Wednesday, January 3, 2007


Truth & Power (12/27/06)


" Dialogue only has meaning if it respects the autonomy of the other; absent that respect we have monologue. It is for each religious community, or those from each community who choose to participate in inter-religious conversation, to determine the terms under which he or she enters that conversation, the goals of the conversation and expectations from the process.

.True conversation may uncover areas of convergence but is most important in helping to understand areas of divergence. The question for participants is: Is that divergence threatening or problematical, or can it be a source of enlightenment and enrichment by broadening the perspectives and insights on the experience of being human that one gains from one’s own religious tradition" Rabbi GordisIn a faith based discourse, while the other person is talking, if you have the habit of jumping in and saying how your faith has a ‘better’ solution, or a ‘better’ system or an world saving are not communicating.

You are not open to listening to the other’s point of view. You are too eager to flaunt your best, instead of understanding it. You have driven the conversation into conflict. You have denigrated the other in your mind thinking that they are less than good and that ‘THEY’ need to listen to you. You might as well pack and go, nothing will be achieved.

In a true dialogue, where the intent of all the parties is to to understand ever one's point of view and then formulate an an understanding to figure out what to accept and what not to accept. How do we go about accepting each other, as both have a right to life.

Your column, or article is welcome, please keep it to 600 Words and be precise in stating what you are planning to communicate. Please send to with your name, address, phone number and a paragraph description of you.

Mike Ghouse

Truth and power

For many Muslims today, 'inter-religious dialogue' often looks suspiciously like religious coercion.By Reza Aslan December 24, 2006 Boston Globe

IN 2000, WHEN POPE BENEDICT XVI was still Cardinal Ratzinger, he penned a peculiar tract entitled "Dominus Iesus," in which he laid out the ground rules for inter-religious dialogue. The future pope wrote that it is perfectly fine for Catholics to engage other faiths in religious discourse. But, he cautioned, one must never "close one's eyes to the errors and illusions" of other religions. Nor should one lose sight of how "gravely deficient" those religions are when compared with Catholicism.

Such a position is perhaps to be expected from a pope who believes that quoting a 14th-century Crusader's absurdly archaic views on Islam is an invitation to dialogue.

Having repeatedly criticized his predecessor's tireless efforts to reach out to Muslims as bordering on religious relativism, Benedict has focused his papacy on the issue of "reciprocity" in inter-religious dialogue. By this, the pope means the perfectly reasonable expectation that Christians in Muslim lands should have the same freedoms as Muslims in Christian lands to propagate their faith.

Of course, there is no question that much of the Arab and Muslim world has a poor track record when it comes to tolerance of non-Muslims, let alone promotion of inter-religious dialogue.

But there was a time, a mere 400 years ago, when Rome considered inter-religious dialogue to be most effectively facilitated by a Grand Inquisitor, while Muslim Spain, Baghdad, and Cairo opened their gates to Christian and Jewish scientists, philosophers, and theologians, many of whom enjoyed the patronage of the royal courts.

To be sure, this tolerance of Jews and Christians had less to do with the precepts of Islam than with the fact that the Muslim world was basking in a golden era of scientific achievement and religious experimentation. In other words, the Muslims of the era had an unshakable confidence in their cultural, economic, political, and even religious dominance over the region.

If this historic commitment to inter-religious dialogue has now given way to religious repression and brutal intolerance, it is not because Islam's view of "the other" has changed. It is because the power dynamics of the region have changed.

Today, in large parts of the Arab and Muslim world, many Muslims consider themselves to be under siege by what they perceive to be the unrelenting hegemony of the "Christian West." For many, "inter-religious dialogue" often looks suspiciously like religious coercion, and Christian proselytizing is sometimes difficult to distinguish from the still fresh, still bruising, memory of colonialism.

None of this is to excuse religious oppression in the Arab and Muslim world. The pope is right to demand greater freedoms of faith and expression in particularly conservative countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, where Islam's historic commitment to religious pluralism has long been forgotten.

But while an argument can be made that inter-religious dialogue should have a purpose, it should not be to shed light on the "errors and illusions" of your neighbor's faith.

One should never forget that what we call interr-eligious dialogue is rarely divorced from the dynamics of power between religions. For those, like the pope -- and many other conservative Christian, as well as Muslim and Jewish, believers -- who believe that such dialogue must begin with the prima facie recognition that one's own religion represents Truth, this is an important lesson indeed.

Reza Aslan is a scholar of religions and the author of "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam" (2005).

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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.