated a working model of a cohesive organization that functions effectively with its given diversity.
Dr. Vasdev Lohano, the outgoing president of the association and I had a brief conversation during a break, and I am pleased to share the gist of it. Talking about the cohesiveness of his organization, his pride came through in these words, "Culture trumps religion and binds us together with language, customs, heritage, arts etc. We should focus our energies to promote culture to create harmony among each other. I have seen so many times people forget who you are, if you start talking with them in their language."


APPKI is a blessed organization with a blessed membership; it was great to see Dr. Vasdev Lohano as President of the organization, a Hindu, representing less than 2 percent of the membership, but yet, the Muslim majority elected him as its president. Indeed, when President Obama was elected as President on November 4, 2008, the whole world cried with joy, including me, to see an America where all of God's children (creation) are valued for who they are and what they can do. 


Continued:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Muslims for Satan



I am pleased to read this bold article, and as the civilization progresses, more and more members of humanity and Muslims will move out of darkness towards the light.  The following notes may be too advanced for many and may be afraid with the idea of being free. 

Not only the orthodoxy among Muslims, but Christians, Jews and others have made a villain out of God – and have painted him as a hateful God towards others who do not subscribe to their specificities.

Hell no! What God wants is his creation, all of it, remain intact and in harmony, and who ever subscribes to that idea  is a submitter to his will.

This Muslim has stood up for the rights of  every one – from Atheists to Zoroastrian and everyone in between including LGBT, Animists, Pagans, Wicca and others.  If you are not willing to stand up for others, why should anyone stand up for you?

When I stood up for the human rights of Gays and Lesbians, several Muslims had difficulty with it, but when Congressman Keith Ellison stood up, most of them learned to shut up.  Eventually, Muslim organizations are accepting the rights of Gays and Lesbians. The simpletons among us make the mistake of believing that we are encouraging homosexuality, that is the limitation of their thinking capacity. It is not about homosexuality, it is about the rights of individuals.

All of us are created by God, and everyone has to have space, sustenance and nurturence to live his or her God given life. 

Mike Ghouse
# # #

I appreciate the following two paragraphs of the author, and then the full article follows.

It would be great if religions can always play nice. When they can’t, I am less concerned with Satanism’s alleged power to make Harvard unsafe for Catholics than the problem of big and powerful religions enforcing their privilege by stomping on small and powerless ones.
As a Muslim, I have to support the Satanists. Public revulsion of Muslims in this country is so popular that I have no choice but to stand with religions that are marked as ugly, offensive, and intolerant. Rather than join the anti-Satanist outrage and try to convince Christians that Muslims deserve to be included as “children of Abraham” or whatever, I would suggest that Muslims take a radical stand on behalf of the religious freedoms that we claim for ourselves. The people who wish to insult Muslims are not members of ridiculed fringe groups. They are not just isolated Qur’an-burning pastors, but extraordinarily well-funded and networked activists. Islamophobia is so mainstream that as Muslims, we must support freedom for all marginalized religions, because too many people have marginalized us.
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Muslims for Satan

Following Catholic uproar, a proposed Satanic mass at Harvard has been canceled. The mass was going to be put on by the Satanic Temple, the group who also has plans to plant a Baphomet figure on the front lawn of the Oklahoma Statehouse. Despite the fact that the Harvard Extension School Cultural Studies Club dropped its sponsorship, the group still managed to have an unsanctioned "black mass" at Harvard Square's Hong Kong restaurant and lounge. What bothers me the most about the official quashing of the Satanic Temple's mass by Harvard is that it is being hailed as a victory for religious tolerance—it's not. Instead, it's a case of a small group getting bullied into submission because it offended a big religion. 

In an editorial for the Harvard Crimson, Francis X. Clooney, Harvard professor and director of its Center for the Study of World Religions, expresses concern for what he calls this proposed “disconcerting incident.” He presents the elements in satanic ritual that invert and “blaspheme” Catholic sacraments as a potential slippery slope, asking, “What’s next? The endeavor ‘to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices’ might in another year lead to historical reenactments of anti-Semitic or racist ceremonies… or parodies that trivialize Native American heritage or other revivals of cultural and religious insult.”
Clooney’s nightmare scenario ignores one important question, that of institutional privilege: While racism is an oppressors’ power play that always moves from the top down, Satanism critiques a target immeasurably more powerful than itself. For Catholics at Harvard to complain about Satanists offending them is like white people complaining about Louis Farrakhan’s “reverse racism.”

In addition to his positions at Harvard, Clooney is also a Catholic priest. I know the history of Catholicism in America, and am sure that Clooney does as well. There was a time when Catholics were persecuted, reviled, and marked as the definitive “un-American” religion. Within the developing field of religious studies, the privileged position of liberal 19th-century Protestantism as “real” religion in its most evolved form also led to unfair anti-Catholic prejudice within the academy. Catholicism has struggled in the United States for recognition both as authentically Christian and authentically American.  

Times have changed, so I’d like to tell Dr. Clooney how the American religious landscape looks in 2014. Dr. Clooney, I am a Muslim. As a Muslim in the cliché context of “post-9/11 America,” I encounter anti-Muslim discourses that use the same arguments that you have employed against Satanists. In more than one American city, Islamophobes have opposed the establishment of mosques by claiming that Muslims are intolerant and incapable of coexisting with other communities, or even that Islam is not a “real” religion and therefore cannot be entitled to the same defense of its freedoms. In the case of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” people argued against the presence of a Muslim community simply on the basis that it would hurt their feelings. 

As a Muslim, I have to support the Satanists. Public revulsion of Muslims in this country is so popular that I have no choice but to stand with religions that are marked as ugly, offensive, and intolerant. Rather than join the anti-Satanist outrage and try to convince Christians that Muslims deserve to be included as “children of Abraham” or whatever, I would suggest that Muslims take a radical stand on behalf of the religious freedoms that we claim for ourselves. The people who wish to insult Muslims are not members of ridiculed fringe groups. They are not just isolated Qur’an-burning pastors, but extraordinarily well-funded and networked activists. Islamophobia is so mainstream that as Muslims, we must support freedom for all marginalized religions, because too many people have marginalized us.

I have no doubt that in his commitment to religious pluralism and interfaith understanding, Clooney supports the inclusion of Muslims as full participants in American life. His work in comparative theology, which focuses on dialogue between Catholicism and Hinduism, reveals great insight as to how we can be enriched by traditions that are not our own. Unfortunately, the projects of interfaith dialogue tend to privilege old religions over new ones, and big ones over small ones. Christian-Muslim dialogue, for example, isn’t typically going to invite Mormons or Ahmadiyya to the table. 

In his treatment of Satanic mass, Clooney’s playing an authenticity game in which privileged religions get to name the terms by which something counts as “religion,” and respect for the sacred thus means respecting what privileged religions mark as sacred. I have seen this game played with destructive consequences for the Five Percenter community. In US prisons, Five Percenters have been historically denied the freedoms of conscience and assembly that are routinely protected for adherents to other traditions. 

Warith Deen Mohammed, one of the most important Sunni leaders in American Muslim history, endorsed the prison industry’s characterization of Five Percenters as a “dangerous” and “corrupt” group. Incarcerated Five Percenters have been thrown into solitary confinement for no other reason than their personal conviction. Their right to assemble has been taken from them and the lessons that they study have been designated as contraband. Outside of the prison system, Five Percenters have been occasionally denied the right to change their legal names to Allah, with at least one judge stating that for a man to name himself Allah is inappropriate and even blasphemous.

In prejudice against Five Percenters from both Muslims and non-Muslims, broader US Islamophobia, and Clooney’s attack on the Harvard black mass, we find the same mistake: A general failure to ask these people what their outrageous, offensive beliefs, and behaviors actually mean to them. Reducing the Satanic mass to a parody of the Catholic mass, he assumes that the Satanists involved must have no personal conviction that might endow the act with meaning, and discusses the act without any engagement of the human beings for whom it matters.  In his editorial, they remain faceless, nameless, and voiceless.
So who are these people? The Satanists involved in the canceled black mass do not believe in Satan as a supernatural entity. 

For the Satanic Temple, Satan is more of a singular embodiment of their mission to advocate religious tolerance and pluralism. For them, the black mass is a kind of protest against the oppressiveness of religion. Despite the absence of a higher power, the radical atheism they practice is a religious conviction and no less entitled to public expression or ritual performance than the positions of the “one true church.” 

Clooney justifies his concern by pointing out that the black mass might be hurtful to a “living faith practice celebrated each day in congregations that include Harvard faculty, staff, and students.” In an official statement on behalf of the university, Harvard president Drew Faust expressed an intention to attend a Eucharistic Benediction at St. Paul’s Church on campus “in order to join others in reaffirming our respect for the Catholic faith at Harvard and to demonstrate that the most powerful response to offensive speech is not censorship, but reasoned discourse and robust dissent.” For both Clooney and Faust, Catholicism’s dignity must be protected because Catholics have a place at Harvard, while Satanism gets casually reviled because of course, Satanists have no place. 

What Clooney and Faust miss is that some of us find claims of Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation from eternal torture to be incredibly offensive. Any tradition whose advocates promise to be exclusive possessors of the capital-T “Truth” is going to bother someone. Should all religious discourse that claims supreme truth-making power over other religions disappear from the public? I get that Harvard Divinity School’s preferred religiosity tends to go soft in this regard: At Div School, folks don’t go much for the hellfire talk or claims of superiority. Maybe there’s a Div School version of Satanism that Clooney could go for. Or not, but who cares—Clooney’s personal taste does not provide the measurement of Satanism’s legitimacy. 

It would be great if religions can always play nice. When they can’t, I am less concerned with Satanism’s alleged power to make Harvard unsafe for Catholics than the problem of big and powerful religions enforcing their privilege by stomping on small and powerless ones. This is where Clooney gets it wrong in a big way. There has never been—and I am guessing that there will never be—an openly self-identified Satanist with Clooney’s institutional power at Harvard. Because I care about religious freedom not only for the center, but also the margins, count this Muslim with the Satanists. 

Michael Muhammad Knight graduated from Harvard with a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree in 2011, and is presently a PhD student in Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He is the author of nine books, including Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing. Follow Michael on Twitter.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Muslims have to take the responsibility to fix Boko Haram and other extremist groups

We cannot push or bush the extremists to dig in their heels and stick to their positions. Dialogue opens up opportunities with least damage and least cost. I have been thinking of taking a Muslim delegation to Nigeria. Mr. Abubakar Shekau of Boko Haram and his likes need to be included in a conversation and asked to explain the sources of his claims. Neither Quran nor Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) support his actions. He is holding innocent girls against their will.

URL -http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2014/05/muslims-have-to-take-responsibility-to.html


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

1 2 
http://www.prlog.org/12323055-kidnapped-nigerian-school-girls.jpg
Kidnapped Nigerian school girls
May 13, 2014 - DALLAS -- Finding the truth is our own responsibility, as it brings relief to each one of us and removes fears and prejudices towards the others. Indeed, that is the unwritten purpose of religion; to create societies where no one had to live in fear of the other. Isn’t that the bottom line of God’s will? As a society we have faltered in blaming the religion for the acts of individuals.

A majority of people of faith shrink from the responsibility of speaking up, and instead flame the blame and mess up societal harmony even further. Here are two extreme examples of the brutes in a civilized society like ours and “developing societies like Nigeria” in this case.

In 2009, the words of Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas generated fear, anxieties hate and ill-will, it was him and not the reflection of his Church, even if the congregation sheepishly clapped and gave a standing ovation in the Church when the pastor said, “Islam is an evil evil religion and Quraan is a book written by a false prophet” with full passion. The religious clergy of different faiths in Dallas did the right thing, they spoke up and together we held a conference on Quran led by Mike Mohamed Ghouse of the World Muslim Congress, the story in video and print is captured at www.QuraanConference.com in its entirety.

Going to the “lower end of the civility” (per bigots) in Nigeria , Abubakar Shekau the Chief of Boko Haram shamelessly said that, “God instructed me to sell them (the 276 girls), they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions.”
Like Pastor Jeffress he has duped his congregation and the world to believe that it is his religion that made him do or say the the wrongs.

The Muslims around the world have avoided their responsibility in asking Mr. Shekau to have a conversation and acknowledge what God says in multiple verses in Quran including 4:19 (Asad translation)
, “O YOU who have attained to faith! It is not lawful for you to [try to] become heirs to your wives [by holding onto them] against their will; and neither shall you keep them under constraint with a view to taking away anything of what you may have given them, unless it be that they have become guilty, in an obvious man¬ner, of immoral conduct. …” These are innocent girls, and this man is holding them against their will.

Muslims rightfully claim that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and he was the first law giver who liberated women from the clutches of men’s oppression, and declared that men and women are each other’s protectors, and a woman has a right to decide who she marries (1400 years ago, whereas she was considered a chattel in the west until a hundred years ago), and has the right to divorce and own her own property separately. Mr. Shekau is going against the prophet, and it needs to be called out.

The first word revealed to the Prophet was “Learn” and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had famously said, “Learn, even if you have to go to China to learn, do it, learning is important, “he further beefed it up by adding that a woman’s education is a must, as she must willingly sign the marriage or a business contract and that obviously required education. Mr. Shekau on the other hand believes education for girls is evil.

Pluralism is the way forward; that is respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness. Freedom of consciene and speech are the golden rules of civil societies, and Islam emphasizes that there is no compulsion in religion.

The more we push them, we essentially tell them to dig in. Dialogue opens up opportunities with least damage and least cost. On our part in the west, we have failed to communicate to the world that our education system is designed to deliver good for the society at large. It is necessary for us to learn and share about each other in a world of increasing conflicts to mitigate and to  nurture goodwill. We had a successful event in Florida when Pastor Jones wanted to burn 3000 copies of Quran, full report at www.WorldMuslimCongress.com

Poor Religion has been an easy target of blame for the evils men do, as if it is a tangible being that can be beat up, butchered, buried and put to rest. Blaming religions does not do any good, its like barking at the wrong tree, but getting to the individuals and having a conversation with them increased the chances of building cohesive societies.

 
Media Contact
Mike Mohamed Ghouse
(214) 325-1916
MikeGhouse@aol.com



...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Texas Faith: Boko Haram, false prophets and phony messiahs

The Muslims around the world have avoided their responsibility in asking Mr. Shekau to have a conversation and acknowledge what God says in multiple verses in Quran including 4:19 (Asad translation), “O YOU who have attained to faith! It is not lawful for you to [try to] become heirs to your wives [by holding onto them] against their will; and neither shall you keep them under constraint with a view to taking away anything of what you may have given them, unless it be that they have become guilty, in an obvious man¬ner, of immoral conduct. …” These are innocent girls this man is holding against their will.

URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/05/texas-faith-boko-haram-false-prophets.html


Mike Ghouse


Texas Faith: Boko Haram, false prophets and phony messiahs
By Rudolph Bush | rbush@dallasnews.com | 10:45 am on May 13, 2014 | Permalink

Girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok, Nigeria (AP Photo)

In Nigeria, a nation awaits the fate of 276 girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Like so many groups before it, this one is led by a man who claims direct contact with God. History is filled with false prophets and phony messiahs. Faith is twisted to justify the most horrible acts. What can believers in all parts of the world do to resist and challenge such people? And in our own part of the world, how do we separate the subtler difference between those who use faith for their own ends and those who are truly trying to bring us closer to God?


Mike Ghouse, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas


Poor Religion has been an easy target of blame for the evils men do, as if it is a tangible being that can be beat up, butchered, buried and put to rest. Myths are manufactured about “other religions” without any substantiation; it is an old business of maligning others to have a variety of gains, but messing up the long term cohesiveness of the societies, thus each one of us.

Finding the truth is our own responsibility, as it brings relief to each one of us, and removes fears and prejudices towards the others. Indeed, that was the unwritten purpose of religion; to create societies where no one had to live in fear of the other. Isn’t that the bottom line of God’s will? As a society we have faltered in blaming the religion for the acts of individuals.

Does blaming a religion mitigate the conflicts or aggravate them? Do we separate the subtler difference between those who use faith for their own ends, and those who are trying to do the right thing?


A majority of people of faith shrink from the responsibility of speaking up, and instead flame the blame and mess up societal harmony even further. I will share two extreme examples of the brutes in a civilized society like ours and “developing societies like Nigeria” in this case.

In 2009, the words of Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas generated fear, anxieties hate and ill-will, it was him and not the reflection of his Church, even if the congregation sheepishly clapped and gave a standing ovation in the Church when the pastor said, “Islam is an evil evil religion and Quraan is a book written by a false prophet” with full passion. The religious clergy of different faiths in Dallas did the right thing, they spoke up and together we held a conference on Quran led by this panelist of Dallas Morning News, the story in video and print is captured at www.QuraanConference.com in its entirety.

Going to the “lower end of the civility” (per bigots) in Nigeria , Abubakar Shekau the Chief of Boko Haram shamelessly said that, “God instructed me to sell them (the 276 girls), they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions.” Like Pastor Jeffress he has duped his congregation and the world to believe that it is his religion that made him do or say the the wrongs.

The Muslims around the world have avoided their responsibility in asking Mr. Shekau to have a conversation and acknowledge what God says in multiple verses in Quran including 4:19 (Asad translation), “O YOU who have attained to faith! It is not lawful for you to [try to] become heirs to your wives [by holding onto them] against their will; and neither shall you keep them under constraint with a view to taking away anything of what you may have given them, unless it be that they have become guilty, in an obvious man¬ner, of immoral conduct. …” These are innocent girls this man is holding against their will.

Muslims rightfully claim that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and he was the first law giver who liberated women from the clutches of men’s oppression, and declared that men and women are each other’s protectors, and a woman has a right to decide who she marries (1400 years ago, whereas she was considered a chattel in the west until a hundred years ago), and has the right to divorce and own her own property separately. Mr. Shekau is going against the prophet, and it needs to be called out.

The first word revealed to the Prophet was “Learn” and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had famously said, “Learn, even if you have to go to China to learn, do it, learning is important, “he further beefed it up by adding that a woman’s education is a must, as she must willingly sign the marriage or a business contract and that obviously required education. Mr. Shekau on the other hand believes education for girls is evil.

The more we push them, we essentially tell them to dig in. Dialogue opens up opportunities with least damage and least cost. On our part in the west, we have failed to communicate to the world that our education system is designed to deliver good for the society at large. It is necessary for us to learn and share about each other in a world of increasing conflicts to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill. Pluralism is the way forward; that is respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness.


To read the other panelists point of view, please go to Dallas Morning News at: http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/05/texas-faith-boko-haram-false-prophets-and-phony-messiahs.html/#more-39000

...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dealing with Boko Haram - the abducters of nearly 300 school girls in Nigeria

DEALING WITH BOKO HARAM – THE ABDUCTERS OF 300 GIRLS IN NIGERIA
URL - http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2014/05/dealing-with-boko-haram-abducters-of.html

Education (western) is not acceptable to these men in Nigeria, and have abducted nearly 300 girls from schools and threatening to sell or do horrible things to them, it is painful to the parents. Education may just be a front, as it turns out they are willing to release the girls if Nigerian government releases certain prisoners that belong to the group. Here is another case of Taliban in development, are they beyond dialogue?

The more we push them or Bush them, we would be essentially telling them to dig in their heels and stick to their position – Dialogue opens up opportunities with least damage and least cost. I have been thinking of going there and listening to them, perhaps take a Muslim delegation to have a dialogue


Abubakar Shekau, chieftan of Boko Haram shamelessly says that he’s been instructed by God to do what he’s doing and that is, "“God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions”. How can anyone even believe that when in the Quran, Allah swt says:-

“O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them – except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good.” [Quran 4:19]|


Your thoughts?

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net


Below piece - Source unknown

Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists?


The mass abduction of almost 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram has captured the attention of the nation, taken social media by storm and thrown the terror group directly into the forefront of the public's consciousness. But what is Boko Haram, and why is the group only making headlines now?

Q What is Boko Haram?

Boko Haram is a militant Islamist group based in the northeast of Nigeria, north Cameroon and Niger.

The group's official name is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic translates as: "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad".

Founded in 2001 by Mohammed Yusuf, Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden" in the local Hausa language, began their insurgency in 2009 in Nigeria's Borno state.

Now led by Abubakar Shekau after Yusuf was killed in 2009, the group is fighting to overthrow to government in order to create an Islamic state and promotes a version of Islam which makes it "haram" for Muslims to partake in political or social activity associated with Western society.

Since its insurgency began, Boko Haram has carried out increasingly deadly attacks on schools, pupils and teachers in the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria.

Q What is the current situation?

On 14 April, 276 girls aged between 16 and 18 were kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School in rural Chibok, in the north-eastern Borno state. Boko Haram later claimed responsibility for the abductions in a video, where Shekau threatened to sell the girls as slaves and marry them off because "God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry on his work."

A further eight school girls were abducted from a Nigerian village by the group this week. Many fear some of the girls have already been trafficked into neighbouring neighbouring Chad and Cameroon.

Q Is this the first time such an attack has taken place?

No. Boko Haram has stepped up its campaign against Western education in recent years and most recently attacked a boarding school in Yobe, where gunman killed 59 pupils in February. In September 2013, the group killed 44 male students and teachers during a night-time raid at an agricultural college in the state.

Q Why is Boko Haram's insurgency suddenly attracting so much attention?

Social media appears to be a driving force behind the world-wide attention focused on this particular attack, with many media-friendly celebrities using the hashtag #bring back our girls on Twitter to raise awareness. Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway recently used the hashtag to lead a demonstration in America calling for their safe return, while Angelina Jolie used the premiere of her latest film to condemn the abduction as "an unthinkable cruelty".

Q What is the #bring back our girls hashtag and how did it start?

The 'bring back our girls' hashtag was first used by Nigerian lawyer in Abuja, Ibrahim M Abdullahi, who tweeted the call during a speech by the vice-president of the World Bank for Africa. The hashtag was quickly adopted by desperate mothers of the missing girls who would write it on placards during protests, before high profile celebrities, including Michelle Obama posted images holding cards reading #bringbackourgirls.

Q How has it made an impact? 

The hashtag has been tweeted more than one million times since it began trending two weeks ago. It appears to be keeping the abduction in the public eye, but its effectiveness has become a point of debate. Many have argued simply tweeting a hashtag will not assist the search efforts for the missing girls, while others have accused famous figures of exploiting the campaign and using it to generate self-publicity.

Q Why are world leaders becoming involved?

World leaders have appeared reluctant to intervene in Boko Haram's activities despite the many atrocities the group have claimed responsibility for in the past.

But this well-publicised attack has seen the international community step forward and very publicly offer their assistance in the search.

The US has agreed to send a team of up to 10 military personnel comprising experts in logistics, communications and intelligence planning, to join State Department and Justice Department officers and British SAS liaison officers are understood to be already in Abuja, where they are looking at ways to assist rescue efforts.

But some have argued rescuing the children should be the responsibility of Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan, who has been widely-criticised for failing to take the girls' predicament seriously until domestic and international pressure forced him to do so some two weeks after the 14 April incident.

Others have criticised countries for not sending more support. Parents of the missing school girls have pleaded with world leaders to send more help in order to locate their missing children. One mother, Shettima Haruma, said parents need "the government to get American people to come and help us".

"We beg Nigerians, those in another country like America or (Britain) ... it's three weeks, nearly one month ... (and we haven't) seen any letters from our daughters," Ms Haruma told Sky News.