Thursday, June 5, 2008

Makkah Interfaith dialogue

Muslims Gather for Interfaith Dialogue
Several articles will be listed below as they are published.

Praise the lord, Alhamdu Lillah, I am pleased to read this realization of King Abdullah “King Abdullah has realized that we Muslims have to play a part in reducing tensions across the world. It is a courageous decision.” For the last few years, we have been making attempts to define the role of Muslims in the world based in Qur'aan, and here is the sentence that makes part of the logo of this blogsite. "To be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker, one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for the peaceful co-existence, God wants to live in peace and harmony with his creation."

Indeed, the World Muslim Congress is driven by the 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.

"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

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.
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Muslims Gather for Interfaith Dialogue
Badea Abu Al-Naja & Siraj Wahab, Arab News

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah performs Maghreb prayer with others at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Tuesday. (SPA)

MAKKAH, 4 June 2008 — Muslim religious scholars, media personalities, academics and intellectuals from around the globe have arrived in the Holy City of Makkah for a three-day interfaith dialogue that begins today at the request of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. The king is to open the first session this morning with a speech that will outline the parameters of discussion Muslims should be having with people of other faiths.

The Makkah Hilton lobby buzzed last night as nearly 500 delegates from 50 different countries shared their points of view. The conference follows King Abdullah’s plea in March for dialogue among Muslims, Christians and Jews.

“We are excited and looking forward to participate in this historic meeting,” said Abdul Aziz Khalidi of the UK-based Islam Channel. “King Abdullah has realized that we Muslims have to play a part in reducing tensions across the world. It is a courageous decision.”

“Whether we accept it or not, this is a global village, and we have to play a constructive part in this world,” said Syrian delegate Sheikh Abdul Qader. “This conference will show us the direction. There will be a healthy debate among our scholars to discuss the format of our dialogue with people of other faiths.”

Noted author and writer M.J. Akbar said dialogue with other faiths should be conducted not because other people want it but because it is the right thing to do.

“Whether the other side is ready or not, we should take this step and make the other side run out of excuses,” he said. “Islam has a glorious history of protecting people of the other faiths.”

Abdullah Al-Turki, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, said the conference would discuss the basis for dialogue with other faiths in the context of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah.

Shoura Council President Saleh Bin-Humaid is scheduled to preside over the first session, which features a number of papers on the objectives of dialogue as outlined in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, and historical experiences of cultural dialogue.

Sheikh Muhammad Ali Taskhery, secretary-general of the Center for Reconciliation of Islamic Schools of Thought, will chair the second session and Jordan’s Chief Justice Ahmed Muhammad Haleel will present a paper on the mechanisms of dialogue.

Bosnian Mufti Mustafa Ceric will preside over the third session, which focuses on the importance of coordination among Islamic organizations in holding dialogue with other faiths. Abdullah Omar Naseef, secretary-general of the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief, will present a paper and Muhammad Al-Sammak, secretary-general of the Islamic Spiritual Summit in Lebanon, will speak on dialogue with followers of divine religions.

The fourth session will be led by Abdul Rahman Sewar Al-Dahab, chairman of the board of trustees of the Islamic Dawa Organization. Mahmoud Ghazi of the College of Islamic Studies in Qatar will present a paper on the clash of civilizations and world peace. Ali Uzak of Turkey will speak on the common ground of family and morality.

The call for dialogue was welcomed by leaders of the three faiths and comes at a time of stalled peace initiatives and escalating tensions in the region.

Mecca talks stress religious tolerance
· King Abdullah calls for better interfaith relations
· Saudi highlights dangers of Islamist extremism

More than 500 delegates from around the world gathered in the Islamic holy city of Mecca yesterday with the aim of fostering better relations between Muslims and followers of other faiths. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia opened the three-day conference in Al-Safah Palace, a stone's throw from the Grand Mosque, by stressing the need for better understanding and cooperation between monotheistic religions.

The king urged his audience to promote the true message of Islam and said the Islamic world faced great difficulties in the form of extremists whose "aggressions and excessiveness" targeted the tolerance of the religion.

The event, the biannual meeting of the Muslim World League, a non-governmental organisation engaged in the propagation of Islam, has been described as an interfaith conference, although its location makes it strictly off-limits to non-Muslims. It is understood that Abdullah seeks greater unity among different Islamic schools of thought, so that summits with other religions can take place more easily. The king held talks in November with Pope Benedict XVI and in March announced plans to host a meeting between the three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam - an initiative welcomed by the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder.

The move is a departure from Saudi government practice, which does not allow the public practice of other religions in the kingdom.

Abdullah's understanding of interfaith dialogue differs from the one held by the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Al al-Sheikh, who said dialogue with other religions was a way to bring non-Muslims into Islam. The cleric, who is the highest official of religious law, told the delegates that converting people to Islam was the ultimate goal of dialogue, a point made several times. "It is the opportunity to disseminate the principles of Islam. Islam advocates dialogue among people, especially calling them to the path of Allah."

The brochure advertising the event cites verses from the Qur'an that tell Muslims to "invite all to the way of the lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in the ways that are best and most gracious".

The conference organisers have insisted that speakers will focus on religion, not politics. However the former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who shared the stage with the Saudi monarch, only touched on the need for greater respect between Sunni and Shia Muslims, preferring instead to accuse western governments of hegemony in conflict zones.

Rafsanjani, a last-minute addition to the programme, said: "Without Islam the world is nothing. We control 20% of the world's resources. We don't want to waste these and it is our duty not to hand over what we have. Muslims are authorised to defend themselves in a good manner."

He told the audience to "think about Iraq", describing the presence of US troops as a threat to all neighbouring regions. "Iraqis have a responsibility not to let the Americans impose their diplomatic mission on Islam. Iraq has a great heritage and America wants to exploit it. We should not allow this exploitation and subjugation to continue. It is unofficial colonisation."

While Rafsanjani's remarks may not surprise people familiar with his anti-western tirades, his address will have darkened the mood of an event designed to encourage scholars to promote dialogue with different religions. His attendance, at the invitation of the king, will also sit uneasily with the Saudi clerics who denounced Iranian Shia last Sunday.

The conference, which ends tomorrow, will also hear from Dr Ali Bardakoglu, president of Turkey's Diyanet, the highest Islamic authority in the country, and the grand imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque, Muhammad Sayed Tantawi.


  1. Muslim Youths

    Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist because they have been mis-educated and de-educated by the British schooling. Muslim children are confused because they are being educated in a wrong place at a wrong time in state schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. They face lots of problems of growing up in two distinctive cultural traditions and value systems, which may come into conflict over issues such as the role of women in the society, and adherence to religious and cultural traditions. The conflicting demands made by home and schools on behaviour, loyalties and obligations can be a source of psychological conflict and tension in Muslim youngsters. There are also the issues of racial prejudice and discrimination to deal with, in education and employment. They have been victim of racism and bullying in all walks of life. According to DCSF, 56% of Pakistanis and 54% of Bangladeshi children has been victims of bullies. The first wave of Muslim migrants were happy to send their children to state schools, thinking their children would get a much better education. Than little by little, the overt and covert discrimination in the system turned them off. There are fifteen areas where Muslim parents find themselves offended by state schools.

    The right to education in one’s own comfort zone is a fundamental and inalienable human right that should be available to all people irrespective of their ethnicity or religious background. Schools do not belong to state, they belong to parents. It is the parents’ choice to have faith schools for their children. Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim teacher or a child in a Muslim school. There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools. An ICM Poll of British Muslims showed that nearly half wanted their children to attend Muslim schools. There are only 143 Muslim schools. A state funded Muslim school in Birmingham has 220 pupils and more than 1000 applicants chasing just 60.

    Majority of anti-Muslim stories are not about terrorism but about Muslim
    culture--the hijab, Muslim schools, family life and religiosity. Muslims in the west ought to be recognised as a western community, not as an alien culture.
    Iftikhar Ahmad

  2. If you are interested in some new ideas on religious pluralism and the Trinity, please check out my website at, and give me your thoughts on improving content and presentation.

    My thesis is that an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity’s answer to the world need for a framework of pluralistic theology.

    In a constructive worldview: east, west, and far-east religions present a threefold understanding of One God manifest primarily in Muslim and Hebrew intuition of the Deity Absolute, Christian and Krishnan Hindu conception of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being; and Shaivite Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist apprehension of the Destroyer (meaning also Consummator), Unconditioned Absolute, or Spirit of All That Is and is not. Together with their variations and combinations in other major religions, these religious ideas reflect and express our collective understanding of God, in an expanded concept of the Holy Trinity.

    The Trinity Absolute is portrayed in the logic of world religions, as follows:

    1. Muslims and Jews may be said to worship only the first person of the Trinity, i.e. the existential Deity Absolute Creator, known as Allah or Yhwh, Abba or Father (as Jesus called him), Brahma, and other names; represented by Gabriel (Executive Archangel), Muhammad and Moses (mighty messenger prophets), and others.

    2. Christians and Krishnan Hindus may be said to worship the first person through a second person, i.e. the experiential Universe or "Universal” Absolute Supreme Being (Allsoul or Supersoul), called Son/Christ or Vishnu/Krishna; represented by Michael (Supreme Archangel), Jesus (teacher and savior of souls), and others. The Allsoul is that gestalt of personal human consciousness, which we expect will be the "body of Christ" (Mahdi, Messiah, Kalki or Maitreya) in the second coming – personified in history by Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha (9th incarnation of Vishnu), and others.

    3. Shaivite Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucian-Taoists seem to venerate the synthesis of the first and second persons in a third person or appearance, ie. the Destiny Consummator of ultimate reality – unqualified Nirvana consciousness – associative Tao of All That Is – the absonite* Unconditioned Absolute Spirit “Synthesis of Source and Synthesis,”** who/which is logically expected to be Allah/Abba/Brahma glorified in and by union with the Supreme Being – represented in religions by Gabriel, Michael, and other Archangels, Mahadevas, Spiritpersons, etc., who may be included within the mysterious Holy Ghost.

    Other strains of religion seem to be psychological variations on the third person, or possibly combinations and permutations of the members of the Trinity – all just different personality perspectives on the Same God. Taken together, the world’s major religions give us at least two insights into the first person of this thrice-personal One God, two perceptions of the second person, and at least three glimpses of the third.

    * The ever-mysterious Holy Ghost or Unconditioned Spirit is neither absolutely infinite, nor absolutely finite, but absonite; meaning neither existential nor experiential, but their ultimate consummation; neither fully ideal nor totally real, but a middle path and grand synthesis of the superconscious and the conscious, in consciousness of the unconscious.

    ** This conception is so strong because somewhat as the Absonite Spirit is a synthesis of the spirit of the Absolute and the spirit of the Supreme, so it would seem that the evolving Supreme Being may himself also be a synthesis or “gestalt” of humanity with itself, in an Almighty Universe Allperson or Supersoul. Thus ultimately, the Absonite is their Unconditioned Absolute Coordinate Identity – the Spirit Synthesis of Source and Synthesis – the metaphysical Destiny Consummator of All That Is.

    For more details, please see:

    Samuel Stuart Maynes



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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.