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The questions at Huffington Post about "Quran is not for Muslims" will be answered on Monday - after I can get all the legitimatize questions.

Mike Ghouse

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Muslims Celebrate Interfaith thanksgiving with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas presided over the proceedings of the 16th annual thanksgiving celebrations and awards night on Saturday, November 22, 2014. It is a bridge building event between communities.

We ought to be thankful to Native Americans, who did not put the electric fence around Americas to keep the illegal aliens like Columbus and other Europeans from entering America without a visa.  Today, we are a nation of immigrants, other than the natives; almost all of us are immigrants from one to several generations.
The event was organized by America Together Foundation, World Muslim Congress. And the Foundation for Pluralism, all committed to building a cohesive America where no American has to live in tension, discomfort, apprehension or fear of the other.

The purpose of celebrating this event was to thank God for guiding us to learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us.  And more importantly it is to familiarize the new immigrants with the festivities.  You’ll be surprised to find that many of them have not even seen the thanksgiving meal and its fixings. It was not a part of their study for citizenship and apparently no one has done this as a public event. 
“Congresswoman Johnson represents the aspiration of fellow Americans; justice and liberty for every American in his or her pursuit of happiness, and she fights for that relentlessly – Is that the kind of congressperson we want?, well here she is.” Mike Ghouse welcomed her amidst a thunderous applause. 

To paraphrase Congresswoman Johnson, “we have made sacrifices to respect the human rights, civil liberties and freedom for our new generations and now they have those rights.   On the map of the world, ours is still the best country.  The immigrant community has always played an important role in the development of US." 
It was a delight to watch the Congresswoman carve the symbolic turkey, and sharing what thanksgiving means to her; to count your blessings.  For many a immigrants it is an introduction to the American way of life and who else can do a better job than the Congresswoman? Through her efforts and against all impediments, she has realized her American dream. 

Chef Ali of Spicy Cuisine in Irving prepared delicious vegetarian and non-veg meals with a fixing of thanksgiving delicacies. 

Congresswoman Johnson presented the awards to four community leaders and delivered a beautiful keynote address on gratitude,while highlighting the need for events like this to bring people together regardless of their political, religious, racial or and social affiliation to build a safe, secure and a cohesive America.

 
Mike Ghouse, president of the foundation shared the real life stories that exemplify thanksgiving; stories about Appaiah and the hospitality in Saudi Arabia. How each one of us can restore the spiritual balance within and live a productive, meaningful and a purposeful life. The Appaiah story was published in 
Huffington Post Link , and the Saudi story, all pictures, and notes will be atwww.ThanksgivingCelebrations.org


The attendees were represented by people of different faiths, races, political orientations and other uniqueness’s. They cheered on when Mike Ghouse, chair of the event asked. Whether you are Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Gay, Lesbian, Black, White, Native, Immigrant, Republican or Democrat, how many of you like to see your Congress person represent you with equal care and consideration? How many of you would like to see your congress person treat you with dignity and respect regardless of who you are?  Well here she is, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.”She delivered a beautiful key note speech about Gratitude. 


The following individuals were recognized for their outstanding contributions to building bridges in the communities we live – the title conferred upon all of them was “Pluralist” – meaning someone who respects the otherness of others.Every society has heroes – that is men and women who have gone beyond their normal self to serve the communities at large, and it is our responsibility as a society to acknowledge, cherish and honor them.

Here is a brief introduction of the recipients; detail profiles will be available at 
www.thanksgivingcelebrations.org
Raja Zahid A. Khanzada – a Journalist for his “Commitment to truth in Journalism.” He reports for the top news media conglomerates in Pakistan and has been a catalyst in a process of “forgiveness” of the robbers – where they surrendered their guns in return for acceptance in the society to live and breathe a normal life, and be the contributors of the nation. It is sort of what President Obama is doing with the undocumented aliens, a noble thing to do.  Raja is a relentless pursuer of education with three Master’s degrees and a degree in Homeopathic medical sciences and holds certification from American Alternative Medicine Practitioner Board in practice of alternative medicine.  He amazed everyone when he asked his mother to receive the plaque.

 

Amina Rab – a community activist and leader for “Building Bridges.” Amina is deeply committed to building bridges between the Muslim community and other communities.  It is not her job, but a passion to build bridges. She 
is the President of the Council on American Islamic Relations- DFW chapter and is the first woman to serve on the North Texas Islamic Council, and is a founding Board member of Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation.   She is a Scientist in the healthcare industry for 20 years.  Amina is an entrepreneur with a home based business, a mother, a grandmother and a community Activist with a passion to promote peace and justice in the world.  
 
Anne Marie Weiss – a community leader for “Bringing the DFW communities together.”  Anne Marie single handedly started the DFW international in early nineties – she had the vision for making the Dallas/ Fort worth an international Metroplex, even before it was declared as such.  Today, DFW International has become an exemplary institution in America. There is nothing like it.  Where can you find connections to every cultural, religious, social and ethnic group in one place? None in America! She has put Dallas Fort Worth on the world Map. If you see the demographic statistics of nationalities and ethnicities in Dallas, it was her effort.  It is her selfless devotion to the belief that DFW should genuinely reflect its diversity.

Sante Santhanam Chary –is a national figure in “Connecting the World Leaders.” Sante is one of the very few Americans, perhaps the only immigrant who has met, shook hands and shared a message with 7 American Presidents and 8 Indian Presidents/Prime Ministers. 
Sante is continuously forging political and business ties between the United States and India and in September this year, he got the US Senate to pass a resolution creating “2014 U.S.-India Partnership Day” to honor Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.
He has set a new world record by collecting over 55 contemporary signatures in solidarity on a USPS issued First Day Envelope with Mahatma Gandhi’s stamp on it. Sante is a healthcare entrepreneur with a focus on physician staffing services to small towns in the US.  He is a graduate of The Harvard Business School and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.


We are one nation.

Collectively, we are one nation under God represented by every race, religion, political orientation, nationality, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and culture. Everything that God has created in the universe, we have it here in America. Indeed, we are God’s own country.

As Americans together, we see God as one, none and many and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names. Our organization, America together Foundation is committed to preserve this pluralistic heritage of America.

Most of the problems we have in our nation can be traced to one thing – not knowing and being judgmental about others. Whether it is Ferguson, Homophobia, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Misogyny or whatever evils creep on us, they gain ground because we don’t know each other.

How do we come out of these and create a cohesive nation where no one has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other? At America Together foundation we have plans to bring about this change. 

A full report with speeches and pictures will be published in a week.

Mike Ghouse, President of America Together Foundation
Mike Ghouse 
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major newspapers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post.  All about him is listed in several links at 
www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Our recommendation to the takfiri Conference in Iran

Salaam,

We are pleased to make the following recommendation to the conference to adopt in their resolution. We recommend that Takfir be declared as sinful as Shirk.

Iran is holding the first conference on Takfiri movement that is those individuals who declare fellow Muslims to be not Muslims. It is a good first step, and we need to make resolutions and the decisions to reach out to common Muslims, who will not give currency to such calls.

The biggest sin in Islam is Shirk, i.e., diluting God’s authority over creation, preservation and destruction of the world.  He alone is the master of the Day of Judgment, and he alone knows what is in one’s hearts, and he alone can judge about ones’ faith.  No one but him (it, or her) has the authority to do that.

A Muslim is someone who subscribes (or submits) to that idea and practices it.

Takfiris are individuals who push themselves to become representatives of God and make decisions in his behalf – like giving an opinion that Sunnis, Shias or Ahmadiyya are not Muslims.

Shirk is not believing in singularity of the creator, and accountability to one single preserver, where the buck stops with him.

In Quran God has made that clear, that he alone is the Malik-i-Yomiddin, and no one but him judges people on their faith, he alone knows what is in one’s heart.  And every Muslim who prays five times recites that verse at least 17 times a day. What for?

I recommend to the conference that they consider declaring Takfir amounts to Shirk – and spread the word. Hopefully it will mitigate the conflicts within the Muslim communities.

Shamefully the bastions of Shia and Sunni Islam; Iran and Saudi Arabia respectively are engaged in this cold war for their political reasons, obviously it is not a religious reason, the looney clergies in both nations need to be restrained or their certifications  be stripped.

If it is not common sense, then it is not Islam.

Mike Ghouse
World Muslim Congress
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
# # # 


The International Congress on Extremist and Takfiri Movements 



Pictures of the conference: http://www.abna.ir/english/service/pictorial/archive/2014/11/24/653703/story.html
The International Congress on Extremist and Takfiri Movements in the Islamic Scholars’ View closed its works in the presence of Prominent Muslim scholars from 83 countries on Monday Nov 24. 2014 in Qom city of Iran.

According to the Secretary of the World Forum for Proximity of the Islamic Schools of Thought, Ayatollah Mohsen Araki, the conference was an intellectual and scholarly event in which Muslim world scholars gather to discuss their views on extremism.

This was one of the few occasions where top Muslim Shiite and Sunni clerics and scholars from across the world were seen under one roof to exchange views on a subject which has turned into the biggest challenge for the world of Islam next to the issue of Palestine.

The event was titled the world congress on extremism and Tekfiri movements in the Islamic scholars’ view. Jointly organized by two of Iran’s prominent religious clerics Grand Ayatollah’s Makarem Shirazi and Grand Ayatollah Sobhani the congress is centered on the role of top Muslim clerics or Ulama, in uniting the Islamic world against Tekfiri terrorists.

Some scholars believe that barbaric acts of decapitating prisoners by groups like the ISIL are an Israeli project aimed at diverting the public opinion towards the suppression of Palestinians by Israeli.

Needless to say, more than 1000 abstract papers and 700 full papers had been submitted to the conference and 200 Shi’ah scholars and 100 Sunni scholars including muftis and prominent figures were present at the international gathering.

The holy city of Qom hosted this one of a kind event on November 23-24 which was held under the auspices of two grand sources of emulation Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi and Ayatollah Ja’far Sobhani.


Link- http://www.abna.ir/english/special-issue/congress-takfiri/archive/2014/11/25/653892/story.html

# # #

Grand Ayatollah Sobhani: Takfiris misrepresent Islam as violent religion

Takfiri groups are seeking to tarnish the image of Islam, a senior Iranian cleric says at an international conference on the threats of Takfiri movements.

Grand Ayatollah Ja’far Sobhani made the remarks in a closing speech of the World Congress on Extremist and Takfiri Movements in the Islamic Scholars’ View, which kicked off in the Iranian holy city of Qom on Monday.

“Takfiris represent an (image of) Islam that is completely violent,” Ayatollah Sobhani said, adding that a remedy should be found for the malady of Takfiris who have entangled the Islamic world in a serious problem.

“Islamic scholars should use appropriate methods to counter Takfiris’ propaganda,” he added.

The senior Iranian cleric said Islam promotes peace and unity, while Takfiris foster fear and ferment sedition and violence.

Ayatollah Sobhani also called for the elimination of some elements in religious textbooks that breed Takfiri ideology.

More than 600 Muslim scholars from over 80 countries attended the two-day event. 40 percent of the participants were Shias and 60 percent Sunnis.

Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi was the chairman of the congress, and Grand Ayatollah Ja’far Sobhani was the gathering’s scientific secretary.

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi said during the opening ceremony that the gathering is aimed at finding ways to counter the threat of Takfiri ideology and extremism.

He said Takfiris harm both Islam and the human society, adding that efforts must be made in order to root out the extremist ideology of the Takfiris.

http://www.abna.ir/english/special-issue/congress-takfiri/archive/2014/11/25/653889/story.html

# # #


Sunni Imam calls for vigilance against ISIL reappearance 

Molla Qder Qaderi, Sunni prayer leader of Paveh in Kermanshah Province, hailed the efforts to hold The World Congress on Extremist and Takfiri Movements in the Islamic Scholars’ View and said the meeting aims at announcing the moderate view of Islam and that it is the religion of blessing.

He rejected extremism and overstatement in Islam and demanded the participating clerics to enlighten the people on the threat.

Molla Qader Qaderi expressed regret over the youth fighting in Iraq and Syria for DAESH and urged for shedding more light on the true identity of extremist movements.

He said,” DAESH has entered Syria and Iraq with the policy of threat and extremism therefore out Friday prayers can disclose their identity.

Iranian cleric called for more vigilance so that DAESH ideology does not appear in another form and said,” DAESH is the result of Islamophobia and they want Islam not to spread across the globe, a thought promoted by the US and its allies throughout the globe.”

Friday prayer leader of Paveh referred to the background of peaceful life of Shia and Sunni communities in Iran and said,” In spite of the problems, our country is one of the most secure and comfortable regions in the world and that peace is due to the wise leadership of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and also the unity and convergence of the Shia and Sunni clerics.”

http://www.abna.ir/english/special-issue/congress-takfiri/archive/2014/11/25/653832/story.html

# # #

Grand Ayatollah Makarem: Necessity of Islamic unity in confrontation with Takfir

Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, met with a group of Sunni participants in "The World Congress on Extremist and Takfiri Movements in the Islamic Scholars’ View" and hailed the participation of Muslim world clerics with different nationalities saying that all participants in this event share a unified view."

Iranian cleric expressed hope that the congress will be effective beyond the two-day event and continues till the extremist moves are completely uprooted.

Muslim clerics in this meeting expressed their gratitude over the efforts of the cleric for holding the event and said maintaining solidarity among the Islamic nation is one of the most important solutions out of this challenge

http://www.abna.ir/english/special-issue/congress-takfiri/archive/2014/11/25/653835/story.html


# # #


Azerbaijan Grand Mufti: Desecration of Al-Aqsa Is Outcome of Discord among Muslims 

Sheikh ul-Islam and Grand Mufti of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus said the Zionist regime’s desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque is because there is discord and disunity among Muslims.

Addressing the “Extremist and Takfiri Groups in View of Muslim Scholars” conference in Qom, Allahshukur Pashazadeh underlined the need for Muslim unity and said Takfiri and terrorist groups like ISIL are seeking to foment disunity in the Islamic world.

He described Takfiri groups as a great threat to humanity and the Islamic Ummah, saying that the enemies use these groups to distort the image of Islam.

The “Extremist and Takfiri Groups in View of Muslim Scholars” conference kicked off Sunday morning in the holy city of Qom.

Prominent Sunni and Shia Muslim scholars from 83 countries are taking part in the international event, which aims to raise awareness about different aspects of the threat of Takfir and extremism.

http://www.abna.ir/english/special-issue/congress-takfiri/archive/2014/11/24/653633/story.html

# # #



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Application for A Short- term course on Shi’a Studies

Application for A Short- term course on Shi’a Studies
The following is customized resume specific to the program.

Name: Mike Mohamed Ghouse
Citizen: American
Address: 2665 Villa Creek Dr, Suite 206, Dallas, TX 75234
Phone (214) 325-1916
Email: MikeGhouse@aol.com
Web: www.MikeGhouse.net

My Mission is to work for a cohesive world where no human has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. If we can learn to respect the otherness of others (that is our definition of Pluralism), and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. I am committed to the ideals and practice of Pluralism; a Quranic value embedded in the phrases like Rabbul Aalameen and Rahmatul guiding us to become Maklooqul Aalameen. 

My vision is to see Shia, Sunni and Ahmadiyya Muslims, and their sub-denominations to acknowledge each other’s differences respectfully and work together in creating a better world for the entire humanity.  My organization, the World Muslim Congress is a think tank committed to this vision and our  mission statement drives our work.

My Purpose to do this course

1.  Is to learn more about Shia tradition for the purpose of building functional relationships within the fold of Islam and with other faiths. – i.e., respecting the otherness of others envisioned in the verses 49:13, 109:6 and a few others.

2.  To add a few clips from the Shia scholars to the movie we are making. It’s a film about managing conflicting issues such as upholding freedom of Speech and Quran Burning, criticizing Prophet Muhammad and Muslim reactions, radicalism and pluralism, Jihad and jihad, perceptions about Muslims and Islam, preserving sanctity of religions and freedom, and establishing a new model for building cohesive societies. This will be a small step in changing perceptions about Muslims and also Muslims finding solutions through non-violent means advocated by the Prophet.

Insha Allah, I am planning to visit Mecca, Al-Azhar, Deoband and Darul Uloom for the same purpose.

This particular paragraph is to record my response to the encouragement and discouragement I have received in the last few days. I was told, “What is the point of learning – they will not change and you will not change” – I emphasized, the idea is not to change, but to understand each other’s point of views, if we can learn to respect the otherness of others then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. It is best to follow the guidance from Quran and let you believe what works for you, and I believe what works for me, as long as we do not mess with each other's space, sustenance and nurturence.  

My Intrafaith work

My first intrafaith (within Islam) influence came from my grandfather Sheikh Hussain (Sunni) and his friend Hussain Ali (Shia) when I was about 12 years old. They carried religious conversations for many years in the most civil manner while I listened to them.

Professional presentations “Muslims talk with Muslims.”

v Intrafaith Dialogue by Boniuk Center at Rice University, I was the organizer and moderator of the dialogue, well attended by Shia, Sunni, WD Muhammad and Ahmadiyya Muslims. Several links within this report -  http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/02/muslims-talk-with-muslims-at-boniuk.html


v Intrafaith Dialogue at Harvard University is in the works on the same pattern as the one at Rice University.


v Conducted an Unusual Quran Conference panel of 10 clergy from different religions with the presence of  Shia, Sunni, Ahmadiyya and WD Muhammad  Imams.  www.QuraanConference.com


v Intrafaith Dialogue in Dallas is planned for next year.


v As a Sunni Muslim, I go to Juma prayers in Shia Mosques, attend the Majalis during Muharram, Iftaars during Ramadan – and write succinct notes about my visit – so others can learn a bit about Shia and all other traditions.  Since I talk about understanding, I have to do it and am pleased to do it.

My Articles:

Thanks to Allah for blessing me with the inclusive language to reflect the Islamic ideals of “Rabbul Aalameen and Rahmatul Aalameen” and I consider myself a Mukhlooqul Aalameen

In addition to my articles,  I write comments and speak on Islam and Pluralism.


Ø  Sunni Shia difference over Prophet’s last sermon
 http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/03/shia-sunni-difference-over-prophets.html


Ø  Muslims condemn Zardari Government for not protecting Shia Muslims
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/02/muslims-condemn-zardari-government-for.html



My Resume relating with the application:

o   If you type “Muslim Speaker” Pluralism Speaker or interfaith speaker in Google browser, I am listed in the first two pages consistently.  
o   Type – “Muslim Speaker Mike Ghouse” –10,000 + entries appear
o   Google profile is visited by 7.3 Million people - https://plus.google.com/108969690090944956820/about
o   My personal site is visited by 12 Million people
o   WorldMuslimCongress.com is read by 2200 people/day
o   25000 readers per day of all my blogs
o   Commentator on Fox News for the last five years
o   Commentator on Nationally Syndicated radio (250 Stations) shows
o   200+ Articles on Pluralism at Dallas Morning News, always highlighting Islam
o   125 Articles at Huffington Post
o   2500 Articles in all. 


Forums
WorldMuslimCongress@yahoogroups.com  (1800 Members)

I pray that learning about Shia in Qom will help me understand better. 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.

Thank you
mike
Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is 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 several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.