Friday, December 28, 2007

Hope for Pakistan

Hope for Pakistan
Mike Ghouse, December 27, 2007

Much has been written about Benazir Bhutto, her assasination is a severe blow to democracy in Pakistan.

She threatened the extremists, a dare move perhaps calculated to win the support of majority of moderates in Pakistan who want to live a normal life. They got to her before she could get them.
It was the battle of wills. She played the game boldly but undiplomatically. She had every thing to lose, whereas the extremists did not. Life did not mean much to them, it was not a good equation.
Now, is the time and the moral responsibility of the moderate majority to stand up, whether Ms. Bhutto would have made it or not is not the question, but she sacrificed her life to bring democracy back to her people. If they do not, those few extremists will bulldoze them, one leader at a time. Then it would be too late to wish otherwise.
The ‘Bush-man” Musharraf fell prey to the greed of power. His dreams of making Pakistan a moderate democratic republic simply vanished before the hunger for power.
Bhutto’s death gives ample reason to Musharraf to stay put. I will not be surprised to hear “I told you so”, “You did not understand my people” kind of rhetoric and assert “Pakistani people prefer to have the military rule” and “I am the one.” Pakistani people deserve their own government, and they are inherently democratic in their disposition.

At this time, the best course for the United States to take is not to rock the boat. Let the general have some breathing room, and listen to him and to the public without making aggressive self serving suggestions. Any criticism of his government may build public resentment and amounts to meddling in their affairs.

Stability of Pakistan is important to her people and people in the Subcontinent. Let Pakistan recover from this severe blow to their democratic process, and make sure there is a genuine welcome of our help, and offer it unconditionally.

Democracy is not a ‘ready made’ suit to fit in the moment you wear it. It is a process like planting the seeds, watching them germinate, checking for moisture, soil, sun and air, and caring it from bugs, fungal diseases and then protecting it from the birds. Then comes fertilizing, watering, pruning and chasing the birds or the monkeys part, it is a full blown process. You have nourish it and over a period of twenty years, it will be tree enough to serve the purpose for which it was gown; Shade.
One has to start breathing, drinking, sleeping and living democracy to fully realize its values. It took us two centuries to be one of the most mature democracies and we need to give others at least a generation and not order it to happen on our President’s watch.

Fundos (Fundamentalists) are a threat to the peaceful working of their society. They want others to believe and listen to them, without giving the other party the very same right. As citizens of the world, we need to put politics aside and at least try roping them into a dialogue. Looking back, had our administration not emboldened her with the confrontational path, she probably would have trekked the diplomatic path.

To understand the vibrancy of Pakistani populace, one must watch the Pakistan forums and talk shows- such as the much talked about “who wants to be the Prime Minister”. It is weeks of debate, give and take punches, and absorbing and living the values of inclusiveness in that society. The extremists also listen and watch the slow seeping in of democratic norms. It is an anecdote to terrorism.

Steven Bochco’s “LA Law” truly represented American mind, the audience was made to take different sides as the show moved forward and enabled the public to see how to deal with different social and cultural issues of the society. If the American entrepreneurs can fund such shows around the globe where people can think and ponder on both sides of the issue, we can see seeds of democracy germinating on the planet earth.

Pakistan is ripe for democracy; a majority of her people believes in it. We cannot “Bush out terrorism” with bombs, we can certainly erase it through dialogue, education and patience. We need a 20 year plan to change a whole new generation into thinking, believing, seeing, breathing and living democracy in their day to day life. It will take a generation to bring it about a sustainable democracy.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion and civic issues. He is the founding president of World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at or (214) 325-1916

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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.