B U L L E T I N

Happy New Year!

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

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kancha Ilaiah asks, 'Is God a democrat?'

Is God a Democrat? | Foundation for Pluralism 
http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2015/05/kancha-ilaiah-asks-is-god-democrat.html

Jesus's words, lord forgive them for they know not comes to mind on a regular basis, when I hear the intolerance from the religious right; be it Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jewish,  Buddhist and others. 

Lack of conviction in one's faith breeds intolerance towards criticism, whereas firmness in faith can lead us to learn from criticism, explore the infinite wisdom and realize the strength of our faith ; a worthy feeling to have, instead of living in doubt and shooing criticism away. Unfortunately the religious right has to faith in their faith. Criticizing does not make their faith disappear.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, RSS, Lashkar-e-Tayaba, Talibans, Jamat -e- Islam, orthodox Jews, and a few evangelicals do not have faith in their religion and become intolerant when they hear a different point of view. 


I hope the court does not entertain this case, it is silly.


Mike Ghouse
Foundation for Pluralism
# # # 


Case filed against social scientist Kancha Ilaiah for asking, 'Is God a democrat?'

Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists say academician's article in a Telugu newspaper is offensive.
Ajaz Ashraf  · May 31, 2015 · 08:25 pm
Photo Credit: YouTube.com
Courtesy - Scroll.in


The Hyderabad police have registered a case against renowned social scientist Kancha Ilaiah, after Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists complained that an opinion piece he wrote in the Telugu newspaper Andhra Jyothi had hurt their religious sentiments.


They filed their complaint at Hyderabad’s Sultan Bazar Station was filed on May 9, the day Ilaiah’s article titled Devudu Prajasamya Vada Kada? (Is God a democrat?) was published.
VHP activists Pagudakula Balaswamy, Thirupathi Naik and two others accused Ilaiah of comparing Hinduism with Islam and Christianity, insulting Hindu Gods by comparing them to mortals, mocking their worship, and for attempting to trigger clashes between upper and lower classes (by which they presumably meant castes).

On the basis of their complaint, Inspector P. Shiva Shankar Rao wrote a letter to the Senior Assistant Public Prosecutor, who advised the police to register a case under Section 153 (A) and Section 295 (A), which empower the authorities to act against people who commit deliberate and malicious acts aiming at outraging religious sentiment and spreading enmity between groups.

Case under investigation

The public prosecutor’s legal opinion led to a case being filed on May 15 against Ilaiah, the management of the Andhra Jyothi newspaper, its editor and publisher. The case is currently under investigation, at the completion of which a decision will be taken to whether to charge sheet them.

A police officer at the station told Scroll that Ilaiah is in the habit of articulating provocative views in his articles, which can and do hurt the sentiments of people. “Why does he have to make comments against practices which are dear to people?” the officer said, declining to give his name.

The central thesis of the article is that a society’s social and political structures are profoundly influenced by its conception of God and by its religious beliefs.

Three conceptions of God

Ilaiah delineates three types of Gods: an Abstract God, one who is shapeless and eternal; individuals who were prophets but were transformed into Gods; and Gods imagined as humans. Each category conveys certain ideas through their attributes, Ilaiah claims.
The Abstract God has democratic qualities, he contended. The first of these characteristics, as expressed in the Bible and the Koran, is that God “has created all human beings equal”. The second democratic character of this kind of God is that humans are created superior to all animals (including the cow), and “nature and its creatures have been created for food and other human purposes”.

Both Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammad propounded these ideas, he said. However, in contrast to the Prophet Mohammad, Christ acquired the status of God, as did Gautam Buddha, he writes. “Buddha and Jesus are against violence,” he wrote. “Their teaching inspired hopes for equality across the whole human race. Both their life stories have extended discussions on societal construction, change in man-woman relationships, desired forms of rule and democratic values.”

However, Ilaiah rates Jesus Christ ahead of Buddha in espousing democratic ideals. “His fight for the freedom of Samaritans (Dalits over there), women, Gentile men and women, slaves and prostitutes, seem to be one step ahead of the Buddha’s democratic values,” he claimed.  “He is the one who clearly stated about the necessity of separating state and religion.”

Separating religion and state

The social scientist wrote that Christ’s teachings have helped Christian countries to evolve democratic principles. By contrast, despite the great emphasis in the Koran on the equality of all humans, there was no separation of religion and state during the life of Prophet Mohammad and during the reign of the four Caliphs. This may be why dictatorships have dominated Muslim countries, which have feeble democratic traditions, Ilaiah suggested.
Next, Ilaiah turns to the third category – God as imagined as humans. Though this type of Gods is found around the world, he says it is only in India they are divided into two entities: “Vishnu and his clan of incarnations” and “Shiva and the divine powers created around him”. The Saiva school’s impact on contemporary India was limited, he writes. It did not really create social-political principles. By contrast, institutions and political parties in India have declared “spiritual and political allegiance to Vaishnavism and its Gods”.

Ilaiah, therefore, suggests that it is more important to study the impact of Vaishnavism on Indian society. The narratives and imagery around Rama and Krishna, who are incarnations of Vishnu, involved violence and weaponry such as the chakram, bow and arrow and the trishul (trident), he writes. This has a bearing on human relations, he contends.

Caste identities

Ilaiah also alleges that these narratives contain what he calls the “counter-democratic process”. The fact that these Gods have identities rooted in the Kshatriya caste “has greatly helped in building an undemocratic system”, he wrote.

The article ends with a few questions: “If the God believed by a person doesn’t have democratic values, where will this person get those democratic values from? In fact, shouldn’t they explain why they create such Gods who are violent, undemocratic and anti-women?”

Ilaiah told Scroll that he was not perturbed by the case. “I am into transforming thought,” he said. “Such pressure is expected. I am not scared. My motive is to make the nation rethink its uncivilised conduct.”

Statement of support

He is not without his supporters. On May 27, Andhra Jyothi  carried a statement by 76 Telugu writers, intellectuals and artists  backing Ilaiah. The statement said, “Prof. Kancha Ilaiah wrote an article by describing the democratic values and showing how negative spiritual values come in the way of development of national economic, social and political future.”

His supporters urged his opponents to counter his arguments in articles of their own. “Instead, in order to control Prof. Ilaiah’s ideas, some forces are resorting to legal and coercive methods, which cannot be supported by anybody,” the statement said.

The statement concludes, “Today, Kancha Ilaiah’s writings are making the world think afresh. Only the communal bigots are unable to understand those ideas.”
Ajaz Ashraf is a journalist from Delhi. His novel, The Hour Before Dawn, published by HarperCollins, is available in bookstores.


We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in

Friday, May 29, 2015

Bikers draw Muhammad Cartoons in Arizona

PRESS RELEASE

 Contact:
Mike Ghouse, President
America Together Foundation
Dallas, TX | Washington DC
(214) 325-1916

MikeGhouse@aol.com

www.AmericansTogether.org

Let the Bikers draw Muhammad Cartoons in Arizona


Mike Ghouse of America Together Foundation, has released the following statements.

Let this be clear to my fellow Americans, w
e all have a collective responsibility to communicate and understand different values and learn to respect the otherness of others. ( An appeal to add to Friday Sermons is also made at the bottom).  

Let the Bikers draw cartoons of the Prophet, look to this as an opportunity to follow the practice of the prophet, he was a mercy to mankind and it is time for Muslims to demonstrate that.  What did he do when he was harassed on his way to Taif? He prayed in the tradition of Jesus, "forgive them God, for they know not".  God's will was to show a way to build better societies by mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill and not aggravating it.  Thus he turned the other check as Jesus had and prayed for the well being of all.


This Friday, I urge Muslims around American Mosques to open up their hearts an minds of understanding, instead of sulking, retrieving to a corner, getting angry or harboring ill-will, I ask them to pray for the well being of Biker Americans in their Friday Sermons across the land and hopefully across the globe. Let them make an effort to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  Let’s do our part right and seek God’s help in repairing our relationships.


I request the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix to welcome the guests with abundant supply of bottled water, leave it on the tables outside. If I can make it, I would like to be there and meet with our biker brothers and sisters.  I am one of them in free spirit, and one of you in practicing Prophet’s kindness.  More details at:  www.AmericansTogether.org

The free speech is an enduring value and the hallmark of civilizations, and we simply cannot compromise on it, however much a few may abuse it.  Indeed, Free speech is one strong element that will bind Americans together. 

Criticism can fade away or rain on us depending on how we respond to it. Lack of conviction in one's faith breeds intolerance towards criticism, whereas firmness in faith can lead us to learn from criticism, explore the infinite wisdom and realize the strength of our faith (Imaan); a worthy feeling to have, instead of living in doubt and shooing criticism away.

We need to handle criticism of Quran, Islam and the Prophet with grace, and respond to it gracefully. At least it increases the chances of mitigating the conflict and restoring harmony. The other way around is fighting back, which guarantees further aggravation of the conflict and isolation. Let freedom of speech remain the corner stone of Islam.

I urge fellow Muslims to be open to all the criticism with confidence, let the doors of communications be open.  Islam stands on its own; it does not need our defense, and it is silly to protect God or the Prophet, they are not weaklings or our property to protect, they belong to the whole universe, don't they?

APPEAL FOR FRIDAY SERMONS:


I hope and pray that we will let the world know that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to mankind, through our acts.   God willing,  over a period of time, we will replace the wrong perceptions accumulated about us in the last 30 years,  and go back to good times of respecting each other. Ask your Imam to pray for the well being, safety and security of every American whether we agree with him or not. Prophet Muhammad was all about mitigating conflicts and nurturing good will, and let's consciously do that, so once again the world can believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to mankind.  



As Muslims we seriously appreciate the gains we have had, that far outweigh the tensions given by a few who know not.
# # #

 References:




  • Criticism of Islam, Prophet and Quran
    http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2012/11/criticism-of-islam-prophet-muhammad.html
    Thank you


    mike
    Mike Ghouse, Speaker
    Motivation | Pluralism | Human Rights | Religion.
    (214) 325-1916 text/talk

    ............................................................................................................................... 

    Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on PluralismIslam,IndiaIsrael-PalestinePolitics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News with Sean Hannity and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Texas Faith: Are there cracks in America’s Christian foundation?

RACKS IN CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION | THE GHOUSE DIARY
http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2015/05/texas-faith-are-there-cracks-in.html 

If those (few) church leaders quit bashing other religions, they will not lose their membership to Islam, Hinduism, Judaism or the “Nones.” The story is same from the other pulpits, if they stop claiming superiority of their religion, they will not lose their membership either. Let there be no prejudice and hate coming out of church pulpits, then things will turn around and we may see people flocking to the places of worship back again.


Mike Ghouse 
The GhouseDiary.com
# # #

Published - Dallas Morning News: May 26, 2015 3:06 pm
Joel Thornton

The latest Pew study on religion wasn’t great news for America’s Christian churches. In the last seven years, the percentage of adults identifying themselves as Christians has dropped from 78.4 percent to 70.6 percent. That might not sound huge, but if it continues falling at that pace, Christians will make up a minority of Americans in a few decades.
On the other hand, faiths such as Judaism, Islam and Hinduism are showing solid growth in our country. But the group making the biggest splash is “Nones” – atheists, agnostics and others who profess no religious affiliation. Many of them are millennials, and their numbers are growing.
Is Christianity becoming less important to Americans?


Are churches not meeting people’s needs? Do people think faith in a higher being is irrelevant in today’s wired society? Is there a feeling that you have to check your brain at the door when you listen to a sermon at church or go to a Bible study?

What do Christian churches have to do lure people back into the pews? And what are Islam, Judaism and Hinduism doing to raise their numbers?

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas
Fear motivates action, and the majority in every nation, whether it is religious, political, racial or ethnic is constantly worried about their future. The question that haunts them is what will happen to them if minorities will become the majority. Will their lifestyle change, would they be forced to do things against their will?
The answer can be “nothing will go wrong” to “everything can go wrong” and a whole lot of different answers, depending on how we set up the systems.
A good example of assuring ourselves a guaranteed continuation of our values is sticking to our constitution, let our immortal declaration be our guide, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
We cannot go wrong if this is what we inculcate in every one that goes to our schools, we will have safe and sound future knowing, no matter who it is – Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Gays and Lesbians, Pagans or African-Americans, they will stick to the values we all adhere to. South Africa is a shining example of such a change, when the white minority turned over the governance to black majority, nothing went wrong. Thanks to the leadership of Nelson Mandela.
What binds us is our understanding of the freedom of speech; the recent controversies brought out many interviews from the street – almost all Americans stood up for freedom of speech. Likewise, if we can continue to inculcate the values of freedom, we can be rest assured that no matter who becomes the majority, our values, shared values, emanating from the wisdom of our founding fathers will endure.
In behalf of Muslims, I want to assure you this. Let there be no doubt about it, Muslims are for free speech. When we stand up for free speech, we align with most Americans; this is one thread that binds us with fellow Americans more than any other thread.
I urge fellow Muslims to be open to all the criticism with confidence, don’t shut it, and let freedom of speech remain the corner stone of Islam. Islam stands on its own; it does not need our defense, and it is silly to protect God or the Prophet, they are not weaklings or our property to protect, they belong to the whole universe, don’t they?
Christianity remains an important value associated with American values; however, the nonbiblical hate sermons in a few churches, particularly the evangelical ones will drive people away. If you recall the controversy unleashed by Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, when he called the Quran an evil book, a whole lot of the members clapped and rejoiced. That kind of hate will drive many sensitive men and women out of that church. You will find many who have walked away from Hagee’s church, while Joel Osteen gains new members for his inclusive and sensitive biblical sermons.
Not all churches are losing the membership, but those who are, they can go back to the basics and embrace true teachings of Jesus; of love and embracing the whole humanity. Their hate for gays and lesbians, Muslims, African-Americans and subtle hate for Jews and Hindus need to go. Let Jesus be the example, and they cannot lose but gain a whole of membership.
If those few church leaders quit bashing Islam, they will not lose their membership to Islam, Hinduism or Judaism or the “Nones.” The story is same from the other pulpits, if they stop claiming superiority of their religion, they will not lose their membership either. Let there be no prejudice and hate coming out of church pulpits, then things will turn around and we may see people flocking to the places of worship again.

To read the opinion of other ten panelists, please visit Dallas Morning News at  http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2015/05/texas-faith-are-there-cracks-in-americas-christian-foundation.html/#more-55642

Thank you

mike

Mike Ghouse, Speaker
Motivational | Pluralism | Human Rights | Religion.
(214) 325-1916 text/talk

............................................................................................................... 

Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on PluralismIslamIndiaIsrael-PalestinePolitics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mithi: Where a Hindu fasts and a Muslim does not slaughter cows

Mithi, Pakistan - a Pluralism Town | Foundation for Pluralism


Hell, this is not an easy note, I had to write several times, as it did not meet my criteria of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing goodwill. So, I deleted all of that and here is short one now.

Mithi is a model town of Pluralism in Pakistan. Someday, I have to visit this place. Right now the good news is that the Interfaith movement has taken roots in Pakistan, they did a good job in forming a circle around a Church in Lahore, and during the Diwali a circle around the temple for Hindus to celebrate without fear. I am encouraged by it, this is a good beginning and more good will be coming.



I pray that the People of Pakistan will speak up, and the majority voices will be loud enough to drown the voices of bigotry against Ahmadiyya, Shia and Ismaili  Muslims. It's seems its gotten little better with Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. Kidnapping and forced conversions of Hindu Girls is not in news for the last six months. Bigotry is not the monopoly of any one group. For every Muslim bigot, there is one in Christians, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists and others. No one can cast the first stone on the others.


In India right now, a few bigoted Hindus are tarnishing the image of Hinduism, the majority needs to speak up before they are labeled as intolerant ones. The irony of majority (India, Pakistan, US or any where) is that they do not see the problem. They are like the bad husbands who scream at the wife, and expect her to be happy because they provide her a place to live. What is she complaining about? Unless there is justice in the society, no society will fully prosper, if injustice reaches its peak, every thing will collapse for every one. It is in our interest to see that Justice remains the corner stone of the society. I like to see the people in majority speak up against injustice.

Pluralism calls for people to respect the otherness of others. I will be making a video where a Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian and a Sikh will be ordering different foods in a restaurant on the same table and see how it should be handled.  We will show both the intolerant and pluralistic ways of dealing with the situation.  Any one wants to fund it?

May God give us guidance to be just to every human. May God give us the wisdom not to judge any human; he alone is the master of the Day of Judgment. 


Mike Ghouse
Foundation for Pluralism 
# # #

Mithi: Where a Hindu fasts and a Muslim does not slaughter cows
http://www.dawn.com/news/1167315/mithi-where-a-hindu-fasts-and-a-muslim-does-not-slaughter-cows 


Pakistan has become synonymous with terrorism. On most local and international news channels, we hear about minorities getting slaughtered at the hands of extremists; attacks on temples, churches, imambargahs; or the forced conversions of Hindus and Christians in the country.

I reckon you might be pleasantly surprised to know that there is a small town in Tharparkar, a district of the Sindh province where none of this is happening.

Mithi is one of the few towns in Pakistan where Muslims do not form the majority. In this quiet portion of a sprawling desert, both Hindus and Muslims have lived together like brothers since the creation of Pakistan.

In November 2014, when I was selected for a three-week fellowship programme in the United States, I met a gentleman from Sindh who was also among my batch. He introduced himself like this:

"I am a Hindu from Sindh, but throughout my life I have lived with Muslims and this is why during Ramazan, we fast along with them; and when it is Muharram, us Hindu boys lead the procession because this is the culture which Sufism has given us".

I was dumbstruck at the idea of a Hindu fasting in Ramazan or leading a Muharram procession. Was this actually true?

Then, in February this year, I happened to travel to Tharparkar with friends to view the drought-affected areas and launch some projects to overcome the disaster that hits every year. After a 20-hour arduous road and rail journey, I finally reached the quaint little town of Mithi, and here I experienced what I had never expected to see in a Pakistani town.





Mithi is as sweet as the name it has been given. Approximately 80 per cent of the population here is Hindu. It is a town where Muslims, out of respect for Hindus, do not slaughter cows; and where Hindus, out of respect for Muslim rites, have never organised any marriage ceremonies or celebrations during the month of Muharram.

Not only that, the Hindus of Mithi also happily participate in providing food and drinks for Muslims during Ramazan, and both groups exchange sweets on Eid and Diwali. The crime rate in Mithi is at two per cent and never has anyone witnessed any incident of religious intolerance.


Speaking with the locals of Mithi, I discovered that here, one could find Hindu speakers organising majaalis in Muharram – something I haven't seen anywhere else in Pakistan – and as my friend in the United States had stated, I heard Hindus sharing their account of Muharram, where they led Ashura processions and provided assistance to procession members in a city where Muslims hardly made up 20 per cent of the population.

A Muslim resident of Thar shared his account by saying:

"In our village, Hindus and Muslims have been living together for decades and there has not been a single day, when I have seen a religious conflict. No loud speaker is used for Azaan at the time when Hindus are worshiping in their temple, and no bells are rung when it is time for namaz. Nobody eats in public when it is Ramazan and Holi is played by every member of the village."

I had always heard stories about interfaith harmony from Sindh but it was so much more amazing to see it firsthand. The love and brotherhood that exists between the Hindus and Muslims of Mithi is a perfect example of pluralism and the tolerant Sufi culture of Sindh.

The author, with his team from 'Humans of Pakistan' seen with Mr Nizam (extreme left), a Muslim, and Mama Vishan (extreme right), a Hindu, who are running a welfare organisation which provides blood donations and ambulance services to the people of Mithi. The friendship between Nizam and Vishan goes back 25 years.
The author, with his team from 'Humans of Pakistan' seen with Mr Nizam (extreme left), a Muslim, and Mama Vishan (extreme right), a Hindu, who are running a welfare organisation which provides blood donations and ambulance services to the people of Mithi. The friendship between Nizam and Vishan goes back 25 years.
If you think Pakistan is all about bombing churches, destroying temples, Talibanisation, slaughtering religious minorities, and forced conversion, I would request you to visit Mithi at least once.


Mithi gives interfaith harmony a new meaning. Religious intolerance elsewhere has barely made a dent in Hindu-Muslim brotherhood over here. They live, eat, and work together, because according to them, it is in their culture.

All religions contradict each other, but that does not mean their followers should make their own colonies on that base alone.

People can and do coexist. It is only the bigots who cannot, and they can be found in every religious group. We must not let them take over the beautiful communities of Pakistan.

Respecting each others' beliefs is the solution of a lot of Pakistan's current predicaments. Religions differ, humans don't.



--
WHAT IS PLURALISM?
"It is respecting the otherness of others" 

We have crystallized the definition of pluralism to, “respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the uniqueness of each one of us”. Pluralism is nothing but an attitude of live and let live, and it is applicable in every aspect of life including culture, society, religion, politics, gender, food, ethnicity, race and other uniqueness’s.
By the end of 2020, there will not be a major city in America, and perhaps in the world, where you will not find people of different faiths, cultures, ethnicities, races, nationalities and social backgrounds working, eating, playing, marrying, and doing things together.

We need to prepare ourselves for those eventualities to prevent possible conflicts, and lay a good foundation for nurturing goodwill and effective functioning of the societies. Exclusive communities will become a thing of the past.  If you live amidst others, you must also respect the otherness of others, as you expect them to do the same for you.

You are who you are, and I am who I am. As long as we don't mess with each others space, sustenance and nurturance, and mind our own business, we all will do well.  If we can learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Pluralism is not a set of rules, it is simply the attitude of live and let live religiously, politically, culturally and socially.  We are committed to building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of a fellow being.


Mike Ghouse

Texas Faith: Profiting from war

So, we the good people, the people of faith should take the responsibility to speak out against war and seek to resolve the issues through a dialogue. Think about it, when God created animals, he equipped them with horns, fangs and paws to resolve their disputes, where as he did not give any of that to us – but gave us a tongue instead; to dialogue and resolve the disputes. - Mike Ghouse
# # # 

Texas Faith: Profiting from warRudolph Bush Follow @dallaspolitics Email rbush@dallasnews.comPublished: May 15, 2015 2:36 pm
In a recent news report Pope Francis was quoted as saying “Many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war.” “Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms. It’s the industry of death.”
An unexploded bomb, an unused bullet, is an economic dead end to military manufacturers. America has been at war 93% of the time: 222 out of 239 years since 1776. Military cast-offs has led to the the hyper-arming of municipal police departments. Over half of the national budget goes to the military while our infrastructure crumbles and people suffer.
His comments echo those of former President Dwight Eisnehower, who warned us of the danger of a military industrial complex.
Is Pope Francis right? Is it time to reduce our war habit by reigning in arms merchants? And what role should our faith leaders play in urging leaders of free and unfree nations to resist the urge to war.
(Thanks to contributor Amy Martin for submitting this week’s question.)
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas
Faith leaders shoulder one of the most important responsibilities to preserve peace and harmony of the world we live in, as they have passionately, voluntarily or professionally chosen to propagate God’s will to sustain peace on earth. This includes among other things, the obligation to urge the political leaders from holding on to the temptations of going to war.
And what is God’s will? In the simplest words, he created a fully integrated, interconnected world wide web in harmony and balance, and wants us humans, who are endowed with the ability to manage our surroundings to preserve and maintain that balance (Quran, 55:1-13) for our own good. It’s a physical world for survival and spiritual world for peace of mind and healthy living.
Whether it is God, evolution or big bang, whatever created the universe we live in, is in perfect balance, if not we would not exist. The planets perform their duty precisely; seasons change on time, life is programmed precisely through a sperm and an egg and everything else runs on schedule with of course built-in anomalies. On a micro level, if our own bodies are not in balance, we lose our health.
The Native American Chief, Seattle had said, “… we are merely a strand in this web, and if we mess with it, we mess the whole system and eventually ourselves in the end.”
We the people of faith are all mini- avatars of Krishna, who had said, whenever the world goes awry, when people don’t trust each other, lie, betray, mess with the families of others, and go off the tract of righteousness (dharma) and cause chaos and insecurity for all, and then the self balancing act automatically goes into gear. Krishna then adds someone or I will emerge from among you to restore the dharma. Wasn’t that precisely what Moses, Jesus, Muhammad (pbuh), Buddha, Rama, Zoroaster, Nanak, Confucius and all the great Shamans in native traditions did?
Every religion is a natural system of the society designed to preserve the creation both physically and spiritually. When the people of faith volunteer to communicate the word of God to sustain that harmony, we have to see that there is an action that goes with it.
Pope Francis is my hero, my mentor and a mercy to the mankind. I am glad he spoke, we have to consistently speak. Edmund Burke’s quote comes to my mind, “evil exists because good people do nothing about it.” Indeed war mongering exists because we have let it happen.
So, we the good people, the people of faith should take the responsibility to speak out against war and seek to resolve the issues through a dialogue. Think about it, when God created animals, he equipped them with horns, fangs and paws to resolve their disputes, where as he did not give any of that to us – but gave us a tongue instead; to dialogue and resolve the disputes.
To stop uncontrollable aggression by the others, war may be needed; otherwise, it shows we have not evolved from an animal to human. Those who seek war are incapable of dialoguing, they cannot think beyond bombing, killing, subduing and pushing others. We the faith leaders need to communicate that and take an assertive stand against wars and war mongers. 

Thanks to Obama, perhaps the first non-war monger president in a 50 year period, who has used intelligence to dialogue and resolve the issues rather than bomb, bomb and mess up others and mess ourselves. On my part, I have decided to camp out in front of the white house should a future president acts like an animal.
To read other Panelist's take, go to Dallas Morning news at - http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2015/05/texas-faith.html/#more-55465

Thank you
mike
Mike Ghouse, President
America Together Foundation
(214) 325-1916 text/talk

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Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism,IslamIndiaIsrael-PalestinePolitics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Warning to Terrorist Baghdadi, caliph of ISIL

Muslims Challenge Al-Baghdadi’s Lunatic Message


Dallas, Texas – May 18, 2015. Al-Baghdadi, the self proclaimed Caliph of ISIL released an audio message on May 14, misrepresenting the values dearly held by millions of Muslims for fourteen centuries.  He said, "Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting” and added, “It is the war of Muslims against infidels."

Mike Ghouse, President of America Together Foundation said, “Al-Baghdadi has angered the entire Muslim world, no one thought he would stoop that low to flip the entire religion to suit crimes against Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  My concern is not only his lunatic statement, as many such men have come and gone, but it is the joy expressed by the war mongers that concerns me. It is, as if Baghdadi has reaffirmed their (false) belief about Islam, and now they can continue to malign Islam.”


We are just coming out of the two longest wars; they not only destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan, but cost billions of dollars and affected thousands of lives here in America.  Now the war Mongers want to put boots on the ground again in the Middle East that is not acceptable.

Al-Baghdadi is a narcissistic dude and is for himself.  The truth is Quran advocates justice with mercy.  It directs the humanity to build cohesive societies where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  A few verses are referenced below.

The entire Muslim world has condemned Al-Baghdadi,  even the rival countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia have condemned, the OIC representing all of the 57 Muslim nations, British Muslims and American Muslims have condemned it. References are given below.

I hope that we capture Al Baghdadi and his soldiers and put them on trial.  We need to demand proof from Al-Baghdadi to produce support for his claim that, “It is the war of Muslims against infidels” from the Quran.  We hope the world will see that it is neither Islam nor the Quran, it is the bad guys.  The world should not let go of this opportunity to put the ISIL ideology die its own death.  We also urge the war-mongers among us to stop looking for excuses to destroy world peace.

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

References continued at: http://americatogetherfoundation.blogspot.com/2015/05/press-release-muslims-challenge-al.html


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Muslim Condemnations  

Baghdadi may have a force of 31,500 his side, and thus far he is the only spokesperson for the group, indeed he is the driving force for this self proclaimed rulership. 
Threat Matrix reports, “Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria number around 20,000 to 31,500 — a figure far higher than previously estimated, the Central Intelligence Agency has said.”

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia’s Highest Religious Authority:  On August 19, Al Jazeera reported that Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, the country’s top religious authority, said that terrorism is anti-Islamic and said that groups like the Islamic State which practice violence are the “number one enemy of Islam”

IranAli Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, addressed the victories of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) against a fleeing Iraqi military in a meeting with Syria’s ambassador to Iran. “The expansion of terrorist elements of [ISIS] and their violent acts in Iraq was a warning for the region,” Shamkhani said. “There is a need for attention and action from governments and the international community.”

USA: On August 15, 2014, the World Muslim congress had called on Muslims to Dedicate Friday Sermons for the Safety of Christians, Yazidis, Shia and Other Minorities at Huffington post. World Muslim Congress of Dallas has urged Obama to go ahead degrade and destroy ISIS in an op-ed at Huffington Post on September 4, 2014.  Just about every American Islamic and Muslim organization has condemned it.  ING has compiled the list.

UK: Huffington Post reported, 100 Sunni and Shiite Imams from the U.K. came together to produce a video denouncing the Islamic State, releasing a statement that they wanted to “come together to emphasize the importance of unity in the UK and to decree ISIS as an illegitimate, vicious group who do not represent Islam in any way.”  
OIC - The Organization of Islamic Cooperation represents all the Muslim majority nations: The Islamic State Has “Nothing to Do with Islam,” Has Committed Crimes “That Cannot Be Tolerated.”  

Quranic Verse

Quran remains a pristine, inclusive book of wisdom committed to building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  
Quran (55: 1-13):  God created an integrated and interconnected world in harmony and balance, and wants us to preserve and maintain that balance.

Quran; (
5:32) (Asad) “Because of this did We ordain unto the children of Israel that if anyone slays a human being-unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth-it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.  And, indeed, there came unto themOur apostles with all evidence of the truth: yet, behold, notwithstanding all this, many of them go on committing all manner of excesses on earth

Quran: (1:1 and 114:1) From the very first verse in the first chapter to last chapter is addressed to the humanity, all the humanity.  Quran is a book of guidance for all.

Quran (49:13)
 (Asad) “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.

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