Monday, August 20, 2012

America Celebrates Eid ul Fitr

America celebrates Eid: Outstanding examples of national unity and cohesion

America celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr over the weekend to mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. New York’s State Empire building glowed green in celebration with the city’s sizeable Muslim population, a tradition that has been carried on for several years. Here in Dallas, 20 thousand Muslims gathered in downtown Dallas to celebrate by praying and attending a public sermon. Across the DFW metroplex, Islamic centers and mosques were packed with thousands of worshipers celebrating the day of Eid.

There are about 35 mosques in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Mike Ghouse wrote on his daily Ramadan blog. A member of the Texas Faith Panel at the Dallas Morning News and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Ghouse is a prolific Muslim writer, public speaker, activist, and initiator. He maintains over 27 blogs and four websites, indexed at, mostly around the subjects of pluralism, interfaith movement, justice, politics, Islam, India, hope, and world peace. This Ramadan, Ghouse has visited over 15 mosques where he broke his fast and socialized with Muslim communities.

Mike Ghouse has initiated the Ramadan mosque tours in 2010 and today, his blog statistics reflect over 6000 national daily hits, with additional thousands worldwide. This year, he has visited diverse Muslim communities, like Sunni, Shia, and Ahmadi congregations. He noticed a few differences within the different Muslim traditions, but the fundamentals of the faith were one: belief in One God and in His last prophet, Muhammad. Ghouse even visited a church and a Sikh congregation commemorating the Wisconsin shootings. This model of intrafaith (relations within one faith) and interfaith (relations between different faiths) deserves a big applaud because it reflects a tradition of pluralism and tolerance, which are both intrinsically rooted in both Muslim and American ethics.

Ghouse is also a pioneer in a DFW yearly event, 9/11 Unity Day: "On this Unity Day USA, we, the people of the United States of America of every faith, race and ethnicity, will gather to express our commitment to co-existence, safety, prosperity and the well being of our nation. As Americans we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. All our faiths reinforce the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all”. This year's Unity Day is on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at 11:30 a.m., at Unity of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230.

During Ramadan this year, the DFW community has been witness to some serious interfaith relations; the Rev. Wess Magruder with Rowlett’s United Methodist church decided to fast Ramadan with his Muslim friends. For 30 days, the pastor blogged about his experience, reflecting on the spirituality of connecting with God through acts of worship, especially fasting. He has compared Islam with Methodism which was quiet educational for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Muslims found his reflections inspirational because they represented their worship experiences from a fresh angle. Methodists from Rev. Magruder’s congregations 
have been supportive of their pastor and have also learned about Islam from within a fresh perspective.

Commenting on the last post, Jim wrote “I have learned a lot through your posts during your fast, but I have to say that this one is absolutely brilliant. I printed off a copy to keep in my Bible to help me focus on Jesus’ real message to us.” Bill, on the other hand, applauded his pastor by commenting: “I think what you’ve done is a mark of a true leader, Wes. It is great that you have taken your space in this world and shown how others can/must do the same with theirs. And isn’t this how we are given to understand it works? One authentic person gives rein to his heart, stands and says this is the way forward and finds his message spread ’round the world. I love Methodism, and you are a great credit to it.”

So what does Eid mean to those who celebrate it? It reflects thanksgiving to God who promised forgiveness and blessings to those who submit to His will and follow His commandments by doing good and refraining from evil. It celebrates humanity and its main characteristic, self control. There is no one way to celebrate Eid as Muslim diversity is reflected in cultural traditions, but there is a common aspect of Eid that all Muslims (along with their non-Muslim friends who are sharing the experience) share: a sense of a new beginning. After fasting a whole month in submission to God, Muslims are happy to start a fresh year, building community relations and aspiring to maintaining spiritual and ethical principles throughout the year.

To Wes, Mike, and everyone in DFW, many wishes for Eid Mubarak (Blessed holiday) and for a peaceful year. Amen.

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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.