Monday, October 5, 2015

Conference Call about Anti-Muslim protests

Conference Call about Anti-Muslim protests

Conference call with Muslim Leadership

Anti-Muslims protests may pave the way for bringing Americans Together.

On Oct. 9 and 10, a group of loosely connected protesters plan to host anti-Muslim demonstrations in front of at least 20 mosques, community centers and government offices. While some organizers have urged participants to leave their weapons at home, others are urging protesters to exercise “ALL of your Constitutional Rights.”
We would like to host a conference call on Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST, and would request your participation. Please confirm to set you up on the call. 
Please text me with your email and full name and your role to (214) 325-1916 and I will send the invitation to join the phone conference.

Check this link about some of the details:
Thank you.
Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916
Executive Director 
A proactive voice for American Muslims
110 Maryland Av, NE, Suite 508
Washington, DC 20002-5606

Friday, October 2, 2015

Oregon College shooting rampage; what should we do?


Washington, D.C., October 2, 2015 –  “This is our collective problem, an American problem, and we have to find a solution as a national priority. We have seen these shootings in Columbine, New town, Virginia Tech, Purdue, Denver, and Oak Creek and now in Oregon, what does it take to change the mindset of these individuals who come from different cultural and religious backgrounds?”   Mike Ghouse, President of America Together Foundation expressed his frustration with domestic terrorism.  

The shooter Chris Harper Mercer was allegedly asking the religion of the person before shooting, we severely condemn this attitude and seek further evaluations for sources of such attitudes and hope to find solutions. 

President Barack Obama pushed for a change in gun laws when he spoke to reporters about the shooting Thursday.

"Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this," he said.

The President continued: "Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America -- next week, or a couple months from now."
Indeed, this should not become a routine incident, we have to seriously consider the structure of our society.  There is a possibility that the shooter is a loner. As a society, we have to make a sincere effort to include loners in one group or the other and have them have normal relations with others.  We might be able to mitigate some of these heart wrenching incidents.

# # #

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Are Muslims an integral part of the American society?

Yes, we are. Indeed, one of the most exemplary American Muslim stories of the post 9/11 era happened in Louisville, Kentucky just this month.

On September 16, 2015, a few miscreants painted hate symbols on the River Road mosque in Louisville. When the local community at large found out about this, nearly 1000 people from main stream and disparate ethnic communities came to the mosque to show their solidarity with Muslims, and they joined in the community cleanup and re-painting the mosque. 

This act of support was not just out of a sense of justice, compassion or help for the underdog, but clearly out of enduring friendship, which is the most reliable relationship, not bound by time or situation.  The America Together Foundation congratulates Dr. Babar Cheema and the Louisville Muslim leadership, which has nurtured a relationship of friendship and trust with the local community over many years.

As time permits, we will write more about this, and we hope it becomes a model for other American Muslim communities, just as different communities have successfully dealt with Rev. Terry Jones in Mulberry, Florida who wanted to burn 2998 copies of Quran, and Rev. Robert Jeffress of Dallas, Texas who called uncivil names about Quran and the Prophet.  Indeed, we need to keep a record of our contributions to the well being of America, there is so much to be proud of our work.

With love and caring for our neighbors, no American can go wrong. The America Together Foundation has assigned me with responsibility to work on building a cohesive America.
There are so many Muslims out there who have contributed and are contributing richly towards building a cohesive America, where no American has to feel alienated or fearful of fellow Americans.

 In the end, this freedom from fear will bring peace and prosperity to our nation. Indeed, that is the essence of Quranic guidance in verse 49:13 which says God has created us into different tribes and nations and says, the best ones among you are those who learn and care about each other.  If we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Please tell us your story, where your acts have changes the minds of others, bringing us all towards a more cohesive America. Send us the details to us, and will help share it with the widest audience. Join us in our mission.

Please visit   for connecting to the links
  1. The Louisville Story
  2. Are Muslims a part of the American Story?
  3. Terry Jones and changing perceptions of Muslims
  4. Robert Jeffress attacking Quran (
  5. Sean Hannity and Fox News– Positive engagement produces positive outcomes.
  6. Amins of the Society
Mike Ghouse,
(214) 325-1916

Mike is a social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, foreign policy and building cohesive societies. Mike offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day and more about him is in 63 links at and his writings are at  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

AmericansTogether: Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah Greetings from Americ...

AmericansTogether: Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah Greetings from Americ...: Happy Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur |  Washington, D.C., September 22, 2015 - American Muslims wish a very Happy Yom K...

Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah Greetings from American Muslims

Happy Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur | 

Washington, D.C., September 22, 2015 - American Muslims wish a very Happy Yom Kippur  to all of our Jewish friends across the globe.
Leshana Tova. 
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year that takes place in the month of Tishri and celebrates Creation.  Jews observe the Lunar Calendar, and as such the festivities occur 11 days earlier in each successive year on the Gregorian calendar. 
On the day of Rosh Hashanah G-d opens the Book of Life and observes his creatures, and decides their fate for the coming year. What follows for the next 10 days is self-reflection to justify one's existence to God, a period called Shabbat Shuva, and on the 10th day, God closes your book and it is a time for the celebration; Happy Yom Kippur.
Indeed Muslims can relate this festivity with Ramadan where Eid is the capstone celebration at the end of a month long fasting and reflection. Jains with Paryushun, Hindus with Navaratri ending in Dussehra on the 10th day, and Christians with 40 days of lent thru resurrection on Easter.

Rabbi Michael Lerner writes, " We engage in honest, wrenching self-evaluation; we create practical strategies for changing in the future; and, as a result, the day cleanses us from the residues of past failures. "Kippur" in biblical Hebrew means "cleansing." We feel reborn, and that is a source of great joy. Indeed, this joyous rebirth is one of the reasons that the holiday of Succos five days later is called "the time of our joy."
Rabbi continues, "The same applies to all spiritual rejoicing: it must embrace the whole person, including the body. Of course it is not the food alone. The feast involves love and camaraderie for family, friends, and guests, as well as song and words of Torah inspiration. In that way, the pleasure of eating becomes part of the spiritual joy. But the joy is not complete without the food-without the body. "

In synagogues people pray to God to forgive them for their wrongdoings and to give them a good year - during the service a Shofar, or ram's horn, is blown, to alert congregants to the seriousness of the festival and the fact that God is deciding their fates for the coming year - which will be sealed on the Day Of Atonement ten days later.
May we all reflect on our lives and make a commitment to be a good human for the next year.  Happy Rosh Hashanah, and Happy Yom Kippur.

"Festivals of the World" is an educational series by Mike Ghouse since 1993. When we live in the same communities as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to participate in festivities as well as commemorations of each other, or, at least understand each others' joys and sorrows. Please note the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can function cohesively.

America Together Foundation is all about bringing Americans Together for a peaceful, safe and secure America. Foundation for Pluralism is part of America Together Foundation.
God bless us all, and God bless America!
Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at and writings at 

American Muslims welcome Pope Francis

 Muslims welcome Pope Francis |

Washington, D.C., September 23, 2015 – American Muslims are delighted to welcome Pope Francis on his first visit to the United States. 

We have congratulated Pope Francis on the day he was ordained as the Pope, and had prayed he would herald a new beginning, building a world of understanding. As people of faith we welcomed him then and have been admiring him ever since March 13, 2013.

He is a genuine human being, and is a blessing to humanity.

Two thousand years ago, a man from Nazareth was bent on mitigating conflicts and building cohesive societies. He taught us to separate the sin from the sinner, and made it work by embracing sinners of the time; lepers and the prostitutes. Indeed, Pope Francis is following that man’s challenge of embracing the whole humanity.

Fourteen hundred years ago, there was another man from Mecca who was called a mercy to mankind.  His acts and teachings brought hope and relief to women, children, oppressed, poor, and the neglected. Indeed, Pope Francis is emulating that man’s model and embracing his ideals.

Pope Francis is an inspiration, and his embrace is the whole universe beyond political and religious lines.  He is a practitioner of pluralism espoused by Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh),  i.e., respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of his creation. No one falls out of the ambit of his love, none at all.

There are a few deeply rooted conflicts among the Muslim-Christian, Jewish-Christian, Jewish-Muslim and Abrahimic-Hindu groups, some of them are irreconcilable, but not completely out of the realm of solutions. They flare up now and then in difficult expressions.  We believe Pope Francis will work on mitigating them.
During his speech in June this year, a smiling Pope Francis was quoted telling the Vatican’s guests that the Koran, and the spiritual teachings contained therein are just as valid as the Holy Bible. Indeed the essence of all faiths is accountability of one’s actions and how one cares for his neighbor.

Pope Francis is a symbol of humility and epitomizes what a religious person ought to be, caring, forgiving and loving all of God’s creation.

More about Pope at:
God bless the Pope and God bless America!

America Together Foundation is about bringing Americans Together for a peaceful, safe and secure America. Foundation for Pluralism is a part of America Together Foundation.

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at and writings at 

Mike Ghouse will be on Hannity Radio at 5:00 with Hannity, Jasser and Gabrielle today


Dr. Ghouse will be on Hannity radio at 5:00 with Gabriel and Jasser about Carson, Trump and Ahmed log on to for details. 

The show will be broadcasted in over 250 stations across America, to find your local station go to

  1. Dr. Ben Carson out- trumps Trump in Discriminatory Attitude.
  2. Donald Trump - Muslims have become the latest Punching Bag in the Republican Party Presidential Campaign for 2015
  3. Ahmed Mohamed - Islamophobia Strikes a 14 year old in Texas   

Hannity Radio

5:00 P.M. EST - Brigitte Gabriel
, President of ACT for America, Mike Ghouse, President of the America Together Foundation, and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and author of "A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith." The three guests will be discussing the controversy surrounding the GOP candidates and Islam as well as the latest on Ahmed and his “clock” and the European refugee crisis. 

Over the weekend, Dr. Ben Carson said he wouldn’t support a Muslim for president of the United States because Islam is at odds with American values and our constitution 

Last week, Donald Trump came under fire for not rebuking an audience member who claimed Obama was a Muslim and was not born in this country 

The story of 14-year-old Ahmed and his “clock” captivated much of the country last week and had Muslim groups crying “Islamophobia,” but it turns out there was a lot more to his story… 

Over a thousand Arab immigrants a day are seeking asylum in Sweden, with the promises of free housing and blonde women 

Muslim migrants chanting “Allahu Akbar” attack Slovenian police 

Read more:

Sean Hannity with Mike Ghouse, Zuhdi Jasser and Brigitte Gabriel at 5:00 PM 

# # #

Dr. Ben Carson out-trumps Trump in Discriminatory Attitude.


Mike Ghouse 214-325-1916
Dr. Ben Carson out- trumps Trump in Discriminatory Attitude.

Washington, D.C., September 21, 2015 – Presidential hopeful Ben Carson stated on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” and.” I absolutely would not agree with that.”

As an American Muslim, I was hoping that other Republican candidates for President would not out-trump, Trump in making inappropriate, ugly remark. Look who did it this time.  It’s Doctor Ben Carson. He is a great neurosurgeon and deserves respect, but he has crossed the line by advocating denying the right to a Muslim American in the future to be the president, a right which is guaranteed under the Constitution to all Americans who were born in the U.S., without regard to their religion.   

He does not get what America is all about – You don’t indict an entire community for the criminal acts of a few.  He should know better as the African Americans have been the subject of discrimination and guilt by association for a long time.  If Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was alive, he would not have been happy with Ben Carson for judging the character of others based on their faith alone.  

Can Dr. Carson answer this question that was recently posed by a man from Dallas, "I am an African American Muslim born and raised in this great country; where am I in your vision of Making America Great Again?”

When Black Americans were enslaved, and did not have any rights, President Lincoln debated between being reelected and doing what is morally right; he chose the higher moral ground and issued the Emancipation Proclamation which began the process of freedom for millions of African-Americans. He will be remembered for eternity for standing up for the rights of all Americans, even a minority who did not have any rights at that time.

Later, the Women’s suffrage bill was passed, giving the usurped rights of women back to them. Now women from both major political parties are running for the Presidency. As we have progressed, we have restored the inalienable rights of all Americans and we cannot go backwards. 
“It is time for Ben Carson to issue an apology for having trampled upon the constitutional rights of a segment of the U.S. population or quit his quest for Presidency” added Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, President of the American Muslim Institution.

American Muslim Institution is based in Washington, D.C., and is a proactive voice for American Muslims. 

Donald Trump - Muslims have become the latest Punching Bag in the Republican Party Presidential Campaign for 2016


Mike Ghouse 214-325-1916
Mike@American Muslim

Muslims have become the latest Punching Bag in the Republican Party Presidential Campaign for 2016

Washington, D.C., September 21, 2015 - An unidentified man, who spoke at the Trump town hall meeting in Rochester, New Hampshire, asked the mogul at the meeting on Thursday night. "You know our current president is one. You know he's not even an American" and then he went on spewing hateful tirade against Muslims.”

Donald Trump did not stop him.  He should have corrected the man as he started to insult our President, and then he went on lumping 1.6 billion Muslims with the ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Does he not know that several Muslim countries in the Middle East are a part of the U.S. led coalition currently engaged in military operations to destroy ISIL terrorists?

Can Trump answer this question for a man from Dallas, “I am an African American Muslim born and raised in this great country?” Where am I in your vision of Making America Great Again?

In 2008, a woman at a John McCain Campaign event insisted that Obama was "an Arab." "No ma'am," McCain replied. "He's a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues."  

We see the signs of desperation, when people resort to such insults; it shows they are operating from a position of weakness.  Americans are not stupid, Trump can try to tear America apart, but we are hopeful that people of goodwill will keep America together.   I hope Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates for President in 2016 call him out and do not out-trump his ugliness.
Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, President of AMI said, "As Americans we cannot remain silent, we call upon all the Presidential candidates to be aware that there are over 7.0 million peace-loving and hard-working Americans who happen to be Muslims.”

We hope Americans of all faiths will stand up for each others’ rights, which is the least we can do to build a safe and prosperous America for all. 

American Muslim Institution is based in Washington, D.C., and is a proactive voice for American Muslims.   

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Clerk’s gay marriage protest divides the Republican field

Can these hypocrites make the same statements about all others?

File photos
Republican presidential candidates are split on whether a Kentucky county clerk should be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The case of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who has cited religious objections in refusing to issue the licenses, has pushed gay marriage toward the center of political debate at a time when the Republican Party is grappling with its stance on the issue.
The clerk’s crusade has become the first major legal flare-up over gay marriage since the Supreme Court’s decision in late June that legalized gay marriage nationwide.
Most of the Republican presidential candidatesdenounced the high court’s ruling, calling it judicial overreach that threatens the religious liberty of faith-based organizations and business owners.
Democrats mostly cheered the court while dismissing the warnings about religious freedom as overblown.
Davis is scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning after defying a judge's order to issue the licenses, a ruling that the Supreme Court itself refused to block.
With attention on the case growing, presidential contenders are beginning to stake out their positions on whether Davis should be compelled to issue the licenses.
Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, on Wednesday gave Davis a full-throated endorsement after speaking to her on the phone.
"She's a Democrat, and I salute her today. I stand with her," Huckabee told reporters during a campaign stop in South Carolina. 
Other Republican presidential candidates have said they support people’s right to oppose gay marriage but argued that Davis has a responsibility to follow the law.
"When you are a government employee as opposed to, say, an employee of another kind of organization, then in essence, you are agreeing to act as an arm of the government,” said Carly Fiorina.
Here’s where some of the Republican contenders stand on the brewing controversy.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.): 'I salute her'
Huckabee said Wednesday that Davis "is showing more courage, more conviction and more of a better understanding of the Constitution than virtually any elected official in America, than virtually any candidate for candidate and certainly more than many of the people who run our government in Washington."
Huckabee noted he spoke with Davis by phone earlier in the day. "I called to encourage her and to thank her for not capitulating to what is really nothing less than judicial tyranny." 
Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.): Protest 'part of the American way'
"I think one way to get around the whole idea of what the Supreme Court is forcing on the states is for the states to just get out of the business of giving out licenses," Paul said Monday on Boston Herald Radio, mentioning Alabama, and saying those who want a contract should go to a church.
"I do believe everyone has a right to a contract. There never should have been limitations on people of the same sex having contracts," Paul said. "But I do object to the state putting its imprimatur to the specialness of marriage on something that's different than what most people have defined as marriage for most of history."
"I do think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say they believe in something is an important part of the American way."
Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.): Government employees have 'different obligation'
"What I've said before is for someone who works in the government has a bit of a different obligation than someone who's in the private sector or, obviously, working for educational institutions that's religiously based or others," Christie said Wednesday on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham's show, according to CBS.
"But my point is we have to protect religious liberty and people's ability to be able to practice their religion freely and openly, and of course we have to enforce the law too."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): Government should respect clerk’s beliefs
“We should seek a balance between government’s responsibility to abide by the laws of our republic and allowing people to stand by their religious convictions,” Rubio told the New York Times.
“While the clerk’s office has a governmental duty to carry out the law, there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office,” he added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.): 'Comply with the law or resign'
"As a public official, comply with the law or resign," Graham said on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt's show Tuesday.
"The rule of the law is the rule of law. That's what we are, a rule-of-law nation. I appreciate her conviction. I support traditional marriage," Graham said. "But she's accepted a job where she has to apply the law to everyone, and that's her choice."
Businesswoman Carly Fiorina: 'Not appropriate' 
“First, I think that we must protect religious liberties with great passion and be willing to expend a lot of political capital to do so now, because it’s clear religious liberty is under assault in many, many ways,” Fiorina said Tuesday on Hugh Hewitt's show.
“Given the role that she is playing, given the fact that the government is paying her salary, I think that is not appropriate,” Fiorina answered when asked whether the clerk should continue practicing civil disobedience. 
“Now, that’s my personal opinion. Others may disagree with that, but I think it’s a very different situation for her than someone in a hospital who’s asked to perform an abortion or someone at a florist who’s asked to serve a gay wedding. I think when you’re a government employee, you are put into a different position, honestly.”
- Updated at 7:07 p.m.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Subtle Islamophobia and Larry King

This is a good example of Islamophobia, I would call it subtle Islamophobia. I have shared one of my stories from Jewish Muslim relations following this article. 

Self-balancing is built into every life form, particularly if they are the "other" and not a part of "us", nature has endowed each one of us with a radar that detects the under currents or the hidden signals.  A Black, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Gay, Lesbian, Latino or a person of any disability can instantly detect what others have on their minds by their choice of words, gestures and actions. The women receive the beams from the wrong guy instantly without the usage of any words or actions.

This is a sad part of conditioning humans, and it takes time and effort to be free from such bondages, when you do, you will enjoy the genuine freedom.

Here is the story of Larry King.

This cringe-inducing Larry King story shows what polite Islamophobia looks like    

Larry King on a 2014 media panel in California. Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images
When we recognize something as being Islamophobic, it typically looks like overt, angry hatred of Muslims. And there is a lot of that to recognize, especially on cable TV: CNN host Chris Cuomo declaring Muslims "unusually violent" and "unusually barbaric," or HBO host Bill Maher saying the world's 1.6 billion Muslims are "like the Mafia" and share "too much in common with ISIS," or Fox News's Bill O'Reilly calling Islam "a destructive force," and so on. Those kinds of openly hateful statements — or, for example, comparing Islam to Nazi Germany — are what we generally think of when we think of Islamophobia.

Focusing on that kind of overt hate is comforting, because it allows us to tell ourselves that the world divides neatly into two categories: that there are the bad people who say the wrong thing and hate Muslims, and then there are the rest of us, and we're doing fine, so we have nothing to worry about.
But this narrow way of thinking about Islamophobia is a lie, even if it's a comforting one. In fact, there is another way that Islamophobia often manifests, one that is less overt and less hostile, but no less destructive — and one that is not limited to people who openly spout hatred on cable TV. This other kind of Islamophobia shows up in the subtle expression of stereotypes and prejudices about Muslims and their way of life: the presumption that simply because of their religion or ethnicity, Muslims and Arabs are violent, backward, misogynist, and anti-Semitic. That unlike "us" they are less than "normal," or even less than human.

This Islamophobia is a kind of soft bigotry of low expectations, and it's everywhere. Former CNN host Larry King illustrated it perfectly, in this stunning anecdote captured by the New York Times's Mark Leibovich:
A dark-skinned man approached and asked King if he would pose for a photo.
"Where are you from?" King asked.
"Saudi Arabia," the man said.
"I’m a Jew!" King informed him. "You sure it’s O.K. to get your picture taken with a Jew back in Saudi Arabia?"
The man assured him that indeed Larry King had many fans in Saudi Arabia. They smiled for the picture. "Thank you, Mr. King," the man said. They shook hands, and King looked him in the eye. "Now," he said, "please, go fight ISIS!"
What makes this offensive is pretty readily apparent (which is, presumably, why it is included in the excellent Times story): King's assumption that a person from Saudi Arabia must therefore hate Jews, as well as his patronizing and bizarre admonishment to "go fight ISIS," which seems to assume that all Muslims everywhere are, by virtue of their religion, accountable for taking on the group.

But offensive as it was, King's message was largely within the bounds of mainstream US media discourse about Muslims. He was being unusually immodest with his words, and the anecdote is drawing outsize attention because of his fame. But the basic pattern of his exchange with the Saudi gentleman was unfortunately all too familiar: Start by assuming that the Muslim or Arab people in question are probably backward and primitive, shower them with condescending praise if they turn out to behave normally, and tell them that they are personally responsible for stopping violent Muslim extremism — never mind that Muslims themselves are by far the most common victims of this extremism.

You could see that familiar pattern in, for example, the media's condescending praise of female United Arab Emirates fighter pilot Mariam al-Mansouri, which typically began with a baseline assumption that all Arab societies are inherently and uniformly backward, and which treated even the UAE's modest advancement as somehow unheard of, when in fact many other Arab states have also made considerable achievements in gender equality — not that these TV outlets would ever report on, say, Tunisia surpassing the US in the proportion of women in government.

You could also see it in the media's coverage of Michelle Obama's decision not to wear a headscarf while visiting Saudi Arabia, which somehow managed to overstate even Saudi gender restrictions, and to imply or outright state that male Saudi officials would be shocked and offended to see an unveiled American woman — which is just as ridiculous and offensive as Larry King assuming a random Saudi fan would be appalled to learn he was Jewish.

These individual acts of subtle Islamophobia add up. Publicly praising Muslims for meeting basic norms of behavior sends the message that it's right and correct to view Muslims as lesser human beings, and that those who do manage to achieve full humanity are outliers. These subtle assumptions are the fuel that feeds the fire of out-in-the-open hatred of Muslims, a fire that is raging bright enough in America that many of our 2.6 million Muslim fellow citizens now fear not just discrimination but deadly violence.

There's no question in my mind that King, like the many others in the media who have perhaps unknowingly repeated these subtler Islamophobic stereotypes, abhors this violence and earnestly wants Muslims to be free from its threat. But his actions, however well-intentioned, play into it nonetheless.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ramadan's Universalism for Hindus, Christians, Jews and others

This article tracks the general purpose of religion and how each religion can appeal to people of different faiths.  Religions and festivities came into being to bring people together and not divide them. Here we explore Ramadan, two of the major festivals of Muslims.

Whether you are an Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Native American, Pagan, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, and Zoroastrian or from any other tradition, you may feel a sense of connection with the spirit of Ramadan.

 God is a word for the cause that creates, sustains and recycles this universe, and belongs to all that exists and is not the exclusive dominion of anyone.  No matter how and what name you call upon him – he (she or it) cannot be a different causer for each one of us.  

The physical aspect of human journey from the sperm and an egg stage through the death is programmed precisely. The formula is same for all of humanity;    and there is no such thing as a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or other gene.

Regardless of what is being said about origins in terms of evolution, creation or the big bang, the undeniable fact is our existence, and we have to figure out how to live with each other.

When the universe came into being, two main products of the process were Matter and Life.

While the matter is programmed to be in self-balance and functions precisely for which it is designed, like the Sun, Jupiter, Earth or the Moon playing its part, the (human) life on the other hand was not programmed; we were given complete freedom, guidance and intelligence to create our own balance for survival.

A balanced society is where every one of us functions cohesively in small parcels of this big World Wide Web.  It is sustained by respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. If we mess with the web, we mess with ourselves ultimately.  If we mess with the environmental balance we will pay for it, just as we bear the loss of health if we mess with what we eat, drink and smoke. There is a consequence for imbalance.

Birth of Religion

We lose the balance if we don’t trust and lie to each other, rob the other, and not keep the promises we make to fellow beings.   This is when religion appears; it is the love of the creator for his creation, just as a mother loves her children –someone among us will rise and restore that balance.  Didn’t Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and other masters restore the righteousness and balance in the society?  I hope you can relate with this thought in your own scriptures and legends.

An identical spiritual wisdom emerges in different parts of the world simultaneously; the greatest example would be how a mother figures out what to do with her crying baby in the jungles of Amazon or the high society in London. 

Indeed, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and as a corollary I would say, faith is in the heart of the believer, and every religion is dear to its believer.  

Religion is about love for fellow beings, a majority of us in every religion get that right but for a few, who keep messing up the cohesiveness of the society. Those few are not an identifiable group, but the infraction in each one of us when we become biased towards the others.  Religion is never the problem; it is the individuals who don’t get their religion right are the problem.

Ramadan and you.

From the moment we are born to the last rites of our life, and every moment in between is laden with rituals, even though some of us may deny it. Whether we go to the gym, eat, sleep, wear clothes, drive or talk on the phone, we follow rituals.

Rituals signify the milestones of our daily life. Every significant moment of the day is a ritual. It is an unwritten way of measuring our progression, a memory pattern to bring discipline to our actions.

Discipline is necessary to do things on time, manage personal relationships, drive to a destination or keep within budget. The result of disciplined behavior is worthwhile for most people. When we are joyous, whether we are a theist or not, we have to express that sentiment, otherwise a sense of incompleteness lingers in our hearts.

The spiritual masters have captured the human gravity towards rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religions. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with our environment.
Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life. Fasting is one of the five key rituals that Muslims around the world observe.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is generally observed with a ritual precision; it is an annual training or a refresher. It requires one to abstain from food, drink, intimacy, ill-will, ill-talk, ill-actions and other temptations from dawn to dusk, every day for a month. One has to rise above his or her baser desires. Islam gifts this month to its followers to inculcate discipline to bring moderation to their daily lives. Twenty five hundred years ago, Buddha, the enlightened one taught that human suffering is caused by unrestrained desire to possess and had recommended a middle path, and the same recommendation was made by Prophet Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago.

Although Ramadan is popularly known in the west for its culinary delicacies and fancy iftars (ceremonial breaking of fast at sun down), the spirit and intent of Ramadan lies in a human transformation in a month-long inner spiritual journey of finding oneself in tune with spirituality.

Hindus can see that transformation in nine days of fasting during Navaratri, the Jains in 8-10 days of fasting during Paryushana, Christians during 40 days of lent, Jews for 7 days around Yom Kippur….likewise you find fasting is a way of life in most traditions.

God has no need for the hunger or thirst of someone who hurts others, violates their dignity or usurps their rights, said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The fasting of the stomach must be matched by the fasting of the limbs. The eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet all have their respective fasts to undergo. The tongue's temptations, for example -- lies, backbiting, slander, vulgarity and senseless argumentation -- must be challenged and curbed to maintain the integrity of the fast.

Consciousness of behavior and vigilance over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the heart focuses on the attachment to the divine. That is when Ramadan really becomes a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas or Dussera goes beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity and caring.

True fasting is self-purification; and from this comes a rich inner life that bring about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy -- values that are indispensable for the success of the community.

Knowing about hunger is different from knowing hunger. Empathy is not an intellectual equation; it is a human experience. Our hardness of heart often springs from our distance from the human condition of others. The poor, sick, disenfranchised, oppressed -- we rarely walk a mile in their shoes, not even a few steps. "Rest assured," cautioned one teacher, "if you do not taste what it feels like to be hungry, you will not care for those who are."

Ramadan will come and go with such stealth that we cannot but be reminded of our mortality. What is it that we value and why? Habits, customs, even obsessive behavior like smoking can be curtailed with relative ease in the face of a higher calling.

For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other faiths. More about Ramadan at

What can you do?
Unless we connect with fellow humans, and unless they can relate with us,  our faith, philosophy and traditions, we will remain disconnected with the society. 

This article is about understanding and developing a sense of shared destiny of humanity to create cohesive societies where no human has to feel alienated from others. It is based on Quran's wisdom in 49:13.

You may disagree with a few premises, and I invite you to counter them, so together we can develop better understanding to live and let others live. 

I hope you'd would like this, and if you do,  please share it with your Non-Muslim and Muslim friends. We at America Together Foundation are committed to finding solutions through patience, kindness and education. Our goal is to learn about each other and work on mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. 

I hope you want the good message to reach out to a maximum number of people, particularly non-Muslims, that's who we focus on. 

The article is published in several news papers:
  1. Op-Ed News - Ramadan for Christians, Jews, Hindus and others
  2. Counter Currents - Interfaith Ramadan,  The Essence...
  3. Saddahaq - Interfaith science of Ramadan traceable in your faith

God willing, it will be published in Huffington Post, Arab Daily News and several other sites across the world.  Alhamdu Lillah, the media has been good to us and we will continue to populate the article on the internet.
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Let the spirit of Ramadan develop an understanding and respect for each one of God’s creation – that is all of us. Ramadan Mubarak!
Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.   Info in 63 links at and writings