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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mike Ghouse, a pluralist and interfaith activist

Published at 1.    http://www.worldmuslimpedia.com/mike-mohamed-ghouse-a-pluralist-and-an-outstandi

Mike Mohamed Ghouse: A Pluralist, and an Outstanding Interfaith and Peace Activist
C
ohesive mankind, cohesive Ummah and cohesive America are what Mike Ghouse stands for. Irrespective of what people think about him, he is marching ahead on his peace mission with messages of love and respect for all individuals, all races and all communities irrespective of their identities – personal, religious, social, cultural or national. His fame has taken him to all the corners of the earth. He is a regular fighter against Islamophobia in America, and is specially active in building relationships in various religious groups, especially Muslims and Christians of America. His work assumed huge significance in the wake of 9/11, which witnessed massive pluralisation in American society. He has been on thr forefront of leading the confrontation against hate-mongers and mischief makers. He is often criticized by Islamic scholars for taking a rather liberal view of Islamic teachings and for trying to conform Islam to the demands of Western societies, but unfazed by the opposition, he has kept his mission going with increasing support from all groups. Those who know him well understand his strategy, which is primarily aimed at generating good will and initiating dialogue for the purpose of mutual understanding and tolerance. He has been a vocal critical of America’s war in Iraq and also played a prominent role in the campaign against those who were against the building of a mosque in the Manhattan.

Mike Ghouse is mostly known as a believer and a proponent of Pluralism, i.e., respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. He offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day on TV, Radio, Print and Internet.


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1. Introduction


An American of Indian origin, Mike is a man of action. The action emanates from his dream, “a dream that one day in our life time; we all will wake up to a cohesive world, where no human lives in tension, apprehension or fear of the other. Indeed, that was the dream of all the spiritual masters of the world, and that is what the creator wants; all pieces of his creation to function coherently.”

Explaining his position as an activist, he says:

 “Nothing in the universe will happen by itself, all of us have to do our share of the work to restore the harmony within our self, with our bodies and with people around us. Don’t you think God knows this? Yet through every religion, we are told to ask for it.

Our founding fathers believed, “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.” And that dream was refreshed by Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Mike is always on the move. He is always available to speak to all groups, conduct workshops on building cohesive work places and living a meaningful life, and move towards living in harmony. A powerful speaker, his fame has shot with his appearances in Fox News, Syndicated Radio shows, Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, and a variety of News Papers in America and abroad for giving him. This has given him a strong National and local presence. Mike has appeared in over 100 shows on Fox News and over 50 times on nationally syndicated radio shows.


He has  written nearly 3000 articles, and bulk of them are published in Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, New Age Islam, Op-ed News , Arab Daily News, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, and several other News papers and periodicals around the world. Of the 2800, 1000+ were on Islam, 1000+ on Pluralism and the rest were on politics, India, Pakistan, Israel-Palestine, Motivational and other topics.

Currently Mike is working on  making a film based on a compelling true story of building a cohesive America, and writing a book on human rights - "Standing up for others"- standing up from Atheists to Zoroastrians and every one in between.

God has blessed him with an aptitude for mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill in everything he does,  that is think, talk and act, and he has been a life time volunteer, and it is a joy to maintain a healthy balance between earning a living and serving the public. 

He has spoken at international forums including the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, in Melbourne, Australia, Middle East Peace Initiative, in Jerusalem, the International Leadership conference, in Hawaii, and in Washington, Many Universities including SMU, Rice and others, World's Philanthropy organization's annual conference in Washington and elsewhere.
He is a member of the Texas Faith panel at Dallas Morning News and writes on issues facing the nation every week and offers pluralistic solutions. He writes regularly at Huffington post, Op-ed News, Arab Daily News and several other papers worldwide. 

Mike was a commissioner at City of Carrollton,  and president of many a organizations including North Texas Cricket Association, Indian Creek Home owners Association,  and Dallas Fashions for Charity etc. A founding member of the board at Memnosyne Foundation, and board of director at Dallas Peace Center, Dallas Home Builders Association and several other organizations.

God has made him an instrument in establishing several annual public events to bring Americans of different religions, ethnicities and races together on common grounds of building a safe, secure and a cohesive America, among them are Unity Day USA, Holocaust and Genocides, Thanksgiving Celebrations. We have and plan to hold workshops and conferences on issues like religion, racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, LGBT, gender pluralism and other issues. 

Concerned by the political, civil, religious, racial, sexual orientation and economic divisiveness, Mike has initiated and formed the America Together Foundation (ATF), a non-profit entity committed to building a cohesive America, where no American has to live with anxiety, apprehension, or fear of the other. The focus of the foundation is that ‘one must be free to live his or her life to the fullest’.

He firmly believes in our immortal 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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

He believes in Conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) chose in dealing with issues of the day, and he has successfully employed that ideal in dealing with Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas who denigrated Quran, which led to a Quran conference in creating goodwill among non-Muslim clergy. The conference details are at www.QuraanConference.com

When Pastor Terry Jones announced burning 3000 copies of Quran, Mike was out there in Florida and gathered up the civil, political and religious leaders to peacefully offer prayer as an alternative instead of burning Qurans to avenge the 9/11 Victims. A message was sent to the world that freedom of speech is an important American value and respecting what is sacred to others is an important value as well. A movie is being considered that will change the perceptions about Muslims and change within Muslims in dealing with the conflicts. Full story is at:

http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2014/04/reestablishing-right-muslim-attitudes.html

Mike was further involved with the conflicts at the Ground Zero Mosque, Peter King Hearings and other conflicts, and had offered pluralistic solutions. There is a blog for each one of these conflicts.

As much work as he has done with interfaith communities, he has a strong presence in the intra-faith dialogue as well. Having  moderated two major intra-faith conferences at Rice University and in Dallas, and  two Sharia conferences were held to allay the Sharia Phobia.  He has prayed in all mosques, and wrote a blog on Ramadan sharing the practices in each tradition. There is a blog for it – www.RamadanExclusive.com 

Mike started the Radio for Desi community in Dallas in 1996 with three hours on Saturdays,   and passed it on to others, and now we have three 24/7 Radio Stations in Dallas. It was always loaded with interfaith programs. Mike ran a program called wisdom of religion, all religions for two years – where 520 Hours of Radio talk was done

  • 100 hours + for Islam, Hinduism and Christianity each, and 50 hours each for Baha’i, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Atheism, interfaith and other traditions.  The idea was to education and to learn about others, as God has willed in Quran 49:13 and other verses.  Similarly 26 workshops were also conducted.

Mike is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon. He is also producing a feature film “Sacred" to be released and a documentary "Americans together" to be released in the next few years.

All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.  


2. About Mike


2.1     Education


MBA University of Dallas, Texas – Marketing and Operations Management. (1984)

  • Master’s Degree in Tax and management accounting from Bangalore University (1974)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Banking from Bangalore University (1971)

2.2     Business


Mike has a comprehensive experience in business management, turning ailing operations around, home building, remodeling, real estate mortgages and investments.

He was the deputy finance controller for Fluor Corporation in Saudi Arabia (1977-1981). Fluor was the largest Petro Chemical Engineering firms in the world then.
He was vice president of Lewis Fire Equipment, one of the largest fire protection companies in Texas.

He was successful in turning around the company to profitability (1981-1983).
Since 1984, Mike has been in home building and management consulting business. He was recognized for his outstanding contributions from some of the best in home building business.

  • Gemcraft Homes (1984)
  • Ryland Homes (#1 Manager-1985),
  • Grand Homes (#3 -1988),
  • Drees Custom Homes (#1-1999),
  • Bluff view Builders (2006) and
  • First City Homes (Since 2006) | Self employed

2.3     Expertise


  1. Public Speaker
  2. Pluralism Speaker
  3. Speaker on Islam
  4. Conflict Mitigation
  5. Community outreach
  6. Interfaith Relations
  7. Religion Workshops
  8. Blogger
  9. TV/Radio Production
  10. News Paper Publishing
  11. Author/Writer
  12. Events Management
  13. Sports Management
  14. Operations Mgmt
  15. Financial expertise
  16. Business Systems
  17. Budget Mgmt
  18. Leadership Dev.
  19. Organizer 


2.4     Manages the following


2.4.1      AMERICA TOGETHER FOUNDATION


Americans together are committed to building a cohesive America, where no American has to live with anxieties, discomfort of fear of the other. We have the systems and programs in place to work towards building cohesive societies.www.AmericaTogetherFoundation.com

Key programs to bring Americans together and build bridges

  1. Unity Day USA – 11 Years of Annual Event & Awards– www.UnitydayUSA.com
  2. Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides – 8th year – www.HolocaustandGenocides.com
  3. Thanksgiving Celebrations – discontinued after 14 years due to timing.
  4. Conferences on Racism, Anti-Semitism, misogyny, Islamophobia,

2.4.2      FOUNDATION FOR PLURALISM


Our mission is to encourage individuals to develop an open mind and an open heart towards fellow beings. If we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. It’s 20 years of work on religious, social, cultural and political pluralism involving 26 workshops in understanding religion, every beautiful religion; 520 hours of radio talk shows learning about the wisdom of every faith; writing and sharing the essence of the festivals of the world and nearly 750 Articles on Pluralism, and over 150 of them published at Dallas Morning News and nearly 100 at Huffington post and several TV and Radio appearances.


2.4.3      WORLD MUSLIM CONGRESS


We are committed to nurturing the pluralistic ideals embedded in Islam. To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, one who consistently seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful coexistence of humanity. God wants us to live in harmony with his creation; Life and Matter
WorldMuslimcongress.com | Quraantoday.com | ShariaLaws.com | Quraanconference.com

2.4.4      STANDING UP FOR OTHERS (BLOG)


Standing up for others, Mike lives what he preaches. In the blog standing up for others, he has set an example of standing up for almost every representation of Americans. Standing up for others is the right thing to do, every human goes through a period of invincibility to vulnerability, if we don't stand up for those who are susceptible, then who will stand up for us when we are unguarded?


3. Experience in Interfaith


Texas Faith Panel, Dallas Morning News. Mr. Ghouse is a member of the Panel and writes about interfaith issues facing the nation every week. He has written close to 150 pieces over the last four years and almost every column he writes, weaves through the essence of many religions.

  • The Huffington Post; Mike has written nearly 100 articles in the last two years. Occasionally his articles  have been published at Washington Post and several national and international periodicals including Arab News, Tehran Times, Jakarta post, Times of India, Daily Times and several others.

  • TV/Radio - Mike is a frequent guest on Fox News, “The Hannity Show”, and on nationally syndicated radio shows including Dallas TV, print and radio networks. He also had his own Half hour show in 1996 on TV52.

  • Google: Mike has consistently remained on the first page when you search for Pluralism Speaker, Interfaith speaker and Muslim Speaker, whether it is the search or the images.

  • Blogs: Mike has written an average of 175 articles a year over a dozen years. Most of the columns were on interfaith/pluralism, in a given set of 10 articles, almost every religion would have been mentioned including Atheism, paganism and Native traditions.

  • Interfaith workshops: 26 live workshops were conducted between 2005 and 2007; Understanding Atheism to Zoroastrianism and every religion in between

  • Radio shows: Mike hosted 520 Hours of radio talk shows on “Understanding the essence of religions, each beautiful religion” with a representative of the respective faith 5 days a week on AM Radio 1150 in Dallas between 2003 and 2005.

  • Festivals of the World – The essence of major festivals of all religions were written up since 1993 in Asian American Journal, followed by Asian News Radio and the blogs, websites and the newspapers.

  • Pluralism flows in Mike’s veins. Even the tribute he wrote about his late wife, father, and mother were soaked with the essence of many religions.

  • The book “Americans together, building a cohesive America” will be out this years, and the next book, Muslims in America is poised to make it this year as well.

  • A documentary “Americans Together” is in the making; and it will present the full spectrum of American diversity, laden with programs and ideas on building a cohesive America, where no American has to live in discomfort, apprehension or fear of the other. It is expected to be out in 2016 prior to the General Elections.

  • Blogger: Mike passionately writes on topics including but not limited to; Pluralism, Holocaust and Genocides, International conflicts, Israel-Palestine, India, Sharia Laws, Quraan, Blasphemy, Apostasy, Hijab, Ground Zero Mosque, Peter King Hearings, Quraan, Terrorism , Ramadan, Islam, Media, local affairs etc.

  • International speaker: Mike has spoken at international forums including the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia; the Middle East Peace Initiative in Jerusalem; and the International Leadership Conference in Hawaii, Chicago and Washington.


4. Major interventions in Pluralism

Mike has initiated, organized and established the following events. In each one of the events, we the people ofthe United States of America of every faith, race, ethnicity, culture and background come together to express our commitment to co-existence, unity, safety and well being of our nation.

Annual Unity Day USA is a main stream event commemorating 9/11 for ten years. The UNITY DAY USA has become a symbol of unity among Americans. It is an initiative to come together to stand up for the safety, security and cohesiveness of America. Every year we recognize five individuals who have made a difference in their communities, the trophy calls them pluralists in their field.

  • 9/11 – Mike was on Radio from 10:00 AM till 4:30 on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 trying to make sense out of the chaos, he reached out to Mayors and community leaders to forge a common voice. Mike was a catalyst in commencing interfaith prayers, fund raising and blood donations that day. He pledged to serve the nation every year on that day, and Unity Day USA is the product of that commitment. http://911unitydayusa.blogspot.com/2011/09/911-story-interfaithmoments.html

  • Annual Holocaust and Genocides event has continued for the last seven years. Education is the purpose, we have learn to acknowledge and reflect upon the terrible things we have inflicted upon each other and have committed ourselves to resist the temptations to be prejudiced and stereotype others. We cannot demand peace unless we are peaceful ourselves. 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 to say never again. Website:www.HolocaustandGenocides.com

  • Annual Thanksgiving Celebrations & Awards night was carried out for over ten years and due to overlapping of Unity Day, it is done on a small scale now. The purpose of celebrating this event is to thank God for helping us learn to accept, respect and appreciate each other’s cultural uniqueness. Website: www.Thanksgivingcelebrations.org

  • Qur’an Conference was held on December 5, 2010 in Dallas to demystify the myths about “troubled passages” from Qur’an with 10 Non-Muslim clergy panelists and 5 Muslim Imams. It was one of the most powerful educational programs to read Quraan first hand and share that understanding with the audience. Website: www.Quraanconference.com

  • Quran Burning event on 9/11/2013. When Pastor Jones announced burning 2998 copies of Qur'an on Wednesday, September 11, 2013, one for each American life lost on September 11, 2001, we decided to bring a closure to the sacrifice of our men and women in the most honored way and not by burning the Qurans. We wanted to assert to Muslims around the world, that our God given right to freedom of speech is a value we treasure and hold it dear to us, ultimately it is the freedom that uplifts the whole humanity. On the other hand, offered an alternate Muslim behavior model to become the standard, indeed we can call it a genuine Islamic response based on Quran and examples of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

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