Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BOLD STEPS : Muslims should not apologize

 The Muslim community should not apologize for the crimes they did not commit. They are as American as anyone, and have the same concerns about extremism, violence and terrorism. They should assert their rights, and consciously earn the support from the sane majority to speak up with them against the Anti-Muslim bigotry. We have to stand up for each other and build a cohesive America, where all of us can function effectively without apprehension of any - Mike Ghouse


Texas Faith: Have Muslims effectively confronted terrorism within their own community?

Published in Dallas Morning News at 3:15 PM on April 30, 2013 by Wayne Slater

The Boston bombings have heightened the debate over connecting religious affiliation with violence and militancy. There seems to be no doubt that the attacks were associated, at least in the minds of the alleged bombers, with Islam. The drumbeat to convict Islam is loud among some on the right. But many on the left, worried about being politically incorrect, have tried to explain away the hijacking of a major religion by virtually avoiding direct mention of Islam altogether. Neither approach is helpful.
Into the heart of this debate strode Ruslan Tsarni, an uncle of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers. Activist and author Asra Nomani notes in the Washington Post that while others were avoiding or exploiting the issue, Tsarni confronted a central question head-on. Tsarni said his nephews had brought shame on the family. He confronted the dishonor of terrorism within his own community and denounced it. Normani wrote: The collectivist-minded Muslim community needs to learn an important lesson from Tsarni: It’s time to acknowledge the dishonor of terrorism within our communities, not to deny it because of shame.”

Have Muslims been as effective as they could be in publicly confronting terrorism within their own community? Is there a danger that Uncle Ruslan’s direct, blunt and unequivocal denunciation might feed anti-Muslim bigotry? Or is it exactly what’s needed?
Our Texas Faith had some strong ideas:
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas, and Speaker on interfaith matters, diversity and pluralism
Uncle Ruslan’s direct, blunt and unequivocal denunciation of terrorism mirrors what the Muslims do; day in and day out. Facts don’t matter to the right, and indeed it will feed anti-Muslim bigotry demanding a pound of flesh from the community. Muslims are sick of extremists just as everyone else.
In fact, most of the FBI terror suspects arrested after 9/11 were turned in by Muslims, and Muslims rejoice when one of those guys is arrested hoping and praying this to be the last one. Safeguarding America is the right thing to do and Muslims do their patriotic duty well.
I was on Hannity show twice in the last week, as well as on the national radio network. My last comment was, Muslims do condemn terrorism every time, more than their share in comparable situations, but they don’t get the microphone. “On your show Sean, I am condemning it, and almost all Muslims will do that if you stick the microphone in their face.”
Just Google, “Do Muslims condemn terrorism?” Sheila Musaji of the American Muslim has compiled anextensive list, and the Ontario consultants on religious tolerance sum it up as follows; “Actually, there are lots of fatwas and other statements issued which condemn attacks on innocent civilians. Unfortunately, they are largely ignored by newspapers, television, radio and other media outlets.”
If we are looking for each one of the 6 million American Muslims to condemn it individually, then we need to ask, did 318 Million of us Americans condemn the Newtown and other killings?

Muslim Americans are as effective in stopping terrorism as all Americans in stopping murders of 3300 Americans in the four months following Newtown shooting. Neither the New town terrorist, nor the Wisconsin killer were authorized by Americans, nor were the Tsarnaev brothers authorized by Muslims. A day before the terrorists were identified as Muslims, I boldly wrote in Huffington Post, so “What if the Boston terrorist turns out to be Muslim?”
What is needed?
The Muslim community should not apologize for the crimes they did not commit. They are as American as anyone, and have the same concerns about extremism, violence and terrorism. They should assert their rights, and consciously earn the support from the sane majority to speak up with them against the Anti-Muslim bigotry. We have to stand up for each other for a cohesive America.

To see all the 9 responses, please visit:


A few points for Muslims to ponder: 

I have consciously made an effort to ask fellow Muslims to share their comments to be included in the articles I write.  In this article, I have included Sheila Musaji's quote - for those who are searching for Muslims speakers, at least I have added one more name in my circles of readers. Check out the links associated with her name. 

We are still not a part of the society. Living, eating, mixing and doing things with fellow Americans who are not Muslim is not a norm. You rarely find them at our birthdays, funerals, graduation parties or just about any party. Are we not capable of making friends? How long will we be chasing our own tails?

We need to quit being judgmental however much we disagree with fellow Muslims. We should not accept the salesman's job to hell, giving free tickets to hell to Muslims and non-Muslims as well. Let's leave that to God. 

It is sickening to see Muslims being relegated to parroting every damn thing to be haram - halal.  Is that all we are capable of doing? 

We Muslims need to believe and practice verse 49:6 of Quran 49:6 (Asad) O YOU who have attained to faith! If any iniquitous person comes to you with a [slanderous] tale, use your discernment, [5] lest you hurt people unwittingly and afterwards be filled with remorse for what you have done. [6]

Let's learn from our Jewish brothers and sisters, and quit bitching that they control the media, that is a poor excuse for our inabilities. They are consciously involved in every aspect of American life; there is not a place where you don't find them contributing towards the well being of the public at large. We need to write in our local dailies - in the readers' comments section, not about matters that matter us, but matters that matter most people of the City. Our presence is almost non-existent. Whichever City I visit, I see in the readers' comments if Muslims are involved in the common issues - I am afraid not. We are a single issue community, and that won't cut it in the long run.  How can we expect Peter King's to change his mind, if we live in Ghettos (sorry, Silos - sorry posh homes). 

Insha Allah, we can be assertive and bold. I am looking to form an informal group of at least three Muslims in each major city, who are willing to spend a minimum of four hours a month to volunteer to be the media contact for you city. Believe me, the Muslim organizations cannot do it, they have loads of work to do, and are under the gun and not free to speak up. Those who are seeking monies will not do it either; we the Public Muslims need to do that. If you are serious, I will start out with home work for everyone to do certain things to get there, you can do it on your own, but if you do it in the group, there will be a qualification process that you have to pass, then you are free to carry on the work of Ambassador for Muslims. 

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel,India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive Americaand offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest onSean 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 atHuffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal indexes all his work through many links.

Islam Misunderstood - Insha Allah, God willing

There are always people, who are are eager to draw conclusions about different situations, they don't even use their brains to google the meaning, and if they went there, they don't use the common sense to check out three to five versions. It is sheer ignorance, that some of the most beautiful Arabic phrases like Insha Allah, Allahu Akbar and Alhmadu Lillah are misunderstood. 

Here is an abuse of  one such phrase, Insha Allah by a Muslim.


Professor Omid Safi writes in facebook Religion News

For your amusement, pleasure, face-palm opportunity, and hopefully, a resolve to move on to a better place than where we are right now: The five dumbest things said (so far) about the Boston Marathon bombings: Ann Coulter, Asra Nomani, and (some) Republicans.

Here is Dr. Safi's comment

Asra Nomani, Muslim journalist for Washington Post:  Use of phrases like “God-willing” is a sign of radicalization.
In breathless “analysis”, Nomani opined that the she had the courage to talk about what other Muslims know about but are too “politically correct” to admit:   that the usage of phrases likeinsha’allah (“God-willing”) by Muslims is a “red flag” of “someone who is becoming hardcore. “
Asra Nomani:  Washington Post pundit
No, Ms. Nomani.
One wonders how often Ms. Nomani has actually been around real practicing Muslims, whose daily language is imbued with reminders of the Divine:
If you ask most Muslims “How are you?”
You might hear:  “Praise be to God (Alhamdulilah), I am doing well.”
If you ask most Muslims “Will I see you tomorrow?”
You might hear:   “If God wills it (insha’Allah), I will be there.”
To point out a beautiful child, a Muslim might state “Look at what God has willed (masha’allah), what a beautiful child!”
The use, and increased usage, of phrases like Godwilling (insha’allah) is not a sign of radicalization, but merely one of piety.   In the Qur’an, God enjoins upon Muslims:  “never say I will do such-and-such tomorrow without adding If-God-wills-it-so…’”  [Qur’an 18:23-24]
If such phraseology sounds “stuffy” to some ears, it is (or was) a part of the Christian tradition as well.  The Epistle of James (4:15) includes the following injunction:
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
If the Lord will…

Uttering these phrases makes one neither a Christian radical nor a Muslim radical, but simply a person who recognizes that we, by our own selves, can do nothing.   We acknowledge that our life, breath, soul, and will, are all dependent on God.
Then again, I am not sure how much to expect from someone like Asra Nomani who uses her position of access in media to argue that Muslims should be racially profiled.

Dear Omid,
Thank you for looking at this serious issue of the Boston Marathon bombing, an issue that has shaken the nation as these acts of violence do.
The statement that I wrote regarding the use of “Inshallah” was in the specific context of a transformation of an individual. I noted that the uncle to the oldest bombing suspect could sense a change in his nephew when he saw the change in language in the context of other changes.
Hyper-emphasis or, conversely, lack of emphasis on issues of orthopraxy, or external signs of ritual, are ones that I know you are well familiar with as signals about someone’s ideological bent.
When I wrote that this was a politically incorrect statement, I was clearly accurate.
I would just like to note that I am surprised to read such sarcastic, mocking and partisan comments from someone who I have respected as quite compassionate, serious and fair. Framing your analysis of comments you call “idiotic ignorance” certainly doesn’t seem to match the level of intellectual and academic rigor to which I thought you subscribed.
I do not have such “idiotic ignorance” that I believe the singular use of the phrase “Inshallah” is signs of radicalism, otherwise every US soldier who uses the phrase in Afghanistan to build rapport would be a suspected member of the Taliban, which clearly is not the case.
Further, to mock me as someone who “uses” my position in the media to argue a position is extremely unfair and illogical. I am a journalist and writing articles is what I do. What’s more, I am very clear that my advocacy is for the inclusion of religion and ethnicity in threat assessment, not anything that would be discrimination, harassment or unlawful implementation of the law.
Inshallah, we will have a more measured and balanced conversation in the future.
Warmly, Asra
Qalander writes
Asra Nomani has supported racial profiling. She has gone on record to state that the US should follow the “Israeli model” of profiling. She has defended and even applauded Peter King for his “hearings” on “radical Muslims.” Now she is making these ridiculous statements about how saying “insha’Allah” a lot is a “red flag” for extremism.

Asra | Omid
Asra, Your response is appreciated. Being a seasoned journalist, and having endured harassment for the stand you take, you have a greater responsibility to choose the language that does not aggravate the conflict. I see your point of view and context, but facts don’t matter to the right wing nuts, they never get it, they are damned parrots without brains, this is fodder to them.
I started using Insha Allah in the last ten years, when I realized that I had high BP – and simply cannot promise any one, particularly my Muslim friends that “I will deliver the results” -what if I croak and don’t deliver? Indeed it is the humility that makes me say Insha Allah, if I don’t deliver, it means my life is limited and have no control over it and is subject to what was programmed in my DNA.
Many Muslims and I support you for the pioneering work you have done in creating awareness about women’s space in the place of worship. There will be greater acceptability of you, if you could just think – am I worsening the situation or mitigating it? Am I a journalist that presents facts to stir up raw emotions or do my words go towards creating a better society. If you don’t believe you have a social responsibility for a better society, I have no argument then.
Great piece, it is educational and well written. Indeed, I and will share this with my groups. I wrote a similar piece after Major Nidal’s madness and the usage of Allah u Akbar. Its at World Muslim Congress and probably at Huffpost.
Thank you both, a genuine discussion is good.

“She shamelessly uses verses from the Qur’an to justify her House Muslim stance. She goes on to list the grievances she has against the Muslim American community. All religion obviously requires updated interpretation. We’re not objecting to that. We are objecting to Nomani’s approach; she completely disregards Muslims’ First Amendment rights by inviting a lawmaker of a racist, genocidal, islamophobic empire to approach the community with a scalpel. Ask thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghanis just how friendly the US is to Muslims.”

Elena Porcelli All the Muslims I know, liberal or conservative or in between, all use those phrases Omid accuses you of demonizing, whether they are Arabs or not. I do. Not one of them are anywhere near "radicals". I do understand where you may get that idea; for instance many of the converts I know who immediately change their names, start wearing thobes, and walking around using all the arabic they can muster are the ones who seem to spew the most radical ideas.. but that is usually the beginning of their journey, not the end. It seems to me that we may all start out that way but end up well, I guess like me. I can understand why Omid got so upset at the idea; he uses those phrases all the time and I'm sure bristles at the idea anyone would assume he's a radical terrorist because of it. Now if you compare that to say Christian radicalism whereas your friends become "born-again" and start saying things like "praise god!" before and after everything they say you start to wonder if they haven't gone over the deep end, but certainly not assuming they're 2 minutes away from bombing an abortion clinic. The big deal about Tsarni's quote is not the words "inshallah" its that derisive attitude calling it "Religious talk"; we are assuming that the brothers, prior to the bombing, weren't practicing their religion very publicly therefore the sudden onset of SOUNDING religious probably came as a shock and a worry merely because their behavior changed.
Mike Ghouse Elena Porcelli - Your comment above preceding my comment is precise and expressed this conflict very well. Thanks for that note. Hala Arafa - all other right wing nuts associate any beautiful phrase in Arabic with extremism, Asra fanned it for them with the red flag towards extremism. If she were not a Muslim, I understand that, but being a Muslim, Insha Allah is not a threat or sign of extremism.

Dear Asra,
Why do you think Omid, and several others including me, have taken the time to write these extensive reflective notes.
It is not to criticize you, but to keep you within the fold of the genuine moderate Muslims to bring about a positive but gradual awakening. Correct me, if that it is not your drive.
I have always admired you from the very first day you arranged for the women led prayers, you were on my radio show that very same day along with Amina Wadud, and I have stood up for your principles, despite a few short-sighted Muslims calling me names.
As a genuine moderate Muslim, whose Muslimness in not manifested in externalities, I beg you Asra, my sister to stay within the fold, our praise for you work is genuine and will continue to be, however, I do admit, the people who lavish praises for your write ups, far outweigh a few who appreciate your work, but our appreciation is genuine.
I will repeat, “There will be greater acceptability of you, if you could just think – am I worsening the situation or mitigating it? Am I a journalist that presents facts to stir up raw emotions or do my words go towards creating building a cohesive society with respect to every American? If you don’t believe you have a social responsibility for a better society, then I have no argument with you, nor will I appeal to you.
Omid’s comments shows a lot of patience, and I agree with him on this statement, which he has elaborated with documentation, “it is because over the last few years and now again, you are on the wrong side of history, on the wrong side of justice.”
I wrote a similar appeal to you several months ago, begging you to continue your critical work and not fall to the temptations of thousands of congratulatory comments for being the right winger’s “moderate Muslims” which is earned by irrationally criticizing the faith that your profess. The compliments are very appeasing indeed, and joy giving, but in the end, you, Omid and I have to be carried on some one’s shoulders and remembered for the sea change you brought – those rascals (of all faiths and persuasions) that heap shallow praises, will not be there for you, I guarantee you from my little experience. They are using you and may be you have a need for that.
Ultimately, it is the good work you do, that will bring solace to you in your reflective moments.
Asra, I beg you to remain a genuine moderate Muslim – who sees the faults in our practices and brings about corrective actions, instead of pushing fellow Muslims away to gain duplicitous friendships. Don’t believe for a moment that no one was there for you during the Morgan Mosque times, we were all there, and you were busy. We are still here for you.

Just be thoughtful and reasonable, let your words be critical, but a guide to shaping a better society.
Thank you
Mike Ghouse
There are good responses from Omid Safi as well at 

Islam Misunderstood: Allah Akbar misued by Major Nidal Hussain

There are always people, who are are eager to draw conclusions about different situations, they don't even use their brains to google the meaning, and if they wentthere, they don't use the common sense to check out three to five versions. It is sheer ignorance, that some of the most beautiful Arabic phrases like Insha Allah, Allahu Akbar and Alhmadu Lillah are misunderstood. 

Here is an abuse of  one such phrase, Allahu Akbar 

Originally posted on November 25, 2009 
Major Nidal Hasan uttered the phrase “Allahu Akbar” before opening the fire. 

Those who have the desire to find the truth will understand that this phrase is simply a cue for readiness to start a good thing and acknowledging the greatness of God, inversely it is an expression of humility. Although, in religious conflicts, Christian, Hindus, Muslims and others have made God’s name a battle cry, it should not be used to shoot some one or slit someone's throat. It is uttered when some one sees something great happening like the man landing on the moon, or seeing pictures of the planet earth or when some one is doing well. Allahu Akbar is meant to be used to show one’s humility by admiring the creator, apparently Nidal Hasan, the psycho did not know the difference.

Didn't the murderers who wore Christian labels claim they were doing God’s work killing the Doctors at the Abortion Clinics? Didn't Pat Robertson say that Katrina was God's curse? Didn't Falwell say that Americans are cursed with Katrina for allowing Gay and Lesbians to live their lives? Are these statements to be dis-regarded as the words of these loonies? Had Robertson and Falwell lived in the old west, would they have slaughtered any one who differed? Didn't the Missionaries do the same thing with the indigenous people of America; didn't Ferdinand do to the same to Jews and Muslims in 1492? Thank God, America is the nation of laws that prevents Tancredos, Falwells, Robertsons, and Hagees et al from becoming Bin Laden’s.

It is not the religion; it's the individuals that are a source of conflict. Nuclear energy provides electricity and improves the quality of life, yet the same can be used to destroy millions through bombs. Aren't individuals responsible for this rather than the Nuclear energy?

One cannot kill an intangible thing like religion, punish or imprison it and bring justice to the world. Blaming a religion is no more than barking at the wrong tree.

If I murder someone, incarcerate me; my kids, parents, family, nation or my religion has nothing to do with my crimes. You can punish me and bring justice; you cannot do a thing with religion other than propagating hate and harming the structure of the society.

You can certainly punish the instigators or the individuals committing the crime. Blaming the religion is escapism – a gutlessness to face the problem squarely.

Who is responsible?

The responsibility to bring about harmony falls squarely on the shoulders of Muslims and the society at large equally.

Muslims should be the first ones to be asking why this happens. Should they make an effort to teach every where that Allahu Akbar means humility and not an incitement or a cue to kill as portrayed on the media over and over again? Indeed, the Muslims are doing everything to let the world know that they recognize the problem and are fighting to correct it. All they need is the media to give them a hand, especially the moderate majority and not the radicals.

The Muslims are appalled at this while a few Neocons are rejoicing it; let’s hope that the media reports these happenings proportionately to let the world know the truth.

Who is responsible?
Each one of us.

The society at large needs to ponder, if our words and actions are conflagrating the conflicts or mitigating? Hateful words hurled at any one's family, nation or religion does nothing but aggravate the situation. Each one of us should ask ourselves, what have I done to mitigate conflict? Have we ever thought of looking at other people as "us" rather than "them"? Think about it and make an effort and see the difference it makes in your life... you may actually become a peace maker, if that frightens you.

We need to think about Religion once again; the teachings of Jesus, Moses, Krishna, Mohammad, Bahaullah, Nanak, Buddha, Mahavir, Zarathustra, Confucius and great many spiritual leaders. They taught the golden rules - treat others as you would wanted to be treated. Loving brings peace, hating messes up every one. Forgiveness brings peace to us, anger destroys ourselves. Religion is not needed to do this; however, it is major source of shaping one's lives.

Start thinking of caring for others and it will make a difference, if it has, please share it.

Mike Ghouse

Interesting reads:

1. Psychology Today writes, major Nidal, why did he do it?

2. Allahu Akbar, a poem by Matthew Moes, the first person to comment on this page

3. Senseless shooting violated Islamic faith

4. Fort Hood shooter attacked Muslims too

5. My notes from a meeting with Dallas Peace Center

# # #

Mike Ghouse

Muslim thinker, writer and a speaker

Moderate Muslim Speaker

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


Email to: or text (214) 325-1916

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