Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Source of Muslim Extremism


Contemporary Muslim scholar Hamza Yusuf writes, “This insidious disease has a source, and that source must be identified, so we can begin to inoculate our communities against it.”

Indeed, that source is clear. Hamza Yusuf knows it and Muslims know it. We just did not want to deal with it, and instead, placed the blame on others. Let’s face it: it is the rogue interpretations and mistranslations of Quran by the villains of Islam that has created this mess.



These villains are not the ones that we conveniently portray as Islamophobes, but they our own Muslim scholars like ibn-Tamiyah, ibn-Kathir, Maududi, Banna and others.  No doubt, they have written some good stuff, but all that so-called good gets wiped out with some of their poisonous write ups.     

If we want Islam to be Islam, a religion of peace, we need to muster the courage to stand up and reject those interpretations that are anathema to the pluralistic nature of Islam. Those secondary books are mistakenly elevated to be divine by a few Muslims.  Bold actions are required. 

Allah is not the enemy of Shias, Sunnis, Ahmadiyyas, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Gays, Lesbians, Buddhists, Atheists, Pagans and others, as many Muslims wrongly make Him out to be.  They have reduced the universal God (Rabbul Aalameen) to a private God owned by them and acting for them.  This simply is unacceptable. 

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a mercy to mankind, but if you ask Asiya Bibi, Naderkhani, Lena Joy, Abdur Rahman and a host of others who have been charged with blasphemy and apostasy, they have difficulty in seeing the Prophet as a mercy to mankind. How can they see it, if the radicals among us harass them in the name of the Prophet?  Many Muslims know that the apostasy and blasphemy laws are not rooted in Islam, yet they have remained silent.

All this venom in the name of Islam is coming from a single source; the secondary books. The Quran is the only authentic book and we cannot go wrong with it.  Until we reject those other books, we don’t have a prayer. 

Sharia as practiced is not divine, and divine by definition should be flawless; Sharia laws cannot be divine by any stretch of the imagination.  It was a body of law created by men with the intent of serving justice to fellow beings.  Our own Constitution is a human effort and has been amended 27 times to correct the flaws. To err is human and Sharia law has major flaws that need fixing in order to reflect God’s law which cannot be anything but justice, fairness, kindness and mercy.

We cannot pass the buck and discount our critics as “Islamophobes.” Al-Baghdadi quotes Ibn Hisham’s biography of the Prophet for his evil acts. That book is wrong and unfortunately many a Muslims are not aware of that. Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Brigitte Gabrielle are not cooking up, they are simply quoting what is written up in Hadith, Tafseers and Seerah even though they know it is wrong and at times discounted Hadiths.  

The good news is 99.99% of Muslims live their lives and let others live theirs. But that 1/10th of 1% is enough to create a mess. Why should they listen to you, when they have those books to give them their legitimacy?

Terrorism will continue until those bad books are replaced with the correct ones. We cannot force any one to believe otherwise, we have to work with those who are diametrically opposed to us, and plan on bringing common goodness to all in two or three generations. It has to be a gradual process of reason and logic involving everyone.  Any attempt to quick fix will back fire and worsen the situation. Believe me they’ll hold on to their dear books.

Let’s stick to the Quran, we simply cannot go wrong. I know this frightens many; it is, as if pulling the rug from under their feet. In reality, you can live a moral and conscious life by simply following the Quran.  Rejecting those other, so-called Islamic books will not disorient you at all.  Personal Sharia is fine, but the public Sharia needs to be amended (references below).

As a first step towards fixing our problems, we need to rehabilitate the Hadith. A new compilation of Hadiths is the need of the day, it will have two sections. The first section will reflect those Hadiths that are compatible with the statements that God is just and the Prophet is a mercy to the mankind; the second section will include all the questionable Hadiths for the scholars to prove their authenticity.

Our problems:

We are afraid of questioning the old-time scholars, many of whom were insensitive to fellow humans who were not Muslims, as they were not raised in the pluralistic environment that Prophet Muhammad lived through.

The man who writes the biggest check for the mosque can shut down the others, and they don’t even make an effort to present their point of view and abandon the good ideas.

Prophet Muhammad had said let the left hand not know the charity you give by the right hand, and he added, let no one be humbled down by your favors. If you are a contributor, I urge you to follow the Prophet and not treat the recipients as your slaves.

Most Muslim leaders follow the idiom “Monkey see, monkey do”, that is, we will do it if others are doing it. They lack conviction and don’t have the courage to be the first.

Leadership is not appeasing friends and members of the mosque but leading the community through the pull-e-sirat, i.e., the difficult road.

God has blessed us in America; we are a free and the brave people. If we cannot take the responsibility to fix the problems and boldly take out the germs that have infected the way Muslim have understood Islam, I think no one else in the world can do it.  

It is time to take back our religion. I will be happy to boldly stand with all Muslims who want to see Islam as a religion of peace, not only in words but in deeds.  Here are a few pieces;

Quran is not for Muslims - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/quran-is-not-for-muslims_b_6174940.html

Pristine and Mangled up Islam - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/two-islams-the-mangledup-_b_5748280.html

Genesis of Sharia Law - http://sharialaws.blogspot.com/2013/02/genesis-of-sharia-law.html 

Sharia Laws need Fixing. 
 http://sharialaws.blogspot.com/2014/01/fixing-sharia-laws.html

For the heck of it, please check at least five translations of the verse 3:85 and see how messed up they are. Meanwhile, I will finish writing an article on 3:85.   Of course, everything written above applies to all faiths, but that does not abdicate our responsibility to fix our own problems.
God bless the world and every one in it.

Mike Ghouse is a Muslim Speaker, pluralist and an activist. More about him at www.MuslimSpeaker.com   

Published at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-source-of-muslim-extremism_us_57843863e4b04041a9858324

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Abortion and contraception in Islam

I cringe when referring to Muslim Scholars of the past as some of them had it all wrong. However in case of abortion and its ethics in this article, there is a plurality of the opinion and thankfully lacks the rigidity.  In the following article, I appreciate their struggle on life. It is close the shared values of US Constitution thus far, and we are, like the Muslim scholars  struggling in deciding when and how a pregnancy can be terminated.
I have maintained that Islam is common sense, and it is good to read this piece and recommend others to read.

Mike Ghouse
World Muslim Congress
www.MuslimSpeaker.com 


Courtesy of BBC


The abortion debate asks whether it can be morally right to terminate a pregnancy before normal childbirth.

Some people think that abortion is always wrong. Some think that abortion is right when the mother's life is at risk. Others think that there is a range of circumstances in which abortion is morally acceptable.


Islamic teachings on abortion

Ultrasound picture of a female foetus aged 16 weeksIslam rarely permits abortion after 120 days. This foetus is about 112 days old ©
Muslims regard abortion as wrong and haram (forbidden), but many accept that it may be permitted in certain cases.
All schools of Muslim law accept that abortion is permitted if continuing the pregnancy would put the mother's life in real danger. This is the only reason accepted for abortion after 120 days of the pregnancy.
Different schools of Muslim law hold different views on whether any other reasons for abortion are permitted, and at what stage of pregnancy if so.
Some schools of Muslim law permit abortion in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, while others only permit it in the first 7 weeks.
However, even those scholars who would permit early abortion in certain cases still regard abortion as wrong, but do not regard it as a punishable wrong. The more advanced the pregnancy, the greater the wrong.
The Qur'an does not explicitly refer to abortion but offers guidance on related matters. Scholars accept that this guidance can properly be applied to abortion.

Sanctity of life

The Islamic view is based on the very high priority the faith gives to the sanctity of life. The Qur'an states:
Whosoever has spared the life of a soul, it is as though he has spared the life of all people. Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though he has murdered all of mankind.
Qur'an 5:32
Most Muslim scholars would say that a foetus in the womb is recognised and protected by Islam as a human life.

Protection of the mother's life

Islam allows abortion to save the life of the mother because it sees this as the 'lesser of two evils' and there is a general principle in Sharia (Muslim law) of choosing the lesser of two evils.
Abortion is regarded as a lesser evil in this case because:
  • the mother is the 'originator' of the foetus
  • the mother's life is well-established
  • the mother has with duties and responsibilities
  • the mother is part of a family
  • allowing the mother to die would also kill the foetus in most cases

Providing for the child

The Qur'an makes it clear that a foetus must not be aborted because the family fear that they will not be able to provide for it - they should trust Allah to look after things:
Kill not your offspring for fear of poverty; it is We who provide for them and for you. Surely, killing them is a great sin.
Qur'an 17:32
The same (and similar) texts also ban abortion on social or financial grounds relating to the mother or the rest of the family - e.g. that the pregnancy wasn't planned and a baby will interfere with the mother's life, education or career.
Top

For the baby's sake

Abortion for the sake of the baby

If it is confirmed in the early period of pregnancy that a foetus suffers from a defect that can't be treated and that will cause great suffering to the child, a number of scholars would say that it is permissible to abort, provided that the pregnancy is less than 120 days old.
Red blood cells, biconcave disc shapes, as seen under a scanning electron microscopeFoetuses with a particular genetic blood disorder can be aborted ©
A slightly more liberal opinion is that abortion within the first 120 days would be permitted if a child would be born with such physical and mental deformity as would deprive the child of a normal life. The opinion of at least two competent medical specialists is required.
Other scholars disagree and hold that abortion is not permitted in such cases.
There is almost unanimous opinion that after 120 days an abortion is not permissible unless the defect in the embryo puts the mother's life in danger.
In recent times in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameni has issued a fatwa permitting abortion for foetuses under 10 weeks shown to have the genetic blood disorder thalassemia.
And also in Iran, Grand Ayatollah Yusuf Saanei issued a fatwa which permits abortion in the first three months for various reasons. Saanei accepted that abortion was generally forbidden in Islam, but went on to say:
But Islam is also a religion of compassion, and if there are serious problems, God sometimes doesn't require his creatures to practice his law. So under some conditions--such as parents' poverty or overpopulation--then abortion is allowed,
Grand Ayatollah Yusuf Saanei quoted in Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2000
Widely quoted is a resolution of the Islamic jurisprudence council of Mekkah Al Mukaramah (the Islamic World League) passing a Fatwa in its 12th session held in February 1990. This allowed abortion if the foetus was:
grossly malformed with untreatable severe condition proved by medical investigations and decided upon by a committee formed by competent trustworthy physicians, and provided that abortion is requested by the parents and the foetus is less than 120 days computed from moment of conception.
Attributed, Mekkah Al Mukaramah, February 1990
NB: We have not been able to obtain an English language copy of this fatwa to corroborate the quote.

Rape, incest and adultery

Some scholars state that abortion where the mother is the victim of a rape or of incest is permissible in the first 120 days of the pregnancy.
Others say abortion for such reasons is never permitted.
Explaining the difficulty of such a case, one scholar says:
I believe that the value of life is the same whether this embryo is the result of fornication with relatives or non-relatives or valid marriage. In Sharia life has the same value in all cases.
Sheikh M. A. Al-Salami, Third Symposium on Medical Jurisprudence
It is reported that Bosnian women raped by the Serbian army were issued a fatwa allowing them to abort, but were urged to complete the abortion before the 120 day mark. A similar fatwa was issued in Algeria.
This demonstrates that Islamic law has the flexibility to be compassionate in appropriate circumstances.
In Egypt (where abortion is illegal) in June 2004, Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, approved a draft law allowing women to abort a pregnancy that is the result of rape. The law would also make it legal for women to undergo an abortion more than four months after conception.
His decision caused controversy among other Muslim scholars: The mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, said Tantawi's decision was wrong and violated the Qur'an's injunction that "forbids killing innocent souls." He said, "It is haram [forbidden] to abort the fetus after life is breathed into it, in other words after 120 days." However, he added that a woman could terminate a pregnancy if she was in immediate danger.
Islam does not permit abortion where an unwanted pregnancy is the result of unforced adultery.
Top

The soul

Abortion and the soul

Ultrasound picture of a foetusAbortion is not permissible after the foetus has a soul
Islam forbids the termination of a pregnancy after soul or 'Ruh' is given to the foetus.
There's disagreement within Islam as to when this happens. The three main opinions are:
  • at 120 days
  • at 40 days
  • when there is voluntary movement of the foetus
    • This usually happens during the 12th week of gestation but many women don't notice the movement until much later - sometimes as late as 20 weeks.
A relevant hadith suggests that the moment of ensoulment is 120 days:
Narrated Abdullah: Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, "(as regards your creation), every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he becomes a clot for another forty days, and then a piece of flesh for another forty days. Then Allah sends an angel to write four words: He writes his deeds, time of his death, means of his livelihood, and whether he will be wretched or blessed (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into his body..."
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 549
However, it's important to note that many scholars believe that life begins at conception, and that all scholars believe that an embryo deserves respect and protection at all stages of the pregnancy.

Islamic views on contraception

Islamic medicine has known about birth control for centuries - for example the Muslim writers Avicenna (980-1037) and Al-Razi (d 923 or 924) refer to different methods of contraception.
Islam is strongly pro-family and regards children as a gift from God.
Muslim sexual ethics forbid sex outside marriage, so its teachings about birth control should be understood within the context of husband and wife.
There is no single attitude to contraception within Islam; however eight of the nine classic schools of Islamic law permit it.
But more conservative Islamic leaders have openly campaigned against the use of condoms or other birth control methods, thus making population planning in many countries ineffective.
This resistance to birth control was reflected in 2005 when a conference involving 40 Islamic scholars from 21 countries urged fresh efforts to push population planning and better reproductive health services.
But although all the participants were in favour of promoting the use of contraceptives for married couples, they were reluctant to make it part of their joint declaration for fear of reprisals from the more conservative Islamic scholars in their respective countries.

The Qur'an

The Qur'an does not refer to contraception explicitly, but Muslims opposed to birth control often quote the Qur'an as saying "You should not kill your children for fear of want" (17:31, 6:151) and interpret this as including a ban on contraception as well as infanticide. Supporters of birth control argue that this interpretation is wrong.
In practice most Muslim authorities permit contraception to preserve the health of the mother or the well-being of the family.

Hadith

There are a number of hadith which indicate that the Prophetknew of birth control and approved of it in appropriate circumstances.

Methods

Hadith are said to describe and approve of the withdrawal method ('azl).
Scholars point out that this method may deprive the woman of both sexual fulfilment and of having children, and so should not be used without the woman's agreement.
Egyptian scholars have argued that any method that has the same purpose as 'azl - i.e. preventing conception - is acceptable, so long as it does not have a permanent effect.
Contraceptive methods that do not prevent conception but cause a very early abortion are not accepted.
Contraception with the aim of having a permanently child-free marriage is not accepted. So sterilisation is wrong - partly because it prevents children permanently and partly because of a text forbidding men to castrate themselves.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Trump camp quietly courts Muslims

Mother Teresa said, if you want to bring peace to the world, go talk with the people whom are your enemies or perceived enemies. I have talked with Ben Carson, and waiting for my turn to talk with Trump with the hope that he can see things differently and work on building a cohesive America.

Mike Ghouse

# # #


Courtesy of Hill 

Donald Trump’s top foreign policy adviser has quietly opened back channels within Muslim and Middle Eastern communities in the U.S. in an attempt to win over a small but increasingly important voting bloc.

Walid Phares, a top national security adviser for Trump, has been courting prominent Muslim Republicans and conservative Middle Eastern activists in the U.S.

Some Muslim Republicans and conservative Middle Eastern activists have also engaged with other top campaign officials about furthering Trump’s outreach to those communities.
In a Friday phone interview with The Hill, Phares said Trump campaign officials had not directed him to engage with the groups. Rather, he described the talks as a natural extension of the relationships he’s built over decades of policy work on Middle Eastern affairs.

Phares said that he initiated contact with several individuals and groups to ask them to organize for Trump or to sell them on Trump’s positions in hopes that they’d at some point support the likely GOP nominee.
But the bulk of the discussions, Phares said, were initiated by curious Muslim Republicans or Middle Eastern conservatives seeking additional information on Trump’s views or hoping to influence his policies – particularly as they pertain to the temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.

“Most of those who reached out said they want to support Mr. Trump, but they’re not clear about some of the statements he’s made,” Phares said.

“These people know what they want – they’re concerned about the well-being of their communities and believe that Trump has the right economic and social agenda,” he continued. “But they’re trying to get a handle on how he’ll deal with the Middle East.”

The behind-the-scenes discussions come as Trump continues to deal with blowback over his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.

The presumptive GOP nominee has also said he’s considering convening a commission headed by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) to examine the “problem“ of “radical Islam.”

Trump’s critics have cited those remarks as evidence he’s racist or xenophobic. Trump has since softened his rhetoric on the ban, saying it’s merely a “suggestion.”
Phares described the ban as a statement about how seriously Trump views the terror threat, rather than a statement of policy. He said Trump will further explain and refine his position as he takes government briefings and meets with interested parties.

“Right now the ban is just a few sentences in a foreign policy announcement and a tweet, it’s not like he’s written books or published articles or delivered lectures on this,” Phares said. “He’ll continue to add context and distinction to his position as he gets new information.”
Phares said the campaign is only in the early stages of outreach to Muslims and Middle Easterners, and that a more public outreach effort – along the lines of Trump’s recently announced meetings with Hispanic groups – can be expected later this year.

Phares, who also advised 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney on foreign policy, is an unlikely surrogate to the Muslim community.

The Beirut, Lebanon-born Christian has been demonized by the left over allegations of past ties to Lebanese insurgent groups. And some Muslims have expressed concern about his rhetoric toward Islam.
But he’s plugged into Muslim and Middle Eastern circles and well-regarded by many. Phares has testified before the State, Justice and Defense departments, led non-governmental organization delegations to a host of Middle Eastern countries, and is a terrorism expert for Fox News.
Some of those that Phares reached out to are still trying to wrap their minds around Trump’s candidacy.
One longtime conservative activist who is a Muslim told The Hill that he has been approached by several prominent members of the Muslim American community, all of whom asked for advice on how to respond to overtures from Phares or others within the Trump campaign.
“They approached me and said – ‘what should I do’?,” the source said. “I said - by all means, engage. Meet with the campaign. Speak with the campaign. Address the community's concerns.”

Some of those Phares reached out to have already come on board.

Shireen Qudosi, a California-based Muslim writer, said Phares first reached out to her before the Indiana primary. Qudosi at first declined to endorse Trump, saying that too many of her close friends supported Ted Cruz and that she was unsure if it was “worth the risk” at that point to endorse him.

After speaking with Phares – and after Cruz dropped out – Qudosi declared her support for Trump in a blog post that encapsulates the mixed feelings some in her community have toward the likely GOP nominee.

“His mannerism and language doesn’t always paint a pretty picture – but neither does the idea of a nuclear Iran, Yazidi sex slaves, more terrorist attacks, the Muslim Brotherhood, gross human rights violations, drone wars, etc.,” Qudosi wrote.

As a self-described “reform Muslim,” Qudosi told The Hill she’s attracted to Trump’s eagerness to challenge those Muslims she believes are turning a blind eye to Islam as a political doctrine – or “Islamism” - and radical jihad.

Qudosi said she feels like she has the ear of the Trump campaign through Phares.

Others said they are communicating directly with Trump’s central headquarters in New York.

Saba Ahmed, who founded the Republican Muslim Coalition and shot to fame after debating a Trump surrogate on Fox News Channel while clad in a stars-and-stripes hijab, said she texts and emails with campaign manager Cory Lewandowski and other Trump officials regularly.

Ahmed says she supports Trump despite his call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country. She said Trump’s proposal is nothing more than election-year rhetoric that has no chance of ever becoming law.
“Something like that could never be enacted so I can ignore it,” Ahmed said. “He’s toned down his rhetoric lately and I’m focused more on the positive messages he has about the economy and balancing the budget and improving U.S. standing in the world.

Ahmed requested a meeting with Trump late last year, but said the campaign indicated that was too politically fraught a proposition in the midst of a heated Republican primary.

Now that the primary is all but over, Ahmed hopes that she and other faith leaders will get an audience with Trump at some point after the Republican National Convention in July. Her goal is to convince Trump to visit a mosque.

The American-Mideast Coalition for Trump is doing most of the heavy lifting right now in engaging Muslim Republicans and Middle Eastern conservatives on Trump’s behalf.

The group, which formed in mid-March after Trump won the Florida primary, is a coalition of Middle Eastern Americans that counts Muslims and Christians as members.

Co-founder Tom Harb said he fully supports Trump’s proposed Muslim ban. Fellow co-founder John Hajjar was less enthusiastic on that point, saying the proposal could have been worded more “artfully” and that he expects Trump will “further refine” his position now that he’s the likely nominee.

Hajjar also said he’d like to see the Trump campaign do more public outreach to Muslim Republicans, saying that there are moderate Muslim groups, like the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, that would be open to his message.

The Arizona-based forum, which describes itself as committed to advocating for “the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state,” would seem a natural target for Trump to recruit supporters.

But founder Zuhdi Jasser, who first supported Marco Rubio and later backed Cruz, is emblematic of the challenges Trump still faces in reaching skeptical conservatives of all stripes.

“I’m a lifetime Republican and a conservative and believe that Muslims need a candidate who gives us tough love and recognizes that we need to come to terms with an ideology that is sometimes incompatible with the Constitution,” Jasser said.

“But Trump is irrational and shallow and I can’t support him because of his character. His entire campaign has been scorched-earth and I have an ethical compass that I live by. I won’t support him just because the ends seem to justify the means.”
-- Jonathan Swan contributed reporting to this story.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Rockville, MD – Interfaith Meeting on how to deal with violent crimes

As a Muslim I don’t want sympathies, what I want is what everyone wants, a sense of security and letting me live my life as others live theirs. Throw me in a jail for the crimes I commit, but don’t blame me or my religion for the acts someone else commits. As fellow Americans this is what you can do for the other members of the family of faiths, and become a consistent voice to propagate the following narratives…. in the text below. Mike Ghouse
# # #

May 12, 2016, Rockville, MD – The Faith Leaders response team of Montgomery County’s Faith community working group held their monthly interfaith meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville.

The MCPD Asst. Chief Darryl McSwain and Asst. Chief Luther Reynolds, and MC Fire Chief, Scott Goldstein shared their perspectives in developing safe communities.  Both the departments offer facility orientation programs, that is,  training and preparing the members of worship places to ‘what if’ scenarios in case of a gunman walking in,  a fire breaks out or any other untowardly events.

Response Team Portrait
Montgomery County Faith Leaders – Photo Courtesy: Chuck Lee

Rev. Dr. Carol Flett facilitated the meeting attended by nearly 30 individuals representing many faith communities.

A member from each table shared the general conversation of his or her given table.  From our table, we shared the needs of various communities. Imam Hadji Sall from Silver Springs Mosque talked about the space needs for his Mosque, he and I have agreed to have a discussion and present the possible solutions to the group. There was an acknowledgement needed for bullying that goes on with Hindu kids along with Muslim and Sikh kids, Richa from the Chinmaya Mission shared that information.

Rabbi Gerry Serotta, Executive director of interfaith council of Washington shared about the upcoming Interfaith Bridge Builders Awards on June 2, event as a head of the Interfaith council of Metropolitan Washington, one of the pastors shared that they pray for the both the victims and the offenders in case of crises.  Of course, Scott Goldstein shared what the Fire Department does in case of crises, he made it little humorous about catching the animals.

I found the following powerful quote from the signature line of Rev. Dr. Carol Flett worth sharing, as it resonated with the theme of the verse 49:13 from Quran that I have been elaborating on for over 15 years. It is a Martin Luther King Quote, “”…I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.”
AjaibSinghSiddhu-MikeGhouse ImamHodji-MikeGhouse

It was a joy to meet with Dr. Ajaib Singh Siddhu and his wife Hema, who are also friends with Dr. Harbans Lal since their college days. Hema said she and Harbans graduated from the same college same year one got the PhD and the other D. Lit.  Dr. Lal is a father figure to me, and I have always admired him and continue to seek his wisdom from time to time.

Great food, the families brought in so many varieties of vegetarian food that I have enjoyed at the Jain Temples in the past.

PROPOSAL TO THE GROUP

I am pleased to propose to the group, that in one of the upcoming meetings, we can facilitate a talk on the First Amendment; we will also hold a workshop on First Amendment at our facility at the United Methodist building soon. There is a continual need to understand the first amendment on a regular basis.  Please let me know the first time slot available to do this.

The discussion on how we are dealing with the recent violent incidents in Paris, Brussels, Lahore and our County, with members of our congregations. Let’s discuss practical ways we can reduce anxiety and xenophobia in our own communities, and continue to build a socially cohesive and compassionate county.
I am pleased to share my write up.

Dealing with violent incidents in Paris, Brussels, Lahore and here in the United States

The bottom line of every religion, government and the society is to create cohesive societies that function well, where rule of law is the norm, and where no one has to live in fear, or apprehension of the fellow beings.

It is our duty to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Hate is one of the many sources of disrupting peace in a society, and it is our responsibility to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it.  Ultimately, my safety hinges on safety of others around me.
There is wisdom in the saying, “Sin is the problem and not the sinner” when we focus on the sin, there is a chance to redeem the individual from the sin, where as if we attack the sinner, we will kill the chances of redemption. The idea is to single out the cause for the situation and work on finding solutions.

Similarly, we single out the criminal responsible for the crime,  and not  blame his or her spouse, parents, siblings, kids, family members, rabbi, imam, pastor, Pundit or religious leader, mayor of the town, governor of the state, president of the country or the religion.

If a rapist is running around in our neighborhood, everyone gets apprehensive and makes sure the doors are locked, alarm is set and family members are guarded. The moment that creep is caught, everyone sighs and takes a deep breath of relief.

What’s happened here is,  the “trust” is restored in the community; people feel safe and start living their normal life again.  There is nothing like feeling secure.  Indeed, Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) work was to build secure societies and he likened the sense of security to mother’s lap where the child feels secure. No matter what is happening to him/her, the child knows he or she is safe in her mother’s lap, the child knows mother will take care of him/her.  Mother is one’s security and trust is the key.

The Prophet vision of a civilized society was when a single woman loaded with Jewelry and fine clothing could go from the City of Madinah to the City of Damascus and return without being harassed, chased or robbed of her dignity. That was the kind of civility he had envisaged.   A majority of Muslims got that message right and have become the source of such civility; however a few did not get it and we have to work with them.

Those who did not get their religion right, no matter what religion, region or race they belong to cause death and destruction. The list is endless; Brussels, Paris, Grand Bassam, Ankara, Gaza, Mumbai, Bali, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, Iraq and several more across the globe including the latest rampages of ISIS.   Here at home we have San Bernardino along 354 Mass murders in 2015.   Individuals wear suicide vests and hurt others, while nations wrap mega ton bombs to their fighter jets and destroy nations and cities.  All of us should reflect on the ugliness embedded in a few men from each one of our faiths.

There is not a religion out there that preaches discrimination or hatred for others.  Isn’t that the case with Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism or any faith?  Religion doesn’t teach, but the Guardians make a villain out of God towards others. God is not a villain, he/she/ it is about justness, fairness, equity and kindness to the entire creation.

What can we do to cut down the fear mongering and pitting every one against Muslims?
As a Muslim I don’t want sympathies, what I want is what everyone wants, a sense of security and letting me live my life as others live theirs. Throw me in a jail for the crimes I commit, but don’t blame me or my religion for the acts someone else commits.

As fellow Americans this is what you can do for members of the family of faiths, and become  a consistent voice to propagate the following narratives;
  1. Individuals or cult leaders are responsible for their crimes and not anyone else.  Let’s not even blame their parents, pastors, mayors, or their religion or their nation.
  2. We bring justice by punishing the criminals and restore trust in the society, no one but the criminal is responsible for his or her acts.
  3. Religion is like the Nuclear power, in the right hands it is beneficial to the mankind, but in the wrong hands, it brings death and destruction.   Neither religion is bad nor the nuclear power; it is the users and abusers who are good or bad.
  4. We absolve religion from any blame, as religion is an intangible entity which you cannot kill, kick, murder, slaughter, hang, shoot or bury. Trust cannot be restored in the society by barking aimlessly in the dark.
  5. War on terror is a dumb idea; it should be war on ignorance through education and knowledge.
References:







Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine, motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) at www.TheGhousediary.com

Thursday, May 5, 2016

10 Reasons You Should Not Fear Muslims

A great article, must be read and circulated time and again.
Mike Ghouse
World Muslim Congress
~~~~~~~~~
Courtesy : Beliefnet
When I was a toddler, I was terrified of ladybugs. There was just something about how different they looked that made me fear and despise them. To me, they looked harmful. As I grew older, I learned that ladybugs are not only absolutely harmless to humans but also extremely beneficial to us because they feed on landscape pests without harming our plants or other harmless bugs. Knowing this, I no longer am scared of ladybugs and I actually enjoy their presence.
There are millions of Muslims living in the United States and I can guarantee you that every single one has either directly faced some sort of hateful discrimination or knows of a Muslim that has. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, a Muslim American is a victim of a hate crime every three days. Recent polls show that more than half of Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam. Sadly, Muslims are today's ladybugs.
As a Muslim American who continually strives to do everything I can for the betterment of my community and this nation, it is saddening to see this hate. Yet just as my fear of ladybugs was caused by my ignorance about them, similar is the case with how Muslims are currently viewed. It's time to change that. Let this be the piece that does away with your unwarranted fear of Muslims.
Here Are Ten Reasons Why You Should Not Be Afraid of Muslims:
1. All terrorists are Muslims EXCEPT the gigantic majority that aren't.
According to the FBI, 94 percent of terrorist attacks carried out inside the United States from 1980 to 2005 have been by non-Muslims. Keyword: Non-Muslims. Looking overseas, less than 2 percent of terrorist attacks carried out in Europe in the past five years have been by Muslims.
If this miniscule percentage isn't calming enough for you, I can present better. From 9/11 to the end of 2015, less than 0.0002 percent of Americans killed were killed by Muslims. No matter where you look, every single statistic will scream to you that there is absolutely no valid association between the over 1.6 billion peaceful Muslims in the world and the terror committed by those who hijack our religion.
Furthermore, if you insist on using these single-digit and decimal statistics to justify such an association, I strongly suggest that you consider the double-digit statistics regarding non-Muslims and acts of terrorism.
2. Muslims do not plan to take over America with our religion.
One thing more hysterical than my childhood fear of ladybugs is this unfounded fear that Muslims plan to take over this country and impose Sharia law. The fact of the matter is that this is absolutely untrue as the majority of Muslims actually want to adopt American customs and ways of life, according to the Pew Research Center.
But let me humor the Islamophobes: Even if Muslims wanted to take over this nation and turn the White House into a super cool mosque (which totally isn't the case), we would not be able to. Muslims make up less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population. We are a minority of a minority and never in history has 1 percent of a nation's population succeeded in taking over the other 99 percent. To put things into perspective, this would be equivalent to a toddler taking over an entire elementary school during nap time.
3. Speaking of toddlers, if you are scared of Muslims then you should be terrified of toddlers.
More Americans were killed by toddlers than by Muslims in 2013. And in 2014. And in 2015. And every year for the past several years.
Based on these facts, you should be more afraid of toddlers than you are of Muslims, or more realistically, less afraid of Muslims than you are of toddlers. Please remember this the next time you are on an airplane with a Muslim. Speaking of airplanes, you are more than 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane.

 
4. If you are scared of Muslims, then you should also be afraid of household furniture.
Recent data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that since the 9/11 attacks, which have caused Americans to become terrified of Muslims, Americans have been just as likely to be crushed to death by unstable televisions and furniture than they are to be killed by a Muslim. On this same note, in the time it took you to read this far, at least one American has died from a heart attack. In the time it takes you to finish this article, at least one American will have died as a result of suicide. By tonight, at least one American will have died as a result of distracted driving. By the time you wake up tomorrow morning, an American child will have died as a result of gun violence.
Meanwhile, not a single American would have been harmed by a Muslim as all of this is happening. Rather than fearing Muslims who pose no harm, why not work to address the aforementioned preventable deadly leading causes of death plaguing our nation?
5. When we say Islam teaches peace, we really mean it.
There is no bigger award for those who promote peace than the Nobel Peace Prize. That being said, 5 out of the 12 past people who have won this award have been Muslims. So if all Muslims are terrorists because a single digit percentage of terrorists happen to be Muslim, then all Muslims are peacemakers because 42 percent of Nobel Peace Prize winners in the past 12 years have been Muslims.
6. Muslims play an essential role in fighting terrorism at home.
Many polls and studies conducted in the last few years show that Muslims have played a crucial role in helping law enforcement find terror suspects in the United States. In fact, a recent study by Duke University showed that Muslim Americans helped catch more terrorism suspects and perpetrators than the United States government itself. Furthermore, many Muslims have served and currently serve in the military to help protect this nation from terrorists.
7. Muslims hate ISIS just as much as you do.
Here is a fact that is not well known to many: Muslims are the the largest victims of ISIS's terror as well as the largest victims of all terrorism in general, according to theU.S. State Department. Muslims want to defeat terrorism just as much as any other American, if not more. This is why we have Muslims like Niloofar Rahmani, Kubra Khademi, many Muslim youth, and various Muslim groups and scholars that have done much more to combat ISIS than Islamophobes like Donald Trump ever will.
8. Muslims are doing amazing work in the United States.
We want to help our fellow Americans. We actually enjoy helping. You don't have look far to find evidence of this. Just last year, Muslims raised over $100,000 to rebuild burned black churches, raised nearly $200,000 to help the San Bernardino victims, and donated 30,000 water bottles to help alleviate the current Flint water crisis. Even Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha, two Muslims who were killed by a hateful non-Muslim terrorist, were recently awarded the MLK Unsung Hero Award for their significant contributions to social justice, equity or diversity, and having made a positive difference in the lives of others.
9. Muslims are helping break gender stereotypes.

This nation we live in is a seen as a symbol of freedom and opportunity and Muslims lead the nation by example. American Muslims not only hold more college degrees by proportion than the general U.S. population, but also make up the second-highest level of education among major religious groups. To add, American Muslim women hold more college or postgraduate degrees than Muslim men and aremore likely to work in professional fields than women from most other U.S. religious groups.
Nearly all Muslim Americans agree that women should be able to work outside the home and a significant majority believe there is no difference between men and women political leaders. It is easy to see that Islam encourages women to aspire for greatness and use their success to help others, this is why the youngest doctor in the world is a Muslim woman and the first university in the world was founded by one as well. In addition, the same Islam that Americans are afraid of has granted women rights of equality thousands of years ago that women in the United States don't have to this very day. While an Equal Rights Amendment still has not been passed in the U.S. allowing women equal rights as men, the Quran granted this right to women long before this nation was ever founded.
10. Muslims have been in the United States for centuries.
The history of American Muslims goes back more than 400 years. Scholars even estimate that a quarter to a third of African slaves brought to this nation were Muslims. Despite the unfortunate circumstance of our first arrival, Muslims played a significant role in the establishment of this nation. And despite all the hatred we continue to receive, we want to play a role in making this nation great and safe.
Twenty-one Muslims were killed by the Taliban in Pakistan this week and I'm still waiting for the world to respond as furiously as they would have if the victims were non-Muslims. As I ululate the names of the 21 Muslim university students killed on Wednesday, I ask myself: Why are Muslims hated because of terrorism when we are the largest victims of it?
There is not a single day that goes by that I don't think of Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha and how they will never be able to continue carrying out the amazing work they were doing because they were hated and killed simply for being Muslim.
I am Deah Barakat. I am Tamir Rice. I am Yusor Abu-Salha. I am Sandra Bland. I am every single American that has died as a result of hate and unjustified fear. On behalf of all Muslim Americans, I urge you to rise above your unfounded fears and trust in the truth that implores you to accept us as equal citizens of this nation. Look past our hijabs and long beards and see the love we have in our hearts. And please, stop seeing us as terrorists when it is terror that we resist. We want to help defeat terrorism and we want to help make this nation great, all you have to do is grab our hand. We have it extended out. 


Omar Alnatour is a Palestinian-American college student. He is one of the biggest voices on the Palestine-Israel conflict on Twitter with his tweets being featured on Huffington Post, CNN, , Buzzfeed, The Independent, Al Jazeera, Vice News, AJ Plus, RT News, and Mondoweiss.
 

MUSLIM SPEAKER

MUSLIM SPEAKER
Email to: SpeakerMikeGhouse@gmail.com

Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

quraan burning

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

PRESS RELEASE
August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916
MikeGhouse@aol.com

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797
mirza.a.beg@gmail.com

www.WorldMuslimCongress.com


PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA

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 (www.UnitydayUSA.com) 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.






URL- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/08/planned-muslim-response-to-quran_18.html



Thank you.

CIVIL DIALOGUE

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.