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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Good for nothing majority

Good for nothing silent majority
Mike Ghouse, July 28, 2007


Edmund Burke, a philosopher from the 17th Century had said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And a similar message was communicated by spiritual leaders of all faiths through out the course of human history.

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." -- Albert Einstein.
Evil exists in the world because of good people. The good people’s silence, silently gives a tacit approval to the bad guys to continue to do bad things. I believe Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi had expressed similar sentiments.

Indeed, the problem is not with the evil men, it is with us. I’m least worried about what bad people can do than what good people don’t. The majority of Americans do not want war, yet the few are carrying it out. We silently sat by and let 3,500 of our sons and daughters and some 650000 Iraqis slaughtered.

If we can recall our class room scenario, our work place, or our extended family, there was always a tyrant, who got away bullying every one. No one dared him or said anything to him, due to fear or not having the stomach to stand up to him or her. Had you stopped that tyrant in the tract, things would have stopped long ago, but no one dared it and simply endured it for a long time. As a larger society, we are allowing those tyrants to go on terrorizing all of us. You and I regardless of our faiths face the same evil.

That brings us to Terrorism, go ahead and make my day, call it Muslim terrorism and beam me up.

Did you know that a Muslim is more vulnerable to terrorism than a Christian, Jew or a Hindu?

A Muslim get the shaft three different ways; i) the bullying fear from the extremists Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus, ii) the idiotic media and iii) and the denigration of his/her religion where as the others get only one way.

Silent no more, speak up is our mission, not just for Muslims, but for all. The peaceful majority sounds like good for nothing crowd. We believe they will wake when pushed to the corner. As we Americans spoke up during the last days of Vietnam, then we spoke up on Tuesday, November 7th 2006 and we still have not taken actions to the death and destructions we are causing in Iraq, we will, and the Muslims will do their chore as well.

Everyday, I go through many articles and at least 80% of them border on finger pointing and blaming the others with no particular goal to pursue a solution.

One of the biggest mistakes we make is to give a religious label to the bad people. It is a shame to call those bad boys Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christian or otherwise. It is our gutlessness to face the evil that prevents us from facing the problem squarely. If we can recall a dialogue with our mother, father, uncle or some one powerful over us. We find that when we disagreed with them we whispered it quietly or even mumbled; we did not want a fight. However when they screamed “What did you say?” We shuddered and quietly denied saying any such thing, or depending on the strength of the voice of the opposite person, we even slighted our response and said "oh nothing" or something irrelevant… we did not want to invoke the wrath of the tyrant facing us.

When Osama Bin Laden brought hell on all of us, what did our president do? He did not face the tyrant squarely… like many, he found it convenient to blame Muslims and Islam, just like you may act when you face a real tyrant (family or community) and start blaming the world when you could not laser bark at the bad dog any more.
If a TV anchor blames you for the wrongs you do, most people would let you handle it on your own terms, but when he suggests that those ‘people’ are messing our nation”. I can guarantee that all of us would be offended and are less likely to listen to the anchor. By calling Muslims the terrorists, they have invariably barked at the wrong tree and they continue to do so.
99% of terrorists are Muslims! When you watch some of the Neocon websites, CNN and Fox network: Every kidnapping and every individual vandalism done by the Muslims is jumped at; rightfully so. Indeed all of us should jump at it. But when similar crimes are happening in the same breath, they are reported as a regular crime that is wrong by any sense of morality.

Thanks God the V-tech crazy was not a Muslim, if it was, the bad guys would have feasted on it for months, it feeds them and they are eager to be the first. The TV, Radio and the papers would have stretched the food for months.
In your city there is a murder and rape every day, like Iraq, why don’t we call them Christian terrorists or if it is in India call it Hindu Terrorism or other one, then why call Muslim Terrorism for similar crimes on the street?

No terrorists should be given respect by adding a religion to his crime. Any one who commits a crime, disturbs the peace, should be punished for his acts. Religion should not be a factor at all, if we do that, we find excuses not to take the action. We should get the individual criminal for his act and punish according to the law. Let law be not taken any any one's hands including the Chief Executive. Let us not give an opportunity to any one to become terrorist in reverse.

What if we do not point the gun, and just shoot what surounds that criminal? What is the difference between them and us. It is this dual sense of morality that we need to avoid. Mother Teresa's wisdom is eternal "if you want to make peace, You don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.

In the fight between the good and the bad, the average man gets killed. We should care for human life, whether we are Muslims, Hindus, Christians or Zoroastrians. All evil must be condemned whether it is my brother or any one. If each one of us adopts the posture of a just position – we can find peace, peace comes through you in your language. Each one of us has to find solutions.

Let’s take a principle stand and call the evil for simply what it is; Evil. Let’s use the same yardstick to judge all criminals.Each one of us should focus on building peace, hate and blame does not take any one anywhere, the first casualty is ones own peace and then others’. One cannot point fingers at other others to be peaceful while he himself is not.
Peace begins with a dialogue as does the war.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local TV networks discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town.
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Additional Notes - unrelated unconnected.

A majority of Muslims - 99-9/10ths are moderate Muslims who believe in getting along with others and taking care of their family. Only 1/10ths of 1% - 1/100ths of 1% tend to be on the wrong end of the life. By the way, this formula applies to all people be it religious, ethnic, racial or any other uniqueness. What those two brothers did was rare, shocking and disgusting. Muslims are on a watch out for some one like this.

I hope we take part in building our nation as Indians and not have the divisiveness get to us. For a discussion group of Indians, giving a communal tone is not kosher. It is neither Hindu nor Muslim, it is just Indian. Even if it were Hindu or Muslim, it should not be based on hate towards each other. If others do it, that is their choice, we don't have to follow them. This group will remain for Indians who want to understand the differences and work on finding solutions. You are welcome to write.

No religion is bad, individuals are. The acts of crime are committed by individuals using all sorts of excuses, blaming the religion is shying away from facing the wrong doers. Take any situation going back some 2000 years, you will always find that insecure men and greedy kings have used the poor people to go kill and get killed to consolidate their empires. They have always used the common man to their advantage and have sat behind the throne in the safety zone, they never risked their lives.

Very few leaders have actually led the wars, you can see Lord Krishna, Prophet Muhammad and Mahatma Gandhi and other great leaders actually participating in the wars or movements standing up to evils of the society. They did not send some one else to go die for them. Please take the time to attend interfaith meetings including the ones by the Foundation for Pluralism. They are open meetings, open questions and open learning. You may enjoy employing your mind to the full capacity, as finding the truth is one's own responsibility, once you find the truth, you will find relief, mukti, moksha and salvation. There is plenty of reading material out there, as much as the hate material. May you find Mukti and become a source of light and goodness for the humankind.

Every one of us has a responsibility to make the world a better place to live. Peace begins with each one of us, you or I will never see peace if we are a product of hate. If we re-act with malice, it multiplies and swallows us into it.We have to get the freedom from hate, not because God wants it, and not because it is some noble thing to do, but because it brings peace to oneself and because it benefit you and it is a necessity, once you have it, you will find peace in you and that translates to peace to your family and friends and whatever surrounds you. Hate is engaging and enslaving, it is to our individual benefit we have to free ourselves from hate, try it, you'll love it and you'll change the world for better.

Religion was issued to humans to make them better beings, some get it and some don't. Parents teach children to be good kids, some do and some don't. The Civic laws are made for the safety of the Citizens, some follow some don't. It does not make the Civic laws wrong, it does not make the parent wrong if the kid turns out to be a bully and does not make the religion bad if one does not follow it.

We have to punish the individual who does wrong, we have accountability then. Blaming the elusive is wrong, it shows our inability to solve the problem, then we need extra dose of religion, so we can get it. The wisdom of religion is to make us all better humans, if we don't get it that is our problem, not religion's. If we punish the individual, then it is accounted for. Hating a religion is like shooting the gun without aim. Let's get to think and find ways - annihilation is not the answer, co-existence is. But before that, our mind needs to be in peace. Peace emits peace.

May the creator bless us with peace, tranquility and free us from hate and malice.

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PEACEFUL MAJORITY
Aurthor unknown
http://www.freedom.org/news/200707/17/strider.phtml
July 17, 2007

I used to know a man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II. He was a German Jew. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

"Very few people were true Nazis," he said, "but many enjoyed the return of German pride; and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us; and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp, and the Allies destroyed my factories."
We are told again and again, by "experts" and "talking heads" that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.

Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam, at this moment in history, as the Nazis did, in their time in history.

It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa, and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals.
The hard quantifiable fact is that the" peaceful majority" is the "silent majority," and it is cowed and extraneous.

History
Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual, prior to World War 2, was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across Southeast Asia in an orgy of killing, that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians - most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were "peace loving?"

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.
Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day, and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died - because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch, it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Lastly, I wish to add: At the risk of offending someone, I sincerely think that anyone who rejects this as just another political rant, or doubts the seriousness of this issue, or just deletes it without sending it on, is part of the problem.

Unityday USA - 911

UNITY DAY USA - A 911 MEMORIALTHEME: ONE NATION UNDER GOD

Please allow me to greet you in all the possible greetings that I know of; AllaAbho, Budha Namo, Namaste, Salaam o Alaikum, Jai Jinendra, Shalom Alechum, SatsriAkaal, Hamazor Hama Ashobed and peace upon be you*.

Unity Day USA is about coming together as Americans and expressing our innate desire to rededicate our pledge: "One nation under god with liberty and justice for all."

Unity Day USA was born to express that each one of the 297,018,658 of us are part of the mosaic that is America. Peace and prosperity for every American is our vision. In order to achieve that, we need to remain connected to one another, we need to come together as one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all. This event is a fulfillment of that vision.

Our 2007 theme is One Nation under God. Our religious prayer leaders will seek guidance from scriptures of their respective faiths. Our Civil servants and leaders will echo the same sentiment and suggest ways in which we as individuals can work towards a cohesive and thriving community.

Unity Day USA is about coming together as Americans to appreciate, respect and honor the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 297,018,658 of us, plus any new additions to this number since it is written.

Unity Day USA is indeed born out of the great tragedy and enormous suffering on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, and since then we have come together annually to pledge to continue to foster the idea of one America.

Unity Day USA is to be held on Sunday before September 11 of each year, as suggested by Congressman Pete Sessions, Kenny Marchant and Ralph Hall in a luncheon meeting in Dallas. Congressman Sessions office is planning to get Unity Day USA proclaimed as National Day along with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi who has shown the same interest.

We the people of the United States of America; of every faith, race, ethnicity, culture and background, gather to pray for peace, unity and security of our nation and the world.

As Americans we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. All our faiths reinforces the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."

Dear God, accept our prayers in whichever name we call upon you, we love to call you Ahura Mazda, Allah, Jehovah, Brahma, Wahe Guru, Mahavira, Buddha, Jesus Christ and with every name that humans address you.

* Greetings, if your traditional greeting is not in the list, it is because you did not send it to us.** We are embracing every American, faith or no faith including Atheist, Wicca and other traditions. If there are other ways of invoking the creator God, please send your format. No matter what we call, it is the same creator.

Dear God, with your blessings, we proceed with the program.

God bless the USA

Mike Ghouse (214) 325-1916
Email: MikeGhouse@aol.com
www.foundationforpluralism.com/
www.worldmuslimcongress.com/

We are looking for volunteers and sponsors, please feel free to contact: Unityday911@gmail.com
2007 PROGRAM OUTLINE
(Planning to accommodate members in other cities who have indicated an interest in repeating this format, under the same name)

  • American National Anthem
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Acknowledgement of Sponsors
  • Acknowledgment of Dignitaries
  • Civic Leaders
  • Spiritual Leaders
  • Recognitions
  • Conclusion
  • Refreshments

Key Note Speakers:

Daisy Khan ( to be confirmed)
In the works

Civic Leadership: (List: 2005 & 2006) http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_UnityDay/UnityDay_Past_HonoredGuests.asp

We plan to invite guests from across the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex to share their vision of One Nation. Senators, Congressman (both National and State) will be invited along with Mayors, Council persons, Commissioners and others

Spiritual Leadership: (List: 2005 & 2006)http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_UnityDay/UnityDay_Past_SpiritualLeaders.asp

We are inviting a representative leader for each faith including Atheists, Wicca and the Native American groups. All denominations within each faith will come together and say their prayers. We hope to represent every American in the prayers.

Participating Organizations: (List: 2005 & 2006) http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_UnityDay/UnityDay_PastOrganizations.asp

We have had support from nearly 90 organizations in the past two years, and we hope to continue to gain their support for the event. All it takes for the name of your organization to be included is, to bring 5 members of your organization to the event.

Sponsors:(2005 & 2006)
We are seeking sponsors and underwriters for the event. The budget is small, but the purpose is great!

Services:

Photography: Bombay Photography - Aftab Lakhani
Videography: Bombay Photography - Aftab Lakhani
Decorators:
Volunteers:
Refreshments:
Community Leadership:

Our goal is to have a representation of every race, ethnicity and nationality. No American resident will be left behind. Our volunteers will aspire to reach every one.
Comments from the community: (2005 & 2006)

A variety of comments have been received and placed together, you are welcome to share yours.

Press: (2005 & 2006) http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_UnityDay/UnityDay_Past_Press.asp

We are grateful for the support by Dallas Morning News, Plano Star Couriers, Frisco Paper, WBAP 820, KRLD 1080, AM1150, CBS TV 11, NBC TV 5, Telemundo 27 and other News and community outlets.

http://cbs11tv.com/topstories/local_story_253232024.html
Photographs: Can be viewed as slide show.

http://picasaweb.google.com/MikeGhouse/UnityDayUSA2006_Album02
http://picasaweb.google.com/MikeGhouse/UnityDayUSA_2005

Interfaith Prayers at Women's peace conference by Aftab Lakhani - Password: Peace http://bombayphotography.smugmug.com/gallery/3208375/5/176976296#176976296

Pictures ; http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/UnitydayUSA_2007.asp

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Woman President for India

A Woman President for India


Dr. Pratibha Patil may win the election on July 19th and become the first woman President of India on the 60th anniversary of independence. However, the question at large is - what does it take to find at least 5 competitive candidates? We are a billion plus people and yet, we have not developed our institutions to produce 5 competitive candidates?

Why did we not look into others from the field of Science, Agriculture, Medical and Law professions? Dr. Kalam made a massive difference to the Presidency because he was not a darn political candidate, he was a scientist and was conditioned to thinking in terms of goals, means and achievement.

India should never make the decision based on how the candidate appears on the stage with XYZ, it should be based on what that person can contribute towards taking the nation forward with cohesiveness.


You are invited to share your comments at the end of this article by New York Times.

Mike Ghouse
http://www.mikeghouse.net/
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/
http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/

Indians Question Fitness of Presidential Pick http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/17/world/asia/17cnd-india.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

By AMELIA GENTLEMAN
Published: July 17, 2007

NEW DELHI, July 17 — India’s first female president is likely to be voted into office on Thursday, but this milestone event has been overshadowed in recent weeks by an unusually savage debate over whether she is fit to become head of state.

When the leader of the governing Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, announced in June that Pratibha Patil, 72, was her party’s official choice for the post, she added that to have a woman president would be a matter of “great pride” and a “historic moment in the 60th year of our republic.”

But Gandhi’s attempt to promote this as a triumph for gender equality has won Ms. Patil little support.

Instead, the pre-election campaigning has been dominated by a series of vitriolic attacks on Ms. Patil’s credentials.

The opposition has alleged, among other things, that she shielded her brother in a murder investigation, protected her husband in a suicide scandal, and was herself involved in numerous financial irregularities.

And then there are Ms. Patil’s own peculiar statements — most notably, her revelation that she had heard the voice of a dead guru predicting she would rise to power.

National and local elected lawmakers will vote in a secret ballot for the new president, a figurehead role that is meant to be broadly apolitical and ceremonial.

If, as expected, voting follows party lines, Ms. Patil is assured of an easy victory over the only other candidate who is standing, the country’s current vice president, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, 83, who is affiliated to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.

Initially, Ms. Patil’s nomination was widely greeted with bemusement.

Despite 45 years in politics, she remained largely an unknown, far from being a household name. An old ally of the late prime minister Indira Gandhi, and a loyal long-term supporter of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, Ms. Patil enjoys good relations with Indira’s daughter-in-law, Sonia. But beyond this intimate circle, Ms. Patil’s enthusiastic backers have been few.

Congress party officials were unable to disguise the fact that she was a compromise choice, selected by the leadership as a last-ditch suggestion, after half a dozen other, more high-profile names, were rejected by the government’s coalition allies as unacceptable.

After her nomination, Ms. Patil’s journey from obscurity was swift and rude. The opposition BJP issued a booklet titled “Does This Tainted Person Deserve to Become the President of India?”. As journalists shook more apparent skeletons from the closet, a website was set up by party supporters (knowpratibhapatil.com) to accommodate the full range of accusations.

Even neutral or usually pro-Congress commentators have been startled by a number of Ms. Patil’s own pronouncements.

On hearing of her nomination, Ms. Patil remarked on live television that she knew she was destined for higher things because she had had a “divine premonition.” A dead religious leader, Baba Lekhraj, had recently spoken to her through “the body” one of his living disciples, she said, and he had informed her that “great responsibility” would be handed to her.

“The future president of India speaks to dead people,” wrote Tavleen Singh, a columnist in the Indian Express, a daily national newspaper. “This is almost worse than her shady past.”

Ms. Patil’s support for forced sterilizations to curb population growth in the 1980s has also attracted negative comment and her recent suggestion that Indian women originally veiled their heads to shield themselves from marauding Muslim invaders has outraged Muslim leaders.

The weekly news magazine India Today featured her on its cover, with the headline “Embarrassing Choice.” Inside, reporters detailed how a bank she set up to empower women in the 1970s was liquidated two decades later amid allegations from the bank’s workers union that Ms. Patil had loaned large sums to her own relatives — men as well as women — which were never returned.

The magazine also described how her brother was caught up in a murder investigation, hinted at family involvement in the misappropriation of tsunami relief funds, and gave details of how her husband was accused of involvement in the suicide of a school teacher. Legal proceedings are under way in both the suicide and murder cases.

T.N. Ninan, editor of the Business Standard, a national newspaper, called in a recent column for the Congress party to withdraw her nomination. “The whole country now knows that she is not a suitable candidate for being made head of state,” he wrote. ”For five long years, she will be a national embarrassment in a way that no president so far has been. And if the courts move against her close relatives in ongoing cases, her position will become untenable.”

At first, Ms. Patil fought back, declaring that the charges were politically motivated and “false, baseless and malicious”.

More recently, she has remained silent, allowing a team of Congress party officials to mount what the news media here have described as a “Save Pratibha” campaign.

Parliamentary affairs minister P.R. Dasmunsi, who has spearheaded her defense, said he was “too busy” to comment when contacted by telephone today, but he has repeatedly told the Indian media that the allegations are “nonsense.”

The director of the Delhi-based Center for Policy Alternatives, Mohan Guruswamy, said the Congress Party had mounted a dubious defense of its candidate over the collapse of her bank.

“Their argument is that there is not a single cooperative bank in India which has not been similarly defrauded, so why blame her alone,” he said.

This was not a line of argument likely to be widely accepted, he added.

“The office of president has previously been held by people of reasonable eminence and stature,” he said. “The office is invested with a moral authority. Here we have taken a provincial politician and catapulted her into the highest office of the country. She is a small-time crook, a political hanger on, with no constituency. Whether she will be able to fulfill her role is a matter of debate now.”

Votes will be counted on July 21 and the new president will start work on July 25.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Understanding Judaism


Understanding Judaism

Dallas, Texas: - Sunday, July 1, 2007. The Foundation for Pluralism is committed to promoting understanding between peoples of different religious affiliations. “We believe knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of another point of view”.

The Foundation for Pluralism has taken the initiative to present all religions in its programs. The goal is to bring people of different faiths together and provide a platform for them to share about their beliefs, their systems and rituals, while expanding the knowledge zone of each group.

We hope each one of us would walk out with an open mind and an open heart towards our fellow beings. It is difficult to shed the prejudices, but once we do, there is genuine freedom (Mukti, Moksha, Salvation, and Nirvana.) in it.

Judaism: Everything you wanted to know about the Judaism, you can learn about it in this workshop. As with all faiths, non-Clarity, myths and mis-information are part of Judaism as well. Please come prepared with questions, we would like you to walk out of the workshop with a greater understanding of Judaism.

Dr. Howard Cohen is a student of his own tradition and history, a student of the early

Church, how it emerged from and related to its Jewish background, and the history that surrounded the writing of the Gospels. Dr. Cohen has been studying history and religion at SMU’s department of religion and Perkins for over 30 years, and has been teaching Judaism to Christians and Christianity to Jews since 1975.

Pluralism Workshop: - What is Pluralism? What is a pluralistic attitude? Learn its application at work place, home, social situations and other circumstance. It is about co-existence ** (Questions to ponder - listed below)

Details:

  1. When: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Sunday, July 22, 2007 – Wisdom of Judaism

  2. Time: 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM – Wisdom of Pluralism

  3. Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14315 Midway Road, Addison, TX 75001

  4. Directions: Click Map : From LBJ, north on Midway, after Spring Valley on the left.

  5. Confirmation: ConfirmAttendance@gmail.com

  6. Schedule for the year:
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Calendar.asp

POINTS TO PONDER

  1. Is attempting to undermine the divinity of other faiths amount to arrogance? Does that appeal to God?

  2. Is blaming a religion, nation, race, or ethnicity for the acts of individuals’ amount to deception?

  3. Is holding greed, anger, hate, or malice in our hearts depleting our freedom?

  4. Is ridiculing a person amount to ridiculing the creator?

  5. Is judging others without knowing them personally amount to _________ (fill in Please)?

  6. Is God free or some group owns him/her? Are we not limiting its _________ (fill in Please)?

  7. Does God make deals behind our back and favor some? Could God do such a thing?

In affairs of the world, religion appears to be a source of the problem; it certainly is not. You can always trace the wars, genocides, oppression and other atrocities to evil insecure stupid men. Please remember, the purpose of religion was to fix the evils of humankind and it continues to do so while some men still don’t get it. Thanks God, the world is a better place today because of the Religion and spirituality, without which there would be chaos. Every Religion is on the same side, that of goodness for humankind. Finding the truth is one’s own responsibility. Truth brings salvation.

If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, then faith is in the heart of the believer. Let every one find peace his/her own way – Mike Ghouse


Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town.

Foundation for Pluralism Studies in Religious Pluralism and Pluralistic societies
Workshops Lectures Research Forums Discussions
2665 Villa Creek Drive, Suite 206, Dallas, TX 75234
Website:
www.FoundationforPluralism.com email: info@foundationforpluralism.com
Contact: Mike Ghouse (214) 325-1916


I could kill George Bush

I could Kill George Bush
It is not my statement, these are the letters in Dallas News

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dear Bob and Sharon
Dallas Morning News

Thanks for publishing my letter, although you have taken a few phrases out, the essence is still there. The original is appended below.

I am writing an op-ed honoring the likes of Cindy Sheehan, Betty Williams, Bill Moyers, Keith Olberman, Jodi Williams and a countless other hero's of America (600 Words) who are responsible for sustaining our democracy, would you publish it?

Your paper and my voice would not have been around, if it was not for these protestors, criticizers and agitators challenging the fascism that was creeping and eating away our democracy. I am ashamed of our journalists, every congressman except Murtha and every Senator except Obama who have never questioned our admin or demanded proof and instead happily swallowed what was dished out to them, shame on them for toeing the government line and endangering the freedom of our nation.

The two most emotional events for me in the last decade were: 1) Watching Nelson Mandela released from the Prison and 2) watching the news on midnight of Tuesday, November 6, 2006, when our nation got liberated from the fascists. I have smiled and cried on those two occasions, because freedom is the most cherished value to me, that's what makes each one of us who we are, the 7 billion unique beings as God has chosen us to be.

I did get a few hate calls this morning and several uplifting one's as well. Hate calls do energize me, as we have to do more work to bring light in place of ignorance, and God bless all those who are willing to stand up and speak up for America and its values.

God bless America





Mike Ghouse
A Moderate Republican

Letters: 'I could kill george bush'

08:50 AM CDT on Monday, July 16, 2007
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/letters/stories/DN-monartletters_0716edi.ART.State.Edition1.436dfd0.html


Americans owe freedom to those who speak up

Re: "Speaker sorry for 'kill Bush' line – Nobel winner's remarks at Dallas peace conference stir up firestorm," Friday news story.

A greater truth has emerged from Betty Williams' words: The most patriotic among us are the ones who keep governments on their toes.

Had it not been for those Americans who opposed the war and criticized the administration, we would have been in deep trouble and would have lost all the respect we have earned over the years as a kind, generous and caring nation. After all, our democracy is the beacon of hope for mankind, and it is these criticizers who have kept the democracy alive.

All those who have pursued the path of challenging the government ought to be honored as the most patriotic Americans, for their relentless battle to keep our democracy alive. What is democracy without opposition?

Mike Ghouse, Carrollton
-------------------------

Betty Williams joins ignoble Nobel recipients

It would be difficult to find words that could discredit the status of a Nobel Peace laureate more than Betty Williams' own or the actual list of the prize's recipients.

Ms. Williams shares her award with such notables as Yasser Arafat, former President Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and the United Nations. Maybe the Nobel selection committee could make a posthumous bestowal on Neville Chamberlain.

Name in the Paper, Richardson
______________________

Sadly, speakers veer off topic into Bush-bashing

As a delegate to the International Women's Peace Conference, I was appalled that the keynote speakers turned their speeches into more than talk of peace but into Bush-bashing, such as, "Right now, I could kill George Bush," words spoken by Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams.

I left in disappointment and disgust after the third night. Cindy Sheehan, where were you?

Name in the Paper, Dallas
__________________

Betty Williams and the emergence of a greater truth.

Obviously the leading paragraph in Dallas news “she came all the way from Ireland to kill George Bush” was very misleading. The tone of that paragraph was to sensationalize the report and not present the essence of her speech. I am disappointed in the manner in which it was reported.

There is a greater truth that has emerged from this incident – The most patriotic among us are the one’s who keep the governments on their toes, if not the pied piper would have lead us all into a disaster zone. Had it not been for those Americans, who opposed the war and criticized the administration, we would have been in deep trouble and would have lost all the respect we have earned over the years as a kind, generous and caring nation. After all our democracy is the beacon of hope for mankind, and it is these criticizers who have kept the democracy alive.

All those who have pursued the path of challenging the government ought to be honored as the most patriotic Americans for the year, for their relentless battle to keep our democracy alive. What is democracy without opposition? The freedom that you and I have is owed to the people who speak up.

Mike Ghouse
http://www.mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/
http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Resolving Kashmir dispute

Conference on Resolving Kashmir dispute

The following press release about resolving the Kashmir dispute is conflict loaded. As an Indian, and as a Subcontinentian striving to foster goodwill amongst the people of subcontinent in my own little way, I find the following sentence to be offensive and a detriment to dialogue.

'Dr. Fai pointed out that the Kashmiri-Americans have noted that the rulers of India and Pakistan have realized that the status quo in Hindu Occupied Kashmir is NOT an option'

Mr. Fai, I applaud your efforts to find resolution to the conflict, however the words “Hindu occupied” are not the right words , the communal overtones will not be appreciated by any one including Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Indians regardless of their faith.

Furthermore, in the interests of human security, that is security and well being of each individual, we should form government of the people, by the people for the people and not theocratic states. The world would have loved an Islamic state or Ram Rajya if it were run by Shri Ram or Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), since it is not possible, we should not have religion based governance, as it will invariably fall into the hands of wrong dudes and each one of the 7 billion of us stands the chance of being persecuted. No more theocratic states and all of should speak up.

Mr. Fai, I urge you* to employ the words that will open the doors of friendship and not aggravate the situation. Every conflict, war, genocide and destruction begins with the wrong choice of words. Let the wrong words not mar the dialogue and become a barrier to the solution.

The saving grace for the conference would be the presence of Mr. Jatinder Bakshi, Chairman, Action Committee for the Return of Kashmiri Pundits. Every human in Kashmir must be included for a long term sustainable solution.

In the 3rd International women's peace conference going on in Dallas, I spoke with one of the speakers from a war torn nation that witnessed genocide. Her mother, father and some of her relatives were mercilessly butchered by the Milsovac murderers and yet, She has made inner peace by forgiving the evil doers. I beleive peace starts with each one of us, We cannot bring peace unless we have peace within us. When we are peaceful, we get blessed with the strenght and gain momentum to influence positive outcome for the good of humankind and our words would drive us towards solutions.

I wish to see a practical, acceptable and workable resolution from the conference. Like Millions of the Subcontinentians, it is also my dream to see our region become an international trade zone to bring peace, prosperity and progress for every Citizen of the subcontinent.

*We have met at the University of Denver at Boulder campus in 2001. I was speaking on the South Asian affairs and your topic was Kashmir .

You are welcome to post your practical solutions (no rhetoric please) at the end of : http://mikeghouse.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/07/kashmir-dispute-conference.htm

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980
______________________________________________

Resolving Kashmir Dispute: Innovative Models

Chief Editor: Journalist SYED ADEEB
http://www.InformPress.com
Association of Humanitarian Lawyers (AHL) - http://www.humanlaw.org and
Kashmiri American Council - http://www.kashmiri.com (KAC) - Kashmir Center (KC)

Invite you to the 7th INTERNATIONAL KASHMIR CONFERENCE
Day, Date & Time: THURSDAY, 26 JULY 2007 - 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

KASHMIR ROUNDTABLE FORUM

Subject: "Resolving Kashmir Dispute: Learning From Other Disputes"
Day, Date & Time: FRIDAY, 27 JULY 2007 - 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Location: Gold Room
Rayburn House Office Building of the United States Congress Independence Avenue & New Jersey Avenue Nearest Metro: Capitol South, Orange/Blue Lines. Washington DC, USA

(InformPress.com) - Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director of the Washington-based Kashmiri American Council (KAC) - Kashmir Center (KC) said Friday that the preparations are underway for the International Kashmir Conference. He said that the primary objective of this Conference is to explore all possible options to settle the issue of Kashmir to the satisfaction of all three parties: Pakistan , India and all peoples of all areas of the entire State of Jammu & Kashmir including Azad Kashmir.

Dr. Fai pointed out that the Kashmiri-Americans have noted that the rulers of India and Pakistan have realized that the status quo in Hindu Occupied Kashmir is NOT an option . He hopes that the Indo-Pak regimes would also recognize that there can be NO peaceful negotiated settlement of the Kashmir conflict without the full and active participation of the legitimate and accredited leadership of the people of Kashmir in the Kashmir liberation process.

Dr. Fai said that the following Kashmiri, Pakistani, Indian and American speakers have confirmed to address the International Kashmir Conference at the Rayburn House Office Building of the U.S. Congress (Gold Room) in Washington DC , USA on Thursday, 26 July 2007 during 8
AM to 6 PM :



1. Mr. Laar Mart, former Prime Minister of Estonia;

2. Prof. Kamal Chenoy, Jawahar Lal Nehru University , New Delhi ;

3. Prof. Robert Wirsing, Honolulu , Hawaii ;

4. Amb. Dennis Kux, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars;

5. Dr. Rodney Jones, President, Policy Architects International;

6. Prof. Emilio Asti, Scholar of Oriental Culture, Catholic University , Rome ;

7. Mr. Mahmud Ali Durrani, Pakistan Army envoy to the USA ;

8. Mr. Kenneth Ballen, President, Terror Free Tomorrow;

9. Ms.Sherry Rehman, Information Secretary , Pakistan Peoples Party;

10. Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, Prime Minister, Azad Kashmir;

11. Mr. Praful Bidwai, Columnist, New Delhi ;

12. Mr. Jatinder Bakshi, Chairman, Committee for the Return of the Kashmiri Pandits;

13. Mr. Ved Bhasin, Kashmir Times;
14. Prof. Angana Chatterji, California Institute of Integral Studies;
14. Dr. Pushpa Iyer, George Mason University ;

15. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman, All Parties Hurriyet Conference of Jammu & Kashmir;

16. Mr. Yasin Malik, Chairman, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front;

17. Dr. Attia Inaytullah, Member , Pakistan National Assembly, Islamabad ;

18. Mr. T. Kumar, Amnesty International, USA ;

19. Ambassador Yusuf Buch, former Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary General;

20. Barrister Abdul Majeed Tramboo, Executive Director, Kashmir Center , Brussels ;

21. Professor Nazir A. Shawl, Executive Director, Justice Foundation/ Kashmir Center , London ;

22. Mian Abdul Qayyum, Chairman, Kashmir Bar Association;

23. Mr. Shabir Ahmed Shah, President, Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party;

24. Mr. Zahid G. Mohammad, Columnist, Greater Kashmir ;

25. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Mir, President, World Kashmir Freedom Movement, USA ;

26. Prof. Bishnu Poudel, National Council of South Asian Studies;

27. Mr. Lars Rise, Norway ;

28. Dr. Waleed Rasool, All Parties Hurriyet Conference, Azad Kashmir;

29. Mr. Mohammad Akbar Chaudhry, Minister, Azad Kashmir;

30. Mr. Ali Adnan Ibrahim, Georgetown University ;

31. Dr. Khawaja M. Ashraf, President, Pakistani American Congress;

32. Mr. Bob Giuda, Legislator, New Hampshire ;

33. Mr. Ali S. Khan, Executive Director, Kashmiri Scandinavian Council, Norway ; and many others.




Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai has urged all Americans interested in real democracy, human rights, civil liberties, equal justice, rule of just & fair laws, peace and stability in the region of South Asia to attend this historic meeting about the Kashmir issue. Admission to the Kashmir Conference is free and open to all but registration is urged.

For more information, CONTACT:

Mr. David Wolfe or Ms. Chuluun: Telephone: 202-628-6789 /
202-628-6788 / 202-607-6585. Fax: 202-393-0062 / 703-295-8683. E-Mail:
kashmirconference@yahoo.com

Kashmiri American Council (KAC) - Kashmir Center (KC)
1111 16th Street, NW, Suite 420, Washington DC 20036 USA
E-Mail: info@kashmiri.com
Website: http://www.kashmiri.com

Self-Determination Basic Principle For Kashmir Solution: Dr. Ghulam
Nabi Fai

Taipei, Taiwan, 13 July 2007 (ReportPress.com - KMSnews.org -
KashmirWatch.com): Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director of the
Washington-based Kashmiri American Council (KAC) - Kashmir Center
(KC), has pointed out that self-determination is the basic principle
of decolonisation as enshrined in several resolutions of the United
Nations and judgement of International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Dr. Fai stated this while addressing a conference on "Changing Global
Scenario and Peoples' Right to Freedom", a forum sponsored by the
Youth For Global Justice. Over 300 eminent persons attended the
seminar.

Dr. Fai elaborated that the self-determination of the peoples is a key
principle of the United Nations Charter, which had been reaffirmed in
the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and applied many times to
the settlement of various international disputes.

"The applicability of the self-determination principle to the specific
case of Jammu and Kashmir has been explicitly recognized by the United
Nations," Dr. Fai said. "It was upheld equally by both India and
Pakistan when the Kashmir dispute was brought before the UN Security
Council."

Dr. Fai reminded the audience that the idea of a referendum in the
State Jammu & Kashmir, promised to all the people of Kashmir by the
United Nations, should be implemented now, without derogation, to
determine the future and final status of the Jammu & Kashmir State.

"The sole condition is that the elections in Kashmir should be
completely free from undue pressure, rigging or intimidation and the
Kashmir referendum must be held under the control and supervision of a
neutral and impartial United Nations or international agency," he
added.

Dr. Fai reiterated that any sincere and serious effort towards a fair
& just settlement of the Kashmir conflict must squarely deal with the
realities of the situation on the ground and fully respond to the
Kashmiri people's human rights.

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai advised that our objective should be to find the
correct or best solution of the Kashmir dispute through South Asian
and international dialogues on Kashmir among the people of Kashmir,
Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, China, Iran and all other member-
countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
(SAARC). "In other words, it should by itself neither exclude nor
preclude any rational settlement of the Kashmir issue, be it accession
to Pakistan or total independence of Kashmir," he said.

- Kashmiri Conference Adopts Washington declaration - http://www.humanlaw.org/kashmirstatement.html
- Kashmir Media Service (KMS) http://www.kmsnews.org
- Kashmir Watch - http://www.kashmirwatch.com
- Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF - AK Group) http://www.jklfworld.org
- Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir http://www.ajk.gov.pk/main/index.html

Friday, July 13, 2007

HH Aga Khan & 50 Years

PRESS RELEASE

Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Imamat Day of HH Aga Khan.

Dallas, Texas, July 10, 2007. The World Muslim Congress joins in the felicitation of His Highness the Aga Khan on the Golden (50th) anniversary of his ascension to the Imamat (spiritual and temporal leadership) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims on July11, 1957. He succeeded his grandfather as the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims.

Qur’aan says in Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware." HH Aga Khan has assiduously tried to live up to the essence of the above verse.

Islam consistently encourages individual responsibility towards the peace and security of society at large. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) described a good deed as an act which benefits others, such as planting a tree that serves generations of wayfarers with fruit and the shade.

Aga Khan Development Foundation (AKDN) is an embodiment of encouragement to all of us to get involved in endeavors to help our fellow beings to attain their full potential. AKDN is one of the largest Muslim Foundations engaged in the service of humanity. It has worked rather quietly in the spirit of Qur’aan to serve the humanity at large, with a special emphasis on helping the underdeveloped communities becoming self-reliant.

AKDN has opened schools colleges, universities, institutes of higher learning and specialized research all over the world, particularly in Central Asia, India, Pakistan and Countries in East Africa. It has organized competitions for the excellence in the spirit of human attainment.
One of the great achievements of Aga Khan Foundation is to prove that a determined effort to raise the economic and educational level of a large community is not only desirable but possible. To the best of our knowledge there are no downtrodden and extremely poor in the Ismaili community. Simply because individually and as a community, Ismaili Muslims under the leadership of Aga Khan have taken the burden of being their brothers keepers, in the best possible sense.

We hope that opening of the Pluralism Center in Canada under His Highness' leadership will open the hearts and minds of all in kindred spirit towards their fellow beings. The tradition of inclusiveness is encouraged in Qur’aan, where God is merciful, kind and the Rabbul Aalameen, the sustainer of the Universe.

Mike Mohamed Ghouse,
Mirza Akhtar Beg and
Mumtaz Mir

WORLD MUSLIM CONGRESS
2665 Villa Creek Dr, Suite 206, Dallas, TX 75234 - WMCarchives@Gmail.com

Betty Williams and the Truth

Betty Williams, the Nobel Peace Laureate and the emergence of a greater truth.

The following letter was sent to the Managing Editor and the staff of Dallas Morning News, the articles in reference to this are appended below;

Obviously the leading paragraph in Dallas news “she came all the way from Ireland to kill George Bush” was very misleading. The tone of that paragraph was to sensationalize the report and not present the essence of her speech. I am disappointed in the manner in which it was reported.

There is a greater truth that has emerged from this incident – The most patriotic among us are the one’s who keep the governments on their toes, if not the pied piper would have lead us all into a disaster zone. Had it not been for those Americans, who opposed the war and criticized the administration, we would have been in deep trouble and would have lost all the respect we have earned over the years as a kind, generous and caring nation. After all our democracy is the beacon of hope for mankind, and it is these criticizers who have kept the democracy alive.

All those who have pursued the path of challenging the government ought to be honored as the most patriotic Americans for the year, for their relentless battle to keep our democracy alive. What is democracy without opposition? The freedom that you and I have is owed to the people who speak up.

Reference: http://www.womenspeaceconference.org/ in Dallas :: July 11 thru 15, 2007

Mike Ghouse
http://www.mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/
http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/
http://www.mikeghouse.net/

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/dmn/stories/DN-peace_12nat.ART.State.Edition1.43b8067.html
Nobel winner apologizes for Bush comment
Irish peace activist's speech at Dallas event gets standing ovation

08:22 AM CDT on Friday, July 13, 2007
By JAMES HOHMANN / The Dallas Morning News
Betty Williams

Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams apologized Thursday for saying she could kill President Bush, remarks that drew scorn from Bush loyalists and shook up the International Women's Peace Conference in Dallas.

"My feelings now and again get way ahead of me," Ms. Williams said. "I couldn't kill anybody, but I must confess that I'm extremely angry with the Bush administration and what they have done. To say that was wrong."

Conference organizers immediately sought to distance themselves from her speech Wednesday night, but it brought a swift rejoinder from the White House, dominated some radio talk shows and drew a flurry of hateful e-mails to attendees.

Questioned about her speech Thursday morning, Ms. Williams initially denied making the comment but reversed course after organizers confirmed the quote.

In a speech before 1,000 people Wednesday, Ms. Williams said that violence is a choice and the push for peace takes hard work and commitment.

"Right now, I could kill George Bush," she said. "No, I don't mean that. How could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that." As she made her point, she chuckled and some members of the audience laughed.

Also Online
Audio: 'Right now, I could kill George Bush' (Note: The International Women's Peace Conference states that Ms. Williams' opinions are her own.)
Ms. Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for creating a group that helped start peace talks in Northern Ireland, also said that Mr. Bush should be impeached. About half the audience responded to that with a standing ovation.

The speech, given in the city that will host Mr. Bush's presidential library, caused a stir on talk radio and Internet sites, and among those attending the conference.

"Threatening the president of the United States is a crime," conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher said on his nationally syndicated program, which airs in Dallas. "Many of us are resentful at a so-called Nobel Peace Prize laureate having the audacity to threaten the life of our commander in chief."

Several women at the conference said they admired Ms. Williams for having the courage to say what she thought – even if unpopular.

"It was an incredible act of bravery to make that statement in Texas," said Lucinda Marshall of Louisville, Ky., who added that the anti-Bush rhetoric appealed to her. "When you have a president that's consistently breaking the law, you do not have a democracy. You have a dictatorship."

'Surprisingly hostile'

White House spokesman Blair Jones called Ms. Williams' comments "surprisingly hostile rhetoric coming from someone who has been recognized for promoting peace."
It wasn't the first time Ms. Williams has spoken critically of Mr. Bush. Last July, she made an almost identical comment about wanting to "kill George Bush" to a group of schoolchildren in Brisbane, Australia. She said her point was that it is hard to be nonviolent when there are so many atrocities in the world.

Ms. Williams said Thursday that the focus on her comments about Mr. Bush was a distraction from her more important message about peace.

"I'm just really passionate about my work. Sometimes it's 'open mouth, insert foot,' " she said. "I'll spend the rest of the day saying I'm sorry to everybody."

Conference chairwoman Carol Donovan stressed Thursday that the conference is nonpartisan and that Ms. Williams' views are her own.

"The remarks were spoken from her heart and were based on her own concern and opinions," she said. "With over 1,000 delegates, you can imagine the range of opinions is very wide."
Peace conference delegates talked about the speech Thursday between workshops on issues like genital mutilation and globalization.

Nancy Sonntag, a Dallas psychotherapist who has worked with Iraq war veterans, said she is not a Bush supporter but called Ms. Williams' comments "totally inappropriate."

"I was a little disappointed in her response," Ms. Sonntag said, referring to the conference's overarching question of how to achieve peace. "I don't think that's the solution I was looking for. There are so many other problems."

Unda Sigera of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, said people in her country are generally supportive of Mr. Bush – if they talk about him at all – because he increased the amount of U.S. aid to Africa. "I do not know much about America," she said. "Back home, they don't say anything about Bush because this is beyond their say."

Beth Weems Pirtle of Farmers Branch, a past state president of the United Nations Association and a volunteer at the conference, described herself as a friend and longtime supporter of Mr. Bush's, but she said that she has become increasingly opposed to the administration.
"Betty Williams was right on target in a lot of what she said," Ms. Pirtle said. "On Sept. 11, he had the world at his feet. He dropped the ball. He let the neocons around him take advantage of him."

Hateful responses

Conference organizers reported that a Dallas police detective was working with hotel security to review about 40 hateful e-mails received in response to Ms. Williams' speech.
They wouldn't say whether anyone was threatened.

Assistant Police Chief Ron Waldrop said police presence at the Adam's Mark Hotel and Conference Center was not increased as a result of the speech. "We have people that work with protesters and monitor controversial events," he said. "We do that on a routine basis."
Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren in Washington declined to comment, but a Dallas agent said Ms. Williams had not been questioned and there were no plans to do so.
And Ms. Williams said she did not fear for her safety.

"If I would have been concerned about my safety," she said, "I wouldn't have started the peace movement in Northern Ireland."

Staff writers Todd J. Gillman, Jason Trahan and Tanya Eiserer contributed to this report.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hindu Prayers open US Senate

PRESS RELEASE

United States Senate to open with Hindu Prayers

Dallas, Texas – Thursday, July 11, 2007. Today, Rajan Zed, the Hindu Priest from Reno Nevada created history by becoming the first Hindu to deliver the opening prayer in the U.S. Senate.

In behalf of the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress, we congratulate the Hindu American community of America for this blessed step. It is indeed a giant leap for the American society in building inclusive societies.

Our democracy and economic systems have been the beacons of civilization in harnessing the material resources for the human benefit. Now, America has demonstrated its leadership in the spiritual domain by including the Hindu prayers for opening. We hope and pray that our Senate will become the guiding post of pluralism by continuing to include the prayers (Prayers is wishing goodness for others) of Atheists to Zoroastrians and every one in between.

This principle of inclusiveness will assure a safe, peaceful and prosperous America for centuries to come. We are one nation under God with liberty and Justice for all.

We are proud of this milestone in our history.

Mike Ghouse, President
Foundation for Pluralism
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/
2665 Villa Creek Drive, Suite 206
Dallas, TX 75234.
(214) 325-1916

Friday, July 6, 2007

Muslims Condemn London Plot

MUSLIMS CONDEMN THE LONDON PLOT
Friday, July 06, 2007
PRESS RELEASE


WORLD MUSLIM CONGRESS
Good for Muslims and Good for the World
2665 Villa Creek Drive, Suite 206
Dallas, Texas 75234
Email: WMCarchives@gmail.com
Cell: (214) 325-1916 Office : 972-919-4466
http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/


Friday, July 06, 2007
PRESS RELEASE:
MUSLIMS CONDEMN THE LONDON PLOT

Dallas, Texas. Friday, July 6, 2007. The bombing at Glasgow and attempted bombing last week in London are unequivocally condemned. Redress of grievances of any kind through terrorism is not only uncivilized but patently un-Islamic.

Some Muslim physicians from Middle-East and India have been accused and arrested. It is an abomination for any one to hurt innocent lives. It is especially egregious for physicians, whose obligation is to save lives, instead of destroying innocent lives that happen to be in the vicinity of their bombs.

Terrorism is condemnable irrespective of nationality or religion of the perpetrators. It is particularly painful to us as Muslims when Muslims are involved in such dastardly acts; our condemnation becomes even stronger.

We urge that after due process, those involved be treated as criminals and murderers that they are. They should be prosecuted and punished as they deserve. Please do not give them a religious label, as it diffuses the focus from criminality of few to many who have no part is such dastardly acts. We urge Muslims to be vigilant and help the authorities to prevent such evil acts that not only injure humanity, but do even more injury to the moral ethos of Islam.

Contact:

1. Mike Ghouse (214) 325 -1916 – mailto:MikeGhouse@aol.com
2. Mirza A. Beg – mirza.a.beg@gmail.com

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Eboo Patel on Pluralism

Eboo Patel on Diane Rehm Show
Talks about Pluralism


This interview with Diane Rehm show is worth listenting to, if you have the time. Pluralism, as Eboo speaks, or you may understand and I teach is indentical.

Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core.
Listen: http://www.wamu.org/audio/dr/07/07/r2070705-13285.asx
or http://www.wamu.org/audio/dr/07/07/r2070705-13285.ram

The website http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ answers some of the questions that Eboo was asked;

  1. Our Mission: http://foundationforpluralism.com/Index_OurMission.asp
  2. Our Workshops: http://foundationforpluralism.com/Calendar.asp
  3. Workshop on Judaism: http://foundationforpluralism.com/Index_files/Understanding%20Judaism.pdf
  4. Community is a bus: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/search/label/A%20Community
  5. Hate Sermons: http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2007/06/hate-sermons-from-pulpit.html

"Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity."-Dalai Lama. We do not have to do this because God wants us or it is a big noble thing, we have to do it because co-existence is a necessity, so we can live our life free of tensions.

I am thinking of taking this to the schools and campuses, need to dedicate our time to this, any one would be interested in joining me?

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com . Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980

The Foundation for Pluralism:

Our mission is to encourage individuals to develop an open mind and an open heart toward their fellow beings. If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness to each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge . Knowledge leads to understanding, and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of a different point of view.

The Foundation for Pluralism has taken the initiative to present all religious communities in its programs. The goal is to bring people of different faiths together, and provide a platform for them to share about their beliefs, their systems and rituals, while expanding the comfort zone of each group. "The event is a tribute to those who think beyond the box.
--
Mike M Ghouse
(214) 325-1916
SPEAKER THINKER WRITER
www.MikeGhouse.net
www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
2665 Villa Creek Dr, Suite 206
Dallas, TX 75234

O: 972-919-4466 F: 972-919-4467


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Burqa to no Burqa

Burqa to no Burqa
Mike Ghouse, July 4, 2007



When the President of the United States abuses the authority given to him and violates the constitution and trust of the people (low approval ratings), when the Pope abuses his authority and utters words that create gratuitous chaos, when the Mufti of Saudi Arabia abuses his authority in pre-empting God’s authority and issues a fatwa declaring another Muslim as a non-Muslim, and when people in power abuse their authority; the people in power over their family also abuse the imposition of Burqa as an instrument of control. However, not all the Presidents, not all the Pope’s, not all the Clerics and not all the people abuse the privileges, some do and I estimate that to be no more than 1/10th of 1% when it comes to the general public.

A majority of Muslim women wear the Burqa out of their own volition, however there are a few men out there who compel them to wear, and it is certainly an oppressive situation. When you take a principled stand, women are indeed oppressed by all societies, The insecure men; whether it is a Bubba, Mullah or a Prince, be it in China, United States, India, Brazil or Saudi Arabia, they all behave the same, take it out on their women. Idiots do not have the guts to fight some one equally strong or independent; but they always prey on the weak or the dependent. They are the one’s that need education and not the Burqa elimination. Once we learn about the essence of Burqa, we may find oursleves to become pro-choicers, i.e., respecting the right of choice of the woman and not dictate what she does and does not wear, just as we are divided on Roe V. Wade.


Burqa is used from the Shuttle-Cock format in Afghanistan to the Hijab format (a bare scarf in the United States, Canada, India, Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan and some other nations. The Original Islamic idea was for a woman to be modest in public places, hold on from jumping to conclusions, it is not only women, it is men as well. Men in most Muslim societies do not wear shorts, they wear full length pants, they do not go bare chested even in their homes. That is range of modesty in practice. For an average American to understand this concept of modesty, all they have to do is compare the society of a higher threshold where, some families walk around the house with barely any clothes on, but most American families have modesty, what they wear in front of their children, especially of the opposite gender, when their sister, daughters or cousins are around is not the same.

If some woman wants to drop the Hijab, she can, but she has to feel comfortable with it. It would be hypocritical of us to impose our values onto others, let alone our own relatives.
We have an obligation to maintain a balance in the society and it is our duty to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each individual, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
Prejudice against any one is one of the many sources of disrupting the peace in a society and it is our duty to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it. if we let hate mongers, hate sermons and hate lectures creep in our societies, we lose that desired balance in the society.

First, we have to believe that the societal balance begins with each one of us; we see goodness around if we upload good values in ourselves. It is in our interest to treat the world as one nation under God, one family and one people with liberty and justice for all. We are on the bus.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com . Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980

Two articles to refer to:

Pakistani cleric captured under Burqa

By MUNIR AHMED, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 34 minutes ago
Security forces besieging a radical mosque in the Pakistani capital captured its top cleric Wednesday as he tried to sneak out of the complex in a woman's Burqa, and more than 1,000 of his followers surrendered.

But heavy gunfire raged into the night, and it was unclear if his capture would lead other hard-liners to give up the fight at the mosque.

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf deployed the army to subdue the militants holed up at Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, whose clerics have boldly challenged the government for months with a drive to impose a Taliban-style version of Islamic law in Islamabad.

The peaceful arrest of the mosque's prayer leader, Maulana Abdul Aziz, was a coup for the government. The firebrand Aziz has been a vociferous opponent of Musharraf and threatened suicide attacks to defend the mosque. His thousands of male students have been at the forefront of anti-government and anti-U.S. rallies.

Tensions exploded into a daylong battle Tuesday between security forces and militant students, some heavily armed and masked. Officials said 16 people died, including militants, security officers and bystanders. Mosque leaders put the death toll among just students at 20.

The government ordered the militants to lay down their arms and surrender by Wednesday morning as it positioned armored vehicles and helicopters around the mosque in a show of strength.

A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists, said Aziz was captured when he tried to get away disguised as a woman, wearing a full-length black burqa, and a female police officer tried to search him.

The officer began shouting "This is not a woman," the official said, prompting male officers to seize Aziz. "The suspect later turned out to be the mosque's chief cleric," the official said.
An AP Television News cameraman saw plainclothes police bundling the gray-bearded cleric into the back of a car, which sped away.

Javed Iqbal Cheeman, an Interior Ministry official, said Aziz's wife, the principal of the mosque's religious school, was also arrested.

"The entire operation will end in further success, and we will be able to give you and the nation more good news," Deputy Interior Minister Zafar Iqbal Warriach said.

He said the whereabouts of the mosque's deputy leader, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who is Aziz's brother, was unclear. Ghazi said earlier Wednesday that "we will continue to defend ourselves."

Cheema said at least 1,100 people surrendered during the day, with some of the women in tears. All women and children will be granted amnesty, but males involved in killings and the top mosque leaders will face legal action, Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim said.
Cheema claimed that "not many more" people were left inside the mosque complex.
One who decided to give up, 15-year-old Maryam Qayyeum, said those who stayed in the seminary "only want martyrdom."

"They are happy," she said. "They don't want to go home."
Qayyeum said mosque leaders were not trying to stop students from giving up. But her mother, who had come to take her home, disputed that "They are making speeches. They want to incite them," she said of the leaders.

Over the past six months, the Red Mosque clerics have challenged the government by sending students to kidnap alleged prostitutes and police in an anti-vice campaign.
The bloodshed has added to a sense of crisis in Pakistan, where Musharraf — a major ally of President Bush — already faces emboldened militants near the Afghan border and a democracy movement triggered by his botched attempt to fire the country's chief justice.
The mosque siege sparked street protests Tuesday in the cities of Lahore and Quetta organized by radical religious parties.

On Wednesday, officials said a suicide car bomber rammed a vehicle into a Pakistan army convoy near the Afghan border, killing five soldiers and five civilians. In northwestern Pakistan, unidentified assailants fired a rocket at a police station, killing one officer and wounding four, and an explosive killed four people and injured two district officials.
It was not known if the incidents were linked to the mosque crisis.
___
Associated Press reporters Sadaqat Jan and Stephen Graham in Islamabad and Riaz Khan in Peshawar contributed to this report.

.____________________

International Herald Tribune.

Head-to-toe Muslim veils test tolerance of stridently secular Britain
By Jane Perlez
Thursday, June 21, 2007

LONDON: Increasingly, Muslim women in Britain take their children to school and run errands covered head to toe in flowing black gowns that allow only a slit for their eyes.
Like little else, their appearance has unnerved Britons, testing the limits of tolerance in this stridently secular nation. Many veiled women say they are targets of abuse. At the same time, efforts are growing to place legal curbs on the full Muslim veil, known as the niqab.
The past year has seen numerous examples: A lawyer dressed in a niqab was told by an immigration judge that she could not represent a client because, he said, he could not hear her. A teacher wearing a niqab was told by a provincial school to go home. A student who was barred from wearing a niqab took her case to the courts, and lost. In fact, the British education authorities are proposing a ban on the niqab in schools altogether.

David Sexton, a columnist for The Evening Standard, wrote recently that Britain has been "too deferential" toward the veil. "I find such garb, in the context of a London street, first ridiculous and then directly offensive," he said.

Although the number of women wearing the niqab has increased in the past several years, only a tiny percentage of women among Britain's two million Muslims cover themselves completely. It is impossible to say how many exactly.

Some who wear the niqab, particularly younger women who have taken it up recently, concede that it is a frontal expression of Islamic identity, which they have embraced since Sept. 11, 2001, as a form of rebellion against the policies of the Blair government in Iraq and at home.

"For me it is not just a piece of clothing, it's an act of faith, it's solidarity," said a 24-year-old program scheduler at a broadcasting company in London, who would allow only her last name, Al Shaikh, to be printed, saying she wanted to protect her privacy. "9/11 was a wake-up call for young Muslims," she said.

At times she receives rude comments, including, Shaikh said, when a woman at her workplace told her she had no right to be there. Shaikh said she planned to file a complaint.
When she is on the street, she often answers barbs. "A few weeks ago a lady said: 'I think you look crazy.' I said: 'How dare you go around telling people how to dress,' and walked off. Sometimes I feel I have to reply. Islam does teach you that you must defend your religion."
Other Muslims find the niqab objectionable, a step backward for an immigrant group that is under pressure after the terror attack on London's transit system in July 2005.

"After the July 7 attacks, this is not the time to be antagonizing Britain by presenting Muslims as something sinister," said Imran Ahmad, author of "Unimagined," an autobiography of growing up Muslim in Britain, and the head of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. "The veil is so steeped in subjugation, I find it so offensive someone would want to create such barriers. It's retrograde."

Since South Asians started coming to Britain in large numbers in the 1960s, a small group of usually older, undereducated women have worn the niqab. It was most often seen as a sign of subjugation.

Many more Muslim women wear the headscarf, called the hijab, covering all or some of their hair. Unlike in France, Turkey and Tunisia, where students in state schools and female civil servants are banned from covering their hair, British Muslim women can wear the headscarf, and indeed the niqab, almost anywhere, for now.

But that tolerance is eroding. Even some who wear the niqab, like Faatema Mayata, a 24-year-old psychology and religious studies teacher, agreed there were limits. "How can you teach when you are covering your face?" she said, sitting with a cup of tea in her living room in Blackburn, a town in the north of England, her niqab tucked away because she was within the confines of her home.

She has worn the niqab since she was 12, when she was sent by her parents to an all-girls boarding school. The niqab was not, as many Britons seemed to think, a sign of extremism, she said. The niqab, to her, was about identity. "If I dressed in a Western way I could be a Hindu, I could be anything," she said. "This way I feel comfortable in my identity as a Muslim woman."

No one else in the family wore the niqab. Her husband, Ibrahim Boodi, a social worker, was indifferent, she said. "If I took it off today, he wouldn't care."

When she is walking, she is often stopped, she said. "People ask, 'Why do you wear that?' A lot of people assume I'm oppressed, that I don't speak English. I don't care, I've got a brain."

Some commentators have complained that mosques encourage women to wear the niqab, a practice they have said should be stopped. At the East London Mosque, one of the largest in the capital, the chief imam, Abdul Qayyum, studied in Saudi Arabia and is trained in the Wahhabi school of Islam. According to the community relations officer at the mosque, Ehsan Abdullah Hannan, the imam's daughter wears the niqab.

At Friday prayers recently, the women worshipers were crowded into a small upstairs windowless room away from the main hall for the men.

A handful of young women wore the niqab and spoke effusively about their reasons. "Wearing the niqab means you will get a good grade and go to paradise," said Hodo Muse, 19, a Somali woman. "Every day people are giving me dirty looks for wearing it, but when you wear something for Allah you get a boost."

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Emerson, Pipes and Peace

Bush, Emerson, Pipes and Peace
Mike Ghouse, July 3, 2007
Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes and their likes will hopefully figure out the path to peace based on historic precedence. They have not considered a perspective of co-existence, and instead have treaded on the path of “might” is the cure all for bringing peace.

Tyrants like Pharaohs, Alexander, Romans, Crusaders, Inquisitors, Genghis, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Saddam and Osama have attempted to force their way of life onto others by their evil might and failed. They have had short term gains, but were never able to sustain their evil empires.

God is always with the people, those bullies never succeeded in crushing the will of the people; the Jews, the Muslims, the Christians, the Zoroastrians, the Hindus and the like. The brave people, either fought for their life or gave it up at the Masada, they were butchered by Ferdinand but held on to their beliefs. Hitler planned on annihilating the entire Jewish population but failed. The mighty Russian empire could not do diddly with the Afghans, nor could our Almighty war machine crush the Vietnamese. Romans could not do it either and we are seeing the results in Afghanistan and Iraq, our actions are producing opposite of what we desire.

What makes one to believe that the sheer might will buckle people down? There is plenty to learn from history.

As Americans we need to speak up and adopt methods advocated by the great spirits like Gandhi, King and Mandela.

Creating fear and gaining support from the average American to believe that we can wrap bombs on our F-16’s and annihilate the percieved enemy completely, ought to be reviewed for its effectiveness.

These powerful ideas have generated more destruction, more anger and have bred hate and anger. I hope the Neo-cons realize this and spend their energy on bringing true peace and co-existence.

Anya Cardell writes (http://www.anyacordell.com). “This follows on the lecture last week by Steven Emerson at Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook, attended and warmly received by about 500, entitled ‘The Terrorists Living among us’. Both Pipes and Emerson have long histories of virulent anti-Muslim efforts. …so I'm not going to cite right now a bunch of similarly appalling assertions from Pipes, Emerson, and their cronies--but they are truly terrifying, adding to the 'open season' mentality currently profiling, stereotyping, smearing, and generalizing all Muslims. I have met the families of innocent men who were murdered in the hate-backlash of 9/11, and know that there are all-too-real consequences of such hate and fear-mongering. “Additionally, a requisite for war is demonizing and dehumanizing the Other, so that we can shrug, rationalize or justify what we call 'collateral damage', and how innocents are caught in the crosshairs or ensnared in big nets, (roundups, detentions, etc.), all in the name of 'security'.”

It is time; we listen to peace makers and seriously consider abandoning our failed approaches that has cost us American as well as non-American lives. We need to stop running amuck with a gun and blindly shooting every where hoping it will hit something. We need to earn the respect of nations through our efforts to bring peace through humility.

For our own sake we need to bring humility and remember that all of us will die this moment or the next, let’s work on bringing peace to the world and not cherish chaos and enjoy destruction.

I appeal to Emerson, Pipes and others to try what has worked. One of the comments that missed their thinking radar was when Karen Hughes wore a make shift Hijab when the President was re-visiting a Mosque in DC was made to appear like appeasement. By God, it is an age old tradition to dress up in host’s costumes, people and Presidents wear Yarmulke when the visit a Synagogue, wear other gear as a respect. That is called diplomacy and it has worked for over centuries.

Here are three articles to read and absorb the gamut of our current polices. Deep down, it appears our President is a good man when he is on his own longing for peace; he just needs to walk on the path alone and lead his few supporters instead of getting led.
References:

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com . Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980.
__________________________________

The New York Sun

July 3, 2007 Tuesday
Shoeless President Bush
BYLINE: DANIEL PIPES

SECTION: FOREIGN; Pg. 7
LENGTH: 785 words

When President Eisenhower dedicated the Islamic
Center in Washington, D.C., in June 1957, his
500-word talk effused good will ("Civilization
owes to the Islamic world some of its most
important tools and achievements") even as the
American president embarrassingly bumbled
(Muslims in America, he declared, have the right
to their "own church"). Conspicuously, he included nary a word about policy.

Exactly 50 years later, standing shoeless,
President Bush rededicated the center last week.
His 1,600-word speech also praised medieval
Islamic culture ("We come to express our
appreciation for a faith that has enriched
civilization for centuries"), but he knew a
mosque from a church - and he had more on the agenda than flattery.

Most arresting, surely, was his statement that "I
have invested the heart of my presidency in
helping Muslims fight terrorism, and claim their
liberty, and find their own unique paths to
prosperity and peace." This cri du coeur signaled
how Mr. Bush understands to what extent actions
by Muslims will define his legacy.

Should they heed his dream "and find their own
unique paths to prosperity and peace," then his
presidency, however ravaged it may look at the
moment, will be vindicated. As with President
Truman, historians will acknowledge that Mr. Bush
saw further than his contemporaries. Should
Muslims, however, be "left behind in the global
movement toward prosperity and freedom,"
historians will likely judge his two terms as
harshly as his fellow Americans do today.

Of course, how Muslims fare depends in large part
on the future course of radical Islam, which in
turn depends in some part on its understanding by
the American president. Over the years, Mr. Bush
has generally shown an increased understanding of
this topic. He started with platitudinous,
apologetic references to Islam as the "religion
of peace," using this phrase as late as 2006. He
early on even lectured Muslims on the true nature
of their religion, a preposterous ambition that
prompted me in 2001 to dub him "Imam Bush."

As his understanding grew, Mr. Bush spoke of the
caliphate, "Islamic extremism" and
"Islamofacism." What euphemistically he called
the "war on terror" in 2001 by 2006 he referred
to with the hard-hitting "war with Islamic
fascists." Things were looking up. Perhaps
official Washington did understand, after all.

But such analyses roused Muslim opposition and,
as he approaches his political twilight, Mr. Bush
has retreated to safer ground, reverting last
week to decayed tropes that tiptoe around any
mention of Islam. Instead, he spoke inelegantly
of "the great struggle against extremism that is
now playing out across the broader Middle East"
and vaguely of "a group of extremists who seek to
use religion as a path to power and a means of domination."

Worse, the speech drum-rolled the appointment of
an American special envoy to the Organization of
the Islamic Conference, directing this envoy to
"listen to and learn from" his Muslim
counterparts. But the OIC is a Saudi-sponsored
organization promoting the Wahhabi agenda under
the trappings of a Muslim-only United Nations. As
counterterrorism specialist Steven Emerson noted
June 28 in the National Review, Mr. Bush's dismal
initiative stands in "complete ignorance of the
rampant radicalism, pro-terrorist, and
anti-American sentiments routinely found in
statements by the OIC and its leaders."

Adding to the event's accommodationist tone, some
of the president's top female aides, including
Frances Townsend and Karen Hughes, wore makeshift
hijabs as they listened to him in the audience.

In brief, it feels like "dejà vu all over again."
As Diana West put it in the June 29 Washington
Times, "Nearly six years after September 11 -
nearly six years after first visiting the Islamic
Center and proclaiming ‘Islam is peace' - Mr.
Bush has learned nothing." But we now harbor
fewer hopes than we did in 2001 that he still can
learn, absorb, and reflect an understanding of the enemy's Islamist nature.

Concluding that he basically has failed to engage
this central issue, we instead must look to Mr.
Bush's potential successors and look for them to
return to his occasional robustness, again taking
up those difficult concepts of the caliphate and
Islamic extremism. Several Republicans - Mayor
Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and (above all) Fred
Thompson - are doing just that. Democratic
candidates, unfortunately, prefer to remain
almost completely silent on this topic.

Almost 30 years after Islamists first attacked
Americans, and on the eve of three major
attempted terrorist attacks in Britain, the
president's speech shows how confused Washington remains.

Mr. Pipes ( www.DanielPipes.org) is the director of the Middle East Forum.

--------------------------------------------- --

Steve Emerson’s Fantastic Obsession

What would an investigative reporter turned director of a private intelligence operation, who is increasingly obsessed with proving that mainstream Muslim American organizations are radical, do when he fails to find evidence to support his obsession? Human decency and Ethical conduct dictate that he give up his obsession and admit that he was wrong. Steve Emerson, the director of the shadowy Investigative Project, thinks otherwise. Rather than doing the right thing and give up his bigoted endeavor, he decides to use fantasy to forge evidence and prolong his compulsive obsession.

http://aninsight.org/2007/07/steve-emersons-fantastic-obsession.html
Steve Emerson’s Fantastic Obsession

What would an investigative reporter turned director of a private intelligence operation, who is increasingly obsessed with proving that mainstream Muslim American organizations are radical, do when he fails to find evidence to support his obsession? Human decency and ethical conduct dictate that he give up his obsession and admit that he was wrong. Steve Emerson, the director of the shadowy Investigative Project, thinks otherwise. Rather than doing the right thing and give up his bigoted endeavor, he decides to use fantasy to forge evidence and prolong his compulsive obsession.

Emerson belongs to a network of anti-Muslim pundits who, driven by bigotry and exclusivist ideology, are bent on marginalizing Muslim Americans, and using unscrupulous tactics to distort the image of Muslims and instill fear of Islam and Muslims in the American public. Their strategy is to repeat their unfounded accusations against mainstream Muslim organizations so as to create a public record and then use it to incite federal officials and agencies against Muslim Americans. The idea is that if they can repeat a lie long enough, and use different media outlets to propagate their accusations, the lie in time becomes “believable” and takes the semblance of “truth.” Obviously, they have not heeded Abraham Lincoln’s wise advice: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

In a recent article published in the National Review Online (June 28, 2007) under the title “Radical Outreach: Bush coddles American apologists for radical Islam,” Emerson lashes out against President Bush for appointing a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Emerson made it clear that he resents Bush’s initiative, which is aimed at mending fences with the Muslim world, and faults OIC for being critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians under military occupation.

Emerson was particularly upset that President Bush distinguished between Muslims in general and fringe extremist groups whose attacks on innocent civilians have been condemned by Muslim communities throughout the world, and by mainstream Muslim organizations. By making a distinction between ordinary Muslims and extremists, Emerson proclaims, Bush advances the “very talking point [that] is the refuge of America’s supposedly [sic] mainstream Muslim organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Islamic Society of North American (ISNA).”

To undermine the distinction between mainstream Muslims and extremists, he goes to the website of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and picks up a news release that was published in 2004. The news release reported then the decision of the US Navy Chief of Chaplains to remove an article by Salman Rushdie that was intended to instigate Muslims against the West and westerners against Islam from the Navy website. I wrote to Rear Admiral Louis V. Iasiello, then the Navy Chief of Chaplains, asking him to reconsider the decision to publish such a divisive article. Chaplain Iaseillo realized that it was a mistake to republish the article and he ordered its removal.

Emerson takes the news release and turns its content upside down, and without any ifs, maybes, or buts he attributes to me the divisive argument advanced by Rushdie. Emerson writes: “In 2004, Louay Safi, a top ISNA official, went further, writing that the ‘assertion by ‘world leaders’ that the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam is nothing but a piece of propaganda and disinformation that was meant to appease Western Muslims and to maintain the coalition against terrorism.’”

Emerson ignores the context of the above statement and omits a key phrase that shows clearly that the quoted argument was that of Rushdie and not my own as he claims. Here is the paragraph which Emerson misquotes in its totality:

“Salman Rushdie's article ‘Yes, This is About Islam,’ originally published in New York Times, argues that the assertion by ‘world leaders’ that the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam is nothing but a piece of propaganda and disinformation that was meant to appease Western Muslims and to maintain the coalition against terrorism.”

Emerson misrepresentation of my position is not simply an error of omission, but a gross distortion of my words and a malicious attempt to put a spin on my statement so as to support his thesis of assigning anti-American views to Muslim American leaders, scholars, and organizations. My correct position is in complete opposition to what Emerson presented and is not easy to miss as it is spelled out in the subsequent paragraph. Here is my response to Rushdie’s argument:

“In his letter, Dr. Safi pointed out that the article not only insult the overwhelming majority of Muslims worldwide, particularly American soldiers of the Islamic faith, who every day put their lives on the line . . . but its cynicism cannot be easily missed as it accuses the commander in chief, and virtually all senior members of the government, of duplicity.”

Mr. Emerson has in the past used innuendo and half-truths to malign mainstream Muslim individuals and organizations, but he has recently reached a new low as he is now willing to use fraud and fabrication to undermine Muslim Americans. His unscrupulous attacks and insinuations against Muslims in general and Muslim Americans in particular must be condemned by every American of conscience, as his hateful and divisive message would, if left unchecked, confuse the public and undermine the efforts to isolate extremism and defeat terrorism.

This article appears in the following publications:

Counterpunch
Official Wire
Media Monitor Network
Middle East Online
iviews
The American Muslims

----------------- ------------------

http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/05/laser-barking-at-terrorists.html

Laser Barking at Terrorists
Mike Ghouse April 20, 2007

http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/05/laser-barking-at-terrorists.html

This essay explores the mistakes our Administration has made in not facing the terrorist squarely; and instead acting out like cranky babies. The world communities will be with us, with their hearts in fighting the menace of terrorism, if we go after the individuals responsible for the crimes and not their families, their nation or their religion. We will achieve far greater success, if we learn to laser bark at the criminals, instead of barking at the universe.

Throw me in the ditch for the crimes I commit, inflict the punishment I deserve, but please do not unleash your fury on my family, my parents, my town or my religion. I should be responsible for my acts, and no one else. This should be a common principle and norm, we should abide by.

There is always a reaction to the biased phrase when some one is addressed as, “You people”. We have seen reactions by Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus or African Americans, Arabs, Caucasians and others when they hear that phrase, “you people” in that particular tone. For the wrongs I do, it should be, “Mike you goofed up” and not, “you guys”. When a Jewish councilman was addressed in that fashion in Dallas in 2006, all of us were offended, and I took the step to condemn the sayer of such a phrase through Dallas Morning News. I also make no exception if my fellow Muslims speak in that tone.

You face the battle with your kids when they go nuts, you do the best in disciplining them, and when they are cranky, they will do the thing they know how; to be unruly, challenging and sometimes even getting destructive. When you push a wild animal to the corner, he knows he is done with, but before he crumbles, he will charge on you and attempt to inflict whatever damage it can.


While the analogy of wild animal in the case of terrorists may not be perfect, more often than not we use an approach in delineating and classifying terrorists. We have to develop a nuanced and conscientious approach in dealing with terrorism. Some groups, such as al-Qaeda, are aimless, there is no negotiable goals or agendas that can be meaningfully contended with. Therefore, there is not a room for flexibility with them. However, there are many a movements that engage in terrorism, and have legitimate and genuine grievances as part of national resistance movement. Without addressing those grievances, no preaching or pressure would eliminate such terrorism, especially when many among these people have lost all hope for any solution or resolution and have been pushed to the wall.

While we must not condone any terrorism, we must also take the moral high ground by addressing the underlying grievances and problems and avoid pursuing policies, and undertaking ventures that provide new impetus to the terrorists, as it has unfolded in Iraq. We have to figure in the frustration game of new ones popping up and avoiding them. Pounding them with mega bombs will not cut it, we do not have a record in history of such successes; the Taliban’s are popping again. To create a just world for our own peace and peace for others requires giving due attention to their concerns without compromising our own deeply held values. We cannot become oppressors ourselves in the pursuit of peace. The world communities will be with us, with their hearts, in fighting the menace of terrorism, if we go after the individuals responsible for the crimes and not their families, not their nation or their religion. We will achieve far greater success, if we learn to laser bark at the right criminals, instead of barking at the universe. Others need to sense in our actions that we are not barking at them, and then they will be with us.

"If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." There is no saner advice than Mother Theresa’s, and when we are overwhelmed with badness around, “The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas” Alfred Griswold.

The business of Terrorism has been around for a long time, however tracing it in the last century, the Haganah began its operations in the 20’s, then came the Irgunists and after Stern died in a shoot-out with British police in 1942, the mantle was picked up by future Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, then in November 1944, Lord Moyne, the British minister was assassinated in Cairo by the stern Gang. Once, Israel was established in 1948, the tables turned, the Palestinians were displaced and the PLO came into being and started their acts of terrorizing the innocent. The 1971 Munich Massacre was the ugliest one followed by the plane hijackings and other activities. While IRA continued terrorizing in Northern part of UK, the Tamil Tigers were wreaking havoc in Sri Lanka. By the way, we never called them Christian, Hindu or Buddhist Terrorists, why do we call Muslim Terrorists then? That is plain stupid and counter-productive, if our goal is peaceful co-existence.

Now, the International terrorism has become a daily affair. President Reagan made hero out of Osama, instead of being grateful, the ugly traitor turned the guns against us. He has done a lot of damage to us; The 1992 Bombing of WTC, the Embassy in Kenya, the Cole and the 9/11. Regionally, the Beirut Bombardment created Hezbollah in Lebanon and the political imbroglio generated Hamas in Palestine. While other outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-a-Mohammad got going in South Asia. Intoxicated with our might, we extended the invitation “Bring on” to those al-Qaeda terrorists and they are multiplying in Iraq now, aren’t they?

Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-King must have pondered over our situation in Iraq and mused about telling this to our President Years ago, “Conquer your foe by force, you increase his enmity; conquer by love, and you will reap no after-sorrow.” We completely violated the teaching of Jesus, Luke 6: 27, 28 – "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."

We did not believe in this wisdom and decided not to deal with the terrorists, who would we deal with then? They are the ones who are disruptive. We always have the last option available to us, but our first choice should have been to engage them into a dialogue, we can certainly laugh about it, but looking at the results we have achieved, the dialogue option would have been more fruitful and less destructive. Our insolence in not engaging them as a part of a broader approach has produced more of them, than we can conquer.

We falsely believed, and still do, that our gunpowder can subdue everything in the world. I hope we realize that we have always won the right battles and the right wars, and have certainly lost the wrong ones in Vietnam and other places. We forget that dear God is mightier than our gunpowder. We have also forgotten making distinctions between movements of national resistance and groups given to apocalyptic-type agenda for destruction.

The wrong wars did not have a clear objective, nor did we know where to point the gun. We were trigger happy to destroy what we did not like. The way we have gone about in dealing with Terrorism is pathetic. Shame on us, we were indeed scared to speak up until November 7th, 2006.

The Elections changed it all, Thanks God, we are speaking now, and at least our mistakes are surfacing. “When we took over Baghdad, we had plans to rebuild Iraq, but wasted our time for over a year in preparing the blueprints, while we let the un-employed and the youth rot with nothing to hope for,” Rajiv Chandrashekharan from Washington post had reported. Our strategy was wrong and planning was helter skelter. It is easier to blame on a host of things on our failure than to acknowledge our mistakes. That is the first thing we have to do, to know where we were wrong, then figure it out how to fix them.

We can consider the following;

i) Announcement of the troop withdrawal date, as it would give a clarity to all parties,

ii) asking a non-parties to the war like; Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Brazil or Japan to call on a summit of key Arab leaders including the leaders, and opposition leaders of the three factions in Iraq,

iii) asking each one of the three groups to prepare a wish list that would stop the bloodshed

iv) monthly withdrawal of our troops replaced by troops of their choice to maintain law and order. This may dampen the Al-Qaeda presence.

Hope is the most important ingredient of life, without which life is utterly meaningless. It is the hope that determines destiny and fuels the drive towards it. A normal youth aspires to go to school, get the education, fall in love, have job, get married, have a house and raise children who would live a life better than himself or herself. Most people learn to live and be content with accomplishing any part of that elusive hope. Snatch all of it from a human being, what is left to derive satisfaction? Have we thought seriously and empathically about it?

It is wrong to assume that Muslims support terrorism. Why should they? They are getting the shaft triply because of the terrorists; i) they are blamed iii) their religion is maligned and iii) the world looks at them maliciously. Muslims are as terrorized by the terrorists as anyone else is. Heck, Muslims condemn terrorism three times as strong. The media does not put the Muslim voice out; heck the Muslims are frustrated with this situation. But condemn they do, more so than others. It is just not Muslims, you will find that the Jews, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and others also condemn the atrocities committed in their names, but their voices are drowned as well. The bullies on both sides continue to reign. It has got to change, and the moderates need to speak up and the media ought to oblige to give the space, even if it is not sensational. **1

Once we are committed to a peaceful world of co-existence, we will start seeing the issues in more focused way. Dalai Lama says, “Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity”. If we see the problems of the world as problems that need resolution - then our approach will crystallize and start thinking of solutions.

Let’s start with the war on Terror.

Osama Bin Laden and his gang destroyed our symbol of freedom and prosperity on 9/11, we screamed, “You people” implying Muslims. We also said, “Muslim Terrorists” and a whole lot of other phrases to “Islamofascist”. The right phrase would have been “Osama, you screwed up”.

Whose rears should we have hauled? To the world, we looked like maniacs with a cocked gun running amuck with no particular place to point it towards; anything that moved got bombed out, including a wedding party. We were shooting everywhere, and destroyed every thing in our reach. This is the wrong way to get the terrorists; Osama is still on the loose.

If we can laser shoot the tiny object 3000 miles away, we can get the six footer and his cronies. We can laser bark at the right tree and quit barking at the universe. We have excuses for our failure, and have sacrificed over 3000 of our sons and daughters and a million plus Iraqis, and the latter simply doesn’t count.

We could have done the right thing, but we did not have the guts to do it. When people cannot face things squarely, they go the route of “you people” and shoot in darkness hoping we would shoot some at least, what a delusion! The American people, generally caring and empathic, understand now that we didn’t go to Iraq with pure and sincere motivations to help them, rather with our own grandiose interest in mind, where the Iraqi people would be guinea pigs. That’s why the support for the war has disappeared so visibly. It is time to admit our mistakes and undo those by disengaging from Iraq; they will probably not do as much of damage as we have done

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**1 - Note added today, May 11th, 2007. The article was written on April 20th and was asked to be published in New York Times, Washington post, Dallas Morning News, Wall Street Journal and a few others. They are still toeing the line of the admin and would not publish it. Thanks to countercurrents and conservative voice to publish it. As a principle, I have published on this blog, after it got published elsewhere.

The Conservative Voice: http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/25016.html
Counter Currents: http://www.countercurrents.org/ghouse100507.htm

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer, speaker and a pluralist with the aptitude [you might like to use a different word] to find solutions. He believes that if we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, conflicts fade and solutions emerge. Mike can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com and at the websites www.MikeGhouse.net and www.FoundationforPluralism.com and www.WorldMuslimCongress.com

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Hate Sermons from the Pulpit
http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2007/06/hate-sermons-from-pulpit.html
Hate Sermons from the Pulpit.
Mike Ghouse, May 2, 2007


It is our duty to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Hate is one of the many sources of disrupting the peace in a society and it is our duty to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it. We have an obligation to maintain a balance in the society

We lose that balance and that elusive equilibrium if we let hate mongers, hate sermons and hate lectures creep in our societies.

The Muslims have been diligently cleaning up the hate sermons from happening in their communities in the United States and Canada. I can recall one incident last year in Canada where one such alleged hate monger Yaseen Sheikh was not allowed to land in Canada and was sent right back to his home; The United Kingdom. The Muslims are making serious efforts to prevent radical preachers from making any speeches in their communities and their Mosques. I am sure some one slips by here and there, but the vigil is there and the guard is on. Islam is about bringing a balance to the society, and American Muslims are vigorously fighting to prevent the Mosque pulpit to ever go into the hands of hate generators.

Hate peddling is unfortunately human, and doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with religion, any religion.

As all the religions teach to overcome hate, here are some quotes about doing unto others;

Bahai: Lay not on any soul a load which ye would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for any one the things ye would not desire for yourselves. Writings of Baha'u'llah

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5, 1

Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:1

Confucianism: Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. Analects 12:2

Hinduism: This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. Mahabharata 5,1517

Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Sunnah

Jain: "Living beings (souls) render services to one another" or in short "Live and let live."

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 3id

Sikh: All humans are same and so we should treat them all the same – Guru Gobind Singh

Taoism: Regard your neighbor's gain as your gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss. Tai Shang Kan Yin P'ien

Wicca: Harm None

Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself. Dadisten-I-dinik, 94, 5

As we pledge one nation under God with liberty and justice for all, we have to look into each other and look at ourselves, and lift ourselves up from the hate pit and come together on a level playing field of goodwill and generosity.

The business side of faith has thrived on ridiculing others faiths and manufacturing a devil out of thin air. There is a misplaced spirituality in operation; our faith is the best, because others aren’t. Wow, what logic! Arrogance and Spirituality are inversely proportional; one cannot be religious when there is an element of arrogance in it. Other faiths don’t have to be bad for mine to be good. My little daughter says if there is no negative selling how would the business of Church survive? How would you grow congregations and the monies that come with it? Shamefully hate and fear binds the people, even though much of it is manufactured. Who has the time to question? A majority of us do not really hate anyone, nor do we care for those sermons, we go there as a social event and often honoring the courtesy of invitation. However, the extremists among us cash on it, they know what binds us.

It is the human weakness that allows the propagation of hate, and we shamelessly abuse our holy texts to justify human killing and destruction of the world be it Armageddon, Jihad, Promised land or some such notion to satisfy one’s disruptive mindset. Whether it happens in Church, Mosque, Temple, Synagogue or any place of worship, the silent majority puts up with it and does not speak out. We go to the place of worship to rid ourselves of our sins – the elements of ill-will, malice, hate, anger and other entrapments. The pulpit has become a loading dock for malice and incitement to look down upon others who hold a different view.

Anya Cardell writes (http://www.anyacordell.com). “This follows on the lecture last week by Steven Emerson at Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook, attended and warmly received by about 500, entitled ‘The Terrorists Living among us’. Both Pipes and Emerson have long histories of virulent anti-Muslim efforts. Pipes invented what he calls ‘Sudden Jihad Syndrome’, which he defines as the sudden change of any normal appearing, apparently peaceful Muslim, who may turn on a dime into a radical terrorist. …so I'm not going to cite right now a bunch of similarly appalling assertions from Pipes, Emerson, and their cronies--but they are truly terrifying, adding to the 'open season' mentality currently profiling, stereotyping, smearing, and generalizing all Muslims. I have met the families of innocent men who were murdered in the hate-backlash of 9/11, and know that there are all-too-real consequences of such hate and fear-mongering. “Additionally, a requisite for war is demonizing and dehumanizing the Other, so that we can shrug, rationalize or justify what we call 'collateral damage', and how innocents are caught in the crosshairs or ensnared in big nets, (roundups, detentions, etc.), all in the name of 'security'.”

Should our places of Worship offer space for hate sermons or for bridge building lectures? I hope the sanctity of the synagogue is not violated by the Emerson, Pipes and his likes and no one ought to be allowed to preach hate towards other people.

It is in our interest and the interest of public safety that the sermons delivered at places of worship fill our hearts with love, generosity and goodwill and build bridges for a safe and peaceful nation.

What if we make our speeches in the place of worship a public record? To keep peace, law and order in our country, we need to consider hate speech as a crime. The speech that would permanently place wedges between our communities injects distrust and destroys the concept of one nation under God.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980.