Monday, June 30, 2008

Where are the women?

Article by Jeewan Chanicka follows my comments;

Insecure men seek refuge in mis-interpreting Hadith or even Qur’aan to have their way in family or community matters. Most times, it is really not about religion, it is about their insecurities.

They have to feel superior by pushing the women behind; it has worked in older societies, and women also have fed the ego of the insecure men that they are right… or have backed off due to the pressures from the men.
In the next decade, all those attitudes will gradually vanish, men will not only feel women are their equal partners in life, but they will also act on it and will not feel insecure any more. Women will start feeling that they are equally partners in contributing towards living a good life, a balanced life of both Deen and Duniya. That is one of the chapter in my coming book, Insha Allah; The American Muslim Agenda.
Mike Ghouse

Where are the women?
By: Jeewan Chanicka
Jeewan Chanicka

From the pulpit to the preachers, many often proclaim Islam's liberation of women 1400 years ago. After all Islam did recognize that women possessed souls -this acknowledged only over the past 100 years in Christianity and Islam did give women the right to vote -yet another relatively recent phenomena in Western society. We are quick to convince skeptics of Islam's superiority in that the first martyr in Islam was a woman, the first to accept Islam was Khadijah, the first nurse was Rufaida, that the one from whom we have learned one third of our faith was Aisha. (May Allah be pleased with them all.)

And why should we not feel proud of such a legacy when this legacy has produced scholarship and numerous examples of leadership, virtue and excellence. Women who, for all intents and purposes, outshone many of their male counterparts despite their "gender."

However if we were to take a critical look at our community today we would be hard-pressed to find the likes of Aisha, Fatima, Nusaybah and many others. We would first have to look behind the barriers erected in the masajid, or call on them at their homes where they have been relegated to housework by the male-dominated and chauvinistic practices that have permeated the Muslim community.

Virtue today as imposed (or should I say "encouraged") upon Muslim women dictates that a woman should be fully covered (the more the better), that she stays at home and raises the children and fulfill her husband's every wish and desire. It is better that she stays inside than walk outside lest she be a temptress and cause someone to commit sin by looking at her, that she should be silent because her voice is her cover. Should she have questions, it is best that she write them and "fly them" over the barriers so that someone would by chance pick it up and read it and perhaps give her an answer.

We the men, the "proper leaders" know that women come from the rib of man and that it is bent and cannot be made straight, that women are highly emotional and of course have that "menstrual thing", which incapacitates their ability to make proper decisions and to function in a "normal way". There is no way that they can contribute to Islamic work because their voices and "grace" make them weaknesses for men and so it is in keeping with piety that we shut them out and lock them away. After all, men being the rational thinkers are capable of making decisions for women who are in constant need of our superior knowledge.

Hence we do not need them on the boards of our institutions; we fail to put them in leadership positions because it is not compatible with their "feminine nature". As one imam once said, they may start to "fraternize with the men". In keeping with this, we do not really need to give them a big space at the mosque because they should pray at home. Should we be so generous as to offer them some space, we must ensure that it is fully sealed so that there is not enough ventilation and that they are trapped within the confines of limited space with 20 crying babies. It is ok if they don't hear anything because they don't really need that much knowledge, even though the lap of the mother is the first school of the ummah. As long as we don't hear or see them, then all is well.

We should not shame them by giving them the ability to communicate their ideas, thoughts or wishes because we already know them. So we are locking them up for their own good. Anyone who dares to question this must be outside of the proper understanding of Islam. There seems to be some discrepancy between what is said on the pulpit about the excellence of the earlier women and how it translates to reality for our sisters. It has further allowed the perpetuation of blatant double standards in terms of what women and men can and cannot do. Usually men can engage in numerous activities, which if done by women, would cause their commitment to Islam to be questioned.

Women comprise about half of our community, yet they must still compete to have their voices heard, to have space, to be able to go to functions that take into consideration that they need to bring their children. More often than not, when there are issues involving our sisters, they are "dealt with" by the men. When any sisters dare to challenge this, they automatically are branded as western-styled feminists who are trying to sully the sanctity of Islamic values and ideals.
Yet if one were to look on campuses and in general community work the faith based work of this community is being carried on the shoulders of Muslim women. Many whom would ordinarily be silenced are finding their niches and are doing their bit to fulfill their covenant in enjoining right and forbidding evil and in spreading this deen. In fact, women in our community are the flag-bearers of Islam, particularly those who wear hijab because they are easily identifiable. When walking down the street, it is those whom we notice as being Muslim and those who are approached and asked about Islam.

We tend to answer in utopian terms, when asked about our glorious past and ignore the wrongdoing that has been taking place today. It behooves us (men) to believe that we can be wrong or may have wrong understandings of the seerah (biography of Prophet Muhammad) and the place of women in society.

It would appear though that having shut women out of the community has allowed them now to approach Islam and Islamic work with less baggage than men. Men have inherited much cultural baggage that they still keep with them today, cultural practices that have become engrained in our daily practices as being Islamic. As Muslim women return to the authentic understanding of the Qur'an and Seerah, they are in a better position to take on this work and fulfill its requirements.

Islamic work in North America and the world will never be successful until women are completely integrated within the framework of leadership, decision-making and shura. While no one is arguing for "free intermingling" or a neglect of duties of motherhood or the negation of fiqh (and its proper application) there is a need for discussion and critical deconstruction of some of the cultural practices that have become mainstays in our community.

The argument that the time of the prophet was different and now is a time of fitna holds no weight, especially when one considers that the earliest generation of Muslims was in one of the most corrupt societies that existed. Yet women played a vibrant part of its growth and development. They were consulted when decisions were to be made, they were included in matters affecting society's growth and development, some were teachers and others were poets, others fought in war, all this, while still following Allah's commands and the examples of his prophet. There are no shortages of examples of this in the seerah, though they tend to be ignored.

We are quick to point to the fact that we are leaders and have the "last say". Perhaps there is a need to analyze our understanding of leadership. Is a leader one who ignores the needs of others, makes all the decisions and is scared of debate and consultation? The prophet peace be upon him was the opposite of this. He was the best of leaders as he consulted with others and led by example. He was most kind and in fact said that "the one who is best, is the one who is best to his family and I am the best to my family". It may be that we are afraid that women will perform some of the duties we have been doing better than we have, that their knowledge may be more sound and that they may be more fit for leadership positions than those who have traditionally held the reigns. Even in this regard, we seem to forget the just leadership of the Queen of Sheba or a tradition that is rich with female scholarship. If we are sincere in wanting to do what Allah requires of us, we need to be open to this dialogue, admit our injustices to our sisters, ask for forgiveness and try to move forward. A bird can only fly if it flaps both wings.

Allah has made women our equal counterparts and they bring value and insight inherent with their nature that we may not think about or know of. Some scholars explain that women are the spiritual anchors of society. If we are sincere, we need to realize that in many ways we are oppressing our sisters and when we shut women out of leadership roles, banish them to domestic spaces, pretend that we can speak on their behalf, we are oppressing the very ones under whose feet lies paradise. The issues of leadership and involvement are not black and white and those sisters and brothers advocating for change are not asking for all values and standards to be dropped or changed. Instead we are asking for justice and fairness.

Sisters should be a part of the majlis-shura in the masajid and various institutions because leadership (and I am not speaking about being imam here) should be defined based on qualification and not gender. Shura entails that we take the voices of the varying members of our community into consideration. We need to ensure that sisters are able to have equal access to speakers and knowledge so that they are able to grow and learn themselves. Our primary consideration should not be how big a barrier is and whether or not it touches the ceiling. Most importantly we have to let sisters represent themselves, we should not speak for them but with them. The realization should be based upon the trust that women are our partners in establishing Islam in the world and do not have ulterior motives of "fraternizing with the opposite sex." They too want to work with us to benefit Islam, Muslims and society in general.

Muslims have a standard that has to be adhered to as defined by the Qur'an and the practice of the prophet pbuh. We need to rise to the challenge of implementing this within our daily lives, to adhere to its boundaries and to challenge our own bias and (mis)-interpretations of it's application. As men, it is time that we acknowledge the struggles of our sisters (both within and without our community) and it is even more important to recognize the privilege that we have enjoyed due to no real merit but simply because of our gender. If we want to please Allah and to be true to our covenant of bringing this deen to the people around us, it is necessary for us to address these issues. Until such time we will be held accountable before Allah when people reject our self-styled versions of Islam.

Jeewan Chanicka is a contributing writer for Young Muslims Canada website.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Exploiting the Muslim- Jewish divide,0,392276.story

From the Los Angeles TimesAnother wedge issue Exploiting the Muslim- Jewish divide is the wrong way to win votes.

By Salam Al-Marayati and Steven B. Jacobs
June 26, 2008

There's a disturbing trend in this 2008 election. We are witnessing the manipulation and exploitation of Muslim-Jewish differences by political candidates in pursuit of votes. As advocates for our respective communities, we believe it's in America's interest that it stop.
It appears that the political logic of the candidates and their handlers calls for winning Jewish American support at the expense of Muslim American voters. This takes the shape of aggressive outreach to the Jewish community while Muslims go ignored. That strategy may be politically expedient, but it is inherently flawed. Muslims see their exclusion as a betrayal of American values, and many Jews are alarmed by the parallels to their own historical political exclusion.
American Jews are all too familiar with institutionalized bigotry. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Rep. John Rankin opposed the immigration of Holocaust survivors, and he opposed integration. In that McCarthyite, anti-Communist era, politicians clamped down against those who they thought threatened the changing fabric of America -- namely, Jews. Now, Muslims are on the receiving end of similar suspicions, this time in the name of fighting terrorism.

Muslims today are political scapegoats associated with global tragedies including terrorism and war. Against this dismal backdrop, politicians are apparently deeming Muslim voters political pariahs; any endorsement from national Muslim groups is tantamount to a kiss of death.
Just one day after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton dropped out of the Democratic race, Sen. Barack Obama rushed to receive the blessing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Last week, his campaign volunteers rushed to remove Muslim women wearing head scarves from a Detroit rally. Though Obama apologized, Muslims felt stung by a candidate supposedly running on a platform of inclusion and change.

But the snubs aren't limited to Obama. Sen. John McCain recently dismissed a Muslim American businessman from an important campaign committee. In March, McCain visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem but made no similar visit to the adjacent Muslim holy site, the Dome of the Rock. And although both candidates have made frequent stops at churches and synagogues, neither has made a campaign stop at a mosque.

Put on the spot about turning their backs on Muslim voters, politicians may argue that they can't afford to lose Jewish support, implying that the Jewish community would oppose any politician who associates with Muslims.

To be sure, the politicians aren't inventing a division between Muslims and Jews. We acknowledge the tension between our communities created by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And yet it is also clear that Jews and Muslims should be natural allies in countering xenophobia and hysteria. We both suffer from scapegoating as fear works against common sense in our political culture. Whether it is anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, we both know the face of bigotry.
The issue of excluding Muslims to get Jewish votes is not about ensuring domestic security, it is about cowardly politics. It is about playing to fears, not processing facts. It is about the canard that Muslims and Jews have been fighting since ancient times and nothing will change. It is about blaming both for America's problems. We Muslims and Jews, along with all people of faith, represent the spirit of God. There is much that binds us together. It is in the spirit of this shared history, and our common interests, that we must stand against these divisions being created by the candidates.

Abraham Lincoln argued against the politics of fear, holding out hope for the 'better angels of our nature.' Our presidential candidates must display such higher thinking in the coming months. Likewise, we -- American Jews and Muslims -- must do the same.

Salam Al-Marayati is the executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Steven B. Jacobs, a rabbi, is the founder of the Progressive Faith Foundation. Both are members of the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama should visit a mosque

Indeed, Obama should visit a Mosque, a Hindu Temple and if possible all places of worship. "He has repeatedly shown his courage during this campaign; Americans have responded to his intellectual honesty."

Obama has won just for that reason - moderation and intellectual honesty. The moderates make a wholesale majority, this is the first time, we have an individual representing the voice of masses, and he will be accpeted wholeheartedly by the Americans for standing up for the right thing.

Mike Ghouse

Cohen: Why Obama should visit a mosque
By Roger Cohen Published: June 25, 2008

ISTANBUL: I'll admit it, I'm thin-skinned about the kinds of slurs and innuendo about Muslims that have accompanied Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Years of being subjected to them while I covered the Bosnian war did that.

We heard the whole gamut back then: how the European Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo were really "Turks" engaged in a "demographic genocide" (through high birth rates) against Christians, and how they were engaged in a plot to establish a "Muslim crescent" looping up from Turkey through the Balkans, and how they roasted enemy prisoners alive on spits.

All the while, of course, said Bosnian Muslims were being herded by Christian Serbs into concentration camps that were centers of torture and systematic killing of a cruelty Europe believed it had forever banished.

That was before 9/11, of course, and before the Egyptian-born writer Bat Yeor popularized the term "Eurabia" to express her vision of a Muslim-infiltrated Europe capitulating Munich-like to Islamism, and before Pat Buchanan's apocalyptic "The Death of the West," and before Americans were encouraged in numberless ways to equate Islam with terrorists plotting Armageddon.

Give Americans the Rorschach test today and what they'll detect in the ink blots are bearded Muslim "suiciders."

Today in Opinion
Justice and decency in the face of horrorAt Justice, even the interns are politicalAnother rebuke on GuantánamoI'll admit something else: My own feelings about Islam have veered back and forth in recent years. Most of us were ignorant when the planes-turned-missiles struck. We've been searching for bearings: even the word "jihad" is variously described as a holy war against the infidel and an inner struggle for higher spiritual attainment.

When, in 2005, I talked to the Somalian-born Dutch author Ayaan Hirsi Ali in a meeting in The Hague that had to be organized like an undercover operation because of threats to her life from Islamic radicals, I was struck by her words: "Islam is not a religion of peace, or only of peace with other Muslims. We should acknowledge that it's a very violent religion, instead of pretending, like Bush, that this violence is not true Islam."

Certainly, the threat to her made in its name was violent. Certainly, the Koran is a long way from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Certainly, there are Koranic verses that Al Qaeda and other extremists have been able to use in attempts to sanctify their murderous acts.

Certainly Islam, politically expressed, has often proved irreconcilable with modern notions of pluralism, democracy and women's rights. But a "very violent religion?" No. From Beirut to Baghdad to Cairo to here in Istanbul, I have often felt the wonders of hospitality and generosity and wisdom that seem to well from Islam.

At Obama's old school in Jakarta earlier this year, an establishment scurrilously described as a "madrassa" in all the innuendo, a gentle principal showed me the large mosque and small Christian prayer room. He then invoked the words emblazoned on the coat of arms of Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country: "Unity in diversity."

That's what I saw among the kids at the school, 85 percent of whom are Muslim and the rest Christian. That's also what America's supposed to be about, not religious slurring and stereotyping.

Yet, because he's called Barack Hussein Obama, and because his Kenyan grandfather was a Muslim, and because his commitment to Israel has been questioned, and because the U.S. Rorschach test is Muslim-menace mired, he's had to tread carefully.

As Andrea Elliott of The New York Times chronicled in an important piece, Obama has visited churches and synagogues but no mosque. He had to apologize after two Muslim women wearing head scarves were barred from appearing behind him at a recent Detroit rally.

Obama should visit a mosque. He has repeatedly shown his courage during this campaign; Americans have responded to his intellectual honesty. One of the important things about him is the knowledge his Kenyan and Indonesian experiences have given him of Islam as lived, rather than Islam as turned into monstrous specter.

This enables him to break the monolithic, alienating view of a great world religion that is as multifaceted as Judaism or Christianity.

I've no doubt that Obama is a strong supporter of Israel. But what I find as important is that he would come to Islam without prejudice.

That's the precondition for dialogue, whether with Iran or between Israel and Palestine.

Here in Turkey, a Muslim country of myth-dispelling permissiveness, I met with Joost Lagendijk, the chairman of the Turkey delegation of the European Parliament. He's Dutch. What he hears at home is, "Fear of Islam and fear of Muslims and fear of immigrants."

Fear-mongering about Islam is a global industry. It thrives on ignorance. Obama has a unique power to break the cycle, not least by emboldening moderate Muslims to denounce terror. Nothing would do more in the long run for the security of the world.

Readers are invited to comment at my blog:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Invocation by Imam Shakoor

Invocation by Imam Shakoor
Dallas, Texas

With G-d’s Name The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer

You are the Creator, Our Lord, The Cherisher, The Sustainer, The Evolver, The Caretaker of everything you created. It is you who created us when you shape and form our father Adam and his mate from the dust of the earth (Upon them be peace).

Our Lord, when you created the first parents and called them Adam you have connected all of us, the human family and we are forever thankful and grateful to you.

Our Lord, thank you for the Scriptures you reveal to the Prophets through the Angel Gabriel, and bless us to obey this message.

Bless us to hear, understand and learn from all of your messenger you sent to us from the beginning with Prophet Adam, Noah, our second father Abraham, Lot , Isma’il , Isaac, Jonah, David, Jacob, Joseph, Aaron, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad and to the ones not mention may your prayers and peace be upon them.

Our Lord, we thank you for all the great women you have giving us especially the mother of Moses and the Mother of Jesus, (upon them be peace).

Our Lord the Creator, bless us with Peace here in the United States of America and bless us with Peace in Africa, Asia, Europe, Palestine, Israel, and all other area where Peace is so badly needed. Bless our Religious leaders, The Imams, Rabbis and Ministers to bring out the best of Scriptures for the good of all humanity.

Bless them and all of our elected officials with the best leadership and guidance to serve the citizens of their great cities.

We ask that you bless our families, we pray to you that you bless us to stay connected as people of many faiths, as one community, as one family; the human family.

Our Lord, we are thankful to for all your blessing, gifts, and favors that we can never keep a record of and most of all for you having your mercy upon us. Our Lord; bless us to be good servants to you so that we can be good to humanity and bless us always to obey your will.


Americans Tolerant of Religions

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Americans Tolerant of Religions, Poll SaysThe following survey (below) filed under Nations News is indeed reflective of the average American, no matter how you pigeon hole him or her. The “survey finds most Americans don't feel their religion is the only way to eternal life — even if their faith tradition teaches otherwise." Indeed, if we can learn to accept and respect every which way people worship the divine, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Continued at:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rand:Designs for Muslim World

Wow! What a report!

Beginning from the end of the article, “When the European nations began their long campaign to colonize and conquer the rest of the world for their own benefit, they brought their academic and missionary resources to help them with their task.”

This was the same pre-crusade tactic used by the European Kings, when they were threatened by the invading Arab Kings, they came out with a blue print to protect their kingdoms, that gave birth to the idea of Islamophobia:

1. To label the Invading Kings as Muslim, as that was one of the ways to get their subjects to stand behind them and fight for them.

2. To mis-translate the Qur'aan to inculcate animosity towards the invading people.

3. To paint the religion negatively and as a Mohammedan cult.

4. To reinforce this strategy they roped in the Pope to issue a fatwa approving crusades.

Their Blueprint worked well for them and the Arab Kings were pushed back and defeated.

I am surprised at the ease with which Abdul Sattar Ghazali writes this “The recent summit, termed the ³Secular Islam Conference,² in St. Petersburg, Florida, almost coincided with the release of the latest Rand Report. A small group of self-proclaimed secular Muslims from North America and elsewhere gathered in St. Petersburg for what they billed a new global movement to correct the assumed wrongs of Islam and call for an ³Islamic Reformation.²”

The intent of the conference was Muslim bashing feeding frenzy.

Due to this fact, not one of the mainstream Muslims, including the progressive ones, chose to participate in the conference. – More at:

“The report warned that moderate groups can lose credibility and therefore effectiveness if U.S. support is too obvious” It is not just US, funding by any government has a hook in it, if it is genuine goodness, it will pay off, but usually it is not.

I tend to agree with the statement “The report defines a moderate as a Muslim who supports democracy, gender equality, freedom of worship and opposition to terrorism.” I am glad it did not define like the Neocons, which is any Muslim who bashes Islam is a moderate Muslim to those shortsighted bigots.

These guys are always scheming and planning. If they just start living the live like the moderates, they can enjoy their lives too.

Mike Ghouse

# # #
Rand Corp: New Designs for Muslim World

By TMO April 26, 2007
Listen to this article. Powered by

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The semi-official U.S. think tank, Rand Corporation, suggests creation of
networks of the so-called moderate Muslims to promote US policy objectives
in the Muslim World.

In its latest report, Building Moderate Muslim Networks the Rand Corp
advocates that the building of moderate Muslim networks needs to become an
explicit goal of U.S. government policy, with an international database of
partners and a well-designed plan.

Just as it fought the spread of communism during the Cold War, the United
States must do more to develop and support networks of moderate Muslims who
are too often silenced by violent radical Islamists, according to the Rand
Corporation report issued on March 26, 2007.

The lead writer of the report, Angel Rabasa, says that the United States has
a critical role to play in aiding moderate Muslims, and can learn much from
the way it addressed the spread of communism during the Cold War.

³The efforts of the United States and its allies to build free and
democratic networks and institutions provided an organizational and
ideological counter force to communist groups seeking to come to power
through political groups, labor unions, youth and student organizations and
other groups.²

The report defines a moderate as a Muslim who supports democracy, gender
equality, freedom of worship and opposition to terrorism. This looks an
amplification on its two previous reports - ³Civil Democratic Islam:
Partners, Resources, and Strategies² (March 2004) and ³US strategy in the
Muslim World after 9/11² (December 2004) - which also suggested supporting
moderate Muslims and exploitation of inter-Muslim religious differences.
Interestingly, a novelist turned research scholar, Cheryl Benard, is the
author of Civil Democratic Islam and co-author of the Dec. 2004 and March
2007 reports.

In the December 2004 study, Rabasa had suggested to exploit Sunni, Shiite
and Arab, non-Arab divides to promote US policy objectives in the Muslim
world. Echoing this theme, the latest report recommends reaching out to
Muslim activists, leaders and intellectuals in non-Arab countries such as
Turkey as well as in Southeast Asia and Europe.

The report recommends targeting five groups as potential building blocks for
networks: liberal and secular Muslim academics and intellectuals; young
moderate religious scholars; community activists; women¹s groups engaged in
gender equality campaigns; and moderate journalists and scholars.

The report warned that moderate groups can lose credibilityand therefore
effectivenessif U.S. support is too obvious. Effective tactics that worked
during the Cold War include having the groups led by credible individuals
and having the United States maintain some distance from the organizations
it supports. ³This was done by not micro-managing the groups, but by giving
them enough autonomy,² Rabasa said. ³As long as certain guidelines were met,
they were free to pursue their own activities.²

To help start this initiative, the report recommends working toward an
international conference modeled in the Cold War-era Congress of Cultural
Freedom, and then developing a standing organization to combat what it
called radical Islamism.

The recent summit, termed the ³Secular Islam Conference,² in St. Petersburg,
Florida, almost coincided with the release of the latest Rand Report. A
small group of self-proclaimed secular Muslims from North America and
elsewhere gathered in St. Petersburg for what they billed a new global
movement to correct the assumed wrongs of Islam and call for an ³Islamic

The St. Petersburg conference, held on the sidelines of the Intelligence
Summit, was carried live on (Islamophobe) Glenn Beck¹s CNN show. Some of the
organizers and speakers at the convention were well-known thanks to the
media spotlight: Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble With Islam, and Ayaan
Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch parliamentarian and author of Infidel were but a
few there claiming to have suffered personally at the hands of ³radical²

One participant, Wafa Sultan, declared on Glenn Beck¹s show that she doesn¹t
³see any difference between radical Islam and regular Islam.² Other
participants were the now public ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq and self-proclaimed
ex-terrorist Tawfiq Hamid.

Surely, the ³moderate² Muslim agenda is promoted because these ideas reflect
a Western vision for the future of Islam. Since the Sept. 11 attacks,
everyone from high-ranking officials in the Bush administration to
anti-Islam authors have prescribed a preferred remedy for Islam: reform the

The Rand Reports about Islam appear to be part of a grand strategy to
³change the face of Islam² as revealed by US News and World Report on April
15, 2005. The report entitled Hearts, Minds, and Dollars: In an Unseen Front
in the War on Terrorism, America is Spending MillionsŠTo Change the Very
Face of Islamreads: ³From military psychological-operations teams and CIA
covert operatives to openly-funded media and think tanks, Washington is
plowing tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to influence not only
Muslim societies but Islam itself.²

According to the well-planned leaks to US News and World Report, this
strategy for the first time stated that the United States has a national
security interest in influencing what happens within Islam. The report also
confirmed that it is, in fact, the US which has been funding an American
version of Islam, called ³Moderate Islam.²

The Rand reports try to create a fictitious vision of Muslims and of Islam,
where it is antihuman, uncreative, authoritarian, and intrinsically against
Western societies. It is an ethnocentric view of Islam that dominates
current representations of Islam that are reductive, predominantly negative,
and encouraging a culture of Islamophobia.

The complexities of the so-called fundamentalism and extremism in the past
100 years or so, whether it be Christian, Hindu, Jewish or Muslim, need to
be understood in the context of modernization, the process of
secularization, the changing nature of religious institutions, the
post-colonial experience in developing countries, globalization, the divide
between wealthy and poor, contesting political power, and the impact of
totalitarian regimes on civil society.

What is not mentioned in the RAND reports is that the reason for the
alienation of Muslims from the West is the ³double standards² the West so
brazenly practices when dealing with Muslim nations. America already has a
very tarnished image in the Islamic world. It has already alienated a great
majority of Muslims throughout the world through its misguided foreign
policy. Who in their right mind will believe that this asinine assault on
Islam and Muslims will win America friends in the Islamic world?

Now a word about the Washington-based semi-official think tankthe RAND
Corporation. Among other government departments, the Rand Corp conducts
studies for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the
Unified Commands, the defense agencies, the Department of the Navy and the
U.S. intelligence community. Obviously, writers of the three reports on
Islam may be considered neo-Orientalists with clear intention to undermine

When the European nations began their long campaign to colonize and conquer
the rest of the world for their own benefit, they brought their academic and
missionary resources to help them with their task. Orientalists and
missionaries, whose ranks often overlapped, were the servants of an
imperialist government who was using their services as a way to subdue or
weaken an enemy.

The academic study of the Oriental East by the Occidental West was often
motivated and often co-operated hand-in-hand with the imperialistic aims of
the European colonial powers. The foundations of Orientalism were in the
maxim ³Know thy enemy². This equally applies to the modern day Orientalists
of such semi-official think tanks as the Rand Corporation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Secular Muslims

The following exchange is about secular Muslims; relevant updates will be added right below this response...

Just as Qur'aan is mis-translated and mis-interpreted by a few, every piece of literature is fraught with the same problem.

A secular Muslim is broadly outlines a Muslim, who believes that in the public square, where every faith is practiced, wearing neon-signs to signify separation between people by use of religion is not needed. Secular Muslims silently practice their faith of being caring and exemplary beings... and perhaps attract others to know about them rather than become a religious barricade.

Religion connects one with the divine and does not and should not divide people. Dr. Iqbal had said.." mazhab nahin sikhata, aapas my bair rakhna" Religion does not teach one to live in one's own shell. Indeed, Islam is universal, all encompassing and all embracing. It is not a cocoon. The word Secular, pluralistic Muslim denotes that idea.

Qur'aan, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware."

To be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker, one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; life and mater. Indeed, that is the purpose of religion, any religion. Dr. Bandukwala's says this well below in his comment.

Mike Ghouse
More comments in the comment section below



May I make a small enhancement to your beautiful statement" Our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lifted pagans from jahiliya and gave great religion (Islam) to his people, which appreciates life's spiritual values and interpretation of life,it's origin,it's purpose,and its destiny."

Let's enhance it to read "" Our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lifted unrighteous people from jahiliya and gave great religion (Islam) to his people, which appreciates life's spiritual values and interpretation of life,it's origin,it's purpose,and its destiny.""

Islam is about ultimately creating a just society, justice is the core of Islam. Please ponder about the usage of the word Pagan in the above sentence, it implies Pagans are bad people, no group of people ever are bad, individuals are. And it simply defies one of the most "give respect and receive respect" Sura's of Qur'aan. Read the line, it does not condemn or call other belief as inferior, it puts oneself on par with the other.

109:1 SAY: "O you who deny the truth!
109:2 "I do not worship that which you worship,
109:3 and neither do you worship that which I worship!
109:4 "And I will not worship ~hat which you have [ever] worshipped,
109:5 and neither will you [ever] worship that which I worship.
109:6 Unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine !"

Mike Ghouse

In a message dated 6/18/2008 4:31:52 P.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:

You are so right, brother Mike Ghouse,it's the individual, not his religion, who discredits it by his irreligious behavior.We just wonder, if men are so wicked with religion,what would they be without them.It is only religion, the great bond of love and duty to God,that makes any existence valuable or even tolerable.Our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lifted pagans from jahiliya and gave great religion (Islam) to his people, which appreciates life's spiritual values and interpretation of life,it's origin,it's purpose,and its destiny.It's hard then to understand why some of our own muslim brothers despise Islam when they know it's not religion but few religiously misinformed radicals who are trying to hijack Islam and use violence and killing innocent people for their own political end.

This brings us to the question of secularism.Another word for secularism is 'humanist', without being religious fundamentalist.Secularism is more about cultural and ideological diversity than it is about religion.As a legal concept, secularism means equality before the law, and no distinction between one citizen and another as far as the application of laws is concerned.It also means equality of opportunity and a refusal to classify citizens into first class citizens and second class citizens.A man with a secular outlook looks upon all persons as human beings,equally estimable or precious not only in the eye of the law, but in the eye of God.You do not think of a man as a Hindu,a Muslim or a Christian,but merely as human being.You are not conscious of the religion he professes.Secularism is
written into India's constitution in indelible lines.Religion should never be allowed to intrude into public affairs.

We must live and let live with all mankind, regardless of class and creed.We must recognize the infinite possibilities of human fallibility.Believe it or not, so many dogmas,once considered to be unshakable,have been thrown on the scrap-heap.Standards have changed from age to age and time to time.

If we truly go back in history, Fatimids enjoyed the best of arts,science and astronomy under both religious and secular studies at Al-Azhar University in Egypt.During Fatimid period, Al-Azhar was an essential part of the intellectual life.Al Azhar was the most secular university at the time.Unfortunately, radical religiosity, usually called 'fundamentalism' has erupted lately,which seem to be an intensely political form of faith that has caused grave danger to world and civic peace.Karen Armstrong writes in one of her books," Islam has become impotent before the West and it's triumphant secularism." ...

- Men who fight about religion have no religion to fight about.Since they do in the name of religion the thing which religion itself forbids.

A good religion is an attitude toward some Supreme Power other than self which results in progressive realization of truth,goodness and beauty in life.This is a definition which holds for all the great religions of the world, regardless of their creeds,historical background,civilization, theologies or philosophies.

Hasni Essa
Peace and Pluralism

From: Mohammad Asghar

[Religion connects one with the divine and does not and should not divide people]

I wished it were true, but it is not. Please see around yourself and what you see?

Religions have divided people and created animosity and hatred among them. This is true in respect of all religions, but Islam bears greater responsibility for it, as it is the latest religion.

Instead of uniting people, it has created many more problems that are non-existent in other religions. For example, Islam asks its followers to kill the Pagans and those who do not believe in it.

This does not mean that other religions are free from violence - far from it, but what was expected from Islam was the preaching of peace and harmony among the people of all beliefs. Islam has failed and hence the reputation it has earned for itself!

In short, all religions are bad and they are not good for mankind. They should have no place in our lives.

Mohammad Asghar


Dear Mohammad, look at every issue of the world, it is not the religion, it is always the individual. Be it 9/11, WWII or Invasion of Iraq, there was, and is an individual who is solely responsible for the crimes, he was the driving force.

Religion is never the problem, it is the individual. Shame on all of us to blame the religion for the acts of individuals. Also, justice can be served on individual and not the religion, blaming religion has not produced justice.

You write, " Islam asks its followers to kill the Pagans and those who do not believe in it." Please read the Qur'aan, it does not say that. It talks about those individual pagans, Christians or Jews who were aggressively harassing the Muslims. Never in the book it says to kill all Pagans, Jews or Christians as it has been used as a propaganda material against Muslims. It was the specific individuals. God and Qur'aan is about Justice to all humans on an equal footing, if not, it would not be justice, would it? Finding the truth is one's own responsibility.

Mike Ghouse


In a message dated 6/17/2008 10:07:44 A.M. Central Daylight Time, bintwaleed@xxx writes:

“Secular Muslim” is an oxymoron term. These two words are complete antithesis to each other not only in content and meaning but they also inevitably bring forth totally different results.

Anyone claiming to be a secular Muslim is apparently ignorant of the meaning and implication of words “secular” and “Muslim”.
Bint Waleed

--- On Mon, 6/16/08, Farzana Hassan wrote:

I am a secular Muslim and do nothing of what you accuse secular Muslims of.

Secular Muslims are the most decent and moral people who are simply governed by a secular ideology which promotes pluralism in upholding universal human rights. That has nothing to do with the criminal activity you attribute to them.


----- Original Message ----
Subject: "Secular" Muslims..

(Sentence Deleted by Moderator xxxxx) secular muslims are the source of most the problems. Secular "muslims" eat the money that is supposed to go to zakat, not real muslims, secular "muslims" are the ones who drink and contribute to alcoholic problems. Secular "muslims" are involved in the drug trade. Secular "muslims" are the ones that promise poor laborers their wages and give nothing. Secular "muslims" are the ones that are involved in trafficking of women and children. Secular "muslims"... could keep on going. No practicing muslim, one who believes in Allah's laws will ever do the above. Once the above or anything like that is done, that so-called "muslim" becomes "secular"

----- Original Message ----

Dont know about your argument .but secularism should not go to the point of banning islamic culture and introducing things against the islamic in turkey theyve banned the scarf.(because of their secular principles). ........although it is an order of the Prophet(PBUH) to wear it.

From: drbandukwala@ xxxxx
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2008 14:05:55 +0530
"Secular" Muslims..

This sarcastic note tries to make fun of secular Muslims. Janab Yusuf Khan should know that if there is a solution to the Muslim problem world wide, Inshallah it will be due to the role of secular Muslims. Do not use your pen to strike others, without understanding larger issues. You maybe harming the community far more.

Is Dawah Obligatory?

“Dawah” (Proselytization) i.e., invitation to others to follow our system of connecting with the divine, is not part of the agenda of World Muslim Congress. We are focused on co-existence, how we create a better world for every human being, regardless of their faith.

Dawah, an invitation to be a good human being ought to be practiced by every one, and it should not be a condition to one’s spirituality. God reserves the right to shower his grace on whomever he chooses, but he has guaranteed paradise to every good human being regardless of their race, religion or any other uniqueness.

The article below highlights a few good points that I am pleased to address;

OUR MISSION is to work for a World of co-existence through inclusiveness and participation. As a member of diverse family of faiths, our efforts will be directed toward justice and equity to attain sustainable peace for the humankind with a firm grounding in truth. We believe what is good for Muslims has got to be good for the World and vice-versa to sustain the good. We have to remember the World is a two way street. We have a monumental task to repair the World, and we will do our part in working towards a World of co-existence, one community at a time. We are committed, and now help us God. Amen

With all due respect to Dr. Zakir Naik, his “apparent” declaration that “if one does not invite Non-Muslims to Islam, he or she will not get a pass to enter Janna (paradise)” is a statement that is fully debatable, but I do not believe it is the full truth.

Submitting to the will of God is the bottom line to be a Muslim and what is that will?

Qur'aan, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware."

There is a good response in the following piece. “ If one simply submits his will to Allah Subhana Tala and strives to abide by all the laws of Allah and His Messenger (saws), and gives each human being his due rights in full;” and this, “Dear and Beloved Brother in Islam, the truth is that a believer is a walking-talking ‘dai’ (propagator of the Truth) to all he meets….his name, his choice of food, his talk, his morals, his honesty, his character, his dealings, his prayers, his charity, his fasts, his abstinence from all things unlawful, (wine, illegal women, gambling, etc),…… his whole life manifests to all who meet him one thing and one thing only: that he has submitted his will to the Will of his Creator. Man is created a social creature, and it is neither possible nor conceivable that a non-Muslim who meets a true Muslim is not affected by him in some way or the other; and this effect the life of a believer has on a non-Muslim is part of ‘Dawa’, albeit at its lowest level. “

Although a few use the word “Muslim” selectively to include every one from Abraham down to Prophet Muhammad, they choose to exclude those who are not ritually Muslims. Even though a Hindu, a Christian, Jew or Parsee may be a Muslim by being a good human who cares about others, who stands up for justice and truth.

To be religious (Muslim) is to be peace maker, one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for God’s creation to live in peace and harmony.

Dawah, an invitation to be a good human being ought to be practiced by every one, and it should not be a condition to one’s spirituality. God reserves the right to shower his grace on whomever he chooses, but he has guaranteed paradise to every good human being regardless of their race, religion or any other uniqueness.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at

# # #

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
As Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

I have a question about DAWAH. Few days back I was watching a question answer session with Dr. Naik from India. I do not know what the question was but the answer Dr. Naik gave, makes me worried and think about myself. He said that to enter Jana every body has to be judged on four criteria’s.

1. Shahada
2.Good deeds (include prayer, hajj, charity, Zakat etc)
4.4. I did not remember.

According to him if any body who is not doing any DA` WAAH to no Muslims he will not be able to enter JANA do not matter how good he is in other things like praying, charity, Zakat etc.

Now I am very much worried about my self after listening to him as I lack very much in that area. I am not saying that I am very good in other area but at least I tried in those areas. But for DAWA I did talk to my family, friends and relatives if I saw that they are doing some thing not according to Islamic laws. But I did not give DA` WAAH to non-Muslims.

I hope you understand my question. I want to know your opinion in this regard. Please help me as I am too much worried about my self hereafter on the day of JUDGMENT when every body have stand in front OF ALL MIGHTY ALLAHA.


(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)


Is Dawa Tablig Obligatory
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

Allah Says in the Holy Qur’aan Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imran verse 110:
110 Ye (believers) are the best of peoples evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah.

Allah Says in the Holy Qur’aan Chapter 22 Surah Hajj verse 78:
78 And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive (with sincerity and under discipline): He has chosen you and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (Qur’aan); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer give regular Charity and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector, the Best to protect and the Best to help!

Dear and Beloved brother in Islam, there is absolutely no doubt that ‘Dawa’ or the propagation of the Truth to mankind is an obligatory duty and responsibility that the Lord Most Merciful has laid upon every person who sincerely believes in Him and the Last Day.

If one has been blessed and honored by the Merciful Lord to be guided to the Truth of Al-Islam, it would indeed be extremely selfish or rather unnatural for him to keep this Truth to himself! Once true ‘emaan’ or faith in the Truth of Allah Subhana and His Message has entered one’s heart, it is not possible for the person to contain or hide this within himself; but his condition will be that he would go out of his way to invite all who care to listen to good caution to the Truth.

Allah says in the Holy Qur’aan Chapter 66 Surah Tahreem verse 6:
O you who have believed, save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel shall be men and stones; over which shall be appointed fierce and stern angels, who never disobey Allah’s Command, and they only do as they are commanded!

In the above Ayah of the Glorious Qur’aan, Allah Subhana commands the believers to first and foremost save oneself and their families from the Eternal Fire of Hell by submitting to Him. That would be an obligatory (Fard) duty on each and every individual who believes.

Furthermore, Allah has guided the whole Ummah or nation of believers to invite all mankind to the Truth of Al-Islam in the best and most polite manner; and named it amongst the best deeds one can do.

Allah says in the Holy Qur’aan: Chapter 16, Surah An-Nahl Ayah 125:
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and excellent admonition and argue with people in the best manner. Your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Way and who is rightly guided.

Allah Says in the Holy Qur’aan Chapter 41 Surah Fussilat verse 33:
Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says "I am of those who bow in Islam?”

Doing ‘Dawah’ does not necessarily mean that every person has to go give a speech, or write books, or stand in the streets and invite everyone who passes by! If one simply submits his will to Allah Subhana and strives to abide by all the laws of Allah and His Messenger (saws), and gives each human being his due rights in full; it would indeed be considered a great source of Dawah. For nothing melts the hearts of a human being than the interaction of another human being; and when one who does not believe realizes that a person who calls himself a Muslim has such high morals, and character, and manners, and integrity…he will automatically be attracted to the way of life that is followed by the true believer; and that in itself would fulfill the obligatory duty of ‘Dawa’; albeit at it lowest level.

Your Question: I have a question about DAWA. Few days back I was watching a question answer session with Dr. Naik from India. I do not know what the question was but the answer Dr. Naik gave, makes me worried and think about myself. He said that to enter Jana every body has to be judged on four criteria’s.
1. Shahada
2.Good deeds (include prayer, hajj, charity, Zakat etc)
4.4. I did not remember.

According to him if any body who is not doing any DA` WAAH to no Muslims he will not be able to enter JANA do not matter how good he is in other things like praying, charity, Zakat etc.
I want to know your opinion in this regard.
First and foremost we would like to declare that Dr. Brother Zakir Naik is not only our brother, mentor, and teacher but he is indeed arguably amongst the best scholars of comparative religion of our times. We have immense respect for his knowledge, his dedication, and his untiring efforts he so selflessly provides in the Cause of Allah Subhana and the propagation of the Truth. May Allah bless our teacher and our brother, Dr. Zakir Naik in his continuing works in Islam, increase his zest, zeal, knowledge, and dedication to continue the Dawah; and grant him a long and healthy life to enable him to spread the Glorious Word of Allah to all who are willing to listen to good caution. May Allah Subhana accept his efforts in the Cause of His Deen, and grant him the best in this world, and honor him with the highest grade in Paradise in the life hereafter. Ameen.

Beloved Brother in Islam, Allah Alone knows in what context the question was asked to Dr. Brother Zakir Naik and in what context our respected and beloved brother answered that question; and it may also be a possibility that you did not hear or comprehend the answer in the context in which it was given.

Dear and Beloved Brother in Islam, the truth is that a believer is a walking-talking ‘dai’ (propagator of the Truth) to all he meets….his name, his choice of food, his talk, his morals, his honesty, his character, his dealings, his prayers, his charity, his fasts, his abstinence from all things unlawful, (wine, illegal women, gambling, etc),…… his whole life manifests to all who meet him one thing and one thing only: that he has submitted his will to the Will of his Creator. Man is created a social creature, and it is neither possible nor conceivable that a non-Muslim who meets a true Muslim is not affected by him in some way or the other; and this effect the life of a believer has on a non-Muslim is part of ‘Dawa’, albeit at its lowest level.

Tala ibn 'Ubaidullah narrated that a Bedouin with unkempt hair came to the Messenger of Allah (saws) and said, "O Messenger of Allah (saws), inform me of what Allah has made obligatory on me as regards praying." He said, "Five prayers, unless you do others voluntarily." He asked the Prophet (saws) to inform him about fasting, and he said, "The fast of Ramadan, unless you do others voluntarily." Then he asked him about charity...and the Messenger of Allah (saws) informed him of the Islamic legislations on Zakat. The Bedouin then said, "By the One who has honored you, I shall not voluntarily add anything to it, nor shall I be deficient in what Allah has ordered me to do." The Messenger of Allah (saws) then said, "He will enter Paradise if he is truthful (to what he said)." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.480 Narrated by Abu Huraira
A desert Arab came to the Prophet (saws) and said, "Tell me of such a deed as will make me enter Paradise, if I do it." The Prophet (saws) said, "Worship Allah, and worship none along with Him, offer the (five) prescribed compulsory prayers perfectly, pay the compulsory Zakat, and fast the month of Ramadan." The Bedouin said, "By Him, in Whose Hands my life is, I will not do more than this." When he (the Bedouin) left, the Prophet (saws) said, "Whoever likes to see a man of Paradise, and then he may look at this man."

The acts that automatically render all ones deeds vain and fruitless in the Sight of Allah as listed in the Qur’aan are the acts of ‘shirk’ (associating other gods with Allah Subhana), ‘kufr’ (disbelief), ‘nifaaq’ (hypocrisy), and apostasy (declaring disbelief after accepting faith).

Allah says in the Holy Qur’aan Chapter 39 Surah Zumar verse 65-66:
If you commit ‘shirk’ all your works will be rendered vain and you will be among the losers. Therefore, you should worship Allah Alone, and be among His grateful servants.

Allah Says in the Holy Qur’aan Chapter 47 Surah Muhammad verses 8-9:
8 But those who reject (Allah) for them is destruction and (Allah) will render their deeds astray (from their mark).
9 That is because they hate the Revelation of Allah; so He has made their deeds fruitless.

Allah Says in the Holy Qur’aan Chapter 33 Surah Ahzaab verses 18-19:
18 Verily Allah knows those (hypocrites) among you who keep back (men) and those who say to their brethren "Come along to us" but come not to the fight except for just a little while.
19 Covetous over you. Then when fear comes thou wilt sees them looking to thee their eyes revolving like (those of) one over whom hovers death: but when the fear is past they will smite you with sharp tongues covetous of goods. Such men have no faith and so Allah has made their deeds of none effect: and that is easy for Allah.

Allah Says in the Holy Qur’aan Chapter 47 Surah Muhammad verses 28:
28 This because they (the apostates) followed that which called forth the Wrath of Allah and they hated Allah's good pleasure; so He made their deeds of no effect.

Thus in conclusion my beloved brother, it would be prudent if you could revisit and recheck in what context our respected brother did and teacher Dr. Zakir Naik said this statement, if indeed he did say it as understood by you. Brother Dr. Zakir Naik is a personal friend and we assure you that I will discuss this topic with him when I am blessed with the opportunity to meet with him Insha Allah; and if there is anything to add we will write back to you again, if Allah Wills.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,


Source: www.q&

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Me without my Hijab

Here is an account of an Iraqi woman removing her head covering and how she saw herself without it. I am certain, most women, particularly those who wore Hijab once may find in tune with this article. I have written a few articles on the subject, whose links are provided below the article.

The way we clothe is cultural and not necessarily religious. Religious requirement is simply modesty; no more than that. That modesty can range between a full shuttle cock Burqa to no Burqa. Modesty is the right thing to follow, it is the middle path, and it is the path of least conflicts. The Qur'aanic wisdom reiterates that path. Today, Hijab is a fashion and an identity statement, loudly announcing that one is a Muslim, it draws more attention defeating the very purpose for which it stands; Modesty and not to draw attention.


Mike Ghouse
# # #
Me without my Hijab,0,1315525.story
From the Los Angeles Times
Removing my head covering changed how I saw myself and the world.
By Zainab Mineeia

June 8, 2008

When I came to this country, I took off my hijab. It wasn't an easy decision. I worried at night that God would punish me for it. That's what I had been taught would happen, and it filled me with fear.

I was 27, coming from my home country of Iraq to study in California. I hoped that by taking off the hijab I had been wearing for eight years, I would be able to maintain a low profile. In Baghdad, you keep a low profile to stay alive. But in the United States, I merely wanted not to be judged.

Still, I was filled with anxiety. As I flew toward the United States, I wondered how I would feel when the moment came to appear with my head uncovered.

I knew, of course, that most women in the United States didn't cover their heads. Despite that, I worried that my appearance would draw attention. I was going to stand bare in front of everyone. My neck, my hair, the top of my chest would all be exposed. This might (or might not) go unnoticed by others, but I would be keenly aware of it. I didn't know if I was ready to handle this feeling.

When I arrived at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, at the end of the first leg of my journey, my head was still covered. I let my hair out briefly, but then I covered it again, unsure of myself. I packed the hijab away for good when I arrived at Denver International Airport.

I had talked with my parents about the fact that I might take off the hijab upon my arrival in the States; fortunately they were supportive of the idea. In fact, just a few days before leaving Iraq, I was sitting in the living room with my father.

"My daughter, when you arrive at the Jordanian airport, take your hijab off and fold it in your bag. There is no need to wear it anymore," he said while smoking his cigarette.

I did not comment, nor did I look him in the eye. I was embarrassed and did not want to talk about the subject with him or my mother. I was not used to talking to them about such sensitive, personal subjects. But his words meant a lot to me. Having his blessing was important.

Coming from Iraq, a conservative society in which Islam is the main religion, the hijab was something I had always known. Muslim women begin wearing the hijab at different ages -- some start as young as 8; others start later. Some never wear it at all. We wear it because we are told that it would be a sin not to cover ourselves -- and because we need to be without sin in order to get close to God. Women, we're told, are a source of enticement to men, and we need to be covered so that men won't desire us.

I made the decision to cover my head willingly and without any pressure from my family. My mother and sisters wore it, which made my choice easier. I was 19, and I was becoming more religious in those days and had begun to pray more frequently. I was convinced that it was the right thing to do.

The night before I first wore it to school, I stayed up most of the night. None of my friends knew what I was going to do. I expected it would surprise a lot of people. I was a girl who loved styling my hair and wearing nice things; my friends (many of whom were already wearing the hijab) would know how much I had to give up to wear it.

On the street, I felt a rush of mixed feelings: happiness and shyness, as well as fear that I would regret my decision in the future. But I never thought that taking it off would be an option. Once women wear the hijab, they are not likely to take it off.

These days, the hijab is a controversial subject. Some Muslims argue that it is a must for women, though others think it is not. My friend Dahlia Lamy, for instance, an Iraqi woman I knew in Baghdad who is now studying at Boston University, argues that no verse in the Koran clearly makes the hijab an obligation for women. Lamy is a practicing Muslim, but she believes that most women who wear the hijab have been forced to do so by their fathers and brothers. "I've never worn the hijab, nor do I intend to," she told me. In Turkey -- and even in France -- culture wars have raged over the wearing of the hijab in schools and other places.

The hijab takes different forms. In Iraq, it can be a chest-length veil that is placed around the head and sometimes can connect to a niqab, a cloth that covers the mouth and nose. The wearing of the niqab is not common in Iraq. In Iran and other Persian Gulf countries, women wear an abaya. An abaya is a long black gown that covers the entire body.

My hijab helped me during the rough days after the war began in 2003. It was like a shield, an invisible suit that I always had on when I went out, the suit that kept away the evil eye. It enabled me to keep that all-important low profile.

But even as the hijab kept me safe, it became a burden for many others. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, there was a dramatic increase in the number of women wearing the hijab. Since then, as religious groups have gained more power, it has become dangerous to be spotted without one -- so much so that even Christian women now wear the hijab when they go out. To me, that signified that something was wrong with my country.

The reason I came to the United States was to spend a semester at UC Davis before starting a master's degree program in journalism. I arrived on the flight from Denver in September 2006. It was late at night, and I went immediately to sleep. The next day was my first to go out without the hijab. That morning, I stood in front of the mirror and instead of straightening my hijab, I straightened my hair. It worried me, but I also felt happy.

At first, I looked behind me a lot as I walked down the street, wondering who was looking at me and what they were thinking. But over time, I got used to it. My conscience stopped bothering me, and I became accustomed to being without the hijab in the middle of the day. I remember early on when a woman sipping coffee on her porch said "Good morning" and smiled at me, as if I looked completely normal. That was a peaceful feeling.

For a while, I lived in Davis with another Iraqi woman, who had been wearing the hijab since 2002. When I told her that I had taken off my hijab when I came to the U.S., she was surprised and gave me the look. The look telling me that I had done something wrong. We discussed the issue many times; I felt guilty again and had second thoughts.

After some months, though, she moved to Massachusetts. One day, she called me, and we talked again about her hijab. This time she talked about the discomfort and sometimes even hostility that people seemed to feel when they met her and saw how she was dressed. "They try to hide it, but it's obvious," she said. She said that although real estate agents were positive over the phone, no one would rent her an apartment once they saw her in person. She explained that a woman from the student housing office had had the audacity to explain to her the way toilets are flushed, "As if my hijab was an anti-intelligence sign," she said. "I spent two days crying."

She called me again at the end of December and told me that she too had taken off the hijab. After the conversation ended, I felt a bit relieved; I had apparently made a wise decision and spared myself pain from the start.

At the same time, I was disappointed. We shouldn't have to hide the fact that we're Muslims in order to be treated like everyone else. In some ways, it's as bad to feel pressure to take off the hijab in the United States as it is to be pressured to keep it on in Baghdad. It's sad that people here do not always accept you for who you are.

For myself, I'm comfortable with my decision. But even today, I sometimes take my hijab out of the closet and place it over my head. It feels strange, not unlike the feeling I had when I was preparing to stop wearing it.

At the same time, when I put it on, I feel at home, as if I wasn't far away. It makes me miss the days when I used to match the color of my hijab with my clothes. The hijab was a part of my identity, a part of who I was, and those memories can't be erased.

Zainab Mineeia worked as a translator and reporter for The Times in Iraq in 2005 and 2006. She is now a graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Islamic state, or state of Islam

Islamic state, or state of Islam by Aisha Sherazi

In the book review below, Aisha Sherazi has rightly pointed out the issues we have not dealt with, Insha Allah; I will make an attempt to responds to a few issues;

She writes “Which brings me to my initial point. If interpretation is everything in faith, how do we know we are on the right track and not being led astray?”

Let me begin with this statement “To be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker, one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence.” Indeed that is the purpose of all religions; to cause societies to practice justice and bring about peaceful co-existence. That is the bottom line message of God to keep his creation in balance per Qur’aan, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware." Good conduct is that which removes conflict and causes peaceful co-existence.

If we can understand our faith from the above perspective then going astray would mean going away from the state of peaceful existence. The biggest hurdle is based in human weakness (regardless of what religion you subscribe to) of believing that my way is the best way while denying others their divinity. The vociferous Muslims (or vociferous from any faith) among us do not have the stomach to do their jihad and subdue arrogance. If we do that, then we cannot go astray. Arrogance and spirituality are inversely proportional.

The Islamic technicians of the past have reduced Islam to rituals without giving value to the essence of Islam – submitting to the will of God, which is peaceful existence. We are conditioned to see the practitioners of Islam in rituals, lack of it is automatic declaration of being a non-Muslim, and even a small deviation is not acceptable. It is a pity to see the Universal, all times Islam reduced to rituals.

If we can work on the above statement and develop a consensus, accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the Seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. The moderates among us need to have the passion to speak up and define the guidelines of what is the right track, that can apply to every human on the earth whether one subscribes to Islam (as given) or not. After all, God is not the exclusive property of any one and all religions make a point to say that God is one and that he is the God of everything we can perceive, imagine and see.

Tarek Fatah expresses the wisdom of religion well “Fatah argues that the only viable route is to separate religion from political affairs.” Indeed, we need to separate these two. Much of the conflict emanates from managing the resources (political) and fear that some one may deny you the right and may tempt one to pre-empt in denying other’s right. Religion (Islam or otherwise) teaches one to practice Justice and also shares the idea that everything is owned by God, as we did not bring it with us when we were born nor are we going to take with us.

I am yet to read the book, but agree with him when “he urges Muslims to seek a "state of Islam" within them”. Each one of us has a different approach to solutions, Fatah is confrontational and that approach simply reduces his embrace of possibly a larger audience. He may want to re-consider that. If we want to bring a change, we need to bring more people into our envelope.

Aisha writes “I was even to see some Muslims carry out atrocities in the name of God.” It is human to make mistakes, you will find same percentage of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus or others carry out atrocities in the name of God. It is wrong to single out Muslims, all are guilty. In fact, the idea of – 1/10th of 1% of all people, however you categorize them are extremists, may have some validity.

The comment by Aisha’s Imam “Islam as a religion is perfect. But some Muslim people can be terrible!" Could have been wiser, “every religion intends to bring goodness, some followers are wicked” Some Muslims are terrible so are “some people of all faiths”. Bottom line: You are individually responsible for your acts, today, tomorrow and on the day of judgment.

Turning to Farazana’s book: Indeed, the Neocons are preempting Armageddon. Neocons are as relevant to the teachings of the Christ as the Islamists are to the Prophet Muhammad's teachings. Neither group understands the essence of the religion, instead they thrive on fear and are driven by an imaginary conquest.

The introduction by Dr. Akbar Ahmed is a huge endorsement of Farzana's work.

I have admired the articles and work of Farzana Hassan, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress who has taken a firm stand on moderation in approach that the Prophet taught, I hope and pray more and more Muslims join her in her Jihad to keep Islam pristine, simple, all embracing and peaceful

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. He is the founder of the World Muslim Congress, a group committed to building bridges and nurturing a world of co-existence. He also heads the foundation for pluralism, an organization committed to studying religious pluralism and pluralistic governance. His personal website is and his writings are on the above websites as well as several of the ancillary Blogs listed on the sites.
# # #

Islamic state, or state of Islam?
Two quite different books look at belief and practice

The Montreal Gazette

It was the summer of 1994. I sat in the office of the imam in London's Regent's Park mosque, and read my "shahada," or declaration of faith. I excitedly accepted Islam as my faith, and promised to worship one God and attest that Muhammad (peace be unto him) was His messenger.The imam who witnessed this declaration told me something I shall never forget. "Islam as a religion is perfect. But some Muslim people can be terrible!"

How wise his words turned out to be. In years to come, I was even to see some Muslims carry out atrocities in the name of God. The imam advised me to seek good company and steer away from those who would lead me astray.

Two new books by Canadian writers Tarek Fatah and Farzana Hassan reminded me of that time in my life and of the crucial question: What exactly does being "led astray" mean? How does the way we interpret faith affect how we practise it?

Many Muslims believe Islam to be a way of life that encompasses all aspects of their lives. Fatah's Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, is a hard-hitting book that challenges Muslims to dispose of the dream of establishing a formal, political Islamic state that governs using Islamic principles and laws. Instead, he urges Muslims to seek a "state of Islam" within themselves, in more of a spiritual sense, and adopt a secular approach to everyday life.

Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, takes the reader on a journey that reflects on how modern attempts to establish a so-called Islamic state have failed.

Fatah cites Pakistan (his birthplace and where he was jailed twice for his left-wing views as a student) and its failures to become the Islamic country it set out to be. Its failure to become a democracy (an Islamic principle) was the opening chapter in a long history of political turmoil and tragedy. He also analyzes the deep-set hypocrisies within the Islamic regimes of Saudi Arabia and Iran, where racial and tribal allegiances take precedence over piety. In addition, he tackles the topic of Palestine and acknowledges that Muslims collectively must clean up their own house before pointing the finger at anyone else.

He suggests how the Palestinian people can gain back some of their lost land by using Israeli contravention of UN Security Council resolutions as the basis for future peace talks, rather than by calls for an Islamist state.

Fatah's book goes on to challenge many ideas about what numerous Muslims call the golden era of Islam that followed the death of Muhammad. His historical analyses help the reader understand why he feels that Muslims never truly regained political or religious momentum after that tragic event. Fatah is deeply concerned that democratic principles were abandoned following the prophet's death, and the power struggle that ensued paved the way for the racial and tribal conflicts that still plague Muslims. Despite the bleak picture he paints, he also highlights the strengths of individual leaders and instances where justice was served.

Fatah argues that the only viable route is to separate religion from political affairs. However, while providing a detailed historical perspective about why an Islamic state has not worked thus far, Fatah's book falls short of providing solutions. Although many of his criticisms are justified, he doesn't really help the reader grasp how people should assimilate into western society. Immigrants from all backgrounds often feel that their cultural and religious habits define them as people. How does one help them adopt secularism comfortably?

In the third part of his book, Fatah tackles modern issues like jihadism, the hijab or veil, Sharia law and the overall Islamist Agenda (Fatah's term for Muslims who advocate Islam as a political creed, not just a religion) in the West. Here, sadly, he fails to write in a manner that will unite the secular and what he terms the Islamist sections of the Muslim community in the West. He points the finger at numerous organizations as being Islamist. However, rather than build bridges to those who could help him with his cause, I suspect he alienates many fellow Muslims with his accusatory style.

While Fatah's book appeals to a broad range of readers, Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest, the latest book by Farzana Hassan, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, is probably more of interest to readers attracted to theological discussion. The book is well-researched and written, and uses many sources to compare and contrast Islam and Christianity and trace the origins of apocalyptic prophecy in both religions.

Hassan's book also deals with how religious fundamentalism can be used to push an end-agenda, marshalling prophetic scripture and other accounts to attain final religious supremacy. She warns how dangerous it can be to interpret such texts literally.

Perhaps the most poignant part of Hassan's book is when she parallels Christian and Islamic prophecies about the end of the world with what is happening globally today. She rightly points out that radical factions of both faiths claim to be the "good" that will triumph over the "evil."

Which brings me to my initial point. If interpretation is everything in faith, how do we know we are on the right track and not being led astray? Having read both books, I came to the conclusion that no matter on what path God has guided us and through whom, He has provided us with common values, such as compassion, love, truth, respect and justice. Though God is the ground from which these stem, faith crystallizes into organized religion, which can produce bitter fruits and devastating results if we don't remind ourselves of the root values that were sent to us all.

I thoroughly enjoyed both books, which challenge the heart as well as the mind, despite the fact that I didn't agree with everything the authors say.

Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State
By Tarek Fatah
John Wiley & Sons Canada,
432 pages, $31.95

Prophecy and the The Fundamentalist Quest
By Farzana Hassan
McFarland & Company,
185 pages, $35

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Inshallah, Texas Muslims Organize

Inshallah, Texas Muslims Organize
June 6th, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Today, a variety of caucuses met at the Democratic state convention in Austin to discuss issues, strategy, and hear a little politicking from candidates up and down the ballot. You’ve got your Gun Owners Caucus and your Progressive Populist Caucus, Texas Stonewall Caucus and Motorcycle Caucus, Native American Caucus and Tejano Democrats Caucus. That’s the Democratic Party in all its messy glory - diverse interests trying to fit under a Big Tent.

One of the more interesting active Dem organizations here is the Texas Muslim Democratic Caucus, the first of its kind in the nation, according to one of the organizers. The caucus started about four years ago and represents Muslim Ds across the state. It has at least 70 delegates attending the convention - 60 from Dallas alone as well as folks from Beaumont, San Antonio, Houston, and even unlikely locales like Marshall and East Bernard.

Caucus president Sarwat Husain said the caucus is important in encouraging Muslims, still reeling from the post-9/11 backlash, to come out of the shadows and become politically engaged. Muslim women, in particular, are fearful of speaking out. “I cannot tell you what courage wearing this [hijab] takes in the United States after 9/11,” Husain said. “The stares that go right through you.”

Husain rattled off the statistics: 7-10.5 million Muslims in the U.S. with close to two million registered voters, 83 percent of which are Democrats. There are some half-a-million Muslims in Texas. That’s not an insignificant cache of potential voters but Democrats need to do more to reach out, she said.

“This is one market you’re losing,” Husain said, addressing the gathered pols. “They are waiting for you out there.” The caucus heard from about ten candidates for offices ranging from the State Board of Education to Congress. In courting votes, the candidates pledged to support freedom of religion, tolerance, and to push back against the zealotry of the religious right in Texas.

State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) asked the caucus members to come educate the not-terribly enlightened members of the Texas Legislature. “The way we are approaching things is very exclusive, not inclusive,” Howard said, referring to the Bible class bill passed in the Texas Legislature this year.

Board of Education candidate Laura Ewing, a former Friendswood City Council member, discussed the urgency of electing moderates to the board in light of an upcoming overhaul of social studies curriculum standards. Texas students urgently need to learn about the Muslim world as part of their education, Ewing said. “Otherwise we’ll only study dead white men… and that’s not our world, is it?,” she asked.

Someone in the audience brought up the recent kerfuffle in Friendswood during which a junior high school principal was reassigned for inviting two Muslim women to speak to students following an attack on a Muslim student. That prompted Cindy Steffens, a Muslim delegate from Houston, to tell a story about how her young son’s teacher asked the boy to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Interviewed later, Steffens said she and the school handled the incident quietly. Confrontation is not what American Muslims seek, Steffens said, but rather acceptance.

“The Muslim community in America almost has to do what Barack Obama did,” said Yusuf Mohammed, Steffens’ husband. “He’s black but he transcended race.”

Thursday, June 5, 2008

British Muslim TV wants you
From: Reema Adnan
To: South Asian Journalists Association

• American, Muslim and aged between 16 and 30 years old.
• Live in and around New York
• Want to share your experiences and learn more about Islam

If the answer is YES then we want to hear from you.

Channel 4 - one of the UK's leading prime time TV channels is coming to New York and wants to hear your experiences of being young, American & Muslim.

We are producing a TV series aimed at giving British viewers an insight into the everyday lives, issues, and concerns of their American cousins across the Atlantic.

Each show will assemble a diverse cast of young muslims to share their views, opinions and experiences with a panel of eminent Muslim voices from across the US and give them an opportunity to pose questions regarding their faith and its place in America.

We will be recording the shows in Downtown Manhattan on the weekend of June 28th and 29th and need to hear from you NOW!

Link: Link:

Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest

Introducing "Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest"
by Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun chair, American University.

Moderator: Indeed, the Neocons are preempting Armageddon. Neocons are as relevant to the teachings of the Christ as the Islamists are to the Prophet Muhammad's techings. Neither group understands the essence of the religion, instead they thrive on fear and are driven by an imaginary conquest.
The introduction by Dr. Akbar Ahmed is a huge endorsement of Farzana's work.
I have admired the articles and work of Farzana Hassan, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress who has taken a firm stand on moderation in approach that the Prophet taught, I hope and pray more and more Muslims join her in her Jihad to keep Islam pristine, simple, all embracing and peaceful
Mike Ghouse
World Muslim Congress
# # #
Introducing "Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest"
by Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun chair, American University.

"Prophecy and the fundamentalist Quest", the latest book by Farzana Hassan, president Muslim Canadian Congress is an attempt to compare and contrast the prophetic literature of the world's two largest religions i.e Christianity and Islam. The author contends that both are proselytizing faiths, continually seeking to convert humanity to their specific worldview. Each also believes that ultimately, its particular ideology will prevail. For example, she writes" Closely associated with the establishment of Israel is the holy land is the rebuilding of the Third Temple. It is an important event in a series of apocalyptic events that will herald the second advent of Christ.

But whether the Temple will be rebuilt is a question that must be explored more through biblical references, as neither the Quran not Hadith elaborate the issue in depth. This is not to suggest that Muslims refrain
from interpreting biblical prophecy in a manner that will further their own political agenda for the region. Many regard the construction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the site of the Temple of Solomon as a fulfillment of the biblical prophecies pertaining to the Third Temple."

As is commonly understood, such events according to both faith traditions will unfold during the end of days or the apocalypse, which many believe is taking place before their very eyes. As the main premise of the book, the author argues that apocalypticists who interpret scripture literally and can hence by categorized as fundamentalists, will not stop at achieving their religio-political goals till such time this apocalyptic vision has been realized for them. The book also highlights interreligious struggles surfacing among the most ardent followers of these traditions. Adherents of these Abrahamic faiths interpret prophecy to support their particular religious stance and political goals.The debates are endless and the issues remain as contentious as the stark differences in outlook over the current political crises in our troubled world.

This book is an important contribution to a matter that concerns all of us interested in exploring ways to make the world a more harmonious place. I am grateful to its author for her courage and wisdom in writing it.

Farzana Hassan, President of MCC. Freelance writer, public speaker and author of "Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest"
Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest
An Integrative Study of Christian and Muslim Apocalyptic Religion
Farzana Hassan
Foreword by Dr. John S. Niles

ISBN 978-0-7864-3300-1
glossary, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
196pp. softcover 2008

$35 Available for immediate shipment


This work traces the origins of apocalyptic prophecy in Christianity and Islam through in-depth examinations of several texts found within the Bible, the Quran, and the Hadith. The author contends that Christianity and Islam, often seen as two of the primary fundamentalist and proselytizing world faiths, remain pitted against each other in an ongoing struggle to impose their religious ideology on the rest of the world through either force or persuasion. The religious prophecies discussed in this book are largely focused on end-time or apocalyptic scenarios (such as the Book of Revelation from the Bible’s New Testament, the prophesized hour of judgment in the Quran, and the Book of Tribulations in the Hadith). The final two chapters provide an analysis of current world politics, including the Iraq War, within the context of Christian and Islamic prophecy.

About the Author
Farzana Hassan, is the president of the Muslim Canadian Congress. She lives in Canada.


Email to:

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 ( 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.