Saturday, February 2, 2008

Brooker Act re-introduced

Brooker Act re-introduced
By Zak Quiggle, Reporter. Posted February 01, 2008.

To do well in the future societies as well as the current ones, we must consider it a requirement for those who sit on the boards of Mosques, to have at least a positive familiarity of other religions. - Mike Ghouse

A hotly debated bill that promises to promote ideologically diverse campuses across Missouri is making its second round in Jefferson City this year.

The Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act would require universities to promote intellectual pluralism on campus and in classrooms and was named for a Missouri State University graduate who sued the school after claiming she was discriminated against because of her religious and ideological views.

The bill would require public reporting of the steps faculty members take to promote this free exchange of ideas. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, is confident the bill will pass this year.

“We just ran out of time last year,” Cunningham said. “It was on the Senate Calendar, right on the point of becoming a law, one step away from the governor’s desk.”

The Brooker Act has sparked controversy among members of MU’s faculty and students. Some, such as MU Faculty Council Chairman Frank Schmidt, see the bill as attempting to keep the supposedly liberal viewpoints of universities in check.

“It’s hard to judge people’s intent on a matter like this,” Schmidt said. “If we look at the history of these organizations funded by conservative groups like the Bradley Foundation, it’s easy to see why they’re not held in the favor of the academic left. The bill seems like a political ploy.”
Marcus Bowen from the MU College Republicans sees the bill as the state of Missouri fulfilling its own obligations.

“The College Republicans don’t have an official stance on the matter,” Bowen said. “However, the state does have the responsibility to monitor any spending of our tax dollars.”
Rick Puig, president of the Young Democrats of Missouri, sees the bill as creating an unnecessary partisan issue.

“The Brooker bill attempts to legislate an artificial balance of intellectual diversity,” Puig said. “By doing this, they’re creating a partisan issue by attempting to regulate one that doesn’t exist. In the Brooker case, standard, internal channels were pursued to mediate the problem, but now there’s just more bureaucratic red tape in Jefferson City.”

Cunningham scoffs at the idea of the bill as a political power play.

“There’s nothing in this bill about liberal or conservative or Democratic or Republican viewpoints,” Cunningham said. “Anyone who reads it won’t find anything but neutrality. The point is to make sure no student or faculty are discriminated against because of their political persuasion, viewpoint or belief.”

While the act makes its way through the Capitol, the problems it intends to fix aren’t manifesting themselves at MU.

“This bill assumes there are no avenues for students to complain,” Schmidt said. “There has always been a designated individual to listen to complaints, whether they’re based on racial, disability, gender or academic issues. Students can go to the directors of undergraduate and graduate studies, deans and even newspapers like The Maneater. There hasn’t been one formal complaint this year.”

Michael Prewitt, MU Associate Vice Provost, is responsible for handling those complaints. He bolstered Schmidt’s claim that there have been no complaints this year — neither in person nor via the online complaint forms students may fill out.

“Since the formal complaint system was implemented last August, we haven’t had any formal complaints filled out,” Prewitt said. “Typically, I’ll act as an ombudsman, almost like a traffic cop to direct these students to their department chair or director of undergraduate studies so the problem can be resolved at the lower level.”

Cunningham had the opposite viewpoint when regarding complaints.

“Emily Brooker had to sue MSU for her own right to free speech,” Cunningham said. “That was a highly publicized case, for anyone to see. There are other instances. If anyone doesn’t see that, they’ve either got their heads in the sand, or they are disingenuous or misinformed.”
The bill is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday during which it will be presented and debated over.

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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.