Friday, August 31, 2012

Islamic Speakers Bureau, a blessing to Dallas/ Fort Worth

The Islamic Speakers Bureau of Dallas/ Fort Worth conducted a speaker certification seminar at the East Plano Islamic Center,  I was one of the many participants, and it was a delight to sit in and learn about the program.

First of all, there is a dire need for an Islamic educational institution to recognize the roots of pluralism in Islam, and prioritize it as the need of the day. Unless we are a part of the societyand become participants and contributors in the overall Good of the society we live in, we would remain on the fringe. I am glad ISB has taken up the initiative to facilitate participation.

Secondly, it was a pleasant surprise to see well developed systems in place to build genuine bridges between Muslim Americans and fellow Americans.

The training classes were conducted by Br. Syed Ali and Sr. Alia Salem, with additional instructions from Br. Hazem Yassin and a talk by Imam Nadim Bashir. Each one of them was amazing. It is a sea change in Muslim expressions, pluralism in Islam was always there, thank God, it is  organized and presented in Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex now. The Islamic Speakers Bureau is an affiliate of ING, and as I understand the ING (Islamic networking group) is doing this work for the last 23 years. You can simply Google Muslim Speaker and find the various offices across the nation.

This organization is built on a strong foundation based on the Religious Liberty Clauses of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law establishing religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” and the verse from Quran 49:13, “ O humankind, We created you from a male and a female, and We made you into races and tribes for you to get to know each other. The most noble of you in the sight of God are those of you who are most conscientious. And God is omniscient, fully aware.”

The ISB strictly adheres and lives within the boundaries set by the First Amendment and it's
 vision is a world in which people of all religious backgrounds are understood, respected, and their contributions valued. Its mission is to promote interreligious understanding, tolerance and harmony through dialogue and religious literacy.

This was coming home for me; we have been speaking and writing about Pluralism since 1996, when many did not even know how to pronounce the word. Indeed, the World Muslim Congress, a think tank and a discussion forum with over 1700 members was established in 2003 along with the Foundation for Pluralism to study pluralistic societies and monitor interfaith trends.  Islamic Scholars, Imams and folks like you and I, along with many from Christian, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and other faiths have been a part of this ongoing learning experience. Discussions are open and all opinions are valued.

The driving engine for the organization was the verse from Quraan 49:13. It is a clear guidance to find solutions. The world is fraught with issues and conflicts because we do not know each other, and have built up myths about the other, and when we learn and know each other, conflicts fade and solutions emerge. It is such a coincidence that both the organizations have similar mission and  vision.    

I admired Syed Ali, Alia Salem, Br. Hazim and Imam Nadim Bashir for their non-stop insistence to stick with the approved text and avoid wandering away from it. It was a delight to hear them hammer on the First Amendment; no preaching, absolutely no preaching, not even a hint of preaching. I loved Sister Alia’s humorous threat, “I grade your papers, and if I smell proselytizing, I will cut you off.” NO, she did not say those words, but it was a clear message to remain within the bounds.  It is a new paradigm for some Muslims, and it is a new experience for me to see a Muslim institution take this posture, it’s a dream come true for me and perhaps a majority of Muslims.

The greatest news is the road taken by our esteemed Imams of Dallas/ Fort Worth, who have chosen to go through the rigor of certification process, to deliver a consistent message of goodness; thank God it is happening now.  My first encounter with ISB was when I attended Islam 101 in Plano Masjid as an audit class. I would stand corrected but, I  believe Imam Zia Shaikh, Imam Nadim Bashir and  Imam Yaseen are certified speakers. My first encounter with  ISB and Imam Yaseen was  at Plano Masjid a few months ago. 

The other part of the integrity of the organization was the emphasis they placed on your affiliation, if you are currently involved in any sort of missionary work, you cannot represent ISB, i.e., Islamic Speakers Bureau of ING. I value this and I am wholly invested in the idea. All my work was driven by finding the truth for myself and others, and in essence,  it was conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturing, the bottom line of Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) civic work. 

Pluralism is one of the most mis-understood concepts, and at times shunned believing it to be a compromise, or giving up one’s identity or some sort of mesh mash. It is severely disappointing to see a few Muslims becoming judgmental. On the other hand, Muslims and non-Muslims alike should find the truth before they judge, truth comes from genuine inquiry. 

At the Foundation for Pluralism,  we have defined Pluralism as “respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us.” You will find the roots of it, in Prophet Muhammad’s numerous practices and of course in innumerable verses in Quran. Glad to see the organization list the verses and we have a list as well.

To clarify further, the Parliament of Worlds Religion defined its mission, which is akin to Pluralism as, 

“The Parliament of World's religions is making a world of difference; 
- The council seeks to promote interreligious harmony, rather than unity

- The council fosters convergence, rather than consensus
- The council's work is based on facilitation, rather than formal organizational structures.

Religious and spiritual communities can make a world of difference as they express their identity in relationship to other groups, while acting in service to the common and global good."

On the other hand, pluralism has its origins in all religions, please do not forget, Pluralism is an attitude of respecting the otherness of others, and a reflection of verse 6 of Sura Kafirun,  which in essence is "your faith is dear to you as my faith is dear to me". 

Pluralism is firmly rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and practices of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). When Jesus embraced the lepers and the prostitutes; the socially rejected groups at that time, he conveyed a strong message that we are all part of the same creation. When Prophet Muhammad initiated the Madinah treaty he respected the otherness of other faiths, and confidently declared the validity of other faiths. Quraan adds in many places the guidance of God, whether you are a Jew, Christian or the other, you need not worry, God knows everything you do and compensates everyone who is good to his neighbors. 

 At the World Muslim congress, we see the role of a Muslim
 is to be a peace maker, one who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. Just about every activity of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was embedded with those two elements. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; Life and Matter.

If you are in Dallas Fort Worth area, I urge you to check out the site and take this course, even if you don’t want to be a speaker. On the other hand if you live any other city in the United States, consider initiating an office in your City, it is not already there.  Just Google it.

I am pleased to invite you and your friends to the following event:

8th Annual Unity Day
on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 11:30 am
at Unity of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230

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”.

Your presence is a valuable expression of unity. Along with our elected officials, civic, religious and business leaders, you help fulfill our common values and aspirations. Your presence fortifies our commitment to a pluralistic America. Please confirm to

If you wish to list your organization as a participating organization in the event, please share the name of your organization and the web address

It is our duty to honor and cherish individuals who have dedicated their lives to dismantle artificial barriers among Americans. On this day, we appreciate and celebrate their contributions towards building a cohesive America, where no one has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other.

Kindly consider financially supporting this event, and click the following link and do the needful -

For further information, please feel free to contact me.
God Bless America.

Mike Ghouse
Founder of Unity Day USA
(214) 325-1916/ Talk or Text

2665 Villa Creek Dr, Suite 206, Dallas, Texas 75234 (972) 243-7040


  1. I had read in school days back in the fifties that a few fish cannot obstruct the flow of a river and a few bush cannot change the course of the wind. Mike Ghouse, God willing, will prove this wrong and restore the lost values of America that its founding leaders had established: not only religious freedom but also such noble traits as mercy, compassion, generosity and kindness to the 'others.' I wish him success and pray for him. I wish I lived in America to attend the Unity day functions.

  2. Thanks Yunus
    You are in spirit with with me



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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.