The Center for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress are deeply committed to education and regularly bring Americans together to learn about each other’s joys and suffering. It is an initiative to build responsible civic societies, where justice and co-existence are our values.
The 14th Annual Holocaust and Genocides event is an effort to stand with all the men, women and children who have endured the apprehension of Holocaust, genocides, massacres, bombs, annihilation, land mines, hunger, rape, torture, occupation, and inhuman brutality.
The least we can do in the process of healing is to acknowledge everyone's pain in one voice. We have begun the process of coming together as one people and stand with each other, we are indeed one world and only humanity, and caring for each other bring safety and peace to all of us. I cannot be safe if the people around me are not, and I will not have peace if people around me don't. It is in my interest to seek a peaceful world for one and all.
There is a shameless cruelty in us, either we shy away from facing or refuse to acknowledge the sufferings of others, worrying that it will devalue our own or somehow it amounts to infidelity to our cause. We cannot justify massacres arrogantly believing that the victims deserved it or asked for it.
We have to learn and to acknowledge and reflect upon the terrible things we have inflicted upon each other and have to commit to ourselves to resist the temptations to be prejudiced and stereotype others. We cannot demand peace unless we are peaceful ourselves.
This particular date was adopted by the sixtieth session of the United Nations on November 21, 2005, “Resolves that the United Nations will designate 27 January as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.” Our events are scheduled on Sundays to accommodate the Jewish community’s presence.
Our safety hinges on the safety of others around us, and it behooves us to work for the safety and security of others on this little planet. We have to be continuously aware of the Holocaust and Genocides and prepare us to avert such tragedies.
We are working on initiating a course on tolerance education, so one day; we all can learn to have a heart that opens to the pain of every human, yes, we can do that.
Bringing people to understand the suffering of people has been my drive, I must say that through this program, many non-Jewish people have come to know about the Holocaust for the first time. You can see pictures people from Atheist to Zoroastrians and everyone in between has been a part of this event. Moreover, everyone has shared a prayer in the past commemorations. We have to create the awareness to get people to become activists and speak up and Never say again.
FIRST EVENT AT 2:00 PM Program: Getting Closer to God: Jewish and Muslim Perspectives on Mysticism
Gabrial Abasi will speak on Selfless service and commitment to mysticism Herb Levy is a teacher of Kabbalah Andra Baylus will speak on the Sufi-inspired spiritual leader Meher Baba
Organized by: Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society ________________________________________________
SECOND EVENT AT - Approx 3:30 PM Program: 14th Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides
Holocaust Syrian Refugee Crisis Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing - Bob Marro, Uyghur Chinese Muslims - Omer Kanat Crimean Tartars - Walter Ruby
The Center for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress are deeply committed to education and relentlessly pursue building cohesive societies where no human has to live in apprehension and fear of the other.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, author, interfaith wedding officiant, executive director of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/
I hope your vision for America resonates with our work. If you feel, this is what you always wanted America to be, I welcome you to join the Center for Pluralism as a volunteer, donor (big or small), inspirer, encourager, and a writer with all your heart mind and soul. Please feel free to send me an email or call me. It is worth your while to glance at the work we have done.
Towards the end, I have included a few sample videos and profile links representing the diversity of our work. Each video has a description for you to choose what you want to watch.
Everything in life, both war and peace begin with an individual’s dream and actions, and people join in and make a movement. We have accomplished an unbelievable amount of work, it is all in front of you.
Whatever we do, we do it wholeheartedly with all our heart, mind and soul.
Mike Ghouse Mike@CenterforPluralism.com (214) 325-1916
1. MY PERSONAL MISSION
My personal mission is to open people’s hearts and minds towards fellow beings. I am committed to building cohesive societies where each member of the society feels secure with his/her faith, race, gender, ethnicity, culture, politics, shape, size and other uniqueness.
Please do not judge me by seeing pictures, videos, or articles on the internet with people on the extreme left or the right, alt-right conservatives, and progressives, and with members of every faith from Atheism to Zoroastrianism, Native American and LGBTQ communities. I meet them with the express purpose of knowing and understanding different points of view to develop pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.
Our problems erupt from the fact that the majority bulldozes the aspirations and hopes of the minorities when it is their turn. Bulldozing the Affordable Care Act by Trump Admin would not have happened, had Obama sought the Republican votes to pass the act in the first place even though it was not needed. One of my policymaking goals is to advance the idea that critical bills in the House and the Senate must be passed with 66.67% majority to gain wider consensus, thus representing a larger swath of Americans, offering sustainability and stability of policies formed by either Democrats or the Republicans.
Real conflicts come into play when someone robs your space, grabs your food or hurts your loved ones, these are real conflicts, other than these all other conflicts are imaginary and can be handled through dialogue. You can Google search my name with the name of any religion, or a major festival, and you will find ample information, it is all voluntary effort for people to learn about each other. I respect and accept all religious, political and cultural traditions as valid to its followers. Culturally, I respect the otherness of other cultures and hold programs to express that. I have no barriers between another human and me and I don’t consider anyone to be my enemy either, nor do I believe anyone is out there to get me. I am content and peaceful with who I am.
I am blessed to witness the fruits of my work and will continue to offer pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media, religious, civic and political leadership. Much of my work in pictures and video links are put together in a 60-page document appended with my profile at linked in. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/ and here is a summary of the different things we have done in behalf of the Center for Pluralism, formerly the Foundation for Pluralism.
2. SHAPING AMERICA’S FUTURE
We are committed to a building a cohesive America, and we have several programs, events and workshops to be a catalyst to bring about the results, some of them are listed below.
Ten years from now, you will not find a place of work, worship, playground, school, restaurant, theater and other areas of public gatherings where you will not see people of different faiths, races, and ethnicities interacting, working, studying, intermingling, playing and even marrying each other. These interactions are bound to create conflicts and it is our duty to prevent such conflicts, so each American can live securely with his or her faith, culture, gender, race, sexual orientation or ethnicity.
We have already witnessed how the natives (those who have been here for several generations) feel about the new Americans. It is not a phobia, but a natural feeling of losing one’s way of life, and one’s world.
A vast majority of us have heard things about each other from our family members, friends, news, social media our teachers. Our hearsay knowledge of others pushed us to instantly form opinions about others. As responsible individuals, we must strive to strip stereotyping and build pathways to ensure the smooth functioning of our society, whether it is the workplace or our neighborhoods.
We need to reassure each other, particularly the disconnected ones, that together as Americans, we are committed to safeguarding the American way of life. No American needs to worry about losing his or her way of life. Together as Americans, we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our Constitution; a guarantor of the way of life each one of us wants to lead.
The Center for Pluralism will continue to bring non-stop actions in bringing Americans together from different faiths, political affiliations, societies, and cultures and be a catalyst for a safe and a secure America for each one of us, as we move through this transition.
As we learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
Please visit our website and participate as a volunteer, sponsor or a donor. We are a Washington based non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.
3. THE FIRST STEP IS TAKEN
Our mission is to learn, explore, exchange, inform and share the knowledge of pluralism with every human being, at least the ones in our ambit. Pluralism is simply developing an attitude of respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of the fellow humans.
The first step is accomplished with the establishment of the Center for Pluralism. The next step is to establish a credit course in pluralism to coach politicians, civic, religious and business leaders to shape our future with informed inclusive leaders. The leaders who would learn to respect the otherness of the other and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of their constituents. They can dislike an individual based on their personal experience, but not because of an individuals’ race, faith, ethnicity, shape, size or culture.
I am seeking fellow Americans to join me, who not only wish to see a world where people get along with each other and enjoy their lives at work and home but also want to be a catalyst for such a change. Employers want productive employees and not the ones who are tense and distrust the fellow worker because he/she is a Jew, Muslim, Christian or a Hindu, Mexican, Arab or Chinese, Black, or White. A tense free environment creates a peaceful person who will give 100% of his attention to the family when she or he is home with them instead of being occupied with getting even with the guys at work.
If you have a similar vision to see a world where each one of us lives securely, then prosperity comes to all, and particularly to you, the contributor, the donor, and the philanthropist towards creating such environment. I have always admired Bill Gates, he is one of the rare humans who has become a billionaire by making millionaires out of the people working for him. He saw his prosperity comes by helping others prosper. I am of the belief that if we can create a safe world for each one of us, all of us will benefit in the end and live with contentment, after all, that is why we bust our asses at work.
Our organization is yours when you join. At the Center for Pluralism, we realize that the purpose of government, religion or a social and civic organization is to ensure all its members will have an opportunity to live their lives in pursuit of their happiness regardless of their invincibility or vulnerability.
The process of positive change begins by “Respecting the otherness of the other and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of us resulting in conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance.
All our activities at the Center for pluralism are geared to bring Americans Together in social, religious, cultural, political, business, civic and other settings. The more we know each other, the fewer the conflicts would be. We have programs in place to achieve this mission. We need your support to take it to the world.
One man can make a difference; indeed, all the good and bad things in the world are initiated or dreamt up by an individual, and others join in to create the movement.
Concerned with the divisiveness and discord that I have witnessed over the years, as you may have, I made a commitment to reverse the change. Indeed, I give credit to Brigitte Gabrielle, who and I have battled off on Sean Hannity show on Fox News over a period of 7 years, I told her that she can continue to pit one American against the other, and I will work on bringing Americans together, thus we formed America Together Foundation (known as Center for Pluralism) in contrast to her Act for America. Our vision is to see each one of us live securely in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. A tense America is not good for anyone, neither a divisive America, it takes away your freedom to live without tensions.
I am motivated by all the holy books, all the books. Our significant achievement started with our Radio show called “Wisdom of Religion, all the religions.” We did 780 hours of Radio show explaining the essence of each religion, and three sets of workshops on twelve different religions. You will find a similar verse in all the books, the verse in Quran (49:13) says, that the world is one large family, born out of the first traceable couple (Adam & Eve) spread out on the earth into different tribes, nations, races, and religions. The wisdom in the Quran suggests that the best ones among you are those who take the time to know each other’s uniqueness, the more you know about the other, the fewer the myths you hold about them. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the uniqueness of the otherness of the other in creating peaceful societies.
What inspires me? Prophet Muhammad’s attitude towards problems, he saw “Conflict Mitigation and goodwill nurturance and acted upon finding resolutions to every conflict he came across through dialogue. He was committed to building cohesive societies where no one had to live in fear of the other. One of these days, I will write a book on that. The inclusive embrace of Jesus and the idea of forgiveness, condemning the sin and not the sinner is the foundation for building better societies. Lincoln’s bold decision to free the slaves, and Mahatma Gandhi’s pat on my back twice in my dream with the words ”Son, you have work to do’ has inspired me.
My late mother laid it on me by saying, when you meet me in heaven, I want you to tell me that you were helping someone while you took your last breath of life rather than counting money. My father always taught us to “respect the otherness of the other” and quoted the verses from the Quran. Finally, Steve Jobs made me quit my business and pursue my passion and live a full life. There is no money in this, it is pure volunteerism. Please remember, I could make a heck of a lot of money with two masters degrees or go back into the home building and make it big, but I chose to make my life purposeful and meaningful and follow my passion. Two of the individuals I knew died in car accidents and their hard-earned wealth was squandered and did not go with them, I wish they had invested in our work and left a legacy.
Our work is not for a single faith, race or community. Our Board of Directors are represented by different races and faiths and we are waiting to have more people join us, provided, they are “willing” to be prejudice-free. If I want to retire securely, and want my kids and grandkids to live worry free, I have to create a world where all are secure. My security hinges on the security of the people around me. It behooves me to invest my energies here.
The Center for Pluralism is committed to awakening people to respect the otherness of the other and accept the given uniqueness of each other. I believe when we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge. We have programs to make that happen and are listed on the home page www.CenterforPluralism.com
Currently, there are three organizations in the world who are actively producing the work on Pluralism including the Center for Pluralism, Harvard University, and Aga Khan’s Pluralism Center. I invite you to seriously consider joining us and take this further, that is if want to give legs to your wishes. I want to retire and go on speaking tours.
4. HAPPY ACCOMPLISHMENTS
You feel happy when you see justice is served to everyone, You feel good at the end of most movies when the good wins over the villainous characters. I am happiest when people open their heart, minds, and souls towards fellow humans. A few quick examples from our workshops, lectures, and seminar are as follow:
Individuals who had no idea about Hinduism began respecting Hinduism, and many have started reading Bhagavad Gita to understand Hinduism. Some of them dropped their bias against Atheism and started seeing their point of view without denigrating. A few started seeing Paganism as another tradition rather than looking down upon it. Many of them have accepted homosexuality as a part of the society, Many people who hated Islam started learning that they were misinformed and stopped being Islamophobes and living free from tensions.
Sean Hannity of Fox News cut down his hyperbole against Quran, he has a copy of the “correct” translation of the Quran and knows how to read it – three verses before and three after the supposedly maligned verse to give a full picture of justice and sense of fairness of the verse. Sean also learned that there is a difference between Personal and Public Sharia, and his criticism rightfully focused on the flawed aspect rather than the whole body of Sharia. Stuart Varney on Fox News announced that he would not use the phrase Muslim Terrorist any more when he saw that individuals are responsible for bad acts and not their religions. The Late Jeff Weiss of Dallas Morning News stopped attacking Islam exclusively and started seeing the same mistakes by individuals in other groups, he became an equal opportunity basher in his Faith column at Dallas Morning News. Examples abound and we may put together a book of achievements someday for people to see how they can be contributors towards better societies.
Our Annual Holocaust and Genocides program has produced knowledgeable people from Atheist to Zoroastrians and everyone in between, until 2006, the Synagogues offered Holocaust education to Jews on Yom HaShoah, but now people of all faith have participated in our events and make a commitment of never again. We are all in with them in their tense moments. In our annual Unity day programs when an Imam led the pledge of allegiance and a Hijabi girl sang the national anthem, it put a dent in the attitudes of acceptance of Muslims as fellow Americans. The Native Americans felt good about their inclusion in the Thanksgiving Celebrations. Festival of Faiths is about celebrating American faiths from Atheism to Zoroastrianism. Pluralism is about inclusion and respecting the otherness of the other. We have to shape the future of a secure America for everyone by including everyone.
One of the few complaints about God is that he forgot to include “Exclusion” and “Arrogance” as mortal sins. They are the root cause of all evil on the earth and he forgot these two and listed all other important stuff in all the religions of the worlds, both oral and written traditions.
If you are looking for instant results, you will be disappointed, it takes years for people to see the value based on one’s actions. Bhagavad Gita says, do the work as a duty and not for the fruit of it, God in the Quran says, Muhammad, your job is to give the message and it is up to me to give the will to the people and suggests him not to be frustrated. Indeed, I take that message seriously. The most critical value of life is free will.
Islam teaches me that God is not the exclusive property of anyone, rather, we are all his creation, he is the creator of the entire universe, so is Prophet Muhammad, the man who is a mercy to everyone in the universe, life, and matter. The message of all the great souls like Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Abraham, Jesus, Rama, Muhammad, Nanak, Bahaullah, and several others is for the entire humanity, they were not the exclusive property of anyone. They were as universal as the Sun and the Moon, their message should not be monopolized by any group, they are a guide to humanity. I thank God every day for falling the barrier between me and another human, there is so much joy in being free from prejudices.
Today in Dallas, we have 10 clergies from different faiths, who did the workshop with me on Quran – they read the truth first hand in the Quran, and have learned to separate the false charges that the Quran teaches violence or wants “to kill the infidels wherever you find them”. They see the Quran as a book of guidance to create cohesive societies. I want to do the same for all faiths. All faiths are equally dear to me.
You will be surprised to know that even Muslims have misunderstood the purpose and essence of Islam, the traditional educators keep repeating what is dished out to them by scholars from medieval times during the crusades. You will get to read what the scholars say, and also the peeled out version of Pristine Islam in the upcoming challenging book American Muslim Agenda, the information is at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com
The workshops and radio shows on understanding the essence of religions is continued to be appreciated by those who benefited from it by ridding the poison of ill-will towards others. If you have an interest in enlarging this work, please join the Center for Pluralism with your spirit, energy, time and money. The only condition for membership is your ‘willingness’ to be bias-free towards any human including Republicans and Democrats.
5. BUSINESS CONSULTANT
As a consultant, I have turned around failing businesses into successful ones. I have established and been instrumental in establishing several non-profit organizations from scratch. I will continue to take up assignments on a fee basis.
The MBA program from the University of Dallas and the M.Com from Bangalore University has equipped me with grasping any aspect of business and enhancing its performance. Dealing with people of nearly 50 nationalities, and every faith and political hue has given me the ability to understand people’s motivations and create a cohesive effective working environment.
6. MY SECRET
No one wanted to be the first, and I have done things that no one has done before. One of the 67 examples listed below is holding a Demonstration against ISIS on the steps of Lincoln Memorial – Fox News supported and lauded it, and right after that, 11 other demonstrations took place within a month. They were hesitant, once one paves the way, others will follow.
In my English class at Central College in Bangalore, my friends called me Everready. That has stuck to me and has become a part of me. I am never hesitant to be the first one to raise the hand, clap or volunteer and take the lead. A few may resent that, but that is me. I have been sitting on the front bench most of my life.
My whole life is an experience of taking on challenges whether it is business or social work or even sports and entertainment. Nothing I have done has been done before. Whatever I do, I do it wholeheartedly. I take failure as necessary stepping stones for accomplishing the mission.
Let me share the secret – Bruce Williams, a Radio talk show host in the early ’80s blasted me for asking if I can “try” working part-time in business to see if that works. He said either you do it or you don’t, the idea of trying is nothing but setting up for failure. That was the best advice I have received in my life in contrast to the story of Temoor Lung’s story of try, try again. Tariq bin Ziyad’s story of burning the ships when he crossed the straights of Gibraltar has deeply influenced me, his message was crystal clear; there is no going back. A commitment is a commitment! This has been my life, I jump with two feet in whatever I do with all of my mind, heart, and soul into it.
Mother Teresa’s wisdom has helped me deal with people on the extreme left and the right. I meet people with the attitude that I have no enemies and no one is out to get me. If I am biased, then I cannot blame the others for their bias, if I am not inclusive I cannot ask others to be inclusive. That is the reason I can sit with Sean Hannity, talk with Pamela Geller and walk with Brigette Gabriel or deal with anyone on the extreme left or right because I don’t see them as a threat to me, they are not my enemies. In John McCain’s words, we are fellow Americans that differ.
Back to Mother Teresa, she said, “If you want to make peace with your enemy, go talk with them.” Talking among friends does not change the equation, talking with the ones opposed to you has a chance of putting a dent into the relationship. The Quranic verse 41:34 beefs it up when it says, treat your enemy with kindness, who knows, they may become the best of your friends. it is has happened to me several times. The Chinese proverb fits right in with this if you want to eliminate your enemy for good, make friends with them and that is what Jesus must have meant, love your enemies. The purpose of all their effort is to create cohesive societies, where no one has to live in fear of the other.
Goethe’s wisdom runs in my veins now, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy… Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. Whatever you can do or dream that you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
Ray Bradbury, “If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
That is what I have done, jump off the cliffs, been hurt a few times, but overall, I am happy with my life. I have one life to live and want to live it in full and live purposefully.
Dr. Abdul Hamid Abusulayman “There is a clear distinction between doubts and problems. Doubts provoke obstruction, frustration, and discouragement, whereas problems inspire motivation, action, and diligence.
And I have formed my own quotations, one of them is, ” Whatever you do in life, do it wholeheartedly, there is joy in it for everyone around including ourselves” I give credit to my younger brother Shan for this attitude, Kaleem for the phrase “Life is a time pass” and it is, the youngest one, Farooq for his caring attitude towards the family. Of course, my sister Dilshad has been a stable positive influence in my life. I have learned from my daughter Mina and son Jeff as well and frequently mention them in my workshops what I have learned from them. One of them is “Gee Dad, God can be worshipped in so many ways.” I am blessed with my friends Abusaleh Shariff, Adil Khan, and Zafar Iqbal from Delhi, Dallas, and DC respectively.
Doing things wholeheartedly is one of the many motivational talks I give along with Michami Dukadam, i.e., cleaning each other’s slate and starting over.
7. FOX NEWS/ SEAN HANNITY
Sean Hannity gave me the national presence. After 110 TV Shows, 150 Nationally Syndicated Radio shows, Sean gave the best concession anyone can ask: the Major accomplishment with him was he stopped bashing Quran and understood there are two types of Sharia, the Public Sharia has aspects that American Muslims reject, and the private Sharia is between an individual and God – that is how one prays, fasts, gives charity, cares for fellow beings. This had a considerable impact on the outcomes. When Peter King, the then chairman of the Homeland security committee, he said to CNN upon Boston bombing, that 96% of Muslims are good people, that was a 180 degrees turnaround and Sean Hannity affected that in a conversation with me at his retreat.
Thanks to Dallas Morning News’ Texas Faith Column, where I wrote 250 pieces over a period of 5 years, each article weaves thru several faith traditions, it is a common road that all religions travel upon. No tradition was excluded. The readers cherished the articles as they started seeing the essential values of their faith in other faiths. Google search: Dallas News Mike Ghouse Texas Faith
OTHER NEW PAPERS include Op-Ed News, Indian Panorama, The Daily Arab News, Al-Bilad and a host of others. About 300 Newspapers covered the Quran burning event around the world, even Iranian and Somali Newspapers have published my articles. And all South American Newspaper carried my picture on their front page when I walked into Farmers Branch Mayor’s office with fellow Americans to protest against the draconian immigration policy the City wanted to pursue.
11. PRESIDENT TRUMP
Reaching out to President Trump – I produced a simple 4 paragraph dream letter for President Trump to review. I went to C-PAC meeting for all the three days, and passed the message to Matt Schlapp, President of the conservative Union, he read it, it is on video, and said, he will give it to President Trump. The next day, I handed the letter to VP Pence, emailed or texted all the Trumps men and women – Then on the first address to the joint house, he started his speech, the first two sentences were an expression in my letter. I had asked him to speak for Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and the Mexicans, he excluded Muslims and Mexicans from the speech.
“Fellow Americans, you chose me to be your President, and now help me do the right thing. Listen carefully, stop those ‘few’ guys who are a threat to fellow Americans, particularly the bomb threats against the Jewish Community Centers which is not acceptable. We will hunt them down and punish them accordingly.
Stop the radicals from harassing the Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Immigrants, African Americans or anyone for that matter, the actions of those few are a terrible reflection on my administration. I will not tolerate anyone messing with fellow Americans under my Presidency, neither should you? Stop them now.” Google search “CFP delivers the letter to President Trump.” or http://centerforpluralism.com/cfp-delivers-the-letter-to-president-trump/
12. HILLARY CLINTON
Two days before the election on 11/06/16, I wrote a Dream Speech for Hillary at Huffington Post. What is unique about that speech is the inclusion of fellow Americans who were ignored, had Hillary listened to me, she would not have lost elections. What is rewarding is, Peggy Noonan wrote the same idea two weeks after the elections, and she got the Pulitzer prize for it. She needs to share that with me! Here are a few excerpts:
My priority is to reach out to my fellow Americans who had it right until the disaster from wars brought misery to them; the white Americans. We are going to find ways and means for them to recover from the difficult times they have endured while others Americans have prospered.
Believe me, the Black Americans, Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, immigrant Americans, and all other Americans want each one of us to prosper, particularly the disaffected White Americans. Our prosperity hinges on the prosperity of people around us and the success of nations around us. None of us will succeed if some of us are left behind.
I am committed to restoring justice to my fellow Americans who lost their jobs in manufacturing, to fellow Americans who live on farms and to fellow Americans who do not have an education or technical skills. All the men and women who are plumbers, electricians, repairmen, drivers, janitors, and small business owners, and taking care of them is a priority of my administration. We will restore our glory days, and in the end, no American will be left out.
The Ambassador for Religious freedom has a great group of people updating him on religious freedom across the world. I am one of the many signatories to several letters sent to different heads of the government to preserve the religious liberty of the people, including India. Google: Brownback Ghouse, you will find several articles.
14. INTERFAITH WEDDING OFFICIANT
Interfaith marriages are becoming the new norm of society. In a few years, one out of two unions would be of interfaith. Yes, this is across the board, whether you are a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Baha’i, Atheist or the other. According to the Pew survey, 40% of people of faiths will be marrying a person of another religion, it is higher among Jews, it’s 50%.
I am blessed to have officiated secular ceremonies for a few, and religious interfaith ceremonies for Jewish-Christian, Hindu-Christian, Bahai-Jewish, Hindu-Jewish, Atheist-Jain, and several other combinations. Being a Muslim, I am pleased to have officiated weddings for Muslims in a variety of combinations; Muslim-Christian, Muslim-Jewish, Muslim-Hindu, Muslim-Mormon, Muslim-Sikh, Muslim-Jain, Muslim-Buddhist and Muslim and an Atheist.
15. A HAND OF FRIENDSHIP WORKED WITH A VIOLENT GROUP
In October 2015, a group that did not like Muslims were planning to hold anti-Muslim demonstrations across 19 mosques in the United States. At a meeting of 30 plus Muslim leaders, chaired by Congressman Keith Ellison at CAIR’s national headquarters, they were about to decide to close the Mosques and not deal with the gun toters. Thanks to Congressman Keith Ellison for letting me speak, which was seconded by Dalia Mogahed and the whole narrative changed. I presented it as an opportunity to welcome the strangers with full hospitality by serving them water, hot dogs, and waving American Flags. When they come expecting Muslims to resist and hostile, they will find that Muslims are not what they thought they were, they were kind and hospitable people. It will speed up the process of acceptance of Muslims as a part of the American family of faiths. A press release was sent, and thank God, they decided, their teasing will not work and canceled the demonstrations across the nation. The full story is on this website.
16. MUSLIM CREATE A MODEL FOR CONFLICT MITIGATION
When Pastor Jones decided to burn 2998 copies of the Quran in Mulberry, Florida – my immediate concerns were the safety of Americans serving in Afghanistan, the Journalists reporting from conflict zones and the safety of fellow Americans traveling around the world.
I wrote a press release that hit all the major newspapers of the ‘world.’ New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Religion News, Saudi Gazette, Times of India and many papers responded positively with write-ups. The event closed peacefully, the Department of State and Department of Defense also got involved in it.
The most significant success came when I walked into Mulberry, Florida. Mayor Hatch did not want to deal with the Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones, but extensive conversations and assurances that it was the right thing to do made him join, the other mayors, sheriff Grady, and the commissioners joined us in the movement along with Butch Rahman, Curtis Rahman, Suzanne Carter, and other volunteers. It is a funny story about a Muslim landing in Mulberry and what he had to face.
Pastor Jones’s right to free speech was acknowledged; the event communicated to the Muslim world that our God-given right to free speech is not to be compromised, regardless of the vileness of the statement. Ultimately, it is the freedom that uplifts the whole of humanity; indeed, it is as much an Islamic value as it is American.
An alternate Muslim behavioral model was established in Mulberry to become the standard for future conflicts; we can call it a genuine Islamic response based upon the Quran and the examples of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Jesus Christ, and Mother Teresa. If we get the funding, we will make a documentary that will skillfully manage different conflicting issues of free speech and what is sacred. Indeed, the concept was encouraged by major institutions, including the Brookings Institution and the US Department of State. The department indicated an interest in showing it in US embassies around the world.
It is one of the biggest events for me in resolving the conflict in a non-violent way and setting a model for future conflicts. Three hundred plus newspapers around the world covered it. It is a real-life drama that happened in Mulberry, Florida – a compelling story loaded with elements of human aspirations, fears, suspense, distrust, discrimination, anger, kindness, hope, tenderness, and even a car chase. It all ends on a happy note. Funds permitting we are looking to make a documentary called Sacred, it is a forty-five minutes film about conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance. What is freedom of speech and what is sacred? It is based upon Prophet Muhammad’s formula applied in negotiating the conflict between free speech and desecrating what is holy – the Quran. Info – several articles and videos. It is a good story to tell.
I undertook the responsibility to start American Muslim Institution from Scratch, zip, zero and established it and put it on the Map of Washington. All in 20 months. If you go to TheGhouseDiary.com and type in the words “Mission Accomplished Mike Ghouse,” you will get the full summary. http://www.theghousediary.com/mission-accomplished-american-muslim/
19. HOLOCAUST & GENOCIDES – (Annual Event since 2006)
When we live as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to understand each other’s sorrows and joys, and festivities and commemorations. Wouldn’t it be nice if you know a little bit about your neighbor’s festival and perhaps invite them to your celebrations to start safe neighborhoods by understanding each other? Every human and every religious group celebrates something or the other in their way, each one is different, but the essence is the same; celebrations and commemorations. A simple language is used for most people to get a gist of it.Website: http://centerforpluralism.com/festivals/ Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vAwvoqz01I&t=7s
23. PLURALISM AWARDS
To encourage fellow Americans to reach out and serve beyond their own folks, nearly 50 such individuals have been recognized their outstanding serving tot he community, these are individuals with prejudice towards none. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6H9V0h7Jr_M&t=251s
24. AMERICAN AMIN AWARD
It is about community building. The idea behind this recognition is to encourage Muslims to reach out and build relationships with fellow Americans and create cohesive societies where harmony and peace prevail. Indeed, that is the simplest purpose of Islam. Islam is not about governance, ruling others, imposing your values on others, Islam is about learning to live in harmony with ourselves and with others.
When we live as neighbors, fellow workers, students, players, activists and inhabitants of the same city, it behooves us to learn about each other’s beliefs, motivations, moments of celebrations, devotions or commemorations. The more we know about the other, the less mythical they would become creating a friendly environment for all of us to function efficiently in whatever we do. Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of the otherness of others leading us into tension free and sustainable prosperity. Website: http://centerforpluralism.com/workshops/ Video:
Summary: Our radio show was called Wisdom of Religion, all the beautiful religions. The purpose was to simplify each faith so that the person on the street can get the essence of that faith. This was broadcasted on AM Radio 1150 in Dallas, Texas. A total of 780 hours were dedicated to studying of the religions – 104 hours each for Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam on Monday, Thursday and Friday respectively. 52 hours each for Atheism, Bahai, Buddhism, Interfaith, Jain, Judaism, Sikhism and a few hours on the annual program and pluralism.
Memorial Day resonates with American Muslims, and I am blessed to have joined in the tradition of honoring our Veterans on this Memorial day by visiting the Cemeteries for a short prayer for the last eight years. It is an annual event and I hope to bring interfaith gatherings to honor our men and women.
CFP is one of the organizations that has produced an unbelievable number of articles on July 4th and integration. We need to start thinking and acting as one people. July 4th is a great opportunity for Americans to come together and celebrate our freedom.
We are grateful to the men and women in uniform, who risk their lives in defending our freedom and guarding our safety. I have always made a point to salute them and certainly participate in the Veterans Day Parade and have spoken at homeless Veterans centers.
Summary: As Americans, we are apprehensive about the Sharia laws and the fears are real for some people. I say, fear not, American Muslims have no appetite for the Sharia as practiced in a few orthodox nations, and no American Muslim wants the Public Sharia, except the Private Sharia which is between an individual and God. Sharia serves as the constitution in other nations, and it badly needs amendments like our constitution.
Summary: Blasphemy laws have no basis in the Quran, God is about justice and mercy, and not cruelty and tyranny. Those who claim to defend the dignity of God, Prophet, Quran, and Islam really do not have faith in them. They are afraid God, Prophet, Quran, and Islam will disappear from the face of the earth without their protection. They are wrong! We are bloody mortal beings here today and gone tomorrow, whereas God, Prophet, Quran, and Islam have been around and will always be there. There should be no punishment for Blasphemy, it is not in the Quran and it was not practiced by the prophet.
Summary: America missed an opportunity in leading the world and set the tone for a world of co-existence. The center was to become a Mecca for teaching Pluralism. Sadly, Imam Feisal did not respond on a timely basis. Pamela Geller and I fought off from Day 1 of the demonstrations against the mosque on Hannity Radio. I was on Hannity for a whole week. While the tragedy will never fade from our memories, we have to consider the political opportunists who have opposed the Muslim Center near Ground Zero? The revelations are as clear as the daylight, the right-wing politicians had gone berserk and hung on to tiny branches to save their political careers, and it is an abuse of Patriotism to have political gains. I was fully involved in the conversation
Summary: to be updated Website: www.InterfaithMarriages.org Video:
In 1996 we held an Exhibition Cricket Match between the Ambassadors (or someone from the Embassy) of Cricket playing nations represented by UK, India, Pakistan, Australia, Bangladesh, NewZealand, South Africa, Jamaica, and others. Putting Dallas on Cricket map of the world. When I was the president of the North Texas Cricket Association, the organization grew from a team of 6 to 30 teams, and I secured several cricket grounds from different cities including four in Plano. I also instituted the first ever Cricket development program – where all the players had to go through mandatory continuing education through renowned umpires including Greg Chapel. Our organization won the award for Best Cricket development in the Western Hemisphere.
Info: to be updated
My heroes are the activists, who get out on the street and demonstrate against injustice to anyone anywhere. These demonstrators are the reason we have the freedom and democracy in our nation. Over the last 25 years, I have taken part in many demonstrations and have organized a few. Had we listened to Michel Moore and Cindy Sheehan, we would have saved nearly a million people’s lives.
I thank God and Mother Teresa for inspiring me with her words, “If you want to make peace with your enemies,” she said, “go talk with them.” I thank God and my parents for instilling guts in me to speak up and reach out to the most difficult people on the planet. I have spoken and participated in the Gaza Rally, which a few of my right-wing Jewish friends had difficulty with. And in the same year, I participated, spoke, prayed and stood with the Jewish community at the Holocaust Museum, two Synagogues, Texas Jewish post, and Akiba Academy, and of course, a few right-wing Muslims had a problem with that. What they fail to see is what their holy books say -Saving a life is like saving the whole humanity.
41. WORLD MUSLIM CONGRESS
WMC is a think tank formed in 2001 with the intent of restoring Islam to its pristine nature and stripping all the cultural elements from it. We had a strong yahoo group called WorldMuslimCongress with 1800 members from across the world vigorously debating about the issues. More at www.WorldMuslimCongress.org
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I am grateful to many many people who have been an influence in my life, from my parents, sibling, kids, spouses, friends, bosses, co-workers, customers, clients, vendors, patrons, fans and well wisher and just the people I know. One of these days, I will list all their names as an expression of gratitude. My sister Dilshad has been the most steady influence in my life.
Videos: A sampling of diverse, small to large events.
There are about 2000 videos with over 350 on National TV. Just place Mike Ghouse Videos in Google Search and you will get most of them and I am trying to list them all at https://mikeghousevideo.blogspot.com/
Dallas Immigration Rally for Immigration Reforms
Annual Holocaust and Genocide event – Since 2006
We have to learn to acknowledge and reflect upon the terrible things we have inflicted upon each other, and we have to commit to resisting the temptations to be prejudiced or to stereotype others. We cannot demand peace unless we are peaceful ourselves.
Festival of Faiths – Celebrating America When we live as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to understand each other’s sorrows and joys, and festivities and commemorations. Wouldn’t it be nice if you know a little bit about your neighbor’s festival and perhaps invite them to your celebrations to start safe neighborhoods by understanding each other? Every human and every religious group celebrates something or the other in their way, each one is different, but the essence is the same; celebrations and commemorations. A simple language is used for most people to get a gist of it.
Positive Power of Engagement with Sean Hannity and Fox News Many people have difficulty with Sean Hannity, some of them hate him, if you watch my interactions with him, he is another fellow with different information, if you see his point of view with patience, then he will see your point of view. Don’t expect the results in one or two interactions, it took me four years, and the humiliation I endured, in the beginning, was worth it at the end.
Apology to Jews, Christians, and Hindus This is the story of the Quran mistranslations, how politicians and the insecure men seek the change through false information. My sincere apology to Christians, Jews, Hindus and others who have read the wrong translation of the Quran. It is also the story of how Bhagavad Gita was a catalyst in choosing Islam to be my faith along with Karen Armstrong’s book on Muhammad.
Native Americans Greetings Religious greetings from major religions, religious greetings are the icebreakers, they break the apprehension that comes with a stranger.
At Capitol Hill with Congressman Don Beyer
Now, thank God, I know many Senators and Congressmen and have held several events on Capitol Hill – and a few more to be held this year. To me they are our representatives, they are not Republicans or Democrats to me. I reach them as Americans. I am at equal ease with both the parties.
Sikh Community Honored Our annual Unity Day event honors exemplary individuals and organizations for their work in promoting peaceful methods in resolving conflicts. The Jewish Community, the African American Community, and the Muslim communities have been honored over the years and here is the Sikh community of Dallas was honored for the exemplary role in dealing with the Wisconsin Shooting.
Veterans Day It is a tradition among many faiths to pray for humanity and seek blessings for those who sacrificed their lives for the benefit of all, and many an American will be visiting the cemeteries around the country to pay their homage. Annual visits to Veterans Day parade and speak at Homeless Veterans Luncheons, visit them at VA Hospital.
Memorial Day “The freedom that you and I cherish did not come to us on a platter, and was not ‘a given’ either; it was earned for us through the sacrifices of men and women who fought for it. It is particularly an important day for all the immigrants who enjoy the freedom and all the opportunities America offers, and owe that gratitude to our veterans. Every Memorial Day, as an American and a Muslim I stop at different veteran Cemeteries, in 2010 I drove from Louisville, Ky to Dallas, Texas and stopped at every Veteran’s Cemetery in the 850 Miles drive.
Dr. Frank Islam interviews Mike When I moved to Washington DC, Dr. Frank Islam honored me with an interview on his show, here I laid out the goals I wanted to achieve with my move.
Civil Dialogue Explained There is a chapter in the Quran, a model for teaching how to conduct civil Dialogue. A full chapter is included in the upcoming book, info at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com
To President Obama – Say yes to Palestine It was during the UN vote to recognize Palestine. The United States made a mistake by not recognizing Palestine, it would have paved the way for peace and relieved Jews from the pangs of the conscience they endure between being just and secure.
What is Unity Day? I wrote the full story of 9.11, I was on Radio on that day trying to bring coherence to the chaos of the day. Which was read by over 1.5 Million people? It is a day to…. hear it on the vide in 59 seconds.
Muslims are an integral part of America from the very beginning Muslims are a part of America from the very beginning, watch the video
Symposium: Are Religious Scriptures a source of conflict or harmony?A Rabbi, Imam, Pastor, and a Pundit respond at Capitol Hill event – At CFP, our seminars are in-depth and going beyond the politically correct surface polishing.
Intra-faith Dialogue For the first time in the United States, we held an intrafaith dialogue between Sunni, Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims at Rice University in Houston. Since then, we have done three more programs.
Dealing with Quran Burning Pastor Terry Jones We hope to make a documentary on this, it will make a very exciting movie – What is sacred? Holy books, Mother, Prophet, Flag, and Freedom of Speech and…?
It is a successful real-life story set in Mulberry, Florida coupled with a compelling romantic saga woven around the Quran burning event, filled with human aspirations, relationship issues, suspense, humor, action, and disappointments. It has all the ingredients of a successful Hollywood film. The script is ready, we need funding!
Sharia Explained Even Muslim have misunderstood the origins of Sharia, it is not divine, as it is believed to be, it is a human effort created to serve justice, and since it is human, it has its own flaws that need fixing. The upcoming book has a full chapter on this – info about the book at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com
Fox News with Stuart Varney – Stuart said that he will not use the phrase Muslim Terrorism any more after he understood that individuals commit the crime and not religions
$5 MILLION DOLLARS TO MIKE GHOUSE
God can be worshipped in so many different ways
Defending Obama Care (note, I was a Republican then, but an independent since 2014)
Motivational Talk on Gratitude – The Appaiah Story
Dealing with Quran Burning Pastor in Urdu/Hindi Language
Honoring Reverend Moon and Neil Armstrong
Address the Annual Convention of Muslim
Quran Workshop in Dallas
Quran Bashing Pastor Challenged – Part I
Fox News with Megyn Kelly about beheading in Oklahoma
Fox News with Greg Gutfield about Bikini wear in Indonesia
Fox News with Laura Ingram about Pamela Geller and blood Libel
Ghouse Defending Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London on Fox News
Mike Ghouse upon Bil Laden’s death
Americans Together – A documentary to be made upon funding… here is a sampler
Forgotten video – Part I
Part II – My story
Hannity, Mike Ghouse on Fox News ( 1 of the 300 videos)
Addressing Salana Jalsa at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
What is a Cohesive Society, and how does it help America?
Take the human body as an example – to function normally, all our body parts and organs have to work in coordination, and they function their role if we feed them the right energy. What if we don’t eat right? When we have a headache or heart problem, we cease to function cohesively, right?
Extend this to the social aspect of our lives, i.e., our interactions with other people. In a given family, or at a workplace, community center, our states, and our nations, we do not act as one nation. If we lose the common objective, we tend to go in different directions instead of finding solutions.
Chief Seattle, a Native American said this correctly, “All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the webs, he does it to himself.”
Examples – the community is a bus! America is God’s own country. Indeed it is. It is a representation of everything God has created on this planet from the sea to the shining sea. We have green pastures, rivers, mountains, deserts, snow, rainfall, storms; we have a cold to hot climates.
We are one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. We are represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture, and religion.
We are blessed with every possible faith that you can imagine on the earth, there is no other nation represented by this many faiths. Together as Americans, we believe in one God, no God, and many God representations; we think him to be male, female and genderless; we believe it to be a being, non-being, and everything; unknown and innumerable names.
We have families who opt to live a simple life with no modern amenities and us families who live in the lap of luxury that is unmatched anywhere.
We believe in our constant declaration of independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
============================= What does inclusion mean? How does it benefit the common man?
Do you remember the hurt you felt when a group of associates huddled in the corner and did invite you to the conversation? Do you remember two of your family members were talking together, and when you walked in they stopped talking… you feel frustrated when you are excluded. You lose interest…. you are onto a project, and your spouse is not aware of it, you know how he or she feels?
Inclusion is inspiring, it breeds enthusiasm and commitment to the common purpose.
Two days before the election in 2016, I wrote an imaginary speech for Hillary Clinton and published it in the Huffington Post. It called for her to “Include” the disaffected Americans, mainly the suburban and the ones who lost their jobs in manufacturing. Had she done that, Trump would not have earned their sympathy. Inclusion is important. ============================= Does Pluralism beneficial to the business?
Absolutely! Every business, religious, political, and community service organization wants people to get along with each other, be productive and live out with least tensions. Let me share a quote from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
And when they feel bad, their productivity goes down, and it is infectious, others will crawl too. You switch gears to go into either “getting even” mode or resentment towards the other. This consumes you at the workplace, Then you carry the tension home, and you don’t give 100% to your family it deserves, neither you nor your family or the people at work are happy.
But when we learn about Pluralism, most things can be shaped to reach our goals of cohesion and one nation. When you have a conflict with someone, don’t carry it with you, sit down and have a conversation – the pain from that conversation is worth the freedom you will have for a long time to come.
Real Example: 4 work associates going for lunch, two scenarios! =============================
7. What is the most significant contribution of CFP to America?
It will be instrumental in shaping the future of America. Ten years from now, you will not find a place of work, worship, playground, school, restaurant, theater and other areas of public gatherings where you will not see people of different faiths, races, and ethnicities interacting, working, studying, intermingling, playing and marrying together. The future is bound to create conflicts, and the CFP is determined to shape that future where all of us can live without apprehension and fear of the other.
Mike Ghouse Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916 MikeGhouse@aol.com
Mirza A Beg (205) 454-8797 firstname.lastname@example.org
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
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 (www.UnitydayUSA.com) 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.
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.