NEWS BULLETIN

Please read the piece about Peter King - serious actions against Muslim Bashing

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ramadan's Universalism for Jews, Christians, Hindus and others

This article tracks the general purpose of religion and how each religion can appeal to people of different faiths.  Religions and festivities came into being to bring people together and not divide them. Here we explore Ramadan, two of the major festivals of Muslims.

 
Whether you are an Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Native American, Pagan, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, and Zoroastrian or from any other tradition, you may feel a sense of connection with the spirit of Ramadan.


 God is a word for the cause that creates, sustains and recycles this universe, and belongs to all that exists and is not the exclusive dominion of anyone.  No matter how and what name you call upon him – he (she or it) cannot be a different causer for each one of us.  

The physical aspect of human journey from the sperm and an egg stage through the death is programmed precisely. The formula is same for all of humanity;    and there is no such thing as a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or other gene.

Regardless of what is being said about origins in terms of evolution, creation or the big bang, the undeniable fact is our existence, and we have to figure out how to live with each other.

When the universe came into being, two main products of the process were Matter and Life.

While the matter is programmed to be in self-balance and functions precisely for which it is designed, like the Sun, Jupiter, Earth or the Moon playing its part, the (human) life on the other hand was not programmed; we were given complete freedom, guidance and intelligence to create our own balance for survival.

A balanced society is where every one of us functions cohesively in small parcels of this big World Wide Web.  It is sustained by respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. If we mess with the web, we mess with ourselves ultimately.  If we mess with the environmental balance we will pay for it, just as we bear the loss of health if we mess with what we eat, drink and smoke. There is a consequence for imbalance.

Birth of Religion

We lose the balance if we don’t trust and lie to each other, rob the other, and not keep the promises we make to fellow beings.   This is when religion appears; it is the love of the creator for his creation, just as a mother loves her children –someone among us will rise and restore that balance.  Didn’t Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and other masters restore the righteousness and balance in the society?  I hope you can relate with this thought in your own scriptures and legends.

An identical spiritual wisdom emerges in different parts of the world simultaneously; the greatest example would be how a mother figures out what to do with her crying baby in the jungles of Amazon or the high society in London. 

Indeed, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and as a corollary I would say, faith is in the heart of the believer, and every religion is dear to its believer.  

Religion is about love for fellow beings, a majority of us in every religion get that right but for a few, who keep messing up the cohesiveness of the society. Those few are not an identifiable group, but the infraction in each one of us when we become biased towards the others.  Religion is never the problem; it is the individuals who don’t get their religion right are the problem.

Ramadan and you.

From the moment we are born to the last rites of our life, and every moment in between is laden with rituals, even though some of us may deny it. Whether we go to the gym, eat, sleep, wear clothes, drive or talk on the phone, we follow rituals.

Rituals signify the milestones of our daily life. Every significant moment of the day is a ritual. It is an unwritten way of measuring our progression, a memory pattern to bring discipline to our actions.

Discipline is necessary to do things on time, manage personal relationships, drive to a destination or keep within budget. The result of disciplined behavior is worthwhile for most people. When we are joyous, whether we are a theist or not, we have to express that sentiment, otherwise a sense of incompleteness lingers in our hearts.

The spiritual masters have captured the human gravity towards rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religions. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with our environment.
Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life. Fasting is one of the five key rituals that Muslims around the world observe.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is generally observed with a ritual precision; it is an annual training or a refresher. It requires one to abstain from food, drink, intimacy, ill-will, ill-talk, ill-actions and other temptations from dawn to dusk, every day for a month. One has to rise above his or her baser desires. Islam gifts this month to its followers to inculcate discipline to bring moderation to their daily lives. Twenty five hundred years ago, Buddha, the enlightened one taught that human suffering is caused by unrestrained desire to possess and had recommended a middle path, and the same recommendation was made by Prophet Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago.

Although Ramadan is popularly known in the west for its culinary delicacies and fancy iftars (ceremonial breaking of fast at sun down), the spirit and intent of Ramadan lies in a human transformation in a month-long inner spiritual journey of finding oneself in tune with spirituality.

Hindus can see that transformation in nine days of fasting during Navaratri, the Jains in 8-10 days of fasting during Paryushana, Christians during 40 days of lent, Jews for 7 days around Yom Kippur….likewise you find fasting is a way of life in most traditions.

God has no need for the hunger or thirst of someone who hurts others, violates their dignity or usurps their rights, said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The fasting of the stomach must be matched by the fasting of the limbs. The eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet all have their respective fasts to undergo. The tongue's temptations, for example -- lies, backbiting, slander, vulgarity and senseless argumentation -- must be challenged and curbed to maintain the integrity of the fast.

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

True fasting is self-purification; and from this comes a rich inner life that bring about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy -- values that are indispensable for the success of the community.

Knowing about hunger is different from knowing hunger. Empathy is not an intellectual equation; it is a human experience. Our hardness of heart often springs from our distance from the human condition of others. The poor, sick, disenfranchised, oppressed -- we rarely walk a mile in their shoes, not even a few steps. "Rest assured," cautioned one teacher, "if you do not taste what it feels like to be hungry, you will not care for those who are."

Ramadan will come and go with such stealth that we cannot but be reminded of our mortality. What is it that we value and why? Habits, customs, even obsessive behavior like smoking can be curtailed with relative ease in the face of a higher calling.


For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other faiths. More about Ramadan at www.Ramadanexclusive.com

What can you do?
Unless we connect with fellow humans, and unless they can relate with us,  our faith, philosophy and traditions, we will remain disconnected with the society. 

This article is about understanding and developing a sense of shared destiny of humanity to create cohesive societies where no human has to feel alienated from others. It is based on Quran's wisdom in 49:13.

You may disagree with a few premises, and I invite you to counter them, so together we can develop better understanding to live and let others live. 

I hope you'd would like this, and if you do,  please share it with your Non-Muslim and Muslim friends. We at America Together Foundation are committed to finding solutions through patience, kindness and education. Our goal is to learn about each other and work on mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. 

I hope you want the good message to reach out to a maximum number of people, particularly non-Muslims, that's who we focus on. 

The article is published in several news papers:
  1. Op-Ed News - Ramadan for Christians, Jews, Hindus and others http://www.opednews.com/articles/Ramadan-for-Christians-Je-by-Mike-Ghouse-ATHEIST_Bahai_Buddhist_Christian-Universalism-150716-714.html
  2. Counter Currents - Interfaith Ramadan,  The Essence...  http://www.countercurrents.org/ghouse160715.htm
  3. Saddahaq - Interfaith science of Ramadan traceable in your faith  https://www.saddahaq.com/interfaith-science-of-ramadan-the-essence-may-be-traceable-in-your-faith

God willing, it will be published in Huffington Post, Arab Daily News and several other sites across the world.  Alhamdu Lillah, the media has been good to us and we will continue to populate the article on the internet.
We need to continue this work and need your support.  We need to raise $60k thru December, all supporters will be listed on the website www. AmericansTogether.org

Please donate generously for this non-profit 501 (c) Organization
http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/ 

Let the spirit of Ramadan develop an understanding and respect for each one of God’s creation – that is all of us. Ramadan Mubarak!
Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.   Info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings atTheGhouseDiary.com 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ramadan message for non-Muslims, why is it necessary?

Ramadan message for non-Muslims, please share if you like. 

Unless we connect with fellow humans, and unless they can relate with us,  our faith, philosophy and traditions, we will remain disconnected with the society. 

This article is about understanding and developing a sense of shared destiny of humanity to create cohesive societies where no human has to feel alienated from others. It is based on Quran's wisdom in 49:13.

You may disagree with a few premises, and I invite you to counter them, so together we can develop better understanding to live and let others live. 

I hope you'd would like this, and if you do,  please share it with your Non-Muslim and Muslim friends. We at America Together Foundation are committed to finding solutions through patience, kindness and education. Our goal is to learn about each other and work on mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. 

I hope you want the good message to reach out to a maximum number of people, particularly non-Muslims, that's who we focus on. 

The article is published in several news papers:
  1. Op-Ed News - Ramadan for Christians, Jews, Hindus and others http://www.opednews.com/articles/Ramadan-for-Christians-Je-by-Mike-Ghouse-ATHEIST_Bahai_Buddhist_Christian-Universalism-150716-714.html

  2. Counter Currents - Interfaith Ramadan,  The Essence...  http://www.countercurrents.org/ghouse160715.htm

  3. Saddahaq - Interfaith science of Ramadan traceable in your faith  https://www.saddahaq.com/interfaith-science-of-ramadan-the-essence-may-be-traceable-in-your-faith

God willing, it will be published in Huffington Post, Arab Daily News and several other sites across the world.  Alhamdu Lillah, the media has been good to us and we will continue to populate the article on the internet. 

We need to continue this work and need your support.  We need to raise $60k thru December, all supporters will be listed on the website www. AmericansTogether.org

Please donate generously at: http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/ it's a 501 c non profit organization. 


Eid Mubarak


Thank you,

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. A Tv and a radio commentator. Info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Serious Actions against Muslim Bashing

We are taking serious actions against Muslim Bashing

Peter King owes an apology to Muslims for his irresponsible statements; this kind of language has to come to an end.

Peter King owes an Apology | www.AmericansTogether.org

Dallas, Texas, July 7, 2015 – In a Radio address, Congressman Peter King called on fellow Americans to do this, “During the July 4th holidays, if you find any gathering of Americans by the pool, lake, park, or downtown, tell up the police.” I am appalled with such an irresponsible statement.


What if an innocent Sikh family is visiting New York and taking pictures? What if it is a Hispanic family? What if a Christian Lebanese or even Brigitte Gabriel is videotaping the parade?  Could it be a Jewish family from Israel with an accent visiting the park to see what is going on? Is this racism in disguise? This is not a Muslim issue, this is an American issue.     

This kind of fear mongering and pitting one American against the other can create chaos and destroy the social fabric of America. Is this what we want as Americans? If he is pandering to some group, as a responsible citizen he should tell them that it would be wrong to create chaos; it is not good for anyone in the long haul. 

His exact words are, “... To a large extent, to the Muslim community in this region, because there is a threat, there is going to be something happening, it’s going to come from the Muslim community.  So they among all others should, should they see something, if they see someone who is new to the neighborhood, who they don’t belong there or its unusual for him to be there, hard to be there, if they hear of any talk of anything happening, if they see different groups, gathering, tell up the police….” 


Thank God he fell flat on his face, as he did that once before when he investigated Mosques in New York and did not find any material evidence.  Indeed, most of the arrests of suspects by the FBI in recent years have been reported by American Muslim. 

We want Representative King to know this clearly – American Muslims are heck of a lot more loyal to America than the average Joe, the freedom they cherish must be praised and appreciated.  They have suffered more by the damned terrorist than any other group.  In fact, they get it both ways – accusation for the acts they did not commit, and the brunt of the hate mongering that such irresponsible statements create.  To know more about American Muslims, we urge Rep. Peter King to read our press release in the Op-ed News entitled “ Muslims and Americans: a shared heritage since July 4, 1776. ”

Representative King has violated two principles – innocent until proven guilty and pitting one American against the other. 

Of course, it is the duty of all citizens to maintain law and order and protect the homeland. Hate is one of the many sources of disrupting the peace in a society and it is our duty to track down the source of such hate and work hard on mitigating it. Congressman Peter King knowingly or unknowingly appears to have become a source of racism and hate speech.  We appeal to his civility as a good American and an elected official to apologize. 

This is an American issue and we need to put an end to this kind of rhetoric from the elected officials.  My safety and security hinges on ensuring the same for others around me.   No American needs to live in apprehension or fear of the other. An apology by Rep. Peter King is the right thing to do in order to promote civic and racial harmony in America.

Quote1: "As Americans we demand an apology from Representative Peter King for recklessly pitting one American against the others. We will take a stand against all those whose mouths run loose." Mike Ghouse

Quote2: "African American and Jewish bashing is officially gone, now it is time to rid GLBT, Mexicans and Muslims bashing.  Peter King’s language is not acceptable." Mike Ghouse


Mike is president of America Together Foundation; he is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com

References:
  1. Radio Message -https://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5800/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=12853
  2. Global Research -  http://www.globalresearch.ca/non-muslims-carried-out-more-than-90-of-all-terrorist-attacks-in-america/5333619
  3. Muslims and Americans: a shared heritage since July 4, 1776.  http://www.opednews.com/articles/Muslims-and-Americans-a-s-by-Mike-Ghouse-American-History_American-Muslims_Declaration-Of-Independence_Democracy-150702-786.html

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Congratulations to Aligarh Muslim University, its staff, students and management and particularly Lt. General Zameeruddin Shah.

Congratulations to Aligarh Muslim University | World Muslim Congress
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/07/congratulations-to-aligarh-muslim.html

This is the story of a man who is determined to put India on the world map of the Universities. The Aligarh Muslim University has captured the 4th rank status among the Indian Universities, and now he wants to put this university among the top 200 Universities in the world. As Indians, we fully support his mission.  Jai Hind.

The Aligarh Muslim University has made the 4th place in the best Universities ranking in India by the Nielsen Survey.  News from India today group report on July 8, 2015 that it is an upward journey for this historical institution as it was ranked sixth in 2014 and eighth in 2013.



The entire staff, students and the management team of AMU deserve a big round of applause, and most certainly the driver of this achievement, Lt. General Zameeruddin Shah deserves all the accolades one can Nichawar (bestow) on him.

What does it take? It is not the resources, not the support of politicians, but the belief that you can do it, and simply get out and do it.  God wants you to succeed because you want to bring success to your community. If you have doubts, why should God lend his support? 

Sir Zameeruddin Shah, God is with you! You may remember Muhammad Ali, the greatest sportsman of our times – he had declared that he will be a champion with all the confidence God had given him, how many laughed at him? Of course he did not laugh back at them when he earned the title.

Your vow to grab AMU the top position among Indian universities in 2017 ranking reminds me of Muhammad Ali. Just do it! The world is with you on this, as Muslims we are with you, and as Indians, we are with you to put AMU on the map of top 200 Universities of the world. It is our pride in India.

I also see that powerful Jazba (spirit) among the Aligarh Muslim University Alumni, they want to stand with you. I happen to read a few of the powerful speeches by Frank Islam, “Future is not an accident but it is built on planning. Remember the future is promised to those who create it.” Indeed, his vision tunes in with Sir Syed’s vision and your commitment. Frank continues in his speech, “Now, more than ever, it is imperative that students receive an education that prepares them to be “servant-leaders”:  Leaders who understand that working with others to solve problems and that what one gives back is more important than what one accomplishes individually.” The educational entrepreneurialism he advocates is the need of the day - producing a significant number of students who can create jobs and continue to build on this wonderful structure of prosperity –AMU.  Frank and Debbie have taken the lead to support his Alma-Mater.  Insha Allah, they will inspire more members of the Alumni to follow their suit.  

On my part, as an admirer of AMU, I can dedicate a few days a year to motivate students and or conduct workshops in building cohesive societies where all of us can function well, together with every human from different regions, religions and ethnicities. Let’s strengthen the social fabric of India, if we succeed India succeeds and vice-versa.  Let those who want to be divisive, attempt to break India into pieces, but we will put them all back together, one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.   

General Shah, we are very proud of your 'drive' to take AMU to new heights. A commitment is what it takes to achieve newer zeniths. Nothing will ever happen without someone 'wanting' and 'driving it'. We are with you in spirit.
Allama Iqbal must have written this couplet for you;

Tu Shaheen hai parvaz hai kam tera
Tere samne aasman aur bhi hain.

There will always be naysers and pessimistic individuals who will not only discourage you and laugh at you, but actively work on holding you back.  History is our example – Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) endured that, then Sir Syed lived through it, and now Gen Zameeruddin Shah will be going through it, but he is like a solid rock that you cannot shake. When I met him, I saw the mazboot determination in his language to take AMU forward.  When he vows to take the University to the top position among Indian universities, I believe him.

Let me quote Ray Bradbury, “
If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."

Ray Bradbury had once said, "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy... Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.… Whatever you can do or dream that you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."


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

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
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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.