HAPPY JULY 4TH

Drive Carefully and think of including as many as you can in the celebrations,let each one celebrate in his or her own way. A must read article - July 4th is one of the best Muslim Holidays to celebrate -
God bless America
Mike Ghouse

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

United Voices for America - Saudi Gazette by Tariq Al-Maeena

This article is based on our press release, thanks to Tariq A. Al-Maeena and Saudi Gazette - Mike Ghouse
Last updated: Tuesday, July 07, 2015 5:04 PM
United Voices for America

Tariq A. Al-Maeena


The United States of America recently celebrated its 239th birthday on July 4.  What is not so well known is that Muslims have been an integral part of American heritage. With the declaration of American independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslims.

Morocco, a Muslim country, was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States of America, signing the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, the first of its kind. Next came Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic, followed by the Muslim king Tippu Sultan, the King of Mysore State now in India. Sultan’s congratulatory letter to America remains preserved in a French library. He celebrated America’s independence by bursting firecrackers in his home state of Srirangapatna.

So what does July 4th mean to Muslims?  Mike Ghouse a dynamic human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day through the NGO World Muslim Congress, says that “it means everything and the biggest thing is freedom. Islam is indeed about freedom of conscience, justice and liberty."

He adds that the Pledge of Allegiance is one of the most cherished statements for Muslims: "One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." There are several verses in the Holy Qur’an that assert those values, so it’s like coming home for Muslims.

The concept of equality is etched and nurtured in the Muslim psyche in every ritual and spiritual practice of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered the following words in his last sermon: "All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action." Muslims hold this declaration close to their hearts.

America’s founding fathers had a vision and laid the groundwork for a sustainable cohesive America for centuries to come: “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."

However, that has not always played well with some racist elements and opportunists.  As Mike reminds us, Donald Sterling, the basketball billionaire, and Don Imus, the popular American radio host, and several others faced severe retribution for racial slurs.

In recent years, American Muslims have become an easy target for abuse without any consequence. Some US presidential candidates top the list for bigotry, having said that they would not hire a Muslim in their cabinet.

Last week, Congressman Peter King (R-NY), whom I suspect to be a closet AIPAC card-carrying member, took to the airwaves to send a message to American-Muslims ahead of the 4th of July weekend.  His message is so offensive that if it was said to or about any other American minority group, there would have been an uproar. But because the targets of his bigotry were Muslims, there was not much of a reaction or waves of condemnation.  

In a radio interview Congressman King, who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, warned of an imminent attack by a terrorist from within the Muslim community during the Independence Day celebrations. Playing down the terrorist actions of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine people in a church in Charleston, SC, King also disregarded new research by the think tank New America and the New York Times which found that white supremacists and non-Muslim homegrown extremists have killed far more Americans than Muslim radicals.

Why do Peter King and other lawmakers feel that it is acceptable to lie about and attack Muslim communities in the USA?  Because they think that American Muslims will not fight back, they think Muslims cannot hurt them on election day, and they think Muslims will just sit back and take it.

United Voices for America, another NGO operating in the US is dedicated to defeating political bigotry and the anti-Muslim movement. And they have taken an issue with this racial stereotyping by Peter King. They should be supported for their stance.

As Mike says: “America is one of the most beautiful things that has happened to Muslims. As American Muslims, we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in the US Constitution.”  And to do that, American Muslims should not continue to be slurred by racists such as Peter King and make their voices heard on election day.


— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena

Happy 4th - Muslims are an integral part of American Heritage

This article is published in 125 Newspapers around the world as a Press release, and several others as an article:

Americans Together
Arab News
Oped News
Muslim Times
SaddaHaq
The Ghouse diary


Happy 4th - Muslims are an integral part of American Heritage



Upon declaration of our independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslims and one of them was a Muslim from India.

Americans, Indians and Muslims have a connection since the very beginning of our independence. We were all opposed to colonial rule, and fought them and chased the British out of America, but they continued to rule India through divide and conquer for another 150 years.

Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States of America, signing the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, the first of its kind. Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic, was the next to recognize American independence (February 26, 1782) and Tippu Sultan, the King of Mysore State (India) was the third. According to Dr. Range Gowda, Tippu Sultan's historiographer, the congratulatory letter to America is preserved in a French Library. Tippu celebrated America's independence by bursting fire crackers in Srirangapatna.



What does July 4th mean to Muslims and Indians?

It means everything and the biggest thing is freedom. Islam is indeed about freedom of conscience, justice and liberty.

The Pledge of Allegiance is one of the most cherished statements for Muslims, "One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." There are several verses in the Quran that assert those values, so it's like coming home for Muslims.

The concept of equality is etched and nurtured in the Muslim psyche in every ritual and spiritual practice of Islam. Prophet Muhammad delivered the following words in his last sermon, "All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action." Muslims hold this declaration close to their hearts and as American Muslims, "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

The raging battle among Americans to keep the state and church apart resonates with Muslims living in America as the Quran speaks out to them, 49:13- "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware." Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of the otherness of others and appreciate a different point of view without having to agree with it.

Honoring merit appeals to Muslims: you can be who you want to be and Muslims bpast about their ability to rise on the basis of their merit. The Prophet tells his own daughter that she will not get a free pass to paradise because she is a daughter of the prophet; she has to earn it on her own through good deeds to fellow beings, such is the emphasis placed on merit and individual responsibility. That is what capitalism, democracy and America are all about.

Every immigrant in general and a Muslim in particular loves the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty. They see the wholesomeness of justice in America and they love America for it. An observant Muslim recites at least 17 times a day that God alone is the judge and we must refrain from judging others.

On July 4, 2015 we will be celebrating the 239th birthday of America. It is time to reflect upon our journey from the historic declaration of independence on July 4th, 1776 to July 4th, 2015.
Our Founding Fathers had a vision and laid the ground work for a sustainable cohesive America for centuries to come, " 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."

We have come a long way, and still have miles to go to realize the above truths, and to fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. Indeed, the last two months have packed an incredible amount of events in our history. The pulling down of the confederate Flag in several states after the tragic events in Charleston, South Carolina gives us a lot of hope, the Supreme court's landmark decision to make same sex marriage legal brings freedom to the GLBT community; yet another decision by the Supreme Court brought freedom to those who were vulnerable, the sick and the poor Americans. Thanks to President Obama for making health care a reality for all Americans. The affordable care Act is the law of the land now.

First, I pray for the spirit of that freedom to be born again, again and again every year, for eternity. Indeed, we are the land of the free and the brave. The whole world looks up to America with admiration, although we still have a few more milestones to achieve.

Donald Sterling, the basketball billionaire and Don Imus, the popular American Radio host and several others faced severe retribution for racial slurs. Rick Sanchez and countless Senators and Congress persons were taken to task for making Anti-Semitic comments. Now thank God for the Supreme Court, no one will dare abuse the freedom of these three communities: African Americans, Jews and the LGBT community.
Two more communities, among many need such freedom; women are still not getting equal pay, and I hope the Republicans will join the Democrats and pass that bill.
Who is left behind? Hispanic Immigrants and Muslims!

In 1986, President Reagan brought relief to 3 million undocumented aliens through his amnesty program. Now President Obama is working on freeing 11 million aliens from the tension of separation with their family members. As a nation we need to collectively reflect on the issue and do the right thing; legalize those here with agreed upon conditions.

In recent years, American Muslims have become an easy target for abuse without any consequence. Some US presidential candidates top the list for bigotry, having said that they would not hire a Muslim in their cabinet.

The problem is two-sided: we the Muslims are not connected enough with mainstream society for a vast majority of Americans to stand up for us, empathize with us, or even understand the truth about us that we are no different than them in our endeavors and aspirations of life. We need to get out of our shells and be part of American society.

We must however express our gratitude to the millions of Americans who have stood up for us, compelled by their sense of justness and fair play after 9/11 and as recently as the Phoenix and Garland rallies.

As Muslims we are making serious efforts to be fully participating and contributing members of American society for the security, peace and prosperity of our homeland. We have unequivocally stood up for free speech.

As American Muslims we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in the U.S. constitution. Our faith reinforces the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."

We at America Together Foundation, will take bold congenial steps on behalf of Muslims to get ourselves on a par with the other communities who had previously endured abuse, and with the support of all Americans, we will shame them for their bigotry.

I urge every Muslim to reach out to their fellow Americans to share the joy of July 4th God willing, Muslims will be celebrating July 4th2016 en masse all over the nation. We are going to be unfurling big plans soon. The more integrated we are, the safer it is for every one of the 318 million plus Americans.

What does July 4th mean to me?

The very first step on American soil puts a smile on an immigrant's face; if not you, it has happened to your parents, grand or great grandparents. It's the exuberance you witness on a baby's face when she stands up for the first time, it is the exhilaration you see when a toddler eats the food on his own for the first time, or the relief written all over the face of a student when he or she graduates. Indeed, it is an expression of freedom I felt upon arrival in New York some thirty five years ago. My journey continues as I get ready to celebrate another July 4th.
America is one of the most beautiful things that has happened to Muslims. As American Muslims we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in the U.S. constitution.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info is in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net -- Mike's writings are at www.TheGhouseDiary.com 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ahmadiyya Muslims should be a part of our language.

Ahmadiyya Muslims should be a part of our language | World Muslim Congress
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/07/ahmadiyya-muslims-should-be-part-of-our.html


I don't have a bone of prejudice in me, and I sincerely believe God is Rabbul Aalameen (Creator of the universe), and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is Rahmatul Aalameen (Mercy to every atom in the universe). We are all from the same couple Adam and Eve, and we are members of one large family, and each one of us is deliberately created to be unique with our own thumbprint, DNA and other uniqueness’s. With that uniqueness we are bound to have irreconcilable differences, and how do we get around that?  God says the best ones among you are those who take the time to learn about each other, and when we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

All of us have to live in the given space, we might as well learn about each other, to understand and accept the differences, and not force agreements against the will of the people, that would be against what God wants. You live your life and I will live mine, a corollary from Quran 109.6 says,  to you is your faith and to me is my faith.

When we started the discussion group “World Muslim Congress.” I went about learning different denominations as this group and site belongs to "all Muslims" and came across the unbelievable prejudice towards the Ahmadiyya Muslims.  Indeed, they are chased, harassed and persecuted in Pakistan, and the extremity of the hate is even ‘enshrined’ in their constitution, and that beats anyone with any common sense.  The hate virus has expanded to Indonesia, Bangladesh and it has even reached India dividing us all up. There is no justification whatsoever to hate any one.

Why am I writing this? 


As Muslims, we call out on the bigotry of a few evangelicals, before we do that, we need to be clean, so we can cast the first stone.  Let’s not be hateful towards any one and clearly reject the extremist’s ideology of Wajib Qatl (killing is a must) towards Ahmadiyya Muslims. Let’s share God and the Prophet with the entire world as they are not exclusively ours to deny them to others.

Of course the bias is a two way street, I have written extensively about it.  I have done my Iftaar and Friday prayers in the mosques of every (yes every) denomination to understand the differences, so we can learn about each other. We don't need to be friends, but at least we don't have to seethe and brood and be miserable because others believe differently.  It’s all documented at www.Ramadanexclusive.com and www.WorldMulsimCongress.com.

However, the responsibility for caring for oppressed falls squarely on the majority.  It is the white majority that stood up for civil rights to pass as a law; it is the Hindu majority that stood up for Muslim minorities  in India to have their own laws; and it should be the Sunni Majority in Pakistan that needs to speak up and care for its minorities, all minorities.  As a minority ourselves (Sunnis in the United States) don’t we wish the majority understands us and respect us, thank God, at least we are no Wajib Qatl to them, can we be that civil to our own minorities back home?

None of us have to agree, but all of us must choose to mind our own faith, we cannot compel any one to drop their belief and accept ours that would go against the essence of Islam. Allah will not ask you about what others did, he asks you, were you good to his creation?  How would we feel if the Christian majority tells to either believe their way to take the highway?

At World Muslim Congress and Dallas Pakistanis groups, we have carried civil conversations for over 13 years, it was not easy at the beginning, and for many years, I was alone, but now we have many Sunni Muslims who see the point of view in both the groups and I appreciate their being good Muslims. Now comes the editorial in Gulf News that includes Ahmadiyya Muslims in its list of Muslims. 

Today it was a delight to read Tariq Al-Maeena writes an editorial in Gulf news and this is a sea change, and I hope more and more “Muslim writers” start the inclusion process.  Theologically let’s accept us all to be different – each one of the 73 tribes will have its own uniqueness that God has said and prophet has predicted that.

I wrote to him, Tariq, I'm surprised and pleased that you added Ahmadiyya Muslims in your last paragraph, and I applaud you for this.“I am not a Sunni or a Shiite or an Ahmadi or a Khawani. I am a Muslim! I am not a Salafist or a Sufi, a Ja’afari or a Batini. I am a Muslim! I was raised by the Islamic tenets of peace and kindness ... And by God, I am angry that people in the name of Islam defile my religion.

Thank you Tariq Al-Maeena

My Islam teaches me to be Rahmat (mercy) to the Aalameen, if I am a zahmat (tyrant) towards fellow beings, then should I call myself a Muslim?

Mike Ghouse
# # #

PUBLISHED: 17:03 JULY 4, 2015

Ramadan is a spiritually significant month for Muslims the world over. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God and self-control. It is a time when Muslims repent, ask for forgiveness for sins and spend their time in intense worship. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. We are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends and do away with bad habits and bad feelings. Fasting, reading the Quran, increasing charitable deeds, cleansing one’s behaviour and doing good are some of the ways Muslims use to draw themselves closer to God. This is what true Muslims believe in and do.
On June 26, an explosion rocked a mosque in Kuwait that killed 27 and wounded 227 worshippers. Worshippers had gathered for Friday prayers at the Al Imam Al Sadeq mosque in Kuwait City when a powerful bomb ripped through the courtyard of the heavily-congested mosque, causing much death and damage. The timing of the blast was significant as Friday noon prayers are generally the most crowded of the week and attendance increases multifold during Ramadan.
Investigations later revealed that the perpetrator was a Saudi male who, along with some Kuwaiti sympathisers, intended to stir up Sunni-Shiite divisions with his murderous act. This bearded individual from a village in Saudi Arabia had actually flown into Kuwait from Riyadh on the day of the bombings and left a trail of death and destruction among the faithful. He had stayed at a house owned by an extremist who subscribed to “extremist and deviant ideology” and was then driven to the mosque by an illegal resident to carry out this macabre plan.
Immediate credit
On the same day, there were terror attacks in two different continents conducted by supposed sympathisers of the extreme doctrine followed by the Saudi suicide bomber. In Tunisia, a gunman wandered on to a popular beach at a seaside resort and gunned down guests with an automatic rifle. The death count was 38, while 36 people were wounded, according to Tunisian authorities. In France, a man with suspicious ties to violent groups blew up a factory, injuring two people. A decapitated body and the severed head was found nearby. Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) took immediate credit for these gruesome acts.
As a consolation, it was somewhat refreshing to note that leading Islamic institutions immediately denounced such dastardly acts. The leading Sunni institution based in Egypt, Al Azhar, released a statement saying that “the heinous shooting at a Tunisian coastal resort that killed 38 people, mostly Europeans, was a violation of all religious and humanitarian norms”. It also condemned the suicide bombing at the Kuwaiti Shiite mosque and the suspected militant attack in France. In a publicised statement, in reference to Daesh, Al Azhar called on “the international community to defeat this terrorist group through all available means”.
Delivering a message
In Kuwait, the ruling Emir, the government, parliamentary and political groups and clerics all said last Friday’s attack on the Shiite mosque was meant to stir up sectarian strife in the emirate. Terming the attack bluntly as one of “black terror” a statement said that “the objectives of the criminal act have failed. We want to deliver a message to Daesh that we are united brothers, the Sunnis and Shiites, and they cannot divide us”.
I am angry. As a Muslim, it maddens me when criminals use my religion to screen their immoral and murderous intentions.
“I am angry that people in the name of Islam defile my religion.”


-Tariq A. Al Maeena

It infuriates me that I have to justify my religion and myself to the non-Muslim world in the wake of such barbarity by individuals with no obvious morals. It angers me that a terrorist like the Saudi who flew into Kuwait tarnishes my religion and my nationality with his vicious actions.
It angers me to see how a peaceful religion has been manipulated by some to be a tool of terror against their perceived adversaries. It angers me that such people follow “extreme and deviant ideology” and yet call themselves Muslims.
It angers me to know that some clerics with their hardline views continue to promote sectarian divisions from both sides. It angers me to know that they are still being heard.
I am not a Sunni or a Shiite or an Ahmadi or a Khawani. I am a Muslim! I am not a Salafist or a Sufi, a Ja’afari or a Batini. I am a Muslim! I was raised by the Islamic tenets of peace and kindness ... And by God, I am angry that people in the name of Islam defile my religion.
Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Do Muslims want results?

Do Muslims want results?  Here you go!
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/07/do-muslims-want-results.html



Dallas, Texas, July 4, 2015 --  It has been a very successful day today, our press release, "Happy 4th - Muslims are an integral part of American Heritage," has made it to 70+ Newspaper and still counting, we hope it will make it to 100 by Sunday. 

Nothing will change if you do nothing about it.  Our goal is to change the false perceptions about Muslims - and it won't happen by itself, we have to do something about it.

The most 
pragmatic thing to do is to interact with fellow Americans and fellow humans, so they can see you are not what the media portrays Muslims to be. This was how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) established his credentials - by earning the trust of people around him by being truthful, just, honest, and trustworthy, indeed he was called Amin by fellow humans who were not Muslims, and if we follow that example conflicts will fade and solutions will emerge.

The second pragmatic thing to do is to let the world know that you care about fellow beings, and do your share of work for the safety, security, peace and harmony of every member of the society at large.  God in Quran repeats innumerable times that if your care for your fellow beings, you need not worry about your future. 

We spent the whole night and the day in sending the press releases to news media, and am pleased to share the results; 


  • 70 news outlets have published the news ( listed below)
  • 20 websites have published the press release
  • 25 Yahoo groups have received the emails

For every negative news, we will post positive news.

Time to rejoice, thanks to the media for carrying the following news, this is our effort towards changing perceptions about Muslims.  The more good we can upload, the more it offsets the negativity. It takes time and money to carry on this effort.

Please donate generously - our goal is to raise $60,000 thru December this year, all donations of over $100 will be listed by the name, and smaller donations will be lumped as general donors at www.AmericanTogether.org- this site on the left panel from the moment money starts flowing. 

Please donate: http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/


America Together foundation a non-profit 501 (c) (3) entity 
your donations are tax deductible.
 
Scroll down for the press release
# # #

PRESS RELEASE

American Muslims consider July 4th as one of their cherished holidays. We uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in the U.S. constitution.

Happy 4th - Muslims are an integral part of American Heritage

July 4, 2015, Washington, D.C. - "America is the greatest nation on the earth and indeed, Muslims are a part of the American Heritage since the day America was born, Upon declaration of our independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslims and one of them was a Muslim from India.”  Mike Ghouse, President of America Together Foundation.

Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States of America, and signed the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, the first of its kind. Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic, was the next to recognize American independence (February 26, 1782) and Tipu Sultan, the King of Mysore State (India) was the third. 

“America means everything to Muslims, and the biggest thing is freedom. Muslim Americans have every reason to claim July 4th as a Muslim Holiday. It has given us life, liberty and paved the way in pursuit of our happiness. There is no other country in the world that offers genuine freedom, freedom of speech and of conscience.”

The concept of equality is etched and nurtured in the Muslim psyche in every ritual and spiritual practice of Islam.  Prophet Muhammad delivered similar words in his last sermon as are in our immortal declaration of independence.  ." Muslims hold this declaration close to their hearts and as American Muslims, "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

The raging inner battle among Americans to keep the state and church apart resonates with Muslims living in America as Quran speaks out to them, 49:13- "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware." Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of the otherness of other and appreciate a different point of view without having to agree with it.

Honoring merit appeals to Muslims, you can be who you want to be and Muslims gloat about their ability to raise on the basis of their merit. The Prophet tells his own daughter that she will not get a free pass to paradise because she is a daughter of the prophet; she has to earn it on her own through good deeds to fellow beings, such is the emphasis placed on merit and individual responsibility. That is what capitalism, democracy and America are all about.

Immigrants in general and a Muslims in particular love the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty. They see the wholesomeness of justice in America and they love America for it. An observant Muslim recites at least 17 times a day that God alone is the judge and we must refrain from judging others.

As American Muslims we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in the U.S. constitution. Our faith reinforces the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."

Islam is indeed about freedom of conscience, justice and liberty.  You can read the full story at AmericansTogether.org