Saturday, April 10, 2010

Honoring Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci today

Honoring Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci today

Honoring Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci today

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Dallas, Texas

I am pleased to share a few interfaith moments about Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci, a scholar of Islam, a lawyer and an Imam. He has now established an institution with his name to impart education to the youth born and raised here in the D/FW Metroplex.

Tonight, April 10, 2010, he is being honored for the international recognition he has brought to the Dallas Forth worth Metroplex. He is listed among the 500 influential Muslims around the world.

When we initiated the Unity Day program in 2005, a 9/11 memorial event to bring Americans of all hues together to rededicate our pledge for the safety and prosperity of our nation, I ran into a conflict, one of my volunteers wanted additional time be given to Muslims in the interfaith prayer sequence of 10 religions, a suggestion was even made, that since it is a Muslim initiative, they should have the floor first.

However, as a Muslim deeply committed to the pluralistic values of Islam, I strongly believed in the egalitarian values embedded in every aspect of Islam including the rituals, and I was having difficulty with the idea of being treated special. I wanted every one of the ten religions be given equal time, and to avoid conflict of priority, we put them in an alphabetical order. A few of the volunteers were making it difficult for me for not listening to them.

So, I go to Imam Yusuf before the situation gets out of handle. He listened to me intently and offered this brilliant choice:

“Brother Mike, Religiously you are right, that is the right thing to do, we have to believe and practice equality, but if you want their support, you decide what you want to do, but do the right thing."
That was exactly what I wanted to hear and I asked him if I could put those words, " Islamically it was right to treat all faiths on par" that in the email and send it to the group, he said go for it, and with that conflicts faded and solutions emerged.

I cherish that moment with Dr. Kavakci.

In another personal incident about 15 years ago, when I was marrying my late wife Najma, I wanted my friends Mr. Maini and Mr. Sharma, who are Hindu by faith, to be the required witnesses of the wedding ceremony as I considered them my elder and brother, but the tradition was for the Father, Uncles or brothers to be the witness, generally Muslim, in my case they were the ones for me.

So, Imam Yusuf, Najma and I went for a walk in Dr. Asif Syed’s ranch and being an out of box thinker he was, he suggested that we increase the number of witnesses to five and include two of my friends with the other three. I adored him for that and have been admiring him since then.

Last year at the SMU, the students hosted a talk on Human rights in Islam, and one of the greatest moments of my life came upon me when I found out, I was the co-speaker with Dr. Kavakci, what an honor! A humble man by nature, he wanted me to sit right next to him during the Q& A session, and goaded me to answer the questions first, I found an unusual safety in it, after my response to the students, he would start saying perfect and then quote Qur’aan to support my response. He made my day.

Imam Yusuf calls himself a Khaksaar, a humble soul and a person who serves the humanity. I recall my Grand father also used the same title with his signature in his correspondence with Allama Mashriqi.
Imam Yusuf has been on my Radio show several times, one of them was a daily show called the Wisdom of Religion, all the beautiful religions and the other was a Saturday program called Festivals of the world, where we shared the essence of every festival you can imagine in that given week. He and I have shared many delightful moments on the radio. He is an amazing orator.

I have always enjoyed walking into his office and hear him say that, I am one of the Muslims he can speak without guards. He also gives me immense value in saying that I could bring the communities (intra and inter) together. I am proud of that. A few months ago, I wrote an article about intra faith and dedicated that to him. Today, I have reserved a table with great enthusiasm and labeled it “Islam intra-faith table” and have invited two Muslims each from Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Shia, Sunni and Warith Deen Muhammad traditions to start a conversation.

I am delighted to see this great scholar, Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci has been recognized as one of the 500 influential leaders in the world.

Here is an article written in February honoring him:

A few Pictures from the dinner event and some old pics: A few dinner pictures and other pictures:

Jazak Allah Khair
Good for Muslims and good for the World
To be a Muslim is to be a conflict mitigater and goodwill nurturer

Mike Ghouse, Mike Ghouse is a frequent guest at the media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. He is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam, India and Civil Societies. His work is reflected at 3 websites & 22 Blogs listed at

1 comment:

  1. Imam Yusuf
    When I am in your presence I can see the angels. The greatest gift you have given is the celebration of the diversity in all the ways people love and serve Allah. We used to play a game in large groups where we would look across the room and and guess who were the Dervishes
    Thank you for the Joy of being your friend



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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.