Friday, August 31, 2012

Islamic Speakers Bureau, a blessing to Dallas/ Fort Worth

The Islamic Speakers Bureau of Dallas/ Fort Worth conducted a speaker certification seminar at the East Plano Islamic Center,  I was one of the many participants, and it was a delight to sit in and learn about the program.

First of all, there is a dire need for an Islamic educational institution to recognize the roots of pluralism in Islam, and prioritize it as the need of the day. Unless we are a part of the societyand become participants and contributors in the overall Good of the society we live in, we would remain on the fringe. I am glad ISB has taken up the initiative to facilitate participation.

Secondly, it was a pleasant surprise to see well developed systems in place to build genuine bridges between Muslim Americans and fellow Americans.

The training classes were conducted by Br. Syed Ali and Sr. Alia Salem, with additional instructions from Br. Hazem Yassin and a talk by Imam Nadim Bashir. Each one of them was amazing. It is a sea change in Muslim expressions, pluralism in Islam was always there, thank God, it is  organized and presented in Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex now. The Islamic Speakers Bureau is an affiliate of ING, and as I understand the ING (Islamic networking group) is doing this work for the last 23 years. You can simply Google Muslim Speaker and find the various offices across the nation.

This organization is built on a strong foundation based on the Religious Liberty Clauses of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law establishing religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” and the verse from Quran 49:13, “ O humankind, We created you from a male and a female, and We made you into races and tribes for you to get to know each other. The most noble of you in the sight of God are those of you who are most conscientious. And God is omniscient, fully aware.”

The ISB strictly adheres and lives within the boundaries set by the First Amendment and it's
 vision is a world in which people of all religious backgrounds are understood, respected, and their contributions valued. Its mission is to promote interreligious understanding, tolerance and harmony through dialogue and religious literacy.

This was coming home for me; we have been speaking and writing about Pluralism since 1996, when many did not even know how to pronounce the word. Indeed, the World Muslim Congress, a think tank and a discussion forum with over 1700 members was established in 2003 along with the Foundation for Pluralism to study pluralistic societies and monitor interfaith trends.  Islamic Scholars, Imams and folks like you and I, along with many from Christian, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and other faiths have been a part of this ongoing learning experience. Discussions are open and all opinions are valued.

The driving engine for the organization was the verse from Quraan 49:13. It is a clear guidance to find solutions. The world is fraught with issues and conflicts because we do not know each other, and have built up myths about the other, and when we learn and know each other, conflicts fade and solutions emerge. It is such a coincidence that both the organizations have similar mission and  vision.    

I admired Syed Ali, Alia Salem, Br. Hazim and Imam Nadim Bashir for their non-stop insistence to stick with the approved text and avoid wandering away from it. It was a delight to hear them hammer on the First Amendment; no preaching, absolutely no preaching, not even a hint of preaching. I loved Sister Alia’s humorous threat, “I grade your papers, and if I smell proselytizing, I will cut you off.” NO, she did not say those words, but it was a clear message to remain within the bounds.  It is a new paradigm for some Muslims, and it is a new experience for me to see a Muslim institution take this posture, it’s a dream come true for me and perhaps a majority of Muslims.

The greatest news is the road taken by our esteemed Imams of Dallas/ Fort Worth, who have chosen to go through the rigor of certification process, to deliver a consistent message of goodness; thank God it is happening now.  My first encounter with ISB was when I attended Islam 101 in Plano Masjid as an audit class. I would stand corrected but, I  believe Imam Zia Shaikh, Imam Nadim Bashir and  Imam Yaseen are certified speakers. My first encounter with  ISB and Imam Yaseen was  at Plano Masjid a few months ago. 

The other part of the integrity of the organization was the emphasis they placed on your affiliation, if you are currently involved in any sort of missionary work, you cannot represent ISB, i.e., Islamic Speakers Bureau of ING. I value this and I am wholly invested in the idea. All my work was driven by finding the truth for myself and others, and in essence,  it was conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturing, the bottom line of Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) civic work. 

Pluralism is one of the most mis-understood concepts, and at times shunned believing it to be a compromise, or giving up one’s identity or some sort of mesh mash. It is severely disappointing to see a few Muslims becoming judgmental. On the other hand, Muslims and non-Muslims alike should find the truth before they judge, truth comes from genuine inquiry. 

At the Foundation for Pluralism,  we have defined Pluralism as “respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us.” You will find the roots of it, in Prophet Muhammad’s numerous practices and of course in innumerable verses in Quran. Glad to see the organization list the verses and we have a list as well.

To clarify further, the Parliament of Worlds Religion defined its mission, which is akin to Pluralism as, 

“The Parliament of World's religions is making a world of difference; 
- The council seeks to promote interreligious harmony, rather than unity

- The council fosters convergence, rather than consensus
- The council's work is based on facilitation, rather than formal organizational structures.

Religious and spiritual communities can make a world of difference as they express their identity in relationship to other groups, while acting in service to the common and global good."

On the other hand, pluralism has its origins in all religions, please do not forget, Pluralism is an attitude of respecting the otherness of others, and a reflection of verse 6 of Sura Kafirun,  which in essence is "your faith is dear to you as my faith is dear to me". 

Pluralism is firmly rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and practices of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). When Jesus embraced the lepers and the prostitutes; the socially rejected groups at that time, he conveyed a strong message that we are all part of the same creation. When Prophet Muhammad initiated the Madinah treaty he respected the otherness of other faiths, and confidently declared the validity of other faiths. Quraan adds in many places the guidance of God, whether you are a Jew, Christian or the other, you need not worry, God knows everything you do and compensates everyone who is good to his neighbors. 

 At the World Muslim congress, we see the role of a Muslim
 is to be a peace maker, one who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. Just about every activity of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was embedded with those two elements. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; Life and Matter.

If you are in Dallas Fort Worth area, I urge you to check out the site and take this course, even if you don’t want to be a speaker. On the other hand if you live any other city in the United States, consider initiating an office in your City, it is not already there.  Just Google it.

I am pleased to invite you and your friends to the following event:

8th Annual Unity Day
on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 11:30 am
at Unity of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230

On this Unity Day USA, we, the people of the United States of America of every faith, race and ethnicity, will gather to express our commitment to co-existence, safety, prosperity and the well being of our nation.

As Americans we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. All our faiths reinforce the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all”.

Your presence is a valuable expression of unity. Along with our elected officials, civic, religious and business leaders, you help fulfill our common values and aspirations. Your presence fortifies our commitment to a pluralistic America. Please confirm to

If you wish to list your organization as a participating organization in the event, please share the name of your organization and the web address

It is our duty to honor and cherish individuals who have dedicated their lives to dismantle artificial barriers among Americans. On this day, we appreciate and celebrate their contributions towards building a cohesive America, where no one has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other.

Kindly consider financially supporting this event, and click the following link and do the needful -

For further information, please feel free to contact me.
God Bless America.

Mike Ghouse
Founder of Unity Day USA
(214) 325-1916/ Talk or Text

2665 Villa Creek Dr, Suite 206, Dallas, Texas 75234 (972) 243-7040

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ahmadiyya Muslims translate Quran into Yiddish

Moderator Mike Ghouse's Note:  

I  admire the Ahmadiyya Muslim community for the peaceful work they have been doing, where  ever they go. They bring a good name to Islam and Muslims.

However, no Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Hindu community is free from arrogance and hints that they are better, peaceful, scientific, old...  to claim superiority over the others does not make religious sense. The very first principle of religion, any religion is humility, where every one feels there is a greater power, and that we all have equal opportunity to excel.  Muslims are no exception - its a shame that one tribe claims to be better, legitimate or otherwise, as if God has secretly signed a deal with them - that is non-sense.  I was happy to read the work of Ahmadiyya Muslims in spreading positive thoughts about Islam every place they do their work and I salute them for the same.  

One of the things Ahmadiyya community needs to resist is telling others that "we are the Muslims who advocate peace" not like the other ones. We condemn terrorism, etc etc."  It is not a good statement, you got that wrong, All Muslims advocate peace,  fewer than 1% of Muslims don't; same formula applies to all religions.  It is not just Ahmadiyya, every group has such men, who denigrate the other as if it is going to make them superior.  

Please note the following sentence in the article is not kosher, "You don't hear about us because we don't throw rocks at buses," Odeh said. Its like Romney saying they don't ask my birth certificate because they know I am from here"  By the way, with the limited time I have in a given day, I do note thoughtless comments like the one above. As a persecuted minority, I understand, but still cannot justify such comments. 

As a Muslim I am continually embarrassed by the Muslim behavior in Pakistan and elsewhere, whose Islam is not based on being a good Muslim, but denying others their Muslimness. Muslim are so eager to deny Ahmadiyya their Muslimness, as if they own Islam and God has made them his deputies to render judgments.  What a shirk! Things have to change. 
Mike Ghouse

Group's Israeli leader says aim was to show different face of Islam.

Members of a Muslim sect that translated parts of the Koran into Yiddish are marking 25 years since that translation was published.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community leader Muhammad Sharif Odeh with the Yiddish text in Haifa
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community leader Muhammad Sharif Odeh with the Yiddish text in Haifa in August 2012. 'We had to make sure our neighbors could read the Koran too.' Photo by Haggai Frid
The president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Israel, Muhammad Sharif Odeh, said the group translated select parts of the Koran into Yiddish in order to present a different face of Islam. In addition, said Odeh, "We decided we had to make sure that our neighbors could also read the Koran."
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic community that believes the Messiah has come. Adherents believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, born in 1835, was the "metaphorical second coming of Jesus ... whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad," according to the website. "God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace," say believers.
There are some 2,000 Ahmadiyya Muslims in Israel; most of them reside in Haifa's Kababir neighborhood. The sect says it has tens of millions of followers in more than 200 countries.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community translated parts of the Koran into Yiddish in 1987. The sect chose Yiddish, one of 100 languages into which it has translated parts of the sacred book of Islam, so that "Yiddish speakers who wanted to know about us would be able to do so without language being an obstacle," Odeh explained.
The decision to translate the Koran into Yiddish was made by the community's religious leader at the time, the fourth Caliph, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who was living then in Pakistan. The current Caliph, the fifth, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, resides in the United Kingdom.
Odeh said the particular selections that were translated show that Islam is "not the way it is presented in Afghanistan." He noted, for example, "Before the Koran, women did not have rights. The Koran gives women full protection on the spiritual level and gives her an independent status." Odeh has been head of the local Ahmadiyya community for 13 years.
Most Israelis know little about the sect, which is considered peaceful and non-proselytizing. Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav has gone so far as to call them "Reform Arabs." The community's motto is "Love for all, hatred for none."
"You don't hear about us because we don't throw rocks at buses," Odeh said. "We believe that nothing can be achieved through hatred and hostility." He said he is very worried about the talk of a possible war with Iran, and that the Caliph recently appealed to all world leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to avoid a war. "Netanyahu didn't respond, Queen Elizabeth actually did," Odeh reported.
Odeh said the concept of secularism is foreign to the Ahmadiyya community. "Everyone prays, some come to the mosque and others pray at home." Believers express their faith in concrete ways as well. Wealthier members tithe at least 10 percent of their monthly income to the community; everyone else gives six percent. The sect does not accept government funds, on principle. One quarter of the money collected from local members is passed on to fund the sect's international activities.
Kababir is considered a mixed neighborhood, with a significant minority of Jews in addition to the Ahmadiyya majority, and city officials view it as a model of coexistence.
"Haifa is an example par excellence of living together," Odeh said, adding, "It's not coexistence, it's monoexistence, as it were. What is coexistence? In my view it's when everyone keeps their distinctiveness and does not seek to assimilate. Residents of the neighborhood don't feel different, it's a matter of education, that's the idea of Ahmadiyya." According to Odeh, there is a growing trend of West Bank Palestinians joining the Ahmadiyya community.
"Ideology is not fought with weapons," he said. "Even if you're under occupation Islam does not allow you to hurt others. Nothing can be solved with hatred."

Gov. Christie: Tonight, Speak up for American Muslims at the RNC

I hope Chris does speak, he has the courage to speak it like it is. It takes a few good men to highlight the goodness and forbid evil. I am a Republican and will stay as a Republican, but have decided to vote for Obama.
Mike Ghouse
Chris Christie: Defend American Muslims New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been an outspoken critic of Muslim haters in the US. Whether it was the lunatics who opposed the so-called Ground Zero mosque in lower Manhattan, the Quran burner, the anti-Sharia legislation "crazies", Congressman Peter King's 'radicalization' hearings, the NYPD's spying on millions of American Muslim citizens or his public support of Paterson's Imam Mohammad Qatanani - on all these fronts, Governor Christie has defied the public sentiments and even sidestepped his own party's rhetoric when he chastised bigoted statements and polices aimed at American Muslims. Now that he is set to deliver the keynote speech at this year's Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, we expect his continued leadership on this topic. To remove the stigma of Republican hate for everything Muslim, it will require a giant like Chris Christie. 
The question will be of timing rather than conviction. Can Christie speak truth to his political core? The GOP platform, approved recently, will include a plank supporting a ban on the use of foreign law (including Sharia, or Islamic law) in U.S. courtrooms. Christie is on record for having opposed such legal maneuverings to restrict the use of Islamic code under limited conditions and where the protagonists are consenting Muslims. 
Supporters have long argued that, and the planks sponsors readily admit, targets the religious beliefs of American Muslims. A cursory review of the anti Sharia plank reveals that it modeled on the more than 78 or so bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide based on draft legislation originally promoted byDavid Yerushalmi, an infamous Islamophobe with a history of making bigoted statements targeting women, African Americans, and people of the Jewish faith. It is worth noting that the passage of the anti Sharia plank in this year's Republican platform only confirms the growing anti Muslim rhetoric espoused by so many Republican politicians and other public officials. 
All the anti-Sharia bills introduced in state legislatures were sponsored by Republican legislators- without exception. Only 14% of Americans, however, believe that American Muslims ultimately want to establish Sharia or Islamic law as law of the land. Muslims resort to certain Sharia codes in limited commercial and matrimonial cases, so long as the decisions rendered do not supersede or conflict with the US Constitution. Extensive legal and academic coverage of this topic has begun in earnest.
The anti-Sharia plank was adopted without argument or debate during a meeting of the Republican Party's platform committee. The policy statement was introduced by Kansas Secretary of StateKris Kobach, an anti-immigration activist who also wrote Arizona's controversial SB 1070 "papers please" law. (Watch video here) The Kansas law Kobach spoke of at the platform committee meeting, which Muslim organizations have already challenged as unconstitutional and discriminatory, was derived from Yerushalmi's template. Kansas legislators acknowledged that the bill targeted Muslims. In March of 2012, we successfully dissuaded the NJ state legislature to withdraw a similar bill she introduced.
While RNC platforms rarely make into the official position of the elected president of the United States, the inclusion of such clearly anti Muslim language, especially with little or no objections, portends a serious divide between the rank and file republicans and their leaders on the one hand, and American Muslims on the other - many of whom are also Republican voters. Christie has the opportunity to reclaim the moral compass of not only the Republican Party, but also that of America.
Included in the State's delegation to the Convention is Sherine Al-Abd, An Egyptian Muslim delegate. She will be listening to her hero governor erase her doubts about the party's anti Muslim stance. I, the of America and indeed the Muslim world will be watching. As quoted in the Record, "They didn't pick me and think I was going to come here and be something different than what I've been." Amen!
Aref Assaf, president of American Arab Forum

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blasphemy Law has NO Qur'anic Basis

More articles on the topic at

Some Muslim countries have legislated punishment for blasphemy. This draws on the Classical Sharia (Law) of Islam that evolved in the medieval ages and was inevitably informed by the historical realities and entrenched customs and practices of the era. However, with a sea change in civilizational paradigms, many of its rulings suffer anachronism, stand in conflict with international human rights charters and conduce to injustice, anarchy and barbarism in today's politically volatile and globalized world. All such rulings need to be examined in light of the universal message of the Qur'an which is by far the highest and incontestable authority in Islam. 

This essay - an exercise in ijtihad (intellectual scrutiny with the limits set by God) investigates the case of blasphemy. It draws on a recently published focused exegetic work, the Essential Message of Islam [Amana Publications, USA- 2009] that is duly approved by al-Azhar al-Sharif and endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law.

The Qur'anic pronouncement "not to insult those whom others (lit., 'they') invoke besides God" (6:108) is a clear reminder against profaning any deity, idol or symbols held sacred by other people. The Qur'an, however, does not prescribe any punishment for the offenders. It warns humanity that there will always be some people who will hurl seductive remarks at the Prophet (6:113) or be inimical to him (25:31) for fun or cupidity and asks the believers to simply ignore them. In other words, the Qur'an treats blasphemy as a moral vice and does not regard it as a punishable/ criminal offence.

The Meccan enemies of the Prophet called him impostor, a madman (30:58, 44:14, 68:51), and an insane poet (37:36). They ridiculed the Qur'anic revelation (18:56, 26:6, 37:14, 45:9), which they declared to be strange and unbelievable (38:5, 50:2), a jumble of dreams(21:5) and legends of the ancients (6:25, 23:83, 25:5, 27:68, 46:17, 68:15, 83:13). They accused the Prophet of forging lies and witchcraft (34:43, 38:4), forging lies against God, forgery and making up tales (11:13, 32:3, 38:7, 46:8), witchcraft (21:3, 43:30, 74:24), obvious witchcraft that was bewildering (10:2, 37:15, 46:7), and of being bewitched or possessed by a Jinn (17:47, 23:70, 34:8). By definition, all these accusations were blasphemous. Nowhere in its text does the Qur'an prescribe any punishment for those who uttered these blasphemies.

The advocates of blasphemy law may raise the following points:

1. The slanderer and maligner of the Prophet can upset peace and harmony like priests of Cordova (Spain, 851-859) [1].

2. Maligning any religion, religious leader, text etc. purports to demonize and dehumanize it and can fuel hatred, religious bigotry and animosity, and in the present day context, feed Islamophobia and Islamofacism.

The arguments appear convincing but there are more compelling grounds against prescribing any punishment for blasphemy.

The highly porous and subjective character of the 'offense' (blasphemy) can lead to a chaotic situation within the Muslim community and persecution of the minority community as is happening in Pakistan these days.

An uncouth citizen can use it to settle a score with a non-Muslim or even a Muslim neighbour or financially exploit him by a threat of blasphemy charge.

An Islamic State can use it for political repression of dissidents.

By strict application of blasphemy law in a broader sense, a Sunni Sharia Court can charge the entire Shia community of blasphemy for their invectives against the Prophet's close relatives - the first three Caliphs, who were either his father-in-law (Abu Bakr and Umar) or son-in-law (Uthman).

The theologians in the Islamic heartlands can issue an endless stream of fatwas for the heads of the countless Islam bashing scholars and writers, whose speech, writing and symbolism can sometimes be construed as blasphemous.

The very notion of killing a person for blasphemy contradicts the Qur'anic cardinal principle of justice that relates only to offences committed against fellow humans.

Conclusion: The relativism and porosity in the definition of 'blasphemy' can open a floodgate of blasphemy charges against unsuspecting individuals, members of the minority, Muslim sects and Islam.critcal scholars and writers. Since the Qur'an, conceivably cognizant of these caveats, does not  prescribe any punishment for blasphemy, the blasphemy law needs to be repealed. Blasphemy symbolizes and epitomises hatred that inevitably breeds hatred - regardless of any law against it. This can in turn feed radicalisation, foster terrorism, and trigger communal riots. Muslim jurists will do better by insisting on getting a firm Security Council Code of Conduct and may be limited punishment for blasphemy depending upon the gravity and potential impact of the offence and the attitude of the offender, rather than legislating a capital punishment or even, any punishment for blasphemy - which remains a porous act of misconduct and moral turpitude.

[1]. Between 851 and 859, some priests in Cordova, now southern Spain, used to utter in public places highly insulting and abusive remarks against the Prophet deliberately seeking capital punishment. They were an embarrassment to both the Christian community and the Emir and were executed by application of Sharia law as this was the only way to prevent them from a highly provocative behaviour in public.

Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur'an since early 90's, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
August 24, 2012.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

No Jewish People Without Israel

Why the future of American Judaism as we know it depends on the survival of the Jewish state? This article is a must read for all those who want to understand Jews and Israel, it is one of the most comprehensive articles I have read and gives an insight into understanding Jews. The story is not only of Jewish people, but most other minorities can relate with this experience:   

I have written my own piece at Huffington post - Who am I to worry about Israelis and Palestinians? What inspires me to be involved in the Israel Palestine conflict? The following is the story of my struggle to see a cohesive world, the story will take you through different emotions but at the end, I hope you feel a sense of completeness of the story. Due to its length, it is a three part article.

Here are some of the most powerful excerpts from the article below.

The following Paragraph is precisely my understanding and reasons for the support of Israel, mind you not at the cost of Justice to Palestinians but with fairness to all the ones in the conflict.  I am baffled with the similarity of my articulation for the last several years and the following piece that has just appeared on August 20. 2012.

“That newfound confidence has historical antecedents, of course: American Jews’ confidence resembles that of the Jews of Cordoba—who were forcibly converted, burned alive at the stake, and summarily expelled in the Spanish Inquisition. The Jews of Berlin in 1930 also believed they had found the ultimate enlightened home, that the dark days of Europe would never return. And in the space of but a few years, German Jewry was erased.

 “In ways we do not sufficiently recognize, Israel has changed the existential condition of Jews everywhere, even in America. Without the State of Israel, the self-confidence and sense of belonging that American Jews now take for granted would quickly disappear.

A home is where on drops all the guards and feels a sense of comfort and security. I have expressed the same sentiments in many of my writings including the one at this blog.

“Israel, like it or not, is not just a homeland to Israelis. It is also a “state unto the Diaspora”; the state that, even from afar, secures the life and instills the passions of Jews all over the world.

Indeed, that is the case with most immigrants, they feel home where they were born and their ancestors came from. Most of the first generation Indians call India their home, like wise it is the same with British, Irish, Italian, German, Japanese, Pakistanis, Arabs, Mexicans, Chinese, Iraqis and others. For the first Generation of Jewish people after Israel was created, even though they were born here, Israel is home to them. It is the second generation and the ones after that whose sense of home is in America, the second generation continues to struggle but for the third generation and up - it is America first, America is home. There will be nothing else in their psyche, other than what would be injected into them. 

“But then, as this thinking goes, if Israel refuses to budge, it is Israel that is responsible for the impasse. Faced with a choice between loyalty to their humanitarian values or to their parents’ Zionism, they have chosen the former.

I love the above it, "Loyalty to their humanitarian values" - is a profound statement applicable to 2nd generation of Muslims, Jews, Immigrant Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Buddhists  and other immigrants. This is inherent in all humanity no matter where we live. I consider that an American Value. Unlike all other nations, Americans values are egalitarian, humanitarian and about treating others fairly and equitably. Its part of American psyche and I am blessed to have that sense flow through veins.

“Sensitive to the underdog everywhere, and with a deep-seated belief in fairness, they insisted and continue to insist upon balancing the scales. The Palestinians, they decided, needed a state.

This is the core value of all religions, but a very passionate value of America. It is the case with all Americans who are born here. Indeed the follow paragraphs also represent Muslims, and other immigrants in America.

“But amazingly, 50 percent of those 35 years old and younger said that Israel’s destruction would not be a personal tragedy.

“Ours is the first generation in which the centrality of Zion in Jewish dreams is beginning to fade. It is fading rapidly, and we know why. Part of it has to do with the fact that Israel’s supporters have framed the conversation about the Jewish State in terms of the conflict with the Palestinians. Even among knowledgeable and committed Jews, an oral Rorschach test in response to the word “Israel” evokes responses such as “checkpoints,” “occupation,” or “settlements”—as though the conflict were all that Israel is about.

I hope a day will come in the world, where everyone feels home wherever they are. It is a two sided effort.  I am passionate about justice and freedom and Israel Palestine is an issue that I hope to contribute to bring security to Jews and justice to Palestinians.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day - This article is at - as well as the source below: 

No Jewish People Without Israel

Why the future of American Judaism as we know it depends on the survival of the Jewish state By Daniel Gordis|August 20, 2012 7:00 AM|

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Muslims Condemn Blasphemy Charges against Christian Teen in Pakistan

Blasphemy has become a tool of harassment to a few who have nothing better to do than create chaos. We ask the people of Pakistan to seriously debate the blasphemy laws. Islam is about free will and as Muslims we need to stand against any oppression towards any human being following in the footsteps of the prophet.

Full article at: 

Can a Muslim woman marry a believing non-Muslim?

Please feel free to share with your friends and groups. 

Can a Muslim woman marry a believing non-Muslim?

This essay draws on a recently published focused exegetic work, the Essential Message of Islam [Amana Publications, USA- 2009] that is duly approved by al-Azhar al-Sharif and endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCAL School of Law. 

The Qur’anic verses 2:221 and 5:5 as well as those on the criteria of divine judgment (2:62, 4:124, 5:69, 64:9, 65:11) may be considered conjunctly to probe whether the Qur’an allows a Muslim woman to marry a believing non-Muslim man, the way it expressly allows Muslim men to marry believing non-Muslim women (5:5).

Here are some irrefutable facts:

 2:221 permits both men and women to admire and choose a believing mate. Its gender neutral literalist rendition runs as follows:

“Do not marry women who associate (others with God), until they believe (in God). A believing maidservant (amah) is better than a woman, who associates (others with God,) even if she allures you. Do not marry men who associate (others with God) until they believe (in God). A believing male-servant is better than a man who associates (others with God,) even if he allures you…” (2:221).

The verse 5:5 expressly allows a Muslim man to marry any believing woman regardless of religion. No argument about it. The verse, however, remains silent about whether a Muslim woman is free to marry a believing non-Muslim man as suggestive in the verse 2:221, which predates 5:5 in the revelation calendar.   

The verses 2:62, 4:124, 5:69, 64:9, 65:11 consistently declare that God will judge all believing humanity on the basis of their deeds.

It thus follows that a believing non-Muslim man is spiritually sound to espouse a Muslim woman (2:221), and earn to divine approval (2:62, 4:124, 5:69, 64:9, 65:11) as well as a Muslim man. Hence, there should be no Qur’anic bar for a Muslim woman to choosing a good non-Muslim man, provided of course he commits, not to compel her to change or defy her faith, to love her with mercy and compassion (30:21), honour her as co-equal (9:71) and let her avail all the rights and perform all her duties and social obligations as enjoined by the Qur’an, which are fortunately largely covered in the human rights charters. The believing non-Muslim man also must undertake contractually to keep from extramarital sex, drugs, drinking bouts and moral abuse like ill temperament and harsh behaviour.   

This raises the question, why an explicit permission was not given for such interfaith marriage. The answer is obvious. Such a marriage during the Prophet’s era through to very recent times would have resulted in a Muslim woman’s losing all her Qur’anic privileges as well as individual legal status, and her non-Muslim husband may also have compelled her to convert to his religion, as until recent times, no major religion other than Islam accommodated inter-faith marriage. However, “with the permeation of Islamic values across the global multi-religious communities and the remoteness of the Qur’anic ideals from many Islamic societies, the table has turned and there have been cases of interfaith marriages between Muslim women and believing non-Muslim men.” [1]

1.    Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publication, Maryland, USA 2009, p. 218.]  
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
August 22, 2012.


Muslims like all other people follow the tradition, but when there is a new development, every one goes helter skelter, and worry about handling the situation (keeping it in control), the first response is usually a No. 

Back in the interior parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Bangladesh and other nations, regardless of the religion, honour killings are happening. Neither the civil laws nor the religious laws mean much, even though religion is falsely quoted for their acts.

At least here in America, a nation with a can-do attitude, no one can kill the other without consequences, and no one can tell the other what to do. After all, no one is responsible for your acts other than yourselves on the day of Judgement. That is Islam

Interfaith marriages will be more common in the next decade, every other kid will be marrying a high school sweet heart or a college friend  - being good human will never be compromised.  We have a choice to see Islam as what Islam does to us internally (making the best of humans) and let it, or push the external appearance of Islam as Islam.

We need to prepare for the future.

It is disappointing to many couples, that their clergy or a parent insists that the other person convert to their faith tradition, some do, and some fake it and some are not comfortable with the idea.

Muslims in America are culturally different but very independent,  our kids grow up with people whose life style is traditional American -i.e.,  participating in sports, camping, sleep overs, and living with friend's, visiting each other on social occasions both religious and secular. Most of our kids are raised with openness and not averse to being a part of what their friends do. 

We do not have the worries, which are legitimate worries in Muslim societies.

What will others say about kids? No one will say a thing whether you are from mixed race or mixed religion, you live a fairly normal life  accepting others. Will some one marry them? That question does not arise at all.  
Culturally, they are Muslims; wearing what Muslims wear in their parent lands, eating what they eat, and of course no one will eat pork, or drink alcohol. Pay with the same frequency as they  in Muslim lands. Not all Muslims worship five times a day, and fast 30 days. 

The couple is deeply committed to marry, they go ahead and get married any ways,  but sorely miss out on the ceremony, sometimes living with  a sense incompleteness in their lives.

Marriage is between two individuals, and their families and friends are supporters and cheerleaders to celebrate and complete their joy. God loves happy marriages.  

One must admire the couples that marry outside their tradition, ethnicity, faith, and race. Indeed, they are doing what the spiritual masters had done for thousands of years; to fall the barriers between people, and learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God given uniqueness of each other.

I have seen disappointments, where couples from different faiths wishing to marry were not able to do that.  Either the parents or the guardians of the religions were not comfortable with the situation and did not want to be a part of it, which we must respect.  All that the couples wanted was a touch of their own tradition and I feel their anguish and a sense of in-completion in their marriage when the tradition is not followed.  I recall a situation where a Jewish mother disowned her daughter for marrying an “infidel” Baha’i, it happens with every religion including Atheists. 

Alhamdu Lillah, I have officiated many weddings with a variety of combinations;  Christian -Hindu,   Hindu- Muslim, Jain-Muslim and now this week, I will be officiating a Jewish-Christian wedding. Most couples, particularly Muslims do not want even invite their friends fearing that instead of cheering their marriage they will be tearing it apart live villains.  

The wedding next week between a Jewish Bride  a Christian Groom will be officiated by this Muslim. They want me to share the information after the wedding and Insha Allah,  I will. 
If you have some one who wants to get married happily without hassles, I will be happy to officiate their wedding. I do counselling to the parents about focusing on the happiness of their children and do talk with the bride and groom. 

Please remember Islam is not about imposing one’s will on others, being judgemental about others or acting as God to others and making declarations;  Islam is about making a better human, a Rahmat for humanity in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the ultimate peace maker and mercy to mankind. No one should be afraid of a Muslim, if one does, than we are a not a Rahmat to others. 

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies where no one has to live in fear of the other. A vision of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).


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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.