Thursday, August 4, 2011

British Actress Inspired by Prophet Muhammad’s Life
Thanks to Hasni Essa for sharing this article with a great introduction, I read it and I really liked it. I can relate with Myriam Francois-Cerrah. The following note is written with the intention of a long term sustainable cohesive societies and I hope some of my Muslim and Christian friends get it and I know most of them do.
My story is similar in the sense I came to Islam for similar reasons that she did. As a Pluralist who respects all of God's creation and honors every which way one adores the creator, I found Quraan (Beware, there are two bad translations that the right wingers go by, rather than 23 good ones – details at ) to be a book of guidance in living with justice and fairness to every human being, where no one is afraid of the other, it was about creating peaceful societies and that is really what Islam is all about. Myriam has summed it up very well in her story and I am deeply inspired by Prophet Muhammad’s guidance and I urge individuals to find it on their own.

Religions indeed came into being to fix the dysfunctional societies, a majority of the people gets it and a few don't. Those who don't get it wear the same religious label but act entirely opposite of what their religion guides them. Neither Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews nor others act their religion out, they act their greed out.

Rarely do I read conversion stories as I do not see the need for it, each religion is beautiful and serves the purpose of bringing tranquility and balance to the individual. The missionizing operations in Islam and Christianity are more interested in religionizing and branding the individuals rather than bringing tranquility and peace to them. Quraan was clear when it said, whether you are a Jew, Christian or other, you need not worry about God's grace, he will shower you with this blessings if you are good to his creation; people and the environment. Indeed, Prophet Muhammad fortified it by saying that if you marry a Jewish or a Christian woman, you don't need to convert. Those are powerful statements from a Pluralism point of view. Prophet Muhammad and Jesus (and all the messengers) offered models of living that will serve the individuals and the humanity, their models were so good that people would want to emulate them and that was the right approach, it was about free will.

However, if one is not satisfied with the given set of beliefs be it Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu or the other, she or he must explore and find what works and go for it. It is a shame that a few states in my India place restrictions on one's choices. No one should dictate what one eats, drinks, breathes, wears or believes.

I get a lot of calls from people asking me about Islam, and I always tell them to take time to learn their own beautiful faith and not jump, despite that about nine have converted in the last year. At least 3 are Mormon girls and one an Atheist, Hindu and others. I want to share an interesting sentence I heard a few weeks ago in my sermon on Pluralism – he asked if there is a way for him to follow Islam without being associated with Muslims? Most likely the few Muslims he met may have invited him to become a Muslim brand based on belief rather than what the belief will do to him; bring tranquility and peace. Miryam has alluded to it, “I did not immediately identify with the Muslim community. I found many things odd and many attitudes perplexing. The attention given to the outward over the inward continues to trouble me deeply.” Indeed, a few visible Muslims have subdued the significance of the inward attainment and reduced the religion to external manifestations.

Let religion be a solution to your peaceful existence and not a brand.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and is available to speak on the topic of Pluralism, Islam, India and Just societies. Details at

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British Actress Inspired by Prophet's (peace be upon him) Life
Myriam Francois-Cerrah Embraces Islam
By Reading Islam Staff

OnIslam, 18 May 2011

I embraced Islam after graduating from Cambridge. Prior to that I was a skeptical Catholic; a believer in God but with a mistrust of organized religion.

The Qur'an was pivotal for me. I first tried to approach it in anger, as part of an attempt to prove my Muslim friend wrong. Later I began reading it with a more open mind.

The opening of Al Fatiha, with its address to the whole of mankind, psychologically stopped me in my tracks. It spoke of previous scriptures in a way which I both recognized, but also differed. It clarified many of the doubts I had about Christianity. It made me an adult as I suddenly realized that my destiny and my actions had consequences for which I alone would now be held responsible.

In a world governed by relativism, it outlined objective moral truths and the foundation of morality. As someone who'd always had a keen interest in philosophy, the Qur'an felt like the culmination of all of this philosophical cogitation. It combined Kant, Hume, Sartre and Aristotle. It somehow managed to address and answer the deep philosophical questions posed over centuries of human existence and answer its most fundamental one, 'why are we here?'

In the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), I recognized a man who was tasked with a momentous mission, like his predecessors, Moses (pbuh), Jesus (pbuh) and Abraham (pbuh). I had to pick apart much of the Orientalist libel surrounding him in order to obtain accurate information, since the historical relativism which people apply to some degree when studying other historical figures, is often completely absent, in what is a clear attempt to disparage his person.

I think many of my close friends thought I was going through another phase and would emerge from the other side unscathed, not realizing that the change was much more profound. Some of my closest friends did their best to support me and understand my decisions. I have remained very close to some of my childhood friends and through them I recognize the universality of the Divine message, as God's values shine through in the good deeds any human does, Muslim or not.

I have never seen my conversion as a 'reaction' against, or an opposition to my culture. In contrast, it was a validation of what I've always thought was praiseworthy, whilst being a guidance for areas in need of improvement. I also found many mosques not particularly welcoming and found the rules and protocol confusing and stressful. I did not immediately identify with the Muslim community. I found many things odd and many attitudes perplexing. The attention given to the outward over the inward continues to trouble me deeply.

There is a need for a confident, articulate British Muslim identity which can contribute to the discussions of our time. Islam is not meant to be an alien religion, we shouldn't feel like we've lost all trace of ourselves. Islam is a validation of the good in us and a means to rectify the bad. Islam is about always having balance and I think the Prophet's (pbuh) message was fundamentally about having balance and equilibrium in all that we do.

The Prophet's (pbuh) message was always that you repel bad with good that you always respond to evil with good and always remember that God loves justice so even when people are committing serious injustices against you, you have a moral responsibility and a moral obligation in front of God to always uphold justice and never yourself transgress those limits.

Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: 'Forgive him who wrongs you. Join him who cuts you off. Do good to him who does evil to you and speak the truth even if it be against yourself.'

Islam's beauty really becomes to its own when it becomes manifest and it becomes manifest when you make it into a tool for the betterment of society, human kind and the world.

The ideal from an Islamic perspective is for ethics to become lived ethics, to become an applied body of values and not remain unfortunately as it often is cloistered in the mosque of somewhere which is some more divorced from reality.

Myriam Francois-Cerrah became popular when she was a child for acting in the 90's hit film 'Sense and Sensibility.' Now she is gaining more popularity for being one of a growing number of educated middle class female converts to Islam in Britain.

She has recently contributed to a series of videos on Islam produced in the UK titled (Inspired by Muhammad (pbuh)).

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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.