HOME | ABOUT US | Speaker | Americans Together | Videos | www.CenterforPluralism.com | Please note that the blog posts include my own articles plus selected articles critical to India's cohesive functioning. My articles are exclusively published at www.TheGhouseDiary.com You can send an email to: MikeGhouseforIndia@gmail.com
Sunday, December 31, 2006
December 23, 2006
The Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress are organizing the 2nd Annual Holocaust remembrance on Sunday, January 28th, 2007.
On this Holocaust remembrance day residents of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex come together as humans of all affiliations to learn to understand the suffering of The Holocaust; to develop an open mind and an open heart towards each other in the process of healing and repairing the world.
What: 2nd Annual Holocaust Remembrance
When: Sunday, January 28th, 2007 – 4 to 7 PM
Where: Hotel Crowne Plaza , 14315 Midway Road, Addison, TX75001
Who: Americans of all faiths, races and ethnicities
Refreshments : Provided prior to and after the event
Admission: Complimentary to all attendees
RSVP: Please write “Holocaust” in subject line and send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace is caused by each one of us, just as atrocities are also initiated by individuals. It is our duty to cause peace, to initiate peace and to work for peace. Each one of us is responsible to create a better world for ourselves and for human kind. We have to work toward the belief that saving one life is like saving the whole of humanity.
In 2006 the United Nations proclaimed January 27th as a Holocaust remembrance day to commemorate the greatest atrocity the world had ever witnessed. In support of that, the Foundation for Pluralism organized an event on Thursday, January 26, 2006 to accommodate the Jewish Sabbath as January 27 fell on a Friday in 2006. Information on last year’s event can be found at http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_HolocaustDay/HMD2006_ProgramReport.asp
We should honor our divine instructions to mourn and honor the suffering of others. The focus of the program is Holocaust, while reflecting upon other atrocities and genocides that humans have inflicted upon other humans. It will be a day for all of us to reflect upon and promise ourselves "never again" and hope each one of us makes a personal commitment to oneself to speak out against these.
God is infinite compassionate and merciful, and has blessed each human spirit with a measure of that infinite mercy and compassion. Although God is immense and humans are minuscule, yet we are taught that God partakes in our very human and personal grief, at the misery we inflict on one another. Does God want us to embrace and honor those blessings, or to attack and revile one another for "wrongly" interpreting them?
God has created two dimensions of the world: Physical and Spiritual. He has taken care of the physical part by putting planets, stars, sun, moon, mountains, oceans on a certain trajectory and they are following it obediently for Millions of years. On the spiritual dimension, God gave us the responsibility to maintain that balance. A balanced World is where every human is on its own trajectory, in its own space safe and secure as each star is, yet operating in harmony.
God has given us the heart and mind to use it to create that balance within oneself and with others surrounding us. However, the safe path for humans is to follow*1, surrender*2, submit*3 (and other similar words in different traditions) and obey his instructions for a balanced life. If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and balance emerges.
A Good deed is creating peace, security and balance for all his creation, Mohammad defines it as something you do that benefits others. Going to Mosque, church, synagogue, temple...is half of the equation that prepares us to finish off the rest - that is doing good things to others to keep that balance in the universe. This is essence of all religions.
The healing and recovery God wants for Humanity can only occur when we each examine our own hearts, our own cultures and our own faith traditions to discern where seeds of prejudice, cruelty and even genocide remain hidden.
A new tradition is taking roots in Dallas. We are inviting Americans of all faiths, races and ethnicities to join together to reflect upon the persecutions and tragedies humans have endured, and bring about a change, however little we can. The least we can do is to join the people who are making a difference.
Sponsorship is invited.
1 – Words of Jesus, 2* – Words of Krishna and 3* words of Allah
November 7, 2006
On the night of Tuesday, November 7, upon the news that Democrats won the house, I took a deep breath and said to myself "Thank you God, freedom at last". The emotion I felt was very similar to the one when Nelson Mandela was released and given his God given freedom.
Our forefathers had designed one of the best systems of Governance in the world. With pure checks and balances to prevent individuals becoming fierce and frightening to the general public.
One may not agree with it, but I do know most of the free spirited Americans were choked. Hell, the 435 congress persons and 100 Senators dared not come of out the rat holes. They were as scared to speak out against that fiery man should they be labeled un-patriotic. Our man got every one by their balls, that's how scared America was.
Unilateralism is the stepping stone to Fascism. Our man Bush was about to step up from the first step to the next. I believe in God and I have full faith in the free spirited America, thanks to them and thank God, our nation was saved on the night of November 7, 2006. A historic re-start for America.
The essence of freedom is the ability to question every thing . American Media has never questioned our President's statements for the last several years, it is always like Government run or Business run press. No one dared asked him the questions. With the exception of Public Radio and Television, we do not have a free press when it comes to the international issues, we have businesses's that run news and are funded and influenced by advertisers. We have to accept that.
November 7th has changed it all. All those scared rats are out of the hole and are speaking up now. The Americans brought the freedom back to the defenders of the freedom, the Media. You can see the difference in what and how they talk on the television prior to November 7th and now.
The Free press Icon, Ted Koppel spoke up on Fox or CNN recently and I sighed deeply with gratitude, thanks to my fellow Americans, we are getting to the era of free press now. Now, I do not agree with David Duke, he is an opportunist and racist, but he was "allowed" to speak on CNN, that is the good thing, let us Americans get different points of view and then decide what is right or wrong. Let them boys be news disseminators and not tell us what to believe.
David is a hated guy and although he is wrong, he has brought freedom back to our Media.
The Exec, the Judiciary and the legislature should not be run by the same gang of rules. Let it be run by different parties so we do not make unilateral decisions and regret. The supreme court judges should be free from any party affiliations, and our media should be relabeled into Free Press and Paid for Press.
Mike Ghouse is a free thinkerMore information is available in About us section of http://www.mikeghouse.net/
Dear Dr. Shariff, Thanks for sharing the article (below) on Indian Muslims. Your production of the Sachar Report ( http://www.theghouseteam.com/mg/ProfileAbuSalehShariff.asp) is a great achievement indeed. It is the first time in India History that a comprehensive study about the status of Muslims has been done. Thanks to the Prime Minister for placing all the resources at your disposal. I am glad we are on the same lines of defining a pluralistic and a just society.
Peace and prosperity of our nation hinges on justice and plurality, absence or deficiency of it will cause the BUS (http://mikeghouse.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/05/each-community-each-nation-is-a-bus.htm) to slow down. It is in the interests of our nation's business and government leadership to bring up the people in ditches on to a level playing field (http://mikeghouse.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/05/merit-based-education-employment.htm ) , and let them compete from that point forward. Imagine each community to be a tire of the bus, if all the tires have adequate air pressure, the smoothness of the journey is certain, assured and safe. It is in our interest to have the communities on level playing field. If we don't care about the OBC, it will drag the whole economy and our progress will be marred by it. We need to think long term and do what is good for all, to repeat your last word in the article: A just state.
I am happy to see your recommendations about distributing the opportunities to all OBC's regardless of religion, caste or other uniqueness. Instead of empowering the WAKF boards the ability to receive and dispense funds, there needs to be an NGO initiative accountable to the public and run like a business. I have undertaken two projects - World Muslim Congress ( http://www.theghouseteam.com/mg/WMC_Files/World%20Muslim%20Congress.ppt) to be small contributor in turning around the Muslim community into a positive, self assured community working for the betterment of the world.
Insha Allah the book Muslim Vision 2020 will be out soon and hope by the year 2020, Muslims can see themselves as people who are producers and contributors for a better world. And the Foundation for Pluralism will work on opening up people's hearts and minds to accept and appreciate the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us. Then I believe conflicts fade and solutions will emerge. Insha Allah, after achieving this, I am considering serving my motherland.
By the way the 2nd Annual Holocaust Remembrance ( http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Holocaustday.asp) is postponed till next year. Insha Allah, the Jewish and Muslimcommunities will do it jointly and will invite other religious groups to join us. The concept of Holocaust will be expanded to include all human suffering (a full list by Dr. Jamil is in the item Extremism at www.worldMuslimCongress.com ) and hope over a period of time, people will make a commitment that they will speak up when there is injustice, the least they can do is talk to the people they know.
I hope this will build bridges of goodwill between the people, and a small step towards helping the people who are suffering. Justice has got to be for the whole world, it cannot be for Muslims and not others, then it will not sustain. Mike Ghouse www.MikeGhouse.netwww.FoundationforPluralism.comwww.WorldMuslimCongress.com LEADER
ARTICLE: A Forgotten People
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/OPINION/Editorial/LEADER_ARTICLE_A_Forgotten_People/articleshow/msid-967452,curpg-1.cms The report on 'Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India' confronts us with a surprising fact â€” that Muslims are at the bottom of the development ladder, alongside SCs/STs and much lower than the Hindu-OBCs, upper caste Hindus and other minorities.
It is a cruel irony that the development process bypassed in particular Muslims who stayed back in India after the Partition â€” those from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
The root cause of this neglect is lack of political empowerment. While the Constitution and democratic framework allowed Muslims to maintain their identity and profess their faith, their representation in the political system has suffered. This impacted their participation in governance.
Even as SCs and STs were identified as a target group for making policy, according similar attention to the largest religious minority was considered unnecessary, if not inimical, to secular democracy.
That Muslims could become easy targets of systemic religious discrimination was overlooked. While demographic variables were liberally investigated on the basis of religious identities, what never came to light was the differential impact of poverty alleviation and human development strategies.
The effects of reservation on Dalits were under scrutiny, with the focus extending to OBCs after the Mandal commission, but what about Muslims?
It was only after Census 2001 that literacy and work participation rates according to socio-religious categories came to light.
About 41 per cent of Muslims and 43 per cent of Hindus have reported themselves as OBCs. Only 0.8 per cent Muslims reported themselves as SCs; the share of Muslims reporting themselves as STs was even lower.
The Mandal commission anticipates self-reporting by OBCs to stabilise at 52 per cent of the population; subsequent surveys seem to bear out its assessment.
OBCs can be presumed to constitute 50 per cent of all Hindus and 50 per cent of all Muslims. Hence, it follows that the benefits of OBC job quotas should accrue to Hindus and Muslims according to their respective shares in the total population.
However, only 3 per cent of OBC job quotas have gone to Muslims, whereas their share should have been about 14 per cent.
However, problems of Muslim deprivation cannot be addressed adequately through extension and implementation of reservations alone. OBC reservations apply only to public employment, and now at higher levels of education.
With the report detailing the nature of discrimination against Muslims, the challenge before government, political class, private sector and civil society is to create institutional mechanisms to ensure the delivery of essential public goods.
To begin with, Muslims should be represented in political bodies, policy-making agencies, administration and law-enforcement agencies in relation to their share in the population.
The report dispels the myth that institutional networks such as madrassas can serve as effective implementation agencies for development programmes.
Instead, mosques, by virtue of being public trusts through the network of wakfs, can work as channels of empowerment.
The absence of NGOs and other civil society institutions among Muslims has impacted the delivery of public programmes.
Community ghettoisation is inimical to the formation of such institutions. At present, poorer Muslims are sucked into the social networks of mosques which automatically become part of the wakf board under law.
These Muslim social institutions, however, lack the resources to take up welfare and development work of government agencies.
Their focus is only on sustaining physi-cal assets and discharging religious activities, such as facilitating namaz and burial of the dead.
Wakf-related institutions should be given legal sanction under the Indian Trust Act as centres of welfare activity, so that they can receive, manage and use public funds to address the problems of the poor within their domain.
Even as such empowered institutions are linked to mosques and wakfs, their welfare activities should cover all those living within the geographic confines of the institutions, irrespective of religious, caste and place of origin.
This model is already working successfully in Tamil Nadu. The report draws data from various government departments and institutions at the Centre and state levels for information on employment, development programmes and participation in governance.
Banks, financial institutions, educational institutions and public sector undertakings also shared their data. Besides data from the Census and NSSO, information from special surveys of the National Council of Applied Economic Research and National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration have been used.
It is important to recognise the intrinsic value of this information and not attribute political and ideological motives to the committee's efforts to find appropriate data to analyse the conditions of Muslims.
All developed countries and most developing ones give appropriate emphasis to looking after the interests of minorities.
In any country, the faith and confidence of the minorities in the impartiality of the state is an acid test of its being a just state.
The writer was member-secretary in the PMO committee to look into status of Muslims.
Mike Ghouse, Dallas,
If I were to commit a crime, I must be punished by the laws of the land. I must be blamed for it , not my family, not my neighbors, not my employer, and certainly not my religion. Even though I may claim to be a Muslim, the act is mine and not approved by the Muslim community, please just go along with me now.
I have debated about this quite often with myself and have often won and have lost a few times, paradoxically at the same instance. Please put your wisdom hat and take a look at this proposition.
The following statements and questions are the frame of reference to go further from here:
How would you suggest I describe the terrorist attacks carried out by “radical Muslims” since they use Islam as a shield for their murderous acts?
Using the word “Moderate Muslim” is certainly pleasing to almost all Muslims, as they are. However, Muslims have difficulty in getting classified on a group basis. It will tick the “Radicals” even more, we can choose to embrace or confront them whichever produces the best results for the overall peace and prosperity of the society.
Please avoid using the words terrorism as a prefix or suffix to the words Islam or Muslim. We should not fall into the pit of taking out on religions - religions are always peaceful, it is the individuals who are bad. The phrases “Islamist terrorism” and “Islamist fascism” are counter productive, just terrorism would be the right choice. By just using the word terrorism, we will not be alienating “Moderate Muslims”, who make up 98% of the Muslim population.
All wars start with words. So do the conflicts within the family, community, or friends circle starts with the wrong choice of words.
If the goal of societies is to work on acceptable co-existence, then we have the following choices to make from an extremist point of view to a liberal thought and a whole range of options in between. What would you come up with, and why?
Explore if the actions of the terrorists were prompted by any reason that can be addressed or removed. We have to have goodwill within us to assume that they are humans and their motivations are similar to ours; a peaceful life, respect, family and worship. If we are flawed, we are no better than them.
Get them to dialogue. The thought of wiping them off the face of the earth may subside our short-term rage, but will aggravate the conflict even more. As there is difference between child abuse and child discipline, there is a difference in how we handle the terrorists. It will take a few more generations to unburden the guilt of Holocaust.
What guarantee do we have that we will not produce Hitler’s, Crusaders or the inquisition gang again? We did the right thing by not bashing their religions, had we done that, the conflict would have been eternal. Can we apply that logic to the terrorists.
By barking at Muslims (insinuating all Muslims) which comes from prefixing the word terrorist with Islam or Muslim, we are being un-just and are not sincere about building goodwill - meaning our intent for peace is not forthright, we are biased and confirming it with the logic in hidden words. Let's earnestly seek the peace and work for co-existence. Let's learn to bark at the right people; the criminals. Let's not give them the privilege of the word Islam or Muslim. They are pure criminals and let's treat them as such. Those wordings will gain a lot more support from Muslims, who are great people, like the people in every faith.
Bomb them all and clean the world of all Arabs first, next get the Muslims out, then get all Muslims sympathizers out, and finally get every one out who is opposed to wiping them off. The world would be a heaven, wouldn’t it ?
Then the right wing extremists will clean the world of all the Jews, Hindus, Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, Lutherans, Pagans and any one who is not a member of their party. Then who will be left? Remember Martin Niemöller's poem? The thought of cleansing is more dangerous to our world and is responsible for spurring terrorism.
If we understand our choices, we need to develop the attitudes that will seek solutions, and bring sustainable peace and equilibrium to the society. Our actions towards them are based on our arrogance and that makes the terrorists dig in their heels. Our cry for peace is as fake as their cry for solutions.
Terrorism is succeeding because we are pushing them. Some 20 years have gone by since the fall of the evil Russian Empire, which we eagerly replaced by Muslims as the evil. Neither our attitudes nor our actions have worked because we believe in our might and not in our wisdom.
Islam forbids war, suicide, compulsion, oppression and killing of any one, unless it is in self-defense. So is every faith! Let’s separate bad guys from religion. Throw me in the ditch for the wrongs I do, do not crucify my family, my neighbors or my religion. Don’t let me escape by broadening your shooting range to a billion Muslims.
My suggestion is to laser bark, meaning bark at the criminals for who they are. Don’t create a whole world around them to be blamed, don’t bomb the whole country for it, don’t give them a religion to be blamed, and don’t shift the blame on anything that surrounds them. Just laser bark at the criminals and then we will make progress.
If we had laser barked at Osama Bin Laden; 3000 of our men and women, 600,000 + Iraqi's, families in Afghanistan celebrating weddings. Perhaps even 2000+ Lebanese, 400+ Israeli Soldiers and now thousands of Children, men and women's life in Gaza is endangered. I seriously question if AhmediNejad would have been emboldened to make evil statements. The problem is our disorientation more so than the few Satan's tempting us. Thanks God, democracy is re-stored in America and reason and logic will prevail and once again, we will earn our name in the community of nations that we, the Americans are a fair, kind, rational and reasonable people committed to stand for the liberty and justice for all.
By barking at the Universe, we have failed to point our gun at the bad guys… Let’s not bark at Muslims or Islam, instead go after the wrong doers. Results are bound to come.
Mike Ghouse is a free thinker and a pluralist with the aptitude to find solutions. He believes that if we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, conflicts fade and solutions emerge. Mike can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com and at the websites http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/