HOME | ABOUT US | www.MikeGhouse.net Google Profile | C.V. | Interfaith Speaker | Muslim Speaker |Motivational Speaker | Americans Together | Videos | Please note that the blog posts include my own articles plus selected articles critical to India's cohesive functioning. I wish I could have them all, but will have to live with a few. My articles are exclusively published at www.TheGhouseDiary.com


Saturday, March 31, 2007

CAIR - No Law suit please

REQUEST TO CAIR - NO LAW SUIT PLEASE

Please do not file law suit against passengers

Mike Ghouse March 21, 2007


We request Mr. Omar Ahmed and Ibrahim Hooper, not to file the law suit against the passengers, along with the law suit against the airlines and the airport. Even if you were to win the case, the Muslims will have to pay a price for that and please don't it in our behalf.

As the Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and other communities have an organization to defend their religious and civil rights, we are pleased CAIR has successfully defended the legal rights of American Muslims. It would be a mistake to sue the passengers, they are ordinary citizens concerned for their safety. Though their fear was baseless, we have not done our part either in providing information to the general public, how, we, the Muslims pray. Insha Allah, we will produce a video, in English language how our prayers are performed, so people can understand.

Mike Ghouse

World Muslim Congress

Fatwa Condemned - Taslima

Murderous Fatwa condemned
Not acceptable to Muslims
Mike Ghouse March 19, 2007

A shadow organization, sounding similar to All India Muslim Personal Law board has issued a decree against exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, who has been seeking Indian citizenship. A bounty of 5 Lakh Rupees has been offered to the one who murders her.

The government of India should prosecute Maulana Ashraf Khan for ordering Murder of another human being under IPC and punish him accordingly. The Qur'aan, the book that he believes in, does not authorize him to issue a death Fatwa against any one. The Qur'aan reminds in various ways: There is no compulsion in religion, to her is her faith and to him is his faith, and Killing a single life is like killing the whole humanity. “Qur’aan [6:104] Enlightenments have come to you from your Lord. As for those who can see, they do so for their own good, and those who turn blind, do so to their own detriment. I am not your guardian.” Maulana is not the protector of Religion.

Maulana Ashraf Khan is committing three crimes; the first one is acting God to kill another individual; acting against the Indian Penal Code in a civil society to murder another being and finally ruining the name of his religion more than Taslima Nasreen can ever do. She is not the only one who does Islam-bashing, there are several like her. That is the case with all religions, there will always be bad-mouthers, let them. Islam simply does not vanish by these; it has been around for 14 centuries and has probably seen 14,000 Nasreen’s since.As an individual she has the right to express her opinions whether we agree or not, as much as the Maulana has a right to condemn her statements. I do exercise that right and condemn her irresponsible statements.

Ms. Nasreen is a bellyacher and not a reformer. A reformer brings solutions to the issues and presents his or her research and asks the scholars to review and build consensus for a gradual acceptance of the proposed ideas. Instead, she agitates and builds resentment and does exactly opposite of what she claims to do; reform. Her approach is wrong and her statements may please the Islam-bashers and earn some circulation. However, her opinion does not affect the world or the religion of Islam.

Maulana's words do affect the perceptions of Islam; he is representative of an organization and was speaking in behalf of the organization which by name is representative of Muslims in India. He was claiming support of some 150 Imams and Scholars for his Fatwa, by implication all Muslims. We are making a statement to denounce this Fatwa, as it is not the will of Muslims, nor it is allowed in Qur’aan.

Issuing Fatwa is an act of deliberation, issued after painful investigations and not at some one's whims. That is arrogance and becoming God to judge and condemn people. It is simply not acceptable to the majority of Muslims of India and the world.

I urge Muslims to speak out against this Fatwa, and then I would ask all Muslims as individuals and groups to write to all the Newspapers in India to condemn the acts of this man and earnestly request the media to publish it.

To paraphrase a famous truth “It is not the evil committed by bad men that I worry; it is the silence of good men and women that worries me.”

-----Mike Ghouse is an activist based in Dallas. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress, organizations dedicated to peaceful coexistence. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. © copyright 2007 by Mike Ghouse.

Wife Beating: Jamil/Ghouse

Wife Beating in Qur'aan
Wife Beating; in the Modern Context by Dr. Javed Jamil
Wife Beating; Discipline or abuse? by Mike Ghouse
March 25, 2007

Wife Beating: Discipline or Abuse?
By Mike Ghouse

I encourage every one to do the ground work, when more of us can focus and subject the research to consensus among Muslims of all hues, most certainly Islamic Scholars and Imams, we can come to an understanding and set a benchmark resolution. The word of God is final, however, our understanding of the word isn’t. For this century, let’s start the work and finish it by the end of this Islamic year and develop the consensus, Insha Allah on the first day of Muharram Hijri 1429, we need to pass a resolution on the subject.

In the year 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. The same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. Around the world, at least one in every three women hasbeen beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy. Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or knowing someone has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend. – (Resources: http://www.endabuse.org/, http://www.ncadv.org/ http://www.ndvh.org/, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/help/dv.htm www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/help/dv.htm and more)

Here is the title of my column in process “Wife Beating; Discipline or Abuse?” My contention is given the fact that no man, whether a Texan Cowboy, Brazilian Coffee picker, Tibetian Lama or an Arab Sheikh; Whether a Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim or an Atheist , can watch his wife in bed with a strange man. (or a woman can stand her husband in bed with a strange woman) and not react violently. It is nothing to do with civility or even religion; it is the possessive animal instinct in men and women DNA'd into us.

Thousands of women in the United States were killed by their husbands/boy friend, this is how the animalistic man behaves, and probably men were no different 2000 years ago regardless of their religion, ethnicity or national origins. Given this, God admonishes men, Hey guys, when you find your wife in bed with another man (full research is warranted on the word referenced above before we draw the conclusions), don’t kill them, hold yourselves, let her go, reconcile or discipline her. (Beating a child as are release of anger is abuse, feather touching them to let them know that it is a not an allowable behavior is disciplining the kids – that is what they refer to, hit by a pencil thin stick).

Again, I welcome to see Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar’s break through work. She has propelled research on the subject and we acknowledge her leadership on the issue. (http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/03/woman-re-interprets-quraan.html.) It is going to reinvigorate research on the word. The word "Idribuhunna" is usually translated as "beat them" in Sura 4:34. This word with the root "Dharaba" has a very long list of meanings. The word is used in Qur’aan in 10 different ways – for example the meaning is used 2 times, is used 9 times and is used 17 times (check the comment section below for all the words) http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/03/wife-beating.html ).

I am glad to see your effort; I have highlighted one of your paragraphs and repeated it at the beginning of your article below. Some of the ground work from Mohammad Irtaza and Irfan are listed in the comments section with their names. We will re-open the comments section for the public after we post a few comments from our members, then we will open up for the public. The word of God is final, however, our understanding of the word isn’t. Two thousand years ago, if God ordered Moses to go to Sinai, he would have gone on the back of a camel or walked. Today, he would fly. Meaning is still the same, but modes of understanding are different.

Mike Ghouse
http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ _____________________________________________________
Wife Beating in Qur'aan -- the Modern Context
Dr. Javed Jamil
The recent translation of the Quran by a woman is in the news all over the world just because it suits the designs of the forces of economic fundamentalism and feminists spawned by the culture that they created. In particular, verse number 4:34 of the Quran has come into focus with an attempt to disseminate the message that the Quran is cruel to women and even allows wife beating. There are apologetic Muslims who have been arguing that the context of the verse was set in the old Arabic world, and it has to be reinterpreted according to the modern context. Before discussing the meaning of the verse in question, let us first try to understand what the modern contexts of feminism and domestic violence are.
The biggest and perhaps the most destructive impact of the on-going march of economic fundamentalism was systematic, steady and substantial erosion of family system. This was the result of both the orchestrated designs to undermine family as well as the unintended adverse effects of the socio-economic transformation that was being pushed by the big business with all the possible means at their disposal. Misogamy grew in intensity. Making early marriage illegal, (while promoting premarital sex) banning polygamy (while promoting promiscuity and prostitution), making both the marriage and divorce difficult so that marriages become unpopular (while promoting live-in) highlighting incidences of atrocities on women within families (while trying to normalise the ever rising incidence of rapes) have been the chief steps in destroying the family system. This was obviously aimed at dissociating sex from marriage.

Thus the social apparatus built by the economic fundamentalists has led not only to the destabilisation of family, but also to almost its total annihilation. This has resulted in a number of social problems: domestic violence including abuse of women and children, divorces and separations, single parenthood, etc. Free mixing of men and women, the rise in sexual aggressiveness among women and the decreasing financial dependence of women on men have all contributed to the development of affairs both before and after marriage. Due to an increasing intolerance towards each other and total absence of endeavours to adjust with the spouse, extramarital affairs, sooner than later, lead to the break-up of marriages.

It is almost a universal fact that couples do expect primariness in their relationships; in places like India and Islamic countries, men and women do not even tolerate past relationships of their spouses. A man is highly unlikely to accept a woman in marriage if he knows about her intimate relationship in the past. They do not feel like entering where others have entered. Even women do have an exaggerated sense of exclusiveness and the knowledge of any past relationships of their spouses does not go particularly well with them.

In West, previous relationships are almost always not much of a problem for a new relationship to commence. But once they are in a relationship, they too do not tolerate any body else in the lives of their spouses. But such is the freedom in air and the provocation all around, that extramarital liaisons have become routine affairs. The new "Sexual Revolution" has given rise to domestic violence, which is different but much more dangerous than the Domestic violence in the old style family system.

Note the following facts about the ever rising incidence of domestic violence:
  • Every fifteen seconds, a woman is beaten by her husband or boyfriend. (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 1991)
  • National surveys indicate that at least 2 million women are assaulted by their male partners each year. (Straus and Gelles, 1990)
  • The American Medical Association estimates that almost 4 million women are the victims of severe assaults by boyfriends and husbands each year, and about one in four women is likely to be abused by a partner in her lifetime. (Sarah Glazer, "Violence Against Women," CQ Researcher, Congressional Quarterly Inc., February 1993
  • Approximately 97% of the victims of domestic violence are women. (U.S. Dept. of Justice)
  • Violence by intimate partners is the leading cause of injury for women, "responsible for more injuries than car crashes, rapes, and muggings combined." (Centres for Disease Control)
  • In the United States, a women is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed by a male partner than by any other type of assailant. (Browne, A. and K.R. Williams, 1989)
    Females are victims of family violence at a rate of three times that of males. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1993)
  • Abused women make up approximately 22-35% of women who seek medical attention at hospital emergency rooms. (Randall, 1988)
  • More than 50% of women are battered at some time in their lives; over one-third are battered repeatedly. (Peachey, 1988)
  • Approximately 70% of murdered women are killed by a husband, lover, or estranged husband or lover.
  • Approximately two-thirds of those murdered by intimate partners or ex-partners have been physically abused before they were killed. (Campbell, 1981, 1992; Wallace, 1986)
    More than twice as many women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends as are murdered by strangers. (Kellerman, 1992)
  • Every day in this country approximately four women are killed by a male intimate partner. (Stout, 1991)
  • The nation's police spend approximately one-third of their time responding to domestic violence calls. (Domestic Violence: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, New Jersey Dept. of Community Affairs, 1990)
  • Estimates of the percentage of pregnant women who are battered run as high as 25%. (Flitcraft, 1990)
  • Abuse of pregnant women is the leading cause of birth defects and infant mortality. (March of Dimes study)
  • Most prevalence rate studies estimate that 28% of all adult women in a relationship are victims of domestic violence on an annual basis. (Anna Wilson, ed., Introduction to Homocide: The Victim/Offender, 1993)
  • Separated or divorced women were 14 times more likely than married women to report having been a victim of violence by a spouse or ex-spouse, accounting for 75% of all reports of battering. (Bureau of Justice, 1991)
  • As many as 50% of women killed by partners/husbands are murdered at or after separation. (Wilson and Daly, 1991; Barnard, 1981)
  • As much as 90% of the hostage-taking in this country is domestic. Domestic hostage-taking attempts to coerce a partner to return or remain in a marriage or relationship. 100% of these hostage-takers are men. (FBI, 1989)
  • 40 children are abducted by a parent each hour in the U.S. More than half occur in the context of domestic violence. More than 80% of abductions by parents occur after separation. Almost 40% of the abductions by fathers involve force or violence. (Finklehor et al, 1990; Grief and Hegar, 1992)
  • Domestic violence is increasing in Russia, with 14,000 women dying every year at the hands of their husbands or other relatives. (Amnesty Internatic)


Now, in this background, examine the verse that is supposed to support wife beating: " As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), next refuse to share beds with them (and last) beat them lightly. But if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance) for Allah is Most High, Most Great." (4: 34) It is clear from the verse that:

It is clear from the verse that:

The over-all aim of the directions is to save the family from breaking;

The strategy is not to let the issue going out of the house and giving it a chance to get resolved within the family;

The directions involve a situation where wife is arrogant or disloyal, and does not apply to women whose behaviour is within normal limits;

The steps to be taken are in an increasing order of harshness.

First, the husband is asked to use verbal tactics like lecturing, persuasion and admonition.

Second, if this fails, the husband is advised to isolate her within the house. Sexual separation is a very potent weapon for reform within the marriage.

Third, even if this fails, the husband is allowed to use physical measures.

Only when this fails, the husband must take the issue out of the family, either by seeking arbitration or by initiating the procedure of divorce or by seeking criminal action, in case she has engaged in any forbidden activity.

Whenever she reforms herself, the husband is warned against continuing mistreating her; he must return to her and live with her in love.

Though this verse is primarily addressed to men, its indirect application should also be there for situations where husbands are arrogant or disloyal to wives and are engaged in forbidden activities. There are various situations in the Quran where the instructions are either for men or women but they need to be applied in reverse cases too.

For example, the above verse talks of "disloyalty" by women. But there is no verse about what should be done if husbands prove disloyal and are engaged in extramarital relationships. Does this not mean that women too must first try to resolve the issue within their houses, first by admonishing them, second by refusing sex and last by seeking intervention of the other members in the family (like fathers and elder brothers) who can even use physical assault as means to reform them? This last one is necessary as women are normally not physically strong enough to beat their husbands and if they do so it may invite greater violence.

I have however heard cases where women actually beat their husbands (sometimes even by shoes) for their misdemeanours like drinking, gambling, etc. Similarly, the Quran talks of "80 lashes" for those men who label false allegations of disloyalty on their wives. (Surah Nur) But what if the wives label false allegations against men? As the underlying principle is that men and women committing equal crimes under similar circumstances must receive similar punishments, it applies that women must also be given 80 lashes if they make unsubstantiated allegations against their husbands or other men.

Wife beating allowed in the Quran is surely different from wife battering that is routinely seen in the world, more so in the Western societies. In the Quran, mild beating is allowed only in cases of disloyalty for the purpose of reforming women within the family and not let others know about their misbehaviours. In the modern world, wife battering is mostly the result of silencing them into submission, alcohol and other addictions and to continue their own extramarital affairs. It is almost always aimed at causing them pain or taking revenge rather than reforming them. Islam creates social conditions where women do not face problems of physical security on account of the drinking, gambling and other bad habits of their husbands. It is also to be stressed here that market forces have used the issues of wife beating and child beating for their own selfish ends.

It is clear that if women are battered for no fault of theirs or they are battered more than what is permissible, they can always seek revenge from the court. The Islamic court will have to use the principle of "punishment equal to the crime" in order to fulfil the demands of justice.

Dr. Javed Jamil is a Chairman of International Centre for Applied Islamics, India. His columns regularly appear at WorldMuslimCongress@yahoogroups.com and now it will appear at this blog and eventually he will have a blog of his own at the new upcoming website http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Woman re-interprets Qur’aan

Woman re-interprets Qur’aan
Mike Ghouse March 24, 2007
AA,

Sometimes, our faithfulness to our understanding of anything in life makes us eager to reject any other expression, and prevents us from enlightening ourselves. We assume that seeing a different point of view is being disloyal, it is not. Islam is consistent in advising us to learn, whether from Romans or going as far away as China, we have to learn and we have to be open to learning.

First of all, we welcome this new additional translation of Qur'aan. In the spirit of learning, and learning well, the alternatives available to us will simply open up our up minds to understand the concept of Justness in God's word in every aspect of life.

There was a time when most of the non-Arabic speaking Muslims (>75%) relied on translation in English or other languages, what was given to us, was all we knew. We did not know how close the translations reflected the values of Qur'aan, but that was the only source available to us one time. We also had translations where due to the inadequate comprehension of the audience, certain words were injected into the translations to explain the meaning of the terms. People have taken that literally and some people have been hurt with these unintended wrong translations. (Apology and Qur'aan translations power point presentations at http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ )

Indeed, when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made the knowledge available to every human through the Qur'aan, he meant for every one to read and understand it. It was common for the Prophet SAW to ask the Sahaba to think a bit before he told them the actual meaning of anything. He sometimes used to initiate a conversation by asking a question "Do you know what xyz means?" It was simply a means of encouraging the Sahaba to think.

Thanks to the variations in translations, it shows us the limitations of human understanding, and challenges us to strive to grasp the whole truth. What was hitherto cut and dry is no more. May be it is Allah's hint to us to get closer to understanding the truth. The monopolies would be gone and focus would be on the essence rather than literal meaning. Presently the 14 translations are available at http://www.islamawakened.com/ and Insha Allah it will be at http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ soon.

Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar offers another meaning to the translation of the Arabic word "Idrib," traditionally translated as "beat," which has been mis-understood and abused over the centuries by men who would be abusive any way, whether they are Muslim or not. "Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away' - either one from the other, may be it meant separation as a process of re-evaluation.

Insha Allah, I am working on presenting a paper on the myth of "wife beating" to our scholars and Imams to review, and if it is consistent with the essence of Qur'aan and if they concur, it will be a relief to the Muslim women around the world consistent with God being a just God.

I am optimistic with this particular development and welcome this new translation, even if it has a few flaws, as it would wash off by the 15 other translations, but will take us closer to the essence.

Jazak Allah Khair
Mike Ghouse
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Woman re-interprets Koran with feminist view

By Manuela Badawy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new English-language interpretation of the Muslim Holy book the Koran challenges the use of words that feminists say have been used to justify the abuse of Islamic women.

The new version, translated by an Iranian-American, will be published in April and comes after Muslim feminists from around the world gathered in New York last November and vowed to create the first women's council to interpret the Koran and make the religion more friendly toward women.

In the new book, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, a former lecturer on Islam at the University of Chicago, challenges the translation of the Arab word "idrib," traditionally translated as "beat," which feminists say has been used to justify abuse of women.

"Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away'," she writes in the introduction to the new book.

The passage is generally translated: "And as for those women whose ill will you have reason to fear, admonish them; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!"

Instead, Bakhtiar suggests "Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it -- go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God."

Some Muslims said the new interpretation strayed from the original. Omar Abu-Namous, imam at the New York Islamic Cultural Center Mosque, questioned Bakhtiar's interpretation.

"There is nothing to stop a woman from translating the Holy Koran. The translator should have good command of the Arabic language in order to convey it and translate it into other languages. I don't know if Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar has good command of Arabic," Imam Abu-Namous said.

"Maybe she is depending on other translations, not on the original," he said.

BAKHTIAR DEFENDS HER WORK

Bakhtiar defended her work, telling Reuters she translated from the Arabic text and that she "reads and knows classical Arabic."

The New York imam also said the passage she is challenging speaks of when a woman wants a divorce, and only allows a man to "hit his wife, according to the Prophet, with a 'miswak,'" or a twig of a pencil's length, on her hand.

Arabic Language Professor at the American University in Cairo Siham Serry said her interpretation of the word "idrib," was "to push away," similar but slightly different from Bakhtiar's "to go away."

She said she agrees with the imam that 'miswak' means twig and that the Koran does not encourage the harm of women. But she also said that men can interpret that passage to justify their own behavior.

"How can you hurt someone by hitting her with a very small, short and weak thing?" she asked by telephone from Cairo. "But sometimes the interpretation of the Koran is according to men, and sometimes they try to humiliate the woman."

Bakhtiar writes in the book that she found a lack of internal consistency in previous English translations, and found little attention given to the woman's point of view.

In other changes to the text, she cites the most accurate translation of the word traditionally translated to mean "infidel" as "ungrateful."

And she uses "God" instead of "Allah," saying that God is the universal English term.

Bakhtiar has been schooled in Sufism which includes both the Shia and Sunni points of view. As an adult, she lived nine years in a Shia community in Iran and has lived in a Sunni community in Chicago for the past 15 years.

"While I understand the positions of each group, I do not represent any specific one as I find living in America makes it difficult enough to be a Muslim, much less to choose to follow one sect or another," she writes.

The new text is published by Islamic specialty bookseller Kazi Publications, which has a store in Chicago and online
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

MTV's wants you

MTV's TRUE LIFE:
I’M HAVING AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE

Are you about to get married to a person you don't really know? Has your spouse been chosen for you by your parents or community? How do you feel about entering a life partnership with this person? Do you trust that your elders have chosen a wise match for you? Or are you wishing love - rather than money or social status - would be the force driving your march down the aisle?

If you are about to partake in or have just entered into an arranged marriage, we’d like to hear from you. If you appear to be between the ages of 18 and 28 and would like to share your story please email arrangedmarriage@mtvstaff.com and tell us what's been happening.
Please include your name, location, contact number, and photo if possible.


*******Looking to talk with people IMMEDIATELY********

True Life is MTV's award-winning series that covers diverse topics that are important to our audience, ranging from pop culture trends to breaking news issues. Topics in the past have included hard hitting topics such as drug addiction (crystal meth, oxycontin, etc), parents divorcing, to much lighter subjects such as being a fan of Justin Timberlakes. True Life crews are able to blend into the background to capture life unscripted and untouched. This enables us to tell stories from the voices and points-of-view of our characters – putting the series in a unique position of reflecting the state of youth culture at any given moment. And, since the series premiere in 1998, MTV’s audience has kept wanting more – constantly tuning in, making True Life the most popular documentary series in our channel’s history.

“Legit documentary-style programs about real-life families — such as MTV's "True Life" — will get you right back in front of the old TV where you belong,” says Linda Stasi of the New York Post.

Hey Mike! Great speaking with you! As per our conversation, I am emailing you a casting call that I would LOVE for you to send to ALL of your contacts. Please copy and paste what's below...but if you have ANY questions...please give me a call back.

THANKS MIKE!

Best,
Evelien Kong
Producer

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Murderous Fatwa

Murderous Fatwa Condemned
Not acceptable to Muslims
Mike Ghouse March 19, 2007


A shadow organization, sounding similar to All India Muslim Personal Law board, has issued a decree against exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, who has been seeking Indian citizenship. A bounty of 5 Lakh Rupees has been offered to the one who murders her.

The government of India should prosecute Maulana Ashraf Khan for ordering Murder of another human being under IPC and punish him accordingly. The Qur'aan, the book that he believes in, does not authorize him to issue a death Fatwa against any one. The Qur'aan reminds in various ways: There is no compulsion in religion, to her is her faith and to him is his faith, and Killing a single life is like killing the whole humanity. “Qur’aan [6:104] Enlightenments have come to you from your Lord. As for those who can see, they do so for their own good, and those who turn blind, do so to their own detriment. I am not your guardian.” Maulana is not the protector of Religion.

Maulana Ashraf Khan is committing three crimes; the first one is acting God to kill another individual; acting against the Indian Penal Code in a civil society to murder another being and finally ruining the name of his religion more than Taslima Nasreen can ever do. She is not the only one who does Islam-bashing, there are several like her. That is the case with all religions, there will always be bad-mouthers, let them. Islam simply does not vanish by these; it has been around for 14 centuries and has probably seen 14,000 Nasreen’s since.
As an individual she has the right to express her opinions whether we agree or not, as much as the Maulana has a right to condemn her statements. I do exercise that right and condemn her irresponsible statements.

Ms. Nasreen is a bellyacher and not a reformer. A reformer brings solutions to the issues and presents his or her research and asks the scholars to review and build consensus for a gradual acceptance of the proposed ideas. Instead, she agitates and builds resentment and does exactly opposite of what she claims to do; reform. Her approach is wrong and her statements may please the Islam-bashers and earn some circulation. However, her opinion does not affect the world or the religion of Islam.

Maulana words do affect the perceptions of Islam; he is representative of an organization and was speaking in behalf of the organization which by name is representative of Muslims in India. He was claiming support of some 150 Imams and Scholars for his Fatwa, by implication all Muslims. We are making a statement to denounce this Fatwa, as it is not the will of Muslims, nor it is allowed in Qur’aan.

Issuing Fatwa is an act of deliberation, issued after painful investigations and not at some one's whims. That is arrogance and becoming God to judge and condemn people. It is simply not acceptable to the majority of Muslims of India and the world.
I urge Muslims to speak out against this Fatwa, and then I would ask all Muslims as individuals and groups to write to all the Newspapers in India to condemn the acts of this man and earnestly request the media to publish it.

To paraphrase a famous truth “It is not the evil committed by bad men that I worry; it is the silence of good men and women that worries me.”
-----

Mike Ghouse is an activist based in Dallas. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress, organizations dedicated to peaceful coexistence. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. © copyright 2007 by Mike Ghouse.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Muslim-bashing frenzy - II

We need an honest dialogue with the intent of working together. I hope they understand Islam-bashing is not the way. We are all one family and we have to work together. You can post your comments with your name, anonymously or as you prefer, it gives you the choices at:

Index:

1. A Muslim-bashing feeding frenzy – II

2. St. Petersburg Declaration
3. A Muslim-bashing feeding frenzy – I
4. Moderate Muslims spreads falsehoods about Secular Islam Summit
5. Comments from readers prior to the knowledge

A Muslim-bashing feeding frenzy – II


By: Mike Ghouse Thursday, March 15, 2007

One of the remarkable things about neo-cons is their temerity to claim a lock on the truth. I wrote a column called, “A Muslim-bashing feeding frenzy” published at
www.ReligionandSpirituality.com. True to its heading, the feeding frenzy has begun.

Robert Spencer made several interesting comments in his response, most of them based on the premise that the St. Petersburg declaration was ignored. A lot of questions emanated from that posit, I was not even asked if I had seen the declaration, and the whole commentary was built on the reckless assumption that I ignored the declaration, which was followed by the feeding frenzy of comments. I read the declaration after I had submitted the column for publication.

The declaration was a pleasant surprise indeed, much of which I subscribe to and some of it with enhancements. The full text of the declaration is appended at the end of this column.

Responses to Mr. Spencer’s issues in the sequence they appear;

1. In response to my question about just two Muslims in the conference about Muslims, Mr. Spencer responds “Ghouse fails to mention another Muslim who was there at the podium, Tashbih Sayyed, editor of Muslim World Today and a member of the Jihad Watch Board.” While I’m pleased to acknowledge it, that is still merely three Muslims speakers in a conference billed as Islam Summit.

2. My comment “the summit was filled with Islam bashers, some of them ex-Muslims” was responded by references to the, “declaration” herein after will be referred to as declaration. When the summit was originally announced, there were only two Muslims on it (ok, three), who could be pressured to yield. One of the speakers told me he was given a slot that was not his specialty.

3. Mr. Spencer suggests “So affirmation of human rights and freedom of conscience is "Islam-bashing"? No Sir, it is not. Absolutely not. Islam bashing is loudly telling the American public "You cannot be American and Muslim at the same time,” The intent is evil, and is to turn the average American against fellow Americans, terrorizing average Ali’s around the nation. That is not acceptable from a forum that calls its “Secular Islam Summit.”

4. Mr. Spencer, “Then lead it yourself… along with a few Muslim reformists, because people like you have not been and are not doing it. Instead of carping, you should be showing that you as a Muslim can do the job even better.” We appreciate that, we are all in it together and we need to work together. We have to adopt an approach that works. The bashing-approach of the Secular Islam Summit, the one you are defending, is counter-productive at best, which can be easily verified by the impression and reaction of the broader Muslim community in USA that is tolerant, peaceful and moderate. Muslim community in North America has been publicly and categorically condemning extremism, violence and tyranny. What you do not understand about the psychology of reform is “telling the Christians the day after the documentary Lost Tomb is shown, to accept that Jesus was married”. That is not how reform works. Condemnatory criticism does not work with you, me or any soul on this earth, no matter how rational you are. I am sure you found my direct response unpalatable, and you should expect that from every human being. The way reform works is to be with the group, to have the willingness to start from step 1, then two and three. You have to learn to climb the stairs one step at a time. If you want results NOW, then please don’t waste your time on it and blame every one for not willing. If you and I have the attitude to accept the change with grace, then we should preach every one to change at once. Many of us moderates are working on it; to be effective, one must practice patience and give room to the masses to accept and eventually own the reform.

5. The summit was blow and go. Most of the Americans heard it a few weeks in advance. Had you given the time and sincerely made the effort to really make the summit effective, you would have included many, and the reason I chose not to go was the parade of Islam-bashers coming to reform Islam from the first announcement. It is like asking the fox to guard the hen. Indeed, there are notable, practicing Islamic intellectuals, scholars, academics and leaders who represent and have respect of the broader Muslim community and who regard capital punishment for apostasy, forced marriage, etc. as un-islamic and honor killing criminally liable. There are many among them who are assertive on the issues of freedom of faith, opinion and expression. They may not agree with Salman Rushdie or Taslima Nasrin, but they do uphold their right to express their views and they disagree and disavow any fatwa against them. But not a SINGLE such person was present at the meeting.


In another respect, this summit is major failure. While trying to grab so much attention of the American media and public, it failed to highlight the point that many conscientious Muslims, who believe in the democratic process, constitutional governments, freedom of faith and expression, women’s empowerment, are being persecuted or marginalized in their respective Muslim-majority countries – countries that are tyrannical AND are our allies, patronized by our Government.

All those who care about such reforms should join hands in fostering and facilitating it. Attacking or vilifying Islam and/or stereotyping Muslims with a broad-brush by primarily Islam bashers can’t accomplish this. This country has attracted so many Muslims from around the world, because this nation stands on the principle of opposition to tyranny and oppression. Unfortunately, our engagements have been rather consistently pandering the tyrants in the Muslim world. Often the word “moderate” is misrepresented and misused.


If by “moderate”, it is meant uncritical obeisance to our short-sighted policies and interests, then there might not be many moderates. However, if it means decent people who care about themselves, their families and communities and at the same time respect the life, honor and property of other human beings, irrespective of their background, the vast majority of Muslims in America and everywhere else are moderate. They are so because of the principled positions and values of Islam. Engaging that vast majority of Muslims is not possible through such Islam-bashing summit, but through mutually respectful dialog.

The neo-con vision of shoving their agenda down the throat of the Muslim world through unilateral interventions, as we are waking up to the rude reality in Iraq, is proving disastrous not only for this noble nation, but also it is further alienating the Muslim world and creating deeper wedge, which we must work together to reverse.

St. Petersburg Declaration

I am pleased to support this declaration with the following enhancements in parenthesis.

Released by the delegates to the Secular Islam Summit, St. Petersburg, Florida on March 5, 2007

1. We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies. We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree.
( If secular means separation of Church and the State, I am all for it, however if it means, chasing God out of our lives, then I have no part in this document- My personal preference would be the phrase Pluralist Muslims)

2. We affirm the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience. We believe in the equality of all human persons.


3. We insist upon the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights.

4. We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind.

5. We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called “Islamophobia” in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.
(The phrase ‘Muslim practices’ would be appropriate as opposed to Islamic practices – please remember, people make mistakes, not the religion)

6. We call on the governments of the world to

a) reject Sharia law, fatwa courts, clerical rule, and state-sanctioned religion in all their forms; oppose all penalties for blasphemy and apostasy, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights;
(I would substitute the phrase review Sharia instead of reject Sharia – it amounts to telling Mr. Spencer “I hate the way you smile, reject your style.” There has to be a process for the change to sustain, we cannot play with the lives of people stripping what has become the part of their lives, as the example of the Lost Tomb above. The word reject make you hold on to it very dearly, that is the case with the followers of every faith, not just Muslims. We have to understand the process of reform, if we want to embark on it, so that we don’t ruin it).

b) eliminate practices, such as female circumcision, honor killing, forced veiling, and forced marriage, that further the oppression of women;
[note: incidentally, not only none of these are Islamic practices, especially in a forced context, but also these are against Islam.]

c) protect sexual and gender minorities from persecution and violence;

d) reform sectarian education that teaches intolerance and bigotry towards non-Muslims;

e) And foster an open public sphere in which all matters may be discussed without coercion or intimidation.


7. We demand the release of Islam from its captivity to the totalitarian ambitions of power-hungry men and the rigid strictures of orthodoxy. [note: “demand” by non-Muslims, ex-Muslims and Islam-bashers is hardly conducive to engage the Muslim community toward the desired reform.]


8. We enjoin academics and thinkers everywhere to embark on a fearless examination of the origins and sources of Islam, and to promulgate the ideals of free scientific and spiritual inquiry through cross-cultural translation, publishing, and the mass media.

9. We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine;

a) to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Bahai’s, and all members of non-Muslim faith communities: we stand with you as free and equal citizens;
( Please re-state to be all inclusive; Bahai, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jewish, Muslims, Sikhs, Shinto, Wicca’s, Zoroastrians and all other faiths – the Medina declaration was signed by leaders of all communities for fair treatment of her Citizens)

b) and to nonbelievers: we defend your unqualified liberty to question and dissent.

10. Before any of us is a member of the Ummah, the Body of Christ, or the Chosen People, we are all members of the community of conscience, the people who must choose for themselves.
(Again make it inclusive – Before any of us is a member of any exclusive community, we are...)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the
World Muslim Congress with a simple theme " good for Muslims and good for the world." Mike believes that if people can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. His articles can be found at http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ , http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and http://mikeghouse.blogspot.com/ and he can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com

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A Muslim-bashing feeding frenzy - I

Guest Commentary
Mike Ghouse President, Foundation for Pluralism
March 14, 2007

As a Muslim fighting for reform within our Muslim world, I watched the Secular
Islam Summit, aired earlier this week on CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck show, with great anticipation. I believe in religious pluralism and the separation of mosque and state. I know Muslims need to speak up against extremism.

But that's not what we got with the "Secular Islam Summit," held at the Hilton Hotel in St. Petersburg, Fla. The summit was supposed to be about Islam, yet there was hardly a Muslim at the podium. With the exception of two panelists — Hasan Mahmud, director of sharia law at the Muslim Canadian
Congress, and author Irshad Manji, who believes the Qur'an is the basis for being a Muslim — the summit was filled with Islam bashers, some of them ex-Muslims. The event should have been called the Anti-Islam Summit. It's a shame CNN and Beck got suckered into giving so much air time to this fraudulent gathering of Islam bashers.

The summit was just an attempt by extremists of another persuasion — hatred of Islam — who want to destroy Islam. Whether it was former Muslim "Ibn Warraq" with his book title, "Why I am Not a Muslim," or Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, a political and
human rights activist, the theme was the same: They want one-fifth of humanity to disappear. At this "landmark Secular Islam Summit," there were no "moderate" Muslims.

The intent of the conference was bad from the start. Due to this fact, mainstream Muslims, including progressive Muslims, chose not to participate in the conference. Days before the summit, I talked with leaders of groups challenging conservative interpretations of Islam, including Radwan Masmoudi, president of Islam for Democracy, an organization based in Washington, D.C. We decided not to attend the meeting. None of us wanted to become tools in the hands of the anti-Islam extremists. The need to be represented in the summit became less important than speaking out against the intent of the summit, which was Islam-bashing.

In explaining his decision, Masmoudi told me: "The need for a new, progressive and modern interpretation of Islam for the 21st century is real and undeniable, as is the need for real reforms and democratization in Muslim societies. However, for that reinterpretation and reform to occur, the effort must be led by Muslims who are proud of their heritage, religion and culture and who are credible within their community. The people who attended the 'Secular Islam Conference' are neither, and that is why this conference was a complete waste of time and money, except perhaps to provide some anti-Islamic voices a podium from which to speak."

The speakers present were Islam haters such as Wafa Sultan, who achieved notoriety when she slammed Islam on Al-Jazeera last year. The Syrian-American Sultan was filled with rage and hatred for Muslims and Islam, even going so far as to declare, "You cannot be American and Muslim at the same time," an obviously false notion in a nation where a Muslim now sits in Congress.

If the intent was honest, at least half of the speakers would have been Muslims. The integrity of the organizers and the intent of the summit are questionable and, indeed, downright dishonest. In its coverage, the St. Petersburg Times appropriately gave time to those who looked at the meeting with a skeptical eye, noting that
Georgetown University scholar Yvonne Haddad said, "Legitimate scholars are horrified by the lineup. The speakers are extreme in their views. Basically, it's everyone known for damning Islam."

In contrast, CNN's Beck paraded these personalities on TV as if they carried weight in the Muslim world. CNN and Beck were had. In an hour-long report, Beck featured the supposed dangers the organizers faced. A woman who called herself "Raquel Saraswati" claimed she was a practicing Muslim and expressed fears about being No. 4 on a list of Muslims ashamed of being a Muslim because she used to model.

As Ahmed Bedier, an official of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Florida, said: These were folks who are "cashing and bashing." I have differences with CAIR on some points, but he was in tune with most Muslims' opinion about the summit.

Beck brought Manda Zand Ervin, founder and president of Alliance of Iranian Women, a group that describes itself as a human rights organization, on camera, and she went so far as to say that Muslims want a global caliphate in which we will throw Christians and Jews into the sea.

I'm a Muslim. I do not want a global caliphate. And I absolutely do not want to throw Christians and Jews into the sea. Beck failed to ask her tough questions to find about the not-so-hidden agenda that appears to motivate her and so many others at this supposed Muslim gathering: fear mongering.

Shame on CNN.
Shame on Beck.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Mike Ghouse is a home builder and activist based in Dallas. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress, organizations dedicated to peaceful coexistence. He can be reached at
MikeGhouse@gmail.com. © copyright 2007 by Mike Ghouse.

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Moderate Muslims spreads falsehoods about Secular Islam Summit


By Robert Spencer

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/015663.php

« Al-Jazeera: "The Muslim Brotherhood channel" Main The poverty/terror myth »
March 15, 2007

Moderate Muslim spreads falsehoods about Secular Islam Summit

In "A Muslim-bashing feeding frenzy" at
Religion and Spirituality.com, Mike Ghouse of the Foundation for Pluralism retails several obvious falsehoods about the Secular Islam Summit. And like CAIR, he completely ignores the question of whether or not he agrees with the St. Petersburg Declaration, which enunciates principles that any moderate Muslim ought to be able to endorse.

As a Muslim fighting for reform within our Muslim world, I watched the Secular Islam Summit, aired earlier this week on CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck show, with great anticipation. I believe in religious pluralism and the separation of mosque and state. I know Muslims need to speak up against extremism.
But that's not what we got with the "Secular Islam Summit," held at the Hilton Hotel in St. Petersburg, Fla.


The summit was supposed to be about Islam, yet there was hardly a Muslim at the podium. With the exception of two panelists — Hasan Mahmud, director of sharia law at the Muslim Canadian Congress, and author Irshad Manji, who believes the Qur'an is the basis for being a Muslim — the summit was filled with Islam bashers, some of them ex-Muslims.

Ghouse fails to mention another Muslim who was there at the podium, Tashbih Sayyed, editor of Muslim World Today and a member of the Jihad Watch Board.
The event should have been called the Anti-Islam Summit. It's a shame CNN and Beck got suckered into giving so much air time to this fraudulent gathering of Islam bashers. The summit was just an attempt by extremists of another persuasion — hatred of Islam — who want to destroy Islam. Whether it was former Muslim "Ibn Warraq" with his book title, "Why I am Not a Muslim," or Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, a political and human rights activist, the theme was the same: They want one-fifth of humanity to disappear. At this "landmark Secular Islam Summit," there were no "moderate" Muslims.


Ghouse here seems to have lost track of what he just wrote. There were no moderate Muslims? What about Hasan Mahmud and Manji, whom he just mentioned?

And as for "They want one-fifth of humanity to disappear," this is just a smear. In fact, the St. Petersburg Declaration says, "We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine..." To hear Ghouse tell it, it says, "We say to Muslim believers: disappear." Hogwash.
The intent of the conference was bad from the start.


What was bad about it, Mr. Ghouse? The affirmation of "the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience" and "the equality of all human persons"? Or was it the insistence on "the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights"? Or could it have been the call to "eliminate practices, such as female circumcision, honor killing, forced veiling, and forced marriage, that further the oppression of women"? What exactly do you find objectionable, Mr. Ghouse? Be specific, please.

Due to this fact, mainstream Muslims, including progressive Muslims, chose not to participate in the conference. Days before the summit, I talked with leaders of groups challenging conservative interpretations of Islam, including Radwan Masmoudi, president of Islam for Democracy, an organization based in Washington, D.C. We decided not to attend the meeting. None of us wanted to become tools in the hands of the anti-Islam extremists. The need to be represented in the summit became less important than speaking out against the intent of the summit, which was Islam-bashing.

So affirmation of human rights and freedom of conscience is "Islam-bashing"?

In explaining his decision, Masmoudi told me: "The need for a new, progressive and modern interpretation of Islam for the 21st century is real and undeniable, as is the need for real reforms and democratization in Muslim societies. However, for that reinterpretation and reform to occur, the effort must be led by Muslims who are proud of their heritage, religion and culture and who are credible within their community. The people who attended the 'Secular Islam Conference' are neither, and that is why this conference was a complete waste of time and money, except perhaps to provide some anti-Islamic voices a podium from which to speak."


Fine. Then lead it yourself, Mr. Masmoudi. Issue an endorsement of the Declaration. Surely there is nothing in it to which you object, is there? You are allowing your distaste for the panelists to overshadow the real subject here, which is the reform of Islam. Ex-Muslims did the job, along with a few Muslim reformists, because people like you have not been and are not doing it. Instead of carping, you should be showing that you as a Muslim can do the job even better.

The speakers present were Islam haters such as Wafa Sultan, who achieved notoriety when she slammed Islam on Al-Jazeera last year. The Syrian-American Sultan was filled with rage and hatred for Muslims and Islam, even going so far as to declare, "You cannot be American and Muslim at the same time," an obviously false notion in a nation where a Muslim now sits in Congress.

This is mostly just a base ad hominem attack, but as far as Sultan's statement goes, unfortunately, the presence of a Muslim in Congress does not disprove it. The only thing that would disprove it would be a large-scale public renunciation, accompanied by actions, of the ideology of Islamic supremacism by Muslims. Mr. Ghouse offers a renunciation of this kind later in this article, saying, "I'm a Muslim. I do not want a global caliphate. And I absolutely do not want to throw Christians and Jews into the sea." I hope he will follow this up with active efforts within the Islamic community to foster the principles expressed in the St. Petersburg Declaration.


If the intent was honest, at least half of the speakers would have been Muslims.

The import of what you are saying here, Mr. Ghouse, that these Muslim speakers should have been happy to appear at the Summit with non-Muslims and ex-Muslims. Yet you yourself refused to go. So you're saying that others should have done what you wouldn't do yourself.


The integrity of the organizers and the intent of the summit are questionable and, indeed, downright dishonest.

You charge them with dishonesty after writing an article like this?
Posted by Robert at March 15, 2007 08:15 AM

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COMMENTS

Comments(Note: Comments on articles are unmoderated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jihad Watch or Robert Spencer. Comments that are off-topic, offensive, slanderous, or otherwise annoying may be summarily deleted. However, the fact that particular comments remain on the site IN NO WAY constitutes an endorsement by Robert Spencer of the views expressed therein.)

Did anybody ever thing a devote Muslim would be there ? No, I don't believe there can be a devision between Muslim and State, unless you throw the Koran away.
Posted by: Jeff
at March 15, 2007 08:54 AM

...effort must be led by Muslims who are proud of their heritage, religion and culture and who are credible within their community...

Same old, same old. Only mooselims can criticize or comment on islam, because only they understand. It seems that the secret decoder ring expires as soon as you become apostate.
As Robert rightly states, the only reason such conferences are being organized by ex-mawzlems is precisely because there is no movement for reform or change coming from within. And why? Because mooselims 'proud of their heritage, religion and culture' are unlikely to see any need to reform it are they? And if they did, within the all-encompassing, stifling conformity imposed by the imams, we know what happens to them, don't we?
They'll send you home if you're crazy - but not wanting to fly more missions means you're perfectly sane, so you're not going home.

Posted by: thomas ato
at March 15, 2007 09:01 AM
This Declaration by Secular Islam Summit has turned out to be real useful even if it failure because it forces many of these so called moderate muslims to expose themselves.
Posted by: greatcometof1577
at March 15, 2007 09:18 AM

Robert wrote:"The import of what you are saying here, Mr. Ghouse, that these Muslim speakers should have been happy to appear at the Summit with non-Muslims and ex-Muslims. Yet you yourself refused to go. So you're saying that others should have done what you wouldn't do yourself."
Bingo. This supposed reform-minded gent was not happy with the format of the summit, a determination he made prior to it's occurence, and yet decided to sit it out.
So he proposed his own summit, with appropriate like-minded moderate Muslims, desiring reform, but who are proud of Islam, right?...Right?
Typical. These useful idiots will dispel the myth of the "moderate" Muslim all by themselves, faster than any westerner can.
Posted by: awake at March 15, 2007 09:27 AM

Another example of an educated Muslim who is either lying or doesn't know his holy texts.
I am convinced by the uniformity in the thinking of many Islamapologists that they can't reason about their faith. They only see the burkha that covers the dark underbelly of Islam. They know the flesh is there, but won't look because its existence must be hidden at all times. When the burkha is publicly removed, they scramble to put it back. In anger, humiliation, and confusion they resort to the rhetorical weapons of children - name-calling, exxageration, and lying. But we and they have all seen it.
We must keep making them look at the naked truth.
Posted by: bobnoxious at March 15, 2007 09:59 AM

Having been put to the most minimum of tests, Ghouse now reveals himself, in his attempt to denigrate and dismiss such people as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq and Wafa Sultan, in his scornful rejection of the contents of the St. Petersurg Declaration, a noble document that he should applaud, and whose represents the absolute minimum that should be expected of any so-called "moderate" Muslim.

Doesn't Ghouse's denunciation also call into question the sincerity of the "Foundation for Pluralism," a group busy collecting grant money of all kinds, an organization whose moving spirit, Khalil Muhammad, is quite a draw -- of the "I-wants-to-make-your-flesh-creep" school, who tells his preferred audiences on the naive and sentimental synagogue circuit that "extremists" are worrisome, but never fear, Khaleel Mohammed can be trusted to give you the straight dope, and his Foundation for Pluralism is Our Only Hope (never mind those horrible people with their St. Petersburg Declaration)and he's never steer you wrong, and by the way, please give a very large contribution to the Foundation for Pluralism to keep those "moderates" going and, just as important --where's my own check -- yes, that's K-h-a, not K-a. Or if you prefer so as to keep your name out of it for seucrity reasons -- I quite understand -- cash is also welcome.
Posted by: Hugh
at March 15, 2007 10:26 AM
This isn't a "moderate Muslim" spreading falsehoods. They are falsehoods, but this is not a moderate Muslim.
Posted by: Morgaan Sinclair
at March 15, 2007 10:32 AM

just another example of the bottom line in the thinking of these people....a bad Muslim trumps an ex-Muslim anytime. Their worst enemy is someone who leaves the religion.
lots of christian families have kids who have abandoned or moved beyond the faith of their parents, but the kid still has a place at the dinner table (i know there are exceptions but i'm broad brushing here). that's not so in islam.
Posted by: ed at March 15, 2007 10:57 AM

From article above:
"You cannot be American and Muslim at the same time," an obviously false notion in a nation where a Muslim now sits in Congress.
Mutually exclusive terms? Can a true Muslim serve in Congress?
Take a look at this link (originally provided by KAOSKTRL)
http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=11180&ln=eng&txt=POLITICAL

The attitude of Islam towards deviant (political) parties and those who indulge in them.
Whoever has an understanding of Islam, strong faith, Islamic integrity, farsightedness and eloquence, and is thus able to exert some influence on the direction of the party so that it will take an Islamic direction, may get involved in these parties or with the one which is most likely to be more receptive towards the truth – in the hope that Allaah will benefit others through him and guide whomsoever He wills to give up deviant political trends and follow the just politics of sharee’ah, thus bringing the ummah together on the Straight Path. But he should not follow their deviant principles.
-Fataawaa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah
According to this, Ellis has loyalty first and foremost to Allah’s cause. Something I’m sure neighboring Congressman (and presidential hopeful) Tancredo is aware of. Something the American people had better pay attention to.
-XRDC
Posted by: XRDC at March 15, 2007 11:46 AM

As a Muslim fighting for reform within our Muslim world, I watched the Secular Islam Summit, aired earlier this week on CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck show, with great anticipation. I believe in religious pluralism and the separation of mosque and state. I know Muslims need to speak up against extremism.
Translation: don't assume that we support Islamic supremacy just because we are about to condemn these 'Secular-Muslims'.

But that's not what we got with the "Secular Islam Summit," held at the Hilton Hotel in St. Petersburg, Fla. The summit was supposed to be about Islam, yet there was hardly a Muslim at the podium. With the exception of two panelists — Hasan Mahmud, director of sharia law at the Muslim Canadian Congress, and author Irshad Manji, who believes the Qur'an is the basis for being a Muslim — the summit was filled with Islam bashers, some of them ex-Muslims.

Translation: As long as they acknowledge the supremacy of Allah/Mohammed, any calls for reform by them are okay. But only within the framework of the supremacy of Islam and Islam alone.

The event should have been called the Anti-Islam Summit. It's a shame CNN and Beck got suckered into giving so much air time to this fraudulent gathering of Islam bashers. The summit was just an attempt by extremists of another persuasion — hatred of Islam — who want to destroy Islam. Whether it was former Muslim "Ibn Warraq" with his book title, "Why I am Not a Muslim," or Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, a political and human rights activist, the theme was the same: They want one-fifth of humanity to disappear. At this "landmark Secular Islam Summit," there were no "moderate" Muslims. The intent of the conference was bad from the start.

Translation: Encouraging Muslims to violate Quranic injunctions to conflate their 'religious' life with the rest of their life is bashing Islam. Encouraging, or even tolerating, Muslims to jettison Islam, is as good as wanting one fifth of humanity to disappear. In other words, once a person jettisons Islam, (s)he is as good as dead. (Or, if (s)he isn't, (s)he should be).

Due to this fact, mainstream Muslims, including progressive Muslims, chose not to participate in the conference. Days before the summit, I talked with leaders of groups challenging conservative interpretations of Islam, including Radwan Masmoudi, president of Islam for Democracy, an organization based in Washington, D.C. We decided not to attend the meeting. None of us wanted to become tools in the hands of the anti-Islam extremists. The need to be represented in the summit became less important than speaking out against the intent of the summit, which was Islam-bashing.

Translation: We Moderate Muslims only want to peacefully and 'democratically' Islamize you. (Note: If I were to use their rhetoric, I'd echo Excommie above and say that Moderate Muslims want all Infidels dead.)
In explaining his decision, Masmoudi told me: "The need for a new, progressive and modern interpretation of Islam for the 21st century is real and undeniable, as is the need for real reforms and democratization in Muslim societies. However, for that reinterpretation and reform to occur, the effort must be led by Muslims who are proud of their heritage, religion and culture and who are credible within their community. The people who attended the 'Secular Islam Conference' are neither, and that is why this conference was a complete waste of time and money, except perhaps to provide some anti-Islamic voices a podium from which to speak."

Translation: The injunctions that exist in the Quran (and maybe Sunnah - we haven't decided as yet whether we should include or exclude it) ain't arcane enough to fool enough Infidels, and therefore need to be re-phrased so that we can continue to implement the directives of the above without seeming to do it in a way that an observer can decipher. Only Muslims who approve of Mohammed's behavior while he massacred and slaughtered his enemies can pull this off. Only Muslims who can take pride in claiming for themselves what other cultures achieved before them can drive such an effort. Only Muslims who endorse the teachings of the Quran can participate in an exercise to reform the practices that are derived ultimately from the teachings of the Quran.

The speakers present were Islam haters such as Wafa Sultan, who achieved notoriety when she slammed Islam on Al-Jazeera last year. The Syrian-American Sultan was filled with rage and hatred for Muslims and Islam, even going so far as to declare, "You cannot be American and Muslim at the same time," an obviously false notion in a nation where a Muslim now sits in Congress.

Translation: Condemning Mohammed's marriage to 6-year old Aisha (okay, 9, that makes it so much more acceptable), or condemning thighing of toddler girls, as Wafa Sultan did on al-Jazeera, is slamming Islam. Also, Quranic verses, such as 2:190-193, 9:5,29,111, et al, are compatible with the non-establishment clause of the First Amendment, in the mind of this outstanding Mohammedan, which gets proved by the mere act of enough voters in a particular congressional district in MN electing a member of the Nation of Islam (which is, depending on the situation, either a un-Islamic cult when the spotlight is on their racism, or Islamic, when it comes to one of their members being elected to Congress).

If the intent was honest, at least half of the speakers would have been Muslims. The integrity of the organizers and the intent of the summit are questionable and, indeed, downright dishonest.

Translation: If the intent was compatible with Quran 16:105 (Only they invent falsehood who believe not Allah's revelations, and (only) they are the liars.), at least half of the speakers would have been Muslims. They would then have spread the truth, which is that only non-believers in Allah spread lies (see above); since they didn't, their intent is questionable, and downright dishonest (again, use the Q16:105 definition).

Also, when Mian Ghouse offers a renunciation later in this article, saying, "I'm a Muslim. I do not want a global caliphate. And I absolutely do not want to throw Christians and Jews into the sea.", that should be parsed exactly as one might parse a Clinton quote:

I do not want a global caliphate: The only true Caliphate were the rightly-guided Caliphs of Abu-Baqr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (or for Shia, Ali, Hussein, and their successors). To avoid confusing them with Caliphs that followed, I don't want a global Caliphate. However, a local shariah based civic establishment is a perfectly good alternative.

I absolutely do not want to throw Christians and Jews into the sea: Why should I? Look at all the money that is going to the ummah from Christian suckers, such as the US and Europe, and Jewish sucker, such as Israel. Given this goose with the golden egg, why should I be stupid enough to throw them into the sea? Let those dupes, er philanthropists pay us a Jiziya instead: all the better if they don't know it, as long as they have a military superiority over us.

Okay, I'm done with the translation exercise. The day such translations of Muslim-speak ain't needed for other Infidels, we'd have gotten somewhere.
Posted by: Infidel Pride
at March 15, 2007 12:49 PM

I found it amusing in he complains the summit was supposed to be about Islam, but Muslims were not there.DUH!!!!! Where was this whiner trying to make a difference but like most Muslims sitting silent and enabling the murderers with silent applause.
Posted by: Lame Cherry
at March 15, 2007 01:47 PM




Thursday, March 15, 2007

Americans Fail Religion

Americans get an 'F' in religion

It is just not the Americans, it is the case with every nation; you go to Pakistan and ask an average Ali or an average Ram in India, or perhaps an Irish, Brazilian or Chinese, the answer would be same; ignorance.

We may have friends from different belief sets, but yet, some of us do not know much about the friend’s faith or their celebrations.

This ignorance is compounded further by the "hearsay" a few seem to have gained, based on which, they become experts in propagating hate towards others. There are extremists in every group, with no exception and perhaps the same percentage.

In the simplest words, religion is a system that helps an individual gain his or her own balance in life, repenting for bad and expressing gratitude for the good one receives brings that elusive sense of balance to the individual. If we aggregate each one’s efforts we have an orderly society.

Religion is abused as much as our civil laws. Any city library will have manuals on public safety, crime, traffic rules or business conduct. If every one follows the rules, we should have zero crime rates, right? Does that happen? Does any one follow the religion as prescribed? Let’s not blame religion for the ills of society. Let’s appreciate the goodness it has done to the mankind. If you think Religion is the source of conflict, I urge you to seriously think about the cause of every conflict, it is always an individual King, a politically motivated religious head, a dictator, or the heads of governments with malicious agendas or group of insecure men who just like to be destructive. It is never the religion.

There is beauty and wisdom in every faith. As a society, we have to learn about each other. Shame on us, we seem to thrill to find out about the bad things about others, for God’s sake, let’s take the time to learn Good things about others. There is plenty good out there, if we focus on it, it can overrun the evil.

The Foundation for Pluralism has launched a series of educational programs, one of them is Understanding Religion, where we learn the beauty and wisdom of each faith.

“Festivals of the month” is another item you can find on the website, if you genuinely want to stoke goodness, you have an opportunity every day. Look up the festival and wish the appropriate greetings to the followers of that festival.

The world would become a better place, if we share the joy and sorrows of other beings without any barrier, at least the ones in your neighborhood or in your city. Invite the people you barely know to your birthdays, anniversaries, or simply have them join you for dinner and see the difference you can make. The hate will subside gradually when you are loaded with goodness. Nirvana, peace, Mukti, shanti, sukoon, salvation, Moksha and freedom is willing to be yours.

I am looking for Religious websites, which teach positive things, and love towards other beings, and hate towards none. If you have one, let me know, we will link it to the Foundation for Pluralism. There is no need to hate any one.

Please join us on Saturday, March 25th to learn about the wisdom of Jainism. Information is at www.FoundationforPluralism.com

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com

Americans get an "F" in religion

http://usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-03-07-teaching-religion-cover_N.htm?POE=click-refer By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY Sometimes dumb sounds cute: Sixty percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.
Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University , isn't laughing. Americans' deep ignorance of world religions — their own, their neighbors' or the combatants in Iraq , Darfur or Kashmir — is dangerous, he says.

His new book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn't, argues that everyone needs to grasp Bible basics, as well as the core beliefs, stories, symbols and heroes of other faiths.
Belief is not his business, says Prothero, who grew up Episcopalian and now says he's a spiritually "confused Christian." He says his argument is for empowered citizenship.

"More and more of our national and international questions are religiously inflected," he says, citing President Bush's speeches laden with biblical references and the furor when the first Muslim member of Congress chose to be sworn in with his right hand on Thomas Jefferson's Quran. "If you think Sunni and Shia are the same because they're both Muslim, and you've been told Islam is about peace, you won't understand what's happening in Iraq . If you get into an argument about gay rights or capital punishment and someone claims to quote the Bible or the Quran, do you know it's so?

"If you want to be involved, you need to know what they're saying. We're doomed if we don't understand what motivates the beliefs and behaviors of the rest of the world. We can't outsource this to demagogues, pundits and preachers with a political agenda." Scholars and theologians who agree with him say Americans' woeful level of religious illiteracy damages more than democracy.

"You're going to make assumptions about people out of ignorance, and they're going to make assumptions about you," says Philip Goff of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University in Indianapolis .

Goff cites a widely circulated claim on the Internet that the Quran foretold American intervention in the Middle East, based on a supposed passage "that simply isn't there. It's an entire argument for war based on religious ignorance."

"We're impoverished by ignorance," says the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, former general secretary of the National Council of Churches. "You can't draw on the resources of faith if you only have an emotional understanding, not a sense of the texts and teachings." But if people don't know Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities destroyed for their sinful ways, Campbell blames Sunday schools that "trivialized religious education. If we want people to have serious knowledge, we have to get serious about teaching our own faith."
Prothero's solution is to require middle-schoolers to take a course in world religions and high schoolers to take one on the Bible. Biblical knowledge also should be melded into history and literature courses where relevant. He wants all college undergrads to take at least one course in religious studies.

He calls for time-pressed adults to sample holy books and history texts. His book includes a 90-page dictionary of key words and concepts from Abraham to Zen. There's also a 15-question quiz — which his students fail every year.

But it's the controversial, though constitutional, push into schools that draws the most attention. In theory, everyone favors children knowing more. The National Education Association handbook says religious instruction "in doctrines and practices belongs at home or religious institutions," while schools should teach world religions' history, heritage, diversity and influence.

Only 8% of public high schools offer an elective Bible course, according to a study in 2005 by the Bible Literacy Project, which promotes academic Bible study in public schools. The project is supported by Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center , a Washington , D.C. , non-profit that promotes free speech.
The study surveyed 1,000 high schoolers and found that just 36% know Ramadan is the Islamic holy month; 17% said it was the Jewish day of atonement.

Goff says schools are not wholly to blame for religious illiteracy. "There are simply more groups, more players. Students didn't know Ramadan any better in 1965, but now there are as many Muslims as Jews in America . It's more important to know who's who." Also today, "there is more emphasis on religious experience as a mark of true religion and less emphasis on doctrine and knowledge of the faith."
Still, it's the widely misunderstood 1963 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that may have been the tipping point: It removed devotional Bible reading from the schools but spelled out that it should not have been removed from literature and history.

"The decision clearly states you can't be educated without it, but it scared schools so much they dropped it all," Goff says. "Schools are terrified of this," says Joy Hakim, author of several U.S. history textbooks. She's in her 70s but remembers well as a Jewish child how she felt like an outsider in schools that pushed Christianity in the curriculum.

But she says the backlash went too far. "Now, you can't use biblical characters or narrative in anything. We've stopped teaching stories. We teach facts, and the characters are lost." Religion, like the arts, has become an afterthought in an education climate driven by "the fixation on literacy and numeracy — math and reading," says Bob Schaeffer of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a group critical of the standards-based education movement. "If the ways schools, teachers, principals and superintendents are judged all depend on math and reading scores, that's what you're going to teach," he says.

Still, it's a tough tightrope to walk between those who say the Bible can be just another book, albeit a valuable one, and those who say it is inherently devotional.

The First Amendment Center also published a guide to "The Bible and the Public Schools," which praised a ninth-grade world religions course in Modesto , Calif. , and cited a study finding students were able to learn about other faiths without altering their own beliefs. But it also said the class may not be easily replicated and required knowledgeable, unbiased teachers.

Leland Ryken, an English professor at evangelical Wheaton College in Wheaton , Ill. , tested a 2006 textbook, The Bible and Its Influence, underwritten by the Bible Literacy Project. Ryken favors adding classes in the Bible and literature and social studies. But he cautions, "Religious literacy and world religions are not the same as the Bible as literature. It's a much more loaded subject, and I really question if high school students can get much knowledge beyond a sense of the importance of religion."

The Bible and Its Influence has been blasted by conservative Christians such as the Rev. John Hagee, pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio . Hagee calls it "a masterful work of deception, distortion and outright falsehoods" planting "concepts in the minds of children which are contrary to biblical teaching."

Hagee wrote to the Alabama legislature opposing adoption of the text, citing points such as discussion questions that could lead children away from a belief in God. Example: Asking students to ponder if Adam and Eve got "a fair deal as described in Genesis" would plant the seed that "since God is the author of the deal, God is unfair."

Hagee prefers the Bible itself as a textbook for Bible classes, used with a curriculum created by a group of conservative evangelicals, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, based in Greensboro , N.C. The council says its curriculum is being offered in more than 300 schools.
Sheila Weber, a spokeswoman for The Bible Literacy project, says their textbook has been revised in the second printing issued last month with the examples cited by Hagee removed. The teachers' edition was reissued in August. The first printing was approved by numerous Christian scholars and seminaries and is already in use in 82 school districts.

Mark Chancey, professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas , looked last year at how Texas public school districts taught Bible classes. His two studies, sponsored by the Texas Freedom Network, a civil liberties group, found only 25 of more than 1,000 districts offered such a class.
"And 22 of them, including several using the Greensboro group's curriculum, were clearly over the line," teaching Christianity as the norm, and the Bible as inspired by God, says Chancey. One teacher even showed students a proselytizing Power Point titled, "God's road map for your life" that was clearly unconstitutional, he says.

The controversies, costs and competing demands in the schools have prompted many to turn instead to character education. But classes promoting pluralism and tolerance fail on the religious literacy front because they "reduce religion to morality," Prothero says, or they promote a call for universal compassion as if it were the only value that matters.

"We are not all on the same one path to the same one God," he says. "Religions aren't all saying the same thing. That's presumptuous and wrong. They start with different problems, solve the problems in different ways, and they have different goals."

Contributing: Greg Toppo