Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dallas Thanksgiving Celebrations and Awards Night, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson graces the occassion

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas presided over the proceedings of the 16th annual thanksgiving celebrations and awards night on Saturday, November 22, 2014. It is a bridge building event between communities.

We ought to be thankful to Native Americans, who did not put the electric fence around Americas to keep the illegal aliens like Columbus and other Europeans from entering America without a visa.  Today, we are a nation of immigrants, other than the natives; almost all of us are immigrants from one to several generations.
The event was organized by America Together Foundation, World Muslim Congress. And the Foundation for Pluralism, all committed to building a cohesive America where no American has to live in tension, discomfort, apprehension or fear of the other.

The purpose of celebrating this event was to thank God for guiding us to learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us.  And more importantly it is to familiarize the new immigrants with the festivities.  You’ll be surprised to find that many of them have not even seen the thanksgiving meal and its fixings. It was not a part of their study for citizenship and apparently no one has done this as a public event. 
“Congresswoman Johnson represents the aspiration of fellow Americans; justice and liberty for every American in his or her pursuit of happiness, and she fights for that relentlessly – Is that the kind of congressperson we want?, well here she is.” Mike Ghouse welcomed her amidst a thunderous applause. 

To paraphrase Congresswoman Johnson, “we have made sacrifices to respect the human rights, civil liberties and freedom for our new generations and now they have those rights.   On the map of the world, ours is still the best country.  The immigrant community has always played an important role in the development of US." 
It was a delight to watch the Congresswoman carve the symbolic turkey, and sharing what thanksgiving means to her; to count your blessings.  For many a immigrants it is an introduction to the American way of life and who else can do a better job than the Congresswoman? Through her efforts and against all impediments, she has realized her American dream. 

Chef Ali of Spicy Cuisine in Irving prepared delicious vegetarian and non-veg meals with a fixing of thanksgiving delicacies. 

Congresswoman Johnson presented the awards to four community leaders and delivered a beautiful keynote address on gratitude,while highlighting the need for events like this to bring people together regardless of their political, religious, racial or and social affiliation to build a safe, secure and a cohesive America.

 
Mike Ghouse, president of the foundation shared the real life stories that exemplify thanksgiving; stories about Appaiah and the hospitality in Saudi Arabia. How each one of us can restore the spiritual balance within and live a productive, meaningful and a purposeful life. The Appaiah story was published in 
Huffington Post Link , and the Saudi story, all pictures, and notes will be atwww.ThanksgivingCelebrations.org


The attendees were represented by people of different faiths, races, political orientations and other uniqueness’s. They cheered on when Mike Ghouse, chair of the event asked. Whether you are Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Gay, Lesbian, Black, White, Native, Immigrant, Republican or Democrat, how many of you like to see your Congress person represent you with equal care and consideration? How many of you would like to see your congress person treat you with dignity and respect regardless of who you are?  Well here she is, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.”She delivered a beautiful key note speech about Gratitude. 


The following individuals were recognized for their outstanding contributions to building bridges in the communities we live – the title conferred upon all of them was “Pluralist” – meaning someone who respects the otherness of others.Every society has heroes – that is men and women who have gone beyond their normal self to serve the communities at large, and it is our responsibility as a society to acknowledge, cherish and honor them.

Here is a brief introduction of the recipients; detail profiles will be available at 
www.thanksgivingcelebrations.org
Raja Zahid A. Khanzada – a Journalist for his “Commitment to truth in Journalism.” He reports for the top news media conglomerates in Pakistan and has been a catalyst in a process of “forgiveness” of the robbers – where they surrendered their guns in return for acceptance in the society to live and breathe a normal life, and be the contributors of the nation. It is sort of what President Obama is doing with the undocumented aliens, a noble thing to do.  Raja is a relentless pursuer of education with three Master’s degrees and a degree in Homeopathic medical sciences and holds certification from American Alternative Medicine Practitioner Board in practice of alternative medicine.  He amazed everyone when he asked his mother to receive the plaque.

 

Amina Rab – a community activist and leader for “Building Bridges.” Amina is deeply committed to building bridges between the Muslim community and other communities.  It is not her job, but a passion to build bridges. She 
is the President of the Council on American Islamic Relations- DFW chapter and is the first woman to serve on the North Texas Islamic Council, and is a founding Board member of Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation.   She is a Scientist in the healthcare industry for 20 years.  Amina is an entrepreneur with a home based business, a mother, a grandmother and a community Activist with a passion to promote peace and justice in the world.  
 
Anne Marie Weiss – a community leader for “Bringing the DFW communities together.”  Anne Marie single handedly started the DFW international in early nineties – she had the vision for making the Dallas/ Fort worth an international Metroplex, even before it was declared as such.  Today, DFW International has become an exemplary institution in America. There is nothing like it.  Where can you find connections to every cultural, religious, social and ethnic group in one place? None in America! She has put Dallas Fort Worth on the world Map. If you see the demographic statistics of nationalities and ethnicities in Dallas, it was her effort.  It is her selfless devotion to the belief that DFW should genuinely reflect its diversity.

Sante Santhanam Chary –is a national figure in “Connecting the World Leaders.” Sante is one of the very few Americans, perhaps the only immigrant who has met, shook hands and shared a message with 7 American Presidents and 8 Indian Presidents/Prime Ministers. 
Sante is continuously forging political and business ties between the United States and India and in September this year, he got the US Senate to pass a resolution creating “2014 U.S.-India Partnership Day” to honor Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.
He has set a new world record by collecting over 55 contemporary signatures in solidarity on a USPS issued First Day Envelope with Mahatma Gandhi’s stamp on it. Sante is a healthcare entrepreneur with a focus on physician staffing services to small towns in the US.  He is a graduate of The Harvard Business School and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.


We are one nation.

Collectively, we are one nation under God represented by every race, religion, political orientation, nationality, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and culture. Everything that God has created in the universe, we have it here in America. Indeed, we are God’s own country.

As Americans together, we see God as one, none and many and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names. Our organization, America together Foundation is committed to preserve this pluralistic heritage of America.

Most of the problems we have in our nation can be traced to one thing – not knowing and being judgmental about others. Whether it is Ferguson, Homophobia, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Misogyny or whatever evils creep on us, they gain ground because we don’t know each other.

How do we come out of these and create a cohesive nation where no one has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other? At America Together foundation we have plans to bring about this change. 

A full report with speeches and pictures will be published in a week.

Mike Ghouse, President of America Together Foundation
Mike Ghouse 
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
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Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major newspapers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post.  All about him is listed in several links at 
www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Dining on Saturday November 22, 2014

Honorable Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is the guest of honor and key note speaker at the 16th Annual Thanksgiving Celebrations & Awards Nite on Saturday, November 22, 2014.  During the evening’s celebrations, Congresswoman Johnson will recognize District 30 constituents for their outstanding service to the community followed by the delivery of her keynote address on gratitude.

"The purpose of celebrating this event is to thank God for helping us learn to accept, respect and appreciate each other's uniqueness and thank America for being the beacon of hope to the world” said Mike Ghouse, founder and chairperson of the event.

The purpose of the Annual Thanksgiving Celebrations & Awards Nite is to:

1. Give thanks for the blessed life we all enjoy in these United States of America, wish and pray the same for those who are less fortunate than us.

2. Celebrate the diversity of God's creation and enjoying the cultural heritage of each ethnic group.

3. Appreciate and recognize outstanding volunteers in each community.

4. Gather together as Immigrant Americans with naturally born Americans in celebrating this wonderful holiday.

5. For many of the immigrants it is an introduction to the American way of life.

Please join us for an interfaith dinner among multicultural attendees, gathered together under the belief that the more we learn about one another, the less misunderstandings are there to be had.   If we can learn to respect others and accept the God given uniqueness of all, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. 
Master Chef Ali will prepare a special thanksgiving plate that your taste buds will  cherish. 

Accepted Donations are $20/person or $50/person. You can reserve your place to attend via Eventbrite:
Thanksgiving Celebrations & Awards Dinner

The event will  benefit the America Together Foundation, a 501 (3) (c) non-profit charity committed to building a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. 

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916
MikeGhouse@aol.com

Monday, September 10, 2012

9/11 Memorial in Dallas - Unity Day USA


YOUR INVITATION TO
               VIII ANNUAL UNITY DAY EVENT

It is a purposeful event to bring people of different faiths, races, ethnicities and other uniquenesses together to feel the oneness of our nation and to feel indivisible.

to be together as Americans
to express our gratitude to our Firemen, Police and Armed Forces
to honor seven individuals who have contributed to the well being of the DFW
to honor two communities for their work towards building a cohesive America
to emphasize and appreciate diversity represented by America.
to cherish the other American as American and nothing but American
to rededicate our pledge to the peace, prosperity and security of America

Please join us with your family and friends to be together as Americans. Your presence is a valuable expression of unity. Along with our elected officials, civic, religious and business leaders, you help fulfill our common values and aspirations. Your presence fortifies our commitment to a pluralistic America.

Event: 8th Annual Unity Day USA
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Time: 11:30 AM -1:30 PM
Where: Unity of Dallas,
Address: 6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230

The Marine Guards will start off the ceremony followed by the Sikh Community Members singing our national Anthem followed by recognizing seven individuals who are making a difference in building a cohesive America. Two communities have been playing an exemplary role in sharing their work and action that brings Americans together. The civic leaders including state Representatives, Mayors, council persons, Fire and Police Chiefs will join us followed by 13 leaders representing Atheism to Zoroastrianism to share the wisdom or scriptures from their traditions. There will be light lunch in the Sikh Tradition.

Awards: Seven Individuals for building bridges in Dallas/Fort Worth communities
Communities: Two outstanding communities this year for their service
Organizations: Participating organizations are you in?
RSVP to: ConfirmAttendance@gmail.com (there is no charge for the event)

We will gather as Americans and rededicate our pledge to the peace, prosperity and security of our nation.

As Americans, and as American Muslims, we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. All our faiths reinforce the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all”.
On this Unity Day USA, we, the people of the United States of America of every faith, race and ethnicity, will gather to express our commitment to co-existence, safety, prosperity and the well being of our nation.


Thank you.
Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
www.AmericaTogetherFoundation.com
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
www.UnitydayUSA.com  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TEXAS FAITH: Should the ban on political activity by churches be repealed?

Should the federal ban on political activity by churches and religious institutions be repealed – or remain in place? Our Texas Faith panel weighs in – and they don’t agree on the answer. This is a weekly column at Dallas Morning News, addressing the issues facing the nation. http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/03/texas-faith-should-ban-on-political_20.html

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas, Texas

As Americans of Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, independent and other persuasions, we are collectively and partially funding religious institutions through tax subsidy, and the least we can expect from them is to remain neutral to each one of us on political matters.

Every American has 1/312 Millionth of a share in such subsidy, why would I, a Republican want my money to go to a church that supports democrats or vice-versa?
As a nation we have to debate the need for giving tax breaks to religious organizations, and why do they need the tax break? We may disagree with Governor Perry on a lot of issues, except the idea that every foreign nation must justify their need for even a dollar to go to them. How does giving a tax break for religious organizations benefit every American indiscriminately?

Dallas Morning News had a similar question a few months ago. Can the Pastor of a Church publicly endorse a candidate without influencing or dividing his or her congregation? That is the fine line that blurs the separation of Church and state.

The fact of the matter is, every one of us is politically inclined towards one candidate or the other; for a majority of us it is an emotional decision. Nearly 2/3rds of Americans have decided through party affiliation who they will vote for – it is a clear choice to them; Democrats or Republicans. It is really the 1/3rd of undecided voters that the parties are vying for.

So the top ten evangelicals ganged up on Romney, simply because of his faith - cloaked in the disguise of not conservative enough. Wouldn’t their congregations follow their lead? The most conservative states are following that lead and giving boost to Santorum. He in turn has followed the bait by going to the extreme and becoming Mullah Santorum.

If we allow any majority to dictate the nation, we will lose the very essence of America; a God’s country where everyone of His creation lives in harmony.

We are not a mobcracy-democracy, where the majority bullies the minorities, like the Republican house bullied the Democratic minority in holding out the payroll tax break for majority of Americans. We need to follow the rule of law and temper the majority with righteousness and honor everyone’s space and right to the pursuit of their happiness.

Greatness of our nations lies in our system, the checks and balances. The representative form of governance has not let us fall into a pit like most other nations. We must keep the separation of church and state and strip the tax breaks from those institutions that break the rules.

Had it not been for bad politics, there would have been one Christianity; one Islam, one Judaism, one Hinduism and one Native Tradition. Now let’s not allow the same bad politics to divide our nation based on religion.

For all the responses from the panelists, please visit Dallas Morning News at
http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/03/texas-faith-should-the-ban-on.html
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MikeGhouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairs, Islam, India, Israel, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he writes weekly at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, The Smirking Chimp and several other periodicals. His daily blog is www.TheGhousediary.com

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Israel and Palestine: looking for peace on the horizon

Who am I to worry about Israelis and Palestinians? What inspires me to be involved in the Israel Palestine conflict? The following is the story of my struggle to see a cohesive world, the story will take you through different emotions but at the end, I hope you feel a sense of completeness of the story. Please let me know. Thank you.

HUFFINGTON: Continue

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TEXAS FAITH: Across religious spectrum, voters increasingly identifying themselves as Republican. Why?

Every religious group is clamoring to have their personal religious interests take precedence over the interests of America. In the long run it is not sustainable and does not bode well for America. There are two critical factors in the play to explain the voter shift towards Republicans; unemployment and religion.

TEXAS FAITH: Across religious spectrum, voters increasingly identifying themselves as Republican. Why?

Across almost every major religious group, the share of voters identifying with or leaning toward the GOP has either grown or held steady. So what's going on? Why has the number of religious voters identifying themselves as Democrats declined - and as Republicans risen? Why do you think this is happening?

We asked our panel of Texas Faith experts to weigh in. Their responses follow:
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

There are two critical factors in the play to explain the voter shift towards Republicans; unemployment and religion.

Every religious group is clamoring to have their personal religious interests take precedence over the interests of America. In the long run it is not sustainable and does not bode well for America.

There is a positive correlation between the swap among unaffiliated Independents and Democrats. The 4% loss to Democrats comes from the 4% gain to the unaffiliated independents; there is also an identical 4% increase in Republican leaning independents from 39% to 43%. The major contributing factor seems to be the unemployment. Per the department of Labor, the unemployment grew from 6% in July 2008 to 9.2% in July of 2011 and the shift has occurred during the same period. Disenchantment factor seems to be in the play.

While the Republican base has remained even at 28% in the survey period, the loss has occurred in the Democratic Party, moving away towards independents. Which throws a challenge to the Democratic Party that it was a performance based change and the gain will shift back with new and improved results, which is yet to be surveyed.

Not sure, how big a factor unemployment is when you review the new analysis in the same survey that claims, "the share of voters identifying with or leaning toward the GOP has either grown or held steady in every major religious group."

The biggest gain for the Republican leaning registered voters comes from Mormons, Jews and White Catholics respectively. That is 12, 9 and 8 points. Is it easy to draw conclusions?

Is Romney a factor for a 12% gain for the Republicans among Mormons? That is the highest singular gain among all religious groups.

What percent of the 9% Jewish shift towards Republicans is attributable to Democratic President's stance towards Iran? What percentage goes towards his call for the 1967 borders and stopping the settlements?

The White Catholics have the third largest leaning towards Republicans with 8%. Is it the abortion issue or the same sex marriage? We cannot entertain political candidacy as Gingrich and Santorum had not announced their candidacy during the entire survey period, where as Mormons know Romney was going to run.

America was founded on liberty from religious persecution and we should consciously not let a religious ideology dominate the nation, we are the final frontier land of freedom and we should preserve it, unless we have the promised moon colony ready to flee.

Let people have the freedom to choose and not let the government regulate what we eat, drink, wear, believe or who we marry.
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Additional Notes: I am glad to see the spread in party identification – 34% identify themselves as Democrats with an additional 14% independents who lean towards Democrats giving them a 48% political share, where as 28% identify themselves as Republicans with an additional 16% who lean towards Republicans giving them a share of 44% and that leaves an 8% true independents. Where are you in this affiliation game?
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Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Standing with Christians

Jesus Christ’ ultimate dream was to create a kingdom of heaven on the earth; it is the idea where no human has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other under one God. It is the same idea repeated and revived by several great reformers of the world including but not limited to Zarathustra, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, Nanak, Bahaullah, Gandhi, MLK and others.

Then the best among us would be someone who works towards this goal and believe in "treat  others as you want to be treated."

Thank God for blessing me with the idea of standing up with everyone. As an example I am creating a site to list some of my work from an Atheist to Zoroastrian and every one in between.

Here I am listing a few things to stand up with Christians, as usual the right wingers in other faiths have harassed me for doing this or even demanding why I did not do it for them, by God, given my little life, as a volunteer, I have done as much as I can.

My mentors in pluralism are Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa and I dedicate this collection to them:
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An appeal to Indonesian Muslims
Friday, December 18, 2009 will be noted as a sad day in the history of Indonesia. On this day, a group of people on their way out from attending an Islamic New Year parade attacked the Santo Albertus Church under construction in Bekasi. http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2009/12/appeal-to-indonesian-muslims.html
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Religious conflict in India
Eleven Churches have been razed to ground following a reported attack on Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a political party leader. Shamefully this is a normal thing in India and it needs to be stopped before it escalates.
http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2007/12/orissa-religious-conflict.html
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As peace makers, we cannot cause people to dig in their heels and take positions, we have to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill for the ultimate good of all. I hope, you understand the avoidance of such language in the petition. http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2011/01/appeal-for-justice-to-pakistani-asia.html
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A Muslim’s Christmas, Huffington PostAs a Muslim I will be celebrating Christmas, recommitting myself to listen to Jesus and follow his path. And in my Islamic tradition, I will reflect on chapter 19 of Quraan, dedicated to Maryam, Mother Mary, and pray on his birthday. I will pray that we all honor his message of creating peace and building cohesive societies where no one has to be apprehensive of the other. Amen!Continued: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/a-muslims-christmas_b_1167258.html

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A tribute to JesusThis column is dedicated to Rev. Petra Weldes of the Center for Spiritual Living in Dallas. Some of my conversation with her inspired me to write this tribute to Jesus and what it means to be religious.http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2009/12/tribute-to-jesus.html

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Iran’s death penalty for Christian pastor violates treaties, KoranIndeed there is absolutely no punishment for apostasy in Quraan; one is free to become a Muslim and free to leave the faith. After all no one is to bear the burden of the other, he alone is responsible for his belief.

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Muslims condemn Blasphemy attack in Kerala
Evil continues to thrive, when good people do nothing about it. Our role as Muslims is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill and work towards building social cohesion, so all the humanity can co-exist in harmony. http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2010/07/muslims-condemn-blasphemy-attack-in.html

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Where is the Muslim outrage?
Mike Ghouse, November 30, 2007
As a Muslim I am outraged at this nonsense going on in Sudan and Saudi Arabia.When Prophet Muhammad’s cartoons were published, few Muslims around the world were outraged to the point of becoming destructive. They burned the embassy in Syria and destroyed property elsewhere. http://www.mikeghouse.net/Articles/Where-is-the-Muslim-Outrage.asp

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Afghan blasphemy caseSpokesman says Karzai has last word in Afghan blasphemy case Mike Ghouse Note: It takes conviction to do the right thing and one must subscribe to the idea of nothing but truth. Karzai needs to pardon, rather, apologize for his governments infringement of individual liberty. There is no compulsion in Islam and one needs to be free to practice what one believes. http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2008/02/afghan-blasphemy-case.html

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Building Respect for Christmas
A handful of Jews, Muslims and others show belligerence towards the celebration of Christmas and have vandalized Christmas trees, shame on them. http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/12/building-respect-for-christmas.html

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Citizenship, Islam and AmericaLaw is one thing and practice is the other. As an American and as a Muslim, I have to be critical of both groupings and work toward creating cohesive societies where no citizen has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. Here is a summary of 2011 and what we can aspire for 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/citizenship-islam-and-ame_b_1174834.html

. . . . Religious Freedom, international coalition

Religions help us sustain peace and balance in the society in the times of our spiritual, physical and societal ups and downs. Living for the sake of others is not a charity or even a noble thing to brag about; it is indeed the pragmatic thing to do.
http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2010/04/religious-freedom-international.html
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Japanese Unificationists Believed to Be Resisting Confinement
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Articles/Religious_Persecution_in_Japan.asp
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Top Muslim Declares All Christians 'Infidels'

It is quite possible, the Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar university Ali Gomaa did not say anything like the alleged words listed below. These guys at Middle East Forum may have cooked it up. They have done it before and that is their business. http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2011/11/top-muslim-declares-all-christians.html
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Ninth Church Vandalized in MalaysiaWe appeal the Malaysian Government to reign in this immediately.http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2010/01/ninth-church-vandalized-in-malaysia.html

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Muslims, Christians and The Lost TombOne question that concerns me is the depth of the faith, rather paucity of the faith of the believers. One’s faith must be really weak to be frightened by a movie, and I often wonder, how will it offend the faith of millions? It is not just Christians, Muslims will be offended too. That is nearly 3.4 billion people of the world comprising 2.1 Billion Christians and 1.3 billion Muslims. http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/03/faith-and-lost-tomb.html
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Spitting on Christians in JerusalemJudging from the title, I hope you did not jump to the conclusion, that Muslims are the ones spitting on Christians. In this case the culprits are extremists from a different tradition.

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A Church in Saudi Arabiahttp://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2008/03/church-in-saudi-arabia.html

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Mike Ghouse committed to building cohesive Societies and offers pluralistic solutions on current issues. His work is all listed at www.MikeGhouse.net
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Texas Faith: Beyond King, who has has had major impact.

Beyond King, which religious leader has had a major impact on American Politics and culture. Ten Texas Faith Panelists share their thoughts, here is Mike’s perspective, to see them all including this, please go to Dallas Morning News:
http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/01/texas-faith-beyond-king-which.html


Mike Ghouse, President, Foundation for Pluralism

I am pleased to share about a few Pluralist individuals who are making a difference in the religious landscape of Dallas Fort Worth.

Pluralism is an attitude of learning to respect the otherness of others, and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. As we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge to create a cohesive America where no one has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. In the context of religion, we define Religious pluralism as, learning to respect every which way one honors or worships the divine and accepts each path to be a valid one without denigrating any.

Pastor Bob Roberts of Northwood Baptist Church from Keller, Texas was clear when he opened up his church to a thousand Muslims for celebrating Ramadan. He said, you have your beliefs and your faith and I have mine, no matter how you view Jesus.

I take him as a son of God and my redeemer and the Muslims understood that and still talk about his eloquence. About a year and a half ago, when Pastor Jeffress said his famous line, Quraan is an evil book written by a false prophet; Bob Roberts wrote an op-ed in Dallas Morning News countering the poor understanding of the other Pastor, there were huge discussions on it honoring Bob Roberts for leading the way in accepting the otherness of other.

Pastor George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church has helped me understand and propagate the grace aspect of God, it is not just your actions and deeds that are enough, but God’s ultimate grace is needed for salvation. This is one of the differences in understanding between Muslims and Christians and his teachings have built some bridges of understanding.

The Pastor of the Unification Church, Rev. Sun Myung Moon who is making a genuine difference in the world of Pluralism by practicing respect for other faiths in his congregations and organizations throughout the world.

I am highlighting Pastors Roberts and Mason, because they are Baptists of big Churches. There is a bias against Baptists out there in the market that I hope to remove. Each religion has its own share of bigots and we need to see that clearly.

Indeed, our first Unity Day event’s Christian prayers were led by Late Rev. Roy Harrell another Baptist Minister. There are many more great pastors I admire for their work; Rev. Bill Matthews, Rev. Petra Weldes, Rev. Diane Baker, Rev. Eric Folkerth, Rev. Dennis Hamilton and several others who are making a difference in our area.

The open mindedness of Swami Nityananda Prabhu of Hare Krishna Hindu Temple; a panelist on this forum is admirable. Where ever I run, people love to talk about his teachings from Bhagvad Gita on my Radio Show, called Wisdom of Religion. He has indeed opened up minds of non-Hindus to see the wisdom of Hinduism.

Dr. Imam Zia Shaikh of Irving Islamic Center has broken many records of stereotyping Muslims; one of the situations was when he led the Pledge of Allegiance in one of the annual Unity day programs. I was rather surprised to hear from a few calling me up to tell that, they did not expect a Muslim Imam to lead the pledge of Allegiance and they said we will not stereotype Muslims any more.

He is active in interfaith and perhaps one devoted and a committed Muslim who has attended every interfaith program in the last five years and he has demonstrated in respecting the other otherness of other.

Same goes with Dr. Imam Yusuf Zia Kavakci of Richardson Mosque, who is considered one of the 100 recognized Muslims Scholars in the world. The Muslims in Dallas Fort worth hear and see the open mindedness of these two scholars towards other faiths. Both of them are nurturing the values of pluralism in their congregations; that is thousands of Muslims in our area who are influenced by their teachings.

Each one of them is all about affection for life, non-discriminatory caring. They do not favor one person over the other for the heck of it, instead, they look at the good deeds, which Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] described as the good you can do to other beings, the goodness you bring to God's creation.

Mike's note: There are many more individuals who have done tremendous work in the Dallas Forth Worth Metroplex, God willing, I hope to write about them as well.


Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America, where no American has to be apprehensive, uncomfortable or fear the other. He is a speaker, thinker and a writer offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day and a frequent guest on Sean Hannity Show on Fox and a regular guest on National syndicated radio show and Dallas Media. With over 1000 published articles he has two books poised to be released. Most of his work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net