Every day, some one or the other is writing negative things about Islam, it is an industry, the uglier you write, the greater the "other" extremists flock to you and the nincompoops also fund them. Geert Wilder produced a documentary called Fitna which became an international controversy. I responded to his 14 verses from Qur'aan that he deliberately misquoted, I quoted straight from the Qur'aan, one of his sources was USC which was wrong too. Mr. Wilders has read our piece, but yet, does not have the conscience to admit to the public at large that he misinformed the public. The link is placed in one of the questions below. What do you do? I believe the good majority of all people including Muslims do not heed such non-sense, but the negative perception is growing ceaselessly.
Bilingual is a Hispanic American working in India and is writing extensively in a blog called Sulekha, where I have been writing for the last ten years. He and I did some information sharing and then he came up with this challenge and wanted me to respond to his six questions.
RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS ON THE WEBSITE SULEKHA.COM
While I agree with most of what you have said, I am pleased to respond to six of your questions and I will write them in a reverse order;
6) Recognize and celebrate the role of women and their right to education and freedoms.....
The women are mistreated all over the world; all of us Men need to stand up to it. When they condemn how Indian women are burnt for dowries, I found out that more women are killed in the US by their violent spouse/boy friends, compare that to women in Islam, fewer are beaten up. All of them are wrong. That is not a solace and things have to be changed. It is the stupid, insecure dumb Men do those things. Religion is simply a scape goat.
I have made a tough call to Muslims:
5) Promotes and demands a division between Religion and State (Countries)
Indian and US constitutions have laws against corruption and crimes yet all of it happens, in Texas we hang the criminals and death penalty is carried out by eloctrocuting them, yet we are a civilized society!
Islam the religion did not want monarchies, dictatorships or dynasties, yet the nations with larger Muslim populations have them. Prophet Muhammad did not appoint a successor upon his death, Ali would have been the right one but the Prophet did not want people to take it that because Ali was his cousin and son in law, he gave the keys to him. He was against dynasties or successive rulers, so the first four leaders in Islam were elected. People are people whether they are Muslims, Hindus or Christians, they want to control and run – BJP and congress are no different. The problem is not the religion, it is the people and we are making aggressive pushes to keep the state and religion separate. Does this happen in a secular democracy like US or India? No, religion still plays a major role.
4) Issues edicts on what will not be tolerated in prayers and in mosques
Yes, at least Muslims in America do not tolerate any sermons that incite hate or anger against any one. I will speak out and thousands of fellow Muslim will speak up when we see any such insinuations or inneundos. I have suggested every Mosque to do a recording of their sermons and post it on the website. Most mosques routinely invite the public to attend the sermons. It is open to all and keeps the places of worship dedicated to invividual attainment of peace. However, you "may" find a mosque here and there where violations take place. It happens in all other faiths worship places. Go to a church and listen to the hate sermons by Robertson, Falwell, Stewart, Hagee. For Armageddon to happen they will kill the entire population in the Palestine/Israel territory, their version of God is a cruel God who will massacre every one just so Armageddon can happen. Listen to Thackery, Modi, Togadia, Advani... poison spills out of their mouths. In the Middle east there are quite a lot of Hate Sermons; fortunately in India and other democracties it is not as prevalent. No value is placed on life by these extremists in all religions, they are the counterparts of the Talibans, the Wahhabis and the Ladens.
Check this out: http://hatesermons.blogspot.com/2008/03/hate-sermons-from-pulpit.html
3) Change the curriculum of Islamic education on all levels to something that is compatible with the world’s education.
There is a need for this badly and the progress is not visible yet. One of the Mosques in Dallas, take their students both male and female to interfaith workshops and other places where they are open to dialogue. That is not enough, but the signs are there. In Bangalore one of my cousins who heads a mosque is doing something similar, I have not had the chance to keep up with more of this, just because I don’t know, it does not mean it is not there. But a lot of focus needs to be made here. The responsibility for peace should not fall on any one, each one of us has to bear the burden for a better tomorrow.
2) Provide a recognized and universally approved translation for the Qur’an
Yes, this is a major problem area and significant work is being done on this. The best translation is by Mohammad Asad, fairly represents the essence of Islam that you talked about it so eloquently. It is on one of the major sites called Islamicity.com. I am yet to get it done. However, you can see Qur’aan search at www.worldMuslimCongress on the right hand panel.
Here are three critical items in that direction; I am hoping to do a Quraan translation where a Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jew, Oloriyo, Sikh, Shinto, Toltec, Wicca and a Zoroastrian can relate with it. Believe it or not, an Atheist can relate with it as well. The third link below is a prelude to it.
1. Develop a hierarchy in both the Sunni and Shi’s branches that is universally recognized and obeyed
It will take time but it is happening gradually and I will have to make time to find those articles and work in that direction. The following article on Ramadan brings together all the divisions towards the essence of the faith.
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Articles/The-spirit-rituals-and-politics-of-Ramadan.asp The comments after the article are good too.
Peace is in your interest, my interest and every one's interest. Each one of us have to do our share of work in mitigating conflicts and nurturing good will. Those who simply point fingers, shame on them.
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He co-chairs the center for interfaith inquiry of the Memnosyne Foundation, president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political 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 and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website http://www.mikeghouse.net/. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at mailto:MikeGhouse@gmail.com
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August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
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Mirza A Beg
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.
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.