Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Texas Faith: Obama sparked a conversation about communitarianism v. individualism: Where do you fall?

The divide between individualism and communitarianism flashed to the surface last week during the presidential campaign. It came about after President Obama rather famously told a Virginia audience. ”If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

This may sound like an esoteric question, but it really gets at the heart of the discussion now going on within the presidential campaign. Communitarianism or individualism? Where do you fall?

Texas Faith is a weekly column at Dallas Morning News managed by Editors William McKenzie and Wayne Slater, the material is contributed by several panelists, for all responses please visithttp://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2012/07/texas-faith-communitarianism-or-individualism-where-do-you-fall.html/

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas
From the moment one is born to the moment life ends, a normal human being cannot survive without nurturing. He cannot birth himself or bury himself. There is always another human to be a part of the support system from birth to death.

We are indeed an individual strand in the web of the community. Whatever affects the web affect us (Chief Seattle), and vice versa. Global warming, mad cow disease and other issues are communitarian in nature, but driven by individuals in both directions.

Everyone’s psyche or conscience is a product of one’s environment, and our morality is a necessity of co-existence.

Strict individualism works well, as long as one is capable of taking care of one’s self. However, no individual is free from vulnerability of accidents, diseases, wars and old age. We are dependent on others to produce or consume.

Religions have contributed greatly towards building the communitarian life where the invincible (lol) and vulnerable both can live his or her life to the fullest extent possible.

Indeed morality is the insurance for the safety of individuals in a community.

Where do I fall?

There is a balance to be maintained in life. Justice is the core value and basis for the success of any given society, without which no society can maintain its social, moral and economic equilibrium.

One can get away with murder or taking advantage of others. But that creates an imbalance and rots the society with insecurity. It also puts the responsibility back on individuals to restore that elusive and dynamic balance.

Individualism and communitarianism can be best understood by looking at the extreme ideologies: responsible capitalism and communism. Individuals have the burning desire to excel and to do well, and capitalism becomes a catalyst for the prosperity of individuals that directly benefits the society, through incentives to the individuals, where as communism restricts growth through forced equality. As capitalists we need to think about our own safety in the long haul caused by inequalities.

If freedom and justice are the core values of a given society, we need not worry about communitarianism or individualism. Both complement each other.
_ _ _

Please mark your calendar for Tuesday 9/11/2012, it's a big event in Dallas- details at www.UnitydayUSA.com

No American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. There are solutions, here is a trailer of the movie in making: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMXsTo4VYh8&feature=youtu.be

Mike Ghouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.comis updated daily.

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Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

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 (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.

URL- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/08/planned-muslim-response-to-quran_18.html

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.