Friday, November 30, 2012

Building Bridges on Turkish TV with Mike Ghouse


God wants us to live in peace, and harmony with each other.  If we follow the Sunnah (practice) of Prophet Muhammad and follow the Guidance of Quraan, we can seldom go wrong.   What does it take to build that momentum… to bring about a change in a society,   I am glad to see Muslims taking the initiatives to build a cohesive world. The Role of Muslims in building cohesive societies was broadly the topic, and Pluralism, co-existence, Islam, Israel and peace were part of the conversation.  Continued


Thanks to the Turkish Television A9 for their program building bridges with guests from around the world. If you get the time, check out some of the fascinating interviews.

I was called to talk about Role of Muslim in the world, and Pluralism, co-existence, Islam, Israel and peace. What can we do to bring about a change in a society, what does it take... I am glad to see Muslims taking the initiatives to build a cohesive world.

On my part, I have a lot more work to do, one of them is to get Jews, Christians and Muslim to start including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Baha’i, Wicca, Earth based and native traditions as a part of their casual conversation.

My message at the end was, God has intentionally created us to different races, religions, ethnicities and cultures, let’s honor gods wish for us to live cohesively.

God willing and media willing, I will be on a few more TV talk shows in 2013, but my dream is to be on Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow Shows, I will make the effort to communicate pluralism with humor.

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, Israel, India, Pakistan, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes everything you want to know about him.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Egypt, Morsi and Brotherhood on Sean Hannity with Mike Ghouse

Tonight on Hannity show, Mike Ghouse about Brotherhood

Talking points

1.    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declares himself above the law, neither the Judiciary nor the parliament can question his authority

2.    This is a dangerous situation, the wolf in sheep’s clothing unravels himself, this is where Sean Hannity and I see things differently

a.    Sean is right in his concerns about the brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt.

b.    I believe in the power of people, the people who dared the tyrant Mubarak and got the freedom will not allow another tyrants to take over. It will take time for democracy to take root in Egypt.

3.    The Judiciary has declared it illegal and has challenged Morsi. Morsi is downright stupid.

4.    The protestors are out again, nearly 200 are wounded, but they will not let Morsi, the wolf in sheep’s clothing crush their hard earned freedom.

When the Egyptians got the freedom in January of this year, they wanted democracy and not another tyrant.

5.    The Military establishment was not happy that their candidate did not make it, and the internal strife between Morsi and the establishment is on… Morsi tried to fire Mahmud, the military man. Who knows there is a pattern out there in Muslim run nations like Pakistan where the Military takes it over…?

However, I believe in the power of freedom movement, once it is started, it cannot be stopped. People will get their freedom and democracy one way of the other

6.    Gaza Truce – I hope it stays, it was good to see a religious cleric in Suleman AlDaya, Gaza gave a fatwa that it is a sin to break the truce…and I hope it multiplies, if I were the US Ambassador, I would seek more of those opinions and have discussions on it to firm up respecting the truce. If the Ambassador cannot do this, what is he or she doing there?

7.    The Hamas spokesperson Taher Nunu  said he is committed to the truce

8.    Hamas demands that Israel lift the restrictions of movement of goods and people. Israel currently has restrictions; Gaza is like a high security prison…. They cannot even get the constructions and medical supplies… and those who want to supply them, like the civilian boats, have been hit by Israel. Has anyone thought of the cause of the frustrations of Gazans? Didn’t George Washington Rebel against the tyrant Brits then?

9.    Though Obama has been successful in diplomacy, he is a dismal failure in bringing peace to Israel and Palestine. He has made many mistakes that I have listed on the blog

10. Israel needs security and Palestinians justice, nothing short of it will work. Hamas needs to reign in on those rockets and Israel needs to lift the restrictions around Gaza and stop the illegal settlements in west bank.

11. Israel is our ally, and we have every right to guide them to peace. Netanyahu will make the bloodthirsty among us feel good, but not the peace makers.  It is a shame on the leadership for their failure to bring solutions to this issue. No one can crush the will of the people to be free.

|Netanyahu will cause more damage to the peace process and generate resentment towards Israel in the community of nations by disregarding the UN resolutions and practicing discriminatory practices against a people. It is in Israel’s interest to work, and our right wing friends are blinded not to see that.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, Israel, India, Pakistan, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes everything you want to know about him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Criticism of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and free speech

Criticism of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and free speech

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We need to welcome every criticism of Qur'an, Islam and the Prophet and deal with it with grace. Let freedom of speech be the corner stone of Islam.

Islam is not going anywhere; prophet is not going anywhere, and by opening ourselves up to criticism, we will learn a lot more about our faith than we would ever know. We need to move away from intolerance to acceptance of a different point of view without having to agree with it. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lived through it and Muslims can learn from his examples.

Criticism can fade away or rain on us depending on how Muslims respond to it.  Lack of conviction in one's faith breeds intolerance towards criticism, whereas firmness in faith can lead us to learn from criticism, explore the infinite wisdom and realize the strength of our faith (Imaan); a worthy feeling to have, instead of living in doubt and shooing criticism away.

You may ask, "Why are you presenting a different point of view, and why should I believe you?" The great scholars from the past have done it, and what is the need for me to learn?

I will ask you, "Why wouldn't you review the work of Tariq Ramadan, Hamza Yusuf, Ziauddin Sardar, Wahiduddin Khan, Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Asghar Ali Engineer, Chandra Muzaffar, and a host of other critical Muslim thinkers? Why should you believe every word of Maududi, Banna and others? Isn't Islam for all times and all people?

Way back in 1967, my sister had asked me, if I knew more than Allama Iqbal? That question has never left my mind, and I had to scramble for the answer, the answer was a definite no, but I did not want to discard individual responsibility of not learning and knowing it on my own. I was always stuck with one of the most powerful sentences from Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) last sermon, "I leave behind two things, the Qur'an and the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray." The responsibility to know was placed directly on us.

Like all Mothers, my Mother taught me responsibility, she said, "if you do wrong, you alone will get punished and not your brother who might have instigated you, it is not what he said, but it is how you respond that matters to me". She would invariably add, "On the Day of Judgment, you stand alone, there will be no one for you, as each one will be busy in reflecting his or her own deeds."

The Qur'an repeatedly reinforces the paramount principle of faith: "O You who believe, on you rests (the responsibility) of your souls"(Q5:105) and (Q53:38), "that no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear anther's burden." The picture was clear to me.

I don't wish this for others, but the best thing that has ever happened to me was walking away from Islam and Qur'an when I was 15. I made the same mistake that every maligner of Islam makes; reading the wrong translations of Qur'an and blaming the religion for it. After 30 years of searching for the truth on my own as the Prophet had advised "to read the book", I found the truth. Islam is an inclusive faith, it is about co-existence, it is a faith that appreciates all of God's creation and urges one to respect the otherness of others (Qur'an 109:6) without having to agree, it explicitly says (Qur'an 49:13), that all of us are his creation, created to be different, and that we have to learn about each other to mitigate the conflicts and nurture goodwill. Today, I am proud to be a believer, not a blind one, but a critical believer in Islam.

The Critical thinking has given me inordinate confidence to the point of challenging Pastor Jeffress in Dallas, that if he finds three faults in Qur'an, I will convert to his faith, and if he cannot, all I asked of him was to become a blessed peacemaker and work with me in mitigating conflicts and building a cohesive America, where all of us can aspire to live without the fear of the other. He backed off as we returned the bad challenge with the request to reason and finding the truth. We held a Qur'an Conference with ten Non Muslim Clergy on the panel and four Muslims including Imam Zia Shaikh, Dr. Basheer Ahmed, Imam Shakoor and Brother Hamid Shaikh, and I moderated the event. A full accounting of the event, including media interviews and the program is recorded in details at

When you have an issue with your spouse and child, you don't scream and shut them down; the problem will not go away unless you face it and solve the issue. When people accept the solutions willingly, we will have peace. Isn't that Islam is all about, freedom?

Indeed, we must gracefully respond to every criticism of Qur'an, Islam and the Prophet and I have the patience to welcome it.

Aren't we supposed to learn and know each other to mitigate conflicts and create the kingdom of heaven right here on the earth, while waiting to go the next heaven? Didn't God say, the best among you is the one who learns about the other (49:13), so the myths, phobias and fears can be dismantled?

I urge fellow Muslims to open to all the criticism with confidence, don't shut it, and let freedom of speech be the corner stone of Islam. Islam stands on its own; it does not need our defense, and it is silly to protect God or the Prophet, they are not weaklings or our property to protect, they belong to the whole universe, don't they?

Muhammad Yunus, a Muslim thinker and a writer at New Age Islam responds,   "Doesn't the Qur'an repetitively say, "repel evil with good" (13:22, 23:96, 41:34). Shouldn't you take the opportunity to demonstrate the good in your faith and remove the cloud of hatred that is forming by the twin growing menaces of the day: Islamophobia and Radicalization? Inscribe on the facade of your mosques in bold and golden letters, the verses of the Qur'an that demonstrate the divine scheme on religious pluralism - 2:62, 2:136, 4:124, 5:69, 22:17, 64:9, 65:11 for example.

Tell the believing world by visual display on billboards at all Islamic centers that the divine Light is lit in all places of pure worship (24:35) and God's name is proclaimed regularly in monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques (22:40). Inform the atheist and all categories of non-believers that they all are recipients of a portion of divine spirit (15:29, 32:7-9, 38:72) and God will judge them as well along with the believing humanity (22:17). Tell the whole world that however they demonize our Prophet, we must ignore them as this is an article of faith for us (6:112, 25:31).

Dr. Tariq Cheema of World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, adds another point of view, "the Muslim scholars and intellectuals around the world must rise to the challenge and offer guidance to the faith-loving masses on how to encounter the exploitation of freedom of speech, which is often quite provocative and insulting. On the other hand every one must strive for a legislation that guards the sanctity of all religions and their Prophets, scriptures, and symbols alike."

Prioritizing Sunnah

The most important Sunnah (Prophet's example) and the first Sunnah is to be the Amin; the trust worthy (81:21), the truth teller and someone who mitigates conflicts and nurtures good will for the peaceful coexistence of his or her neighbors, communities, tribes and nations.

That was the first example of Muhammad (pbuh) to be a good citizen, wasn't it? Wasn't that the first model prophet had set up for one to follow? Mind you, he was called Amin by non-Muslims. Shouldn't we start with the same first foot forward? To be good citizens, whether in Pakistan, America, Saudi Arabia, China or Indonesia, we have to earn it by being a participant and a contributor towards the wellbeing of the nation. Your presence should relax others, and make them comfortable that you are a peacemaker and they can trust you for your fairness. Do you follow the Prophet?

The second most important Sunna to follow is to be Rahmatul Aalameen (Mercy to mankind) (21:107). To be a Rahmat (Mercy) to fellow beings who are Atheist, Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Wicca, Natives, Zoroastrians and others, we must be kind to them, no one should be afraid or apprehensive of us. Should anyone be afraid of a Muslim, then we have not followed the Sunna of the prophet.

Please note that I have stripped the title of Allama or Maulana from all the names above. We have a habit of placing individuals next to God, they are just like you and I, of course with more knowledge, sometimes real, and sometimes looped up. Practicing and rehearsing the same wrong thing over and over again does not make them perfect. We need to reserve the titles to the Prophets; all others must be referred to just by their names with utmost respect.

We should not be loose with titles, unless they have shown that Allah is Rabbul Aaalamen (Universality of the Creator) and Muhammad is Rahmatul Aalameen in their actions and words. How many of them would qualify to be an Allama then?

All other Sunna emanates from these two basic steps, clearly and unambiguously corroborated by the Qur'an (81:21, 21:107).

We cannot compromise on free speech, however much a few may abuse it, but free speech is an enduring value and the hallmark of civilization. I believe in free speech and that is the only way societies will grow. As Muslims we need to seriously consider the gains Muslims have had, that far outweigh the tensions given by a handful of loonies.

Islam is a universal inclusive faith, it is from Rabbul Aalameen (creator of the universe, its prophet is Rahmatul Aalameen (Mercy to mankind) and we should be Mukhlooqul Aalameen (Universal, all embracing beings). Islam is about goodness and not forcing others, and not domineering but co-existing, just as the Prophet did and proclaimed in the Madinah treaty. Islam is about appreciating everything God has created on this universe (55:16).

If they curse the prophet, prophet is not going to be cursed, have the strength in your faith and return badness with Good; we know all the examples of his work. When you hear someone curse the prophet, just say I am sorry you feel that way, but if you wish to seek the truth, find it on your own or I will connect you with someone who can guide you, if you don't that is your choice and nothing will come off me or the prophet, your words do not have the power to reduce Islam or the prophet, I will pray peace of mind to you. 

Don't feel compelled to convince anyone, let go. What did Allah say to Prophet when he was frustrated that people were not getting his message? You do your dharma (duty) and let them have the freedom to accept. Elsewhere God says there is no compulsion in matters of faith (2:256).

Have confidence, read what is good in Islam and ignore the bad things others say, write, or put it in the film about Islam or its Prophet.  From the very first day of his mission, the Prophet was criticized and the Qur'an reviled and the criticism and revulsion only gained momentum through the medieval ages as Islam continued to win the hearts of other people. It has come to surface again with greater ferocity, but we the Muslims as peace makers must act peacefully.    

Islam is not going anywhere, prophet is not going anywhere, and by opening up you will enjoy your Imaan (faith) immensely with genuine admiration for its wisdom. I thank Allah for helping me see the light and beauty of Islam, and you can too.

Related Articles:

• Huffington Post -Muslims don't get it

• Dallas Morning news -Separation of church and state

• Dallas Morning news - right to free speech

• Critical Muslim by Ziauddin Sardar

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, Israel, India, Pakistan, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes everything you want to know about him.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Achieving Security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians

How to achieve Security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians

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The long term security of Israelis hinge on justice to the Palestinians, and peace to the Palestinians depends on the safety of Israelis. One will not happen without the other. In view of accomplishing the twin goal, both parties have failed the respective populations. The following essay may not be comfortable to a segment of Jews and Muslims, but the recommendations must be factored in to finding a sustainable solution.   

Security may be broadly defined as living without fear and apprehension, the state of security exists when the Israelis can go about shopping in the malls without caution, drop their guard when their children and family members ride a bus, and when they visit the pyramids, they can do so without second thoughts.

Justice to the Palestinians exists when they can live without worries of getting kicked out of their own homes, when have their own identity in the world as people of Palestine, have their own passport without the apartheidic restrictions, rights to the land they can call their own, and move about freely without check posts or the walls.

The Palestinians and Israelis are indeed endowed by “their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Now let’s acknowledge the actions of the parties in the light of accomplishing that twin goal and put them back on the track. 

When a child or a spouse is pushed around, placed on a curfew,  threatened, and his or her liberties stripped, he or she is left with few options than cursing, hurling dishes, and  quietly or blatantly destroying the belongings of the oppressive man of the house.  In your work place, when you are pushed around, and cannot do much against the tyrant boss, what do you do? Regardless of where this happens, be it in the United States, China, Israel, Saudi Arabia or Mexico, the response would be similar.

It is shameful to justify the behavior of the oppressor, “They did not listen to him, they were disobedient and destructive, and the man of the house did the right thing; beat the crap out of them and teach them a lesson.”

The woman who is raped is blamed for going to the bar, or wearing a mini skirt or getting drunk while shooting the pool with the boys. This stinky attitude is even prevalent among women.    

The Hutus justified the massacre of Tutsis, as the oppressors always do.  When President Habyarimana of Rwanda was assassinated in 1994, the Hutu majority went on a killing spree and we witnessed the Rwandan Genocide of the Tutsis. When Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India was assassinated in 1984, the Hindu mobs went on a killing spree of the Sikhs. The Muslim mobs have gone on torturing the minorities in Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere. The words used and justifications made were similar.  The oppressors, rapists, murderers and tyrants always justify their behavior.

Hamas Terror

We unequivocally condemn Hamas for their random shelling of the rockets into Israel; and the shameful acts of terrorizing the civilian population in Israel.  As a Muslim I protest their acts, and request the Organization of Islamic Countries to join the Muslims worldwide in condemning these acts, and demand Hamas to give up terrorizing the innocent and seek solutions through civil process.

Paul Goldstein, my Jewish American friend living in Norway writes, “These (acts) have instilled fear into the daily lives of innocent Israeli civilians throughout the country, and have hit major cities, causing injuries, damage, and fatalities. Many hundreds of rockets are hitting Israel daily.” And he adds, “No country in the world can or should tolerate being subjected to continuous rocket attacks against its major population centers. With sadness, I concede that Israeli military action is necessary in this emergency situation to protect its citizens in safety, Jews and Arabs alike.” 

President Obama also defended Israel, “Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory, “and, "If that can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that's preferable...”

The actions of Hamas are unforgivable, and I appeal to the thoughtful among you, did we give them choices to act differently?  

 “When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.” -  Former Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir.

Israeli Reaction

In every ugly massacre or genocide, whether it was the Hutsies, Hitler, Saddam, Assad, Gaddaffi or others; they rulers wanted to teach a lesson to the entire population for the acts of the few.   

Can we justify these acts to keep the urchins, spouses or irritants in their place? I am severely disappointed at the short-sightedness of President Obama and his administration.  We should have paid attention to the missiles long time ago and found solutions then, instead of waking up one day and justifying brutal retaliation. 

What was Prime Minister Netanyahu doing all these months, instead of initiating a dialogue he chose to pound Gaza, did the think that the missiles will stop reigning on their own? 

The illegal settlements and lawlessness has to stop; it brings despair to the Palestinians who want peace. The brutal retaliation needs to stop, it is a burden that the Prime Minister may escape but the Israelis will have to carry it on their psyche for generations to come. Is that the kind of Nation Israelis want?  Does violence solve the problems, has it ever? 

Unintended consequences 

If the United Nations were to place “Cease fire” for vote today, more than likely, 178 nations will vote yes, and five will go against it including the United States, Israel and a few dependent nations. Do you think the people of the 178 nations feel resentment and bitterness toward the powerful? This is not good for Jews or Israel and the world in the long haul. 

The retaliatory actions taken by Netanyahu, and endorsed by Obama are detrimental to Israel’s security in the long run.  Their actions do not mitigate conflicts, but flare up and prolong the eternal dream of Jews to live in peace and security. Not only that, they massively contribute to the growing anti-Semitism which has been the very reason for the suffering of Jews for over 3000 years. 

 Injustice against the weak will not go un-reacted to, the only thing the people around the world will feel is build resentment towards the United States and certainly events like this will contribute to Anti-Semitism. Take a look at the Anti-Israel rage across globe as violence in Gaza goes on
Call for action.

The United Nations need to call for an immediate cease-fire; both parties need to hold the fire. Goldstein, “Israel cannot cease hostile action on its own side while Hamas continues to terrorize with impunity the citizens of major cities with long-range rocket attacks.” 

In the interest of Security for Israelis and Justice for the Palestinians, President Obama has to play an honest broker of peace, which will be tough on our ally Israel. Demand the Israeli Parliament to invite Hamas leadership to join the talk immediately on our grounds at the Rose Garden. If Saudi Arabia and Egypt are convinced about our sincerity, they will bring Hamas aboard.
Our support to Israel or Palestine should be based on results. We have caused the conflict to prolong, and we bear the responsibility to find solutions. We need to be just and honest.

The Jewish people want sincerity as much as the Palestinians, they don't want duplicity from our leadership, and they had plenty of that in since 1948. They need sincerity and security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians.

The two state solutions is the way to go forward and one of the most fundamental items to be included in the transaction is to develop a school curriculum without malice towards each other.  A new generation must be raised with hope and goodwill, so they can live in peace and prosperity. This should be an uncompromising goal. 

This is a life time opportunity for President Obama to forge peace between these two people, who have endured a lot of pain and both deserve relief. It’s time for him to earn that Nobel Prize that was dished out to him.

It is in the interest of the world to build cohesive societies, where no one has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other.  The people of Israel have more options and power to change things, than the Palestinians. May God give sanity to the aggrieved parties to find peace. Amen!

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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace making, foreign policy, Islam, Israel, India, Pakistan, interfaith, and cohesion at work place or social settings. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at Mike has a strong presence on national local TV, Radio and Print Media, and is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News, fortnightly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes everything you want to know about him.

Moderate Muslim Speaker

Moderate Muslim Speaker
email to: or text to (214) 325-1916


Email to: or text (214) 325-1916

Moderate Islam

Moderate Islam
Moderate Islamic Speaker