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Monday, October 22, 2007

America, we are proud of you

America, we are proud of you!

Our current administration may not believe and practice Justice, but our Civil society does. Monday, October 22, 2007 will go down in the history as one of the most important milestones in the history of American system of Justice.

Although the fascist facet of our government machinery in collusion with hate mongers from around the globe attempted to bulldoze this through, our system of democracy prevailed. Even though the integrity of the media is questionable in this case, the court system remained intact.

Justice is the most critical aspect of human life, when it is not met in this life, we are assured, through our faith traditions, that it will be served, that is how the spiritual equilibrium is achieved. One set of faiths believe in life after death, where one is accountable for the deeds in the world and receives grace and blessings or punishment depending on how he or she lived the life. The other set of faiths believe that life is cyclical, one is born continuously through re-incarnation and birthing in lower forms of life as a payment for living the wrong life or will complete the life cycle and get the salvation for living the life of goodness. Either belief set has the same essence - behavior modification in this life and justice at the end.

The whole Muslim world was looking forward to this case with intensity. It was a question of faith in American Justice system. Thanks God for our exemplary system, thanks CAIR for the immense faith they have restored in our system, and we thank our founding fathers for creating a nation where Justice prevails.

This decision is a catalyst in influencing the relationship between our nation and the nations that supply our energy needs. They will see us as a people of integrity and I hope and pray that they will discount our administration and believe in us, the Americans.

Now, it is time for cleaning one more guilt off our slate; Lifting the idiotic, unjust, cruel ban on providing food and medicine to the dying families in Gaza, regardless of their religion. Some one should be held responsible for their death. The least we can do is take the responsibility to speak up and end their misery and liberate us from the sins of depriving life essentials to a people.

As Americans we need to speak up against people who sow the seeds of hate.

I am proud to be an American and request each one of us to take the responsibility for peace, let our actions and words reflect conflict reduction and peace building. Amen

God bless America

Your comments are welcome: http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2801020625658998297&postID=9137950637476820248&isPopup=true

Link to this posting: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/10/america-we-are-proud-of-you.htm

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ with a simple theme: "Good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is http://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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CAIR: HLF MISTRIAL A 'STUNNING DEFEAT' FOR PROSECUTION - TOP
Not a single guilty verdict returned by Texas jury on 197 charges

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/22/2007) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called today's declaration of a mistrial in the case against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Muslim charity a "stunning defeat" for the prosecution.

CAIR also said the absence of a single guilty verdict on 197 charges brought by the prosecution in the terror financing trial will help reinforce the Muslim community's faith in America's system of justice.

The jury initially brought back "not guilty" verdicts on the government's most serious charges of material support for terrorism against the five HLF officials. However, jurors were deadlocked on other charges, forcing the judge to declare the mistrial.

SEE: Judge Declares Mistrial in Holy Land Foundation Case (Dallas Morning News)

SEE ALSO: HLF Juror Says 'There Was So Little Evidence' (AP)

View the jury's verdict for one of the defendant's here.

In a statement reacting to the declaration of a mistrial, CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed applauded the efforts of the jury.

Ahmed's statement said in part:

"After 19 days of deliberation, the jurors did not return even a single guilty verdict on any of the almost 200 charges against these men, whose only 'crime' was providing food, clothing and shelter to Palestinian women and children. It seems clear that the majority of the jury agreed with many observers of the trial who believe the charges were built on fear, not facts. This is a stunning defeat for prosecutors and a victory for America's legal system.

"The American Muslim community will continue to fight for justice and for the right to help those who are in need, whether in this nation or overseas. Today's developments in the HLF case send the message that a hard-working jury of ordinary Americans will weigh the facts objectively and will resist pressure to convict based on guilt by association. Charitable giving should be honored, not criminalized."

Ahmed added that this is just the latest defeat for government prosecutors in such cases. Similar conspiracy charges brought in Illinois and Florida found little traction with jurors.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

SEE ALSO:


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CAIR: HLF JUROR SAYS 'THERE WAS SO LITTLE EVIDENCE' - TOP
David Koenig, Associated Press, 10/22/07

A judge declared a mistrial Monday for former leaders of a Muslim charity accused of funding terrorism after jurors who spent 19 days deliberating deadlocked on most charges.

Prosecutors said they would probably retry leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which the federal government shut down in December 2001.

The jury found one former Holy Land leader, Mohammed El-Mezain, not guilty on 31 of 32 counts. Two other defendants were initially acquitted on most or all charges, but in a confusing courtroom scene, three jurors disputed the verdict.

The judge declared a mistrial against those men and two other former foundation leaders for whom jurors never reached any decisions. . .

A juror told The Associated Press that the panel found little evidence against three of the defendants and was evenly split on charges against Baker and former Holy Land chairman Ghassan Elashi, who were seen as the principal leaders of the charity.

"I thought they were not guilty across the board," said the juror, William Neal, a 33-year-old art director from Dallas. The case "was strung together with macaroni noodles. There was so little evidence."

Neal said the jury was split about 6-6 on counts against Baker and Elashi. He said the government should not retry the case — a call picked up by Holy Land's supporters. . .

The case stirred emotions in the American Muslim community, at least partly because prosecutors named dozens of Muslim groups as unindicted co-conspirators.

The Holy Land case followed terror-financing trials in Chicago and Florida that also ended without convictions on the major counts.

The government "failed in Chicago, it failed in Florida, it failed in Texas," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — one of those unindicted co-conspirators. "The reason it failed is the government does not have the facts; it has fear." (MORE)
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MSA LAUNCHES NATIONWIDE ‘PEACE...NOT PREJUDICE’ PROJECT - TOP

This month, more than 100 Muslim Student Associations (MSAs) across the country will hold a 'Peace...Not Prejudice' campaign, a project of MSA National, to further improve interfaith dialogue and increase an open exchange of ideas on our college campuses.

To learn more about the project click here:


SEE ALSO:

'ISLAMO-FASCISM AWARENESS WEEK' STOKES DEBATE - TOP
National Public Radio, 10/21/07


Listen to this story.

Tempers may flare over Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. David Horowitz, a '60s anti-war radical who later took a right turn, says he's trying to sound an alarm about radical Islam. His efforts have drawn much criticism.
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JUDEO-CHRISTO-FASCISM AWARENESS WEEK COMES TO AMERICAN CAMPUSES! - TOP
Rabbi Arthur Waskow


Did that title make the hair on the back of your neck bristle? Did it feel like a bigoted attack on Christianity and Judaism?

When the feature film sent out for use in this Week—which focused on the disgusting Christian-led war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the disgusting Jewish-led killing of Muslim children by airplane bombing raids on Gaza - also included interviews with a few peacenik Quakers, Methodists, and left-wing Jews, criticizing that war and those bombings, did you relax, feeling it was a balanced presentation of Judaism and Christianity?

NO??!! —Your guts, your kishkes, felt that practically all Christians and Jews were being set up as potential indeed probable— bad guys? Could-be terrorists who often manipulated by governments that Christians or Jews controlled—-- hated other religious communities but had not yet got around to buying the plastique for their bombs?

And since Christians are a huge majority in America but Jews are a small minority with a past of being persecuted, did you especially fear for the impact of Judeo-Christo-Fascism Awareness on Jews and Judaism? That this Week might incite anti-Semitism?

Did you urge universities to condemn this “travesty” and institute instead a real Judeo-Christian Awareness Week that looked at the wonderful achievements of Christian and Jewish prayer, charity, and social justice; the history of their persecution; AND the history of their violence against others? That did look closely at the murders of Muslims by Baruch/Aror Goldstein but as an aberration? And looked at the support of Nazism by the leading respectable Lutheran theologians of Germany as terrible a mistake? That discussed the genocidal passages of Torah as a long-ago transcended worldview in the light of Hillel’s teaching, “Do not do to your neighbor what would be hateful if your neighbor did it to you?”

Wow. Now THERE’S a concept!— Do not do to your neighbor what would be hateful if your neighbor did it to you!

So what are you doing about the fact that there is NO such week about to appear on US campuses, but on many campuses this coming week, there WILL appear a whole industrial machine called “Islamofascism Awareness Week”?

If you think it would be hateful toward you to have somebody produce Judeo-Christo-Fascism Awareness Week, what do you owe your Muslim neighbors? Or is Hillel’s teaching (and of course Jesus’ parallel interpretation of “Love your neighbor as yourself") a mere utopian joke aimed at na├»ve children? (MORE)
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NOT IN OUR VOICE: JEWISH ALLIANCE REPUDIATES ‘ISLAMO-FASCISM AWARENESS WEEK’ - TOP
Shira Gordon, Alana Krivo-Kaufman, Josh Schwartz and Shlomo Bolts, Columbia Spectator, 10/22/07


We, the Progressive Jewish Alliance, repudiate the mission of David Horowitz’s “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.” We reject the manner in which he manipulates Jewish grief over the Holocaust and the situation in Israel. As Jews and members of a larger campus coalition community, we speak out as allies of our fellow Muslim students.

Horowitz does not speak for us. Instead, he uses symbols and rhetoric which exploit Jewish communal memory and grief. He uses the fear brought about by the Holocaust as well as by terrorist attacks against our fellow Jews. He juxtaposes images of Nazi propaganda with current Islamic extremists. By associating these images with broad groups haphazardly labeled “Islamo-Fascist,” Horowitz seeks to replace intellectual discussion with panic. Such malevolent tactics are of no service to the Jewish people; rather, they are an attempt to induce Jews into sacrificing their values for a world view of oversimplified fear.

Horowitz claims to support moderate Islam, but does nothing of the sort. Horowitz’s “Student’s Guide” features a petition “appeal” aimed at Muslim Student Associations across the country. This “appeal” is in fact a loyalty oath, in which Muslims are forced to choose between denouncing their entire religion as a danger to humanity and being branded as terrorist sympathizers. Such a narrow-minded approach does not aid moderates, but seeks to strand them between two radical and untenable positions.

Horowitz’s anti-Muslim week of action aims to create a dangerous and false dichotomy between “Judeo-Christian Civilization” and Islam, both on our campuses and in the world. Horowitz points to the atrocities of extremist regimes, which are driven by a range of historical, political, and economic factors, and claims such atrocities embody the essence of Islam. By this logic, geopolitical conflict can only be resolved with the end of Islam. Such a headstrong and stubborn conviction could only result in enflaming tensions, and provoking a New Crusade against Islam.

We refuse to lend our voice to those who attempt to parasitically draw on the support of the Jewish community. We are not fooled by pundits who co-opt progressive activists’ language and protest forms. Instead, we stand as allies with communities of faith and our fellow students. Mr. Horowitz: You will not further your campaign of hate and intolerance in our voice.

Shira Gordon is a senior in Barnard College. Alana Krivo-Kaufman is a junior in Barnard College. Joshua Schwartz is a senior in List College. Shlomo Bolts is a sophomore in Columbia College. The authors are all members of the Progressive Jewish Alliance.


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MN: ISLAMO-FASCISM A RACIST CONCEPT - TOP
Fedwa Wazwaz, Minnesota Daily, 10/22/07


In his Oct. 17 letter "Not racist to criticize," Matt Kleiber states that one of the potential speakers in the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week was not a racist for suggesting that Western culture is superior to Arab culture.

Kleiber needs to understand that the very notion of Islamo-Fascism is a racist concept and any speaker that speaks in such an event is a racist. These speakers are not criticizing any Arab country or particular policy but instead are attacking the faith of 1.5 billion people by likening Islam to Fascism. A better analogy is a conference held by the KKK attacking Jews or holding a Judeo-Fascism Awareness Week.

Or how would Kleiber feel about a West-Fascism Awareness Week that seeks to show how Western women are oppressed as sex objects and citing the human trafficking problem where women are sold as sex slaves?

Not everything Muslims do is right; Muslims do not always represent Islam, just as Christians and Jews do not always represent their faiths. There are many problems in the Muslim world today and there are just as many in the Western world. Both societies need to own up to them by forums that open up an exchange of ideas and educate the masses.

However, there is a difference between a forum that criticizes cultural practices in a given society and one that demonizes a group of people. An awareness week that paints all Muslims with the same brush does not promote understanding but rather increases intolerance, fear and bigotry in a climate of prejudice toward Muslims that is already at an unprecedented level.

It is documented that campaigns that demonize an entire group of people are one of the many gradual steps toward genocide. Please read "The six Steps from Discrimination to Extermination" by Bart Charlow. Charlow mentions that step one is to spread myths or stereotypes about people that result in denigration and social distancing from them.

Freedom of speech when embraced in the spirit of elevating the truth is a needed value in every society. However, it is important to understand that hate speech which vilifies an entire group can have dangerous consequences in the form of hate crimes and violence.

Fedwa Wazwaz is a University staff member.


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‘ISLAMOFASCISM’ - DEBUNKING A CONSERVATIVE SMEAR TACTIC - TOP
Annika Carlson and Sarah Dreier, Campus Progress, 10/22/07


In the days following 9/11, Americans across the ideological spectrum united in support of increased protections against terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. But a handful of conservatives used the attacks to promote division among Americans and their allies abroad. For example, conservative writer Stephen Schwartz employed the term “Islamofascism” in a Weekly Standard article to describe the ideology of America’s enemies in its newly minted “war on terror.” Unfortunately, the moniker stuck with many prominent conservatives. Right-wing pundits, policy makers, and journalists started using the term, and even President Bush has employed it to describe terrorist networks in the Middle East.

That’s a shame, because Islamofascism is a misleading and harmful label: Instead of correctly identifying America’s enemies, it inaccurately describes modern terrorism, wrongly demonizes Islam as a violent religion, and dangerously obscures America’s real national security threats.

Here are the top four reasons why conservatives should stop using the term Islamofascism, and an explanation of what ideas and policies they should be promoting instead.

Islamofascism misrepresents modern terrorism and Islam.

It makes little sense to use the word “fascism” to describe today’s terrorism threat. Al Qaeda and other 21st century terrorists do not rely on the nation-state concept that defined 20th century fascism. Whereas fascists used violence to create control out of disorder, contemporary terrorists derive ammunition from chaos. (MORE)


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DC: CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST FIGHTS ANTI-MUSLIM PREJUDICE - TOP
WAMU, 10/19/07


A notable leader of the civil rights era is speaking out against what he's calling a nationwide effort to discredit Islam. Former D.C. Delegate, and civil rights activist, Walter Fauntroy is denouncing "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week," next week's series of speeches on college campuses nationwide organized by the neoconservative writer David Horowitz.

Neoconservative scholars and journalists say Islam is the philosophical basis for anti-Western terrorism and must be exposed for what it is. But Fauntroy, who is endorsing a counter-protest organized by Muslim and other college students, says it's time to set the record straight.

Listen here.


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CA: WEEK’S FOCUS STIRRING CONTROVERSY - TOP
Bruin Republicans’ “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” met with criticism from Muslim students
Lucy Benz-Rogers, Daily Bruin, 10/22/07


A weeklong series of events called Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, put on by Bruin Republicans, is beginning today amid some controversy.

Similar events will be held at hundreds of campuses across the nation as part of a terrorism-awareness project started by conservative writer and activist David Horowitz.

“The idea is to raise awareness about the threat of Islamic terror and Islamic radicalism,” said David Lazar, chairman of Bruin Republicans and a former Daily Bruin Viewpoint columnist.

Horowitz emphasized that, while his group developed the idea for the event, the specific details were up to student coordinators such as Lazar.

The week will focus on abuses against women, such as genital mutilation and honor killings, Lazar and Horowitz both said.

“This isn’t about a problem we have with Islam,” said Lazar. “Our focus is on things that I hope we are all able to condemn as horrible,” he added.

Event organizers stressed that they encourage moderate Muslims to join them in opposing Islamic fundamentalism, though Lazar admitted he did not expect much support from Muslim Student Association members.

The reason for this is Lazar’s definition of the term moderate, said Naqib Shifa, president of the Muslim Student Association, which he believes does not align with that of most Muslim students.

Randa May Wahbe, president of Students for Justice in Palestine, agreed.

“The way the week is stamped ... is that it’s not a moderate week. I don’t see it as a week that would draw moderates at all,” she said.

In response to the event, those opposed to it will be wearing green, and Shifa said his group plans to set up a table on Bruin Walk to pass out information about Islam to peacefully counter what he called the “hate-themed” events.

Shifa said that, while the Muslim Student Association condemns human rights abuses in the name of Islam, he still believes the way these issues are being presented is offensive to Islam. (MORE)


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PA: SANTORUM’S SPEECH ON MUSLIMS SPARKS ANGER - TOP
Brett Lieberman, Patriot-News, 10/22/07


Ten months after leaving office, former Sen. Rick Santorum is back in the thick of controversy over whether he and other conservatives’ “hate speech” is stirring up anti-Muslim sentiments.

Santorum is headlining an event on the campus of Penn State University Tuesday night that is part of a controversial line-up of conservative speakers in Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.

Commentator Ann Coulter also is scheduled to speak at campuses in California and Louisiana. The talks are part of a series of events at more than 100 colleges being organized by the Los Angeles-based David Horowitz Freedom Center.


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IN: ISLAMO-FASCISM AWARENESS MISFIRES BY TARGETING PROFESSORS - TOP
Indiana Daily Student, 10/22/07


Starting today, a coalition of conservative organizations will be holding “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” at college campuses across the country. Organized by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the event will include demonstrations, petitions, distribution of political materials and speeches by figures such as Horowitz, Ann Coulter and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who will all confront “the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat.” Islamo-Fascism Week’s protests are directed against the “academic left,” who, the organizers claim, serve as apologists for radical Islamist terrorism and work to undermine the U.S. government’s efforts against it.

And herein lies our problem with Islamo-Fascism Week: It’s less about educating students about radical Islamist terrorism than it is about bashing liberals. Groups like al-Qaida do murder innocent civilians in order to intimidate populations into surrendering to their despotic rule. They wish to force women to become subservient, second-class citizens; to execute gays, non-Muslims and anyone who doesn’t abide by their cultural rules;. But, instead of focusing on this genuine threat, Islamo-Fascism Week’s organizers would rather invent one namely left-leaning professors. “Never mind those with the bombs,” they seem to think. “It’s academics who criticize U.S. foreign policy and society, who are reticent about military force, who keep repeating that the vast majority of the world’s Muslims aren’t terrorists and that Westerners need to better understand their cultures, and who fret about global warming who are the real enemy.” This is a load of rubbish.

If the event’s organizers really want to combat “Islamo-Fascism,” they need to have actual scholars (not conservative pundits) teach about how terrorist groups work, familiarize students with the political and cultural context that gave rise to these groups, sponsor debates on how to counter them and otherwise do things that are actually educational. (MORE)


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WI: ‘ISLAMO-FASCIST’ MONIKER MEANINGLESS - TOP
Michael Crichton, Badger Herald, 10/22/07


As a former military intelligence soldier with eight years in uniform and two tours in Iraq under my metaphorical belt, I would like to point out how freaking idiotic the “Islamo-Fascist” neologism really is. For one, “fascist” and “totalitarian” are not synonyms, no matter what Bill O’Reilly might have told you. The only way to describe al-Qaeda as “Islamo-Fascists” is to stretch that category so wide that Stalin and Mao become “Communo-Fascists” and Louis XIV is dubbed a “Solar-Monarcho-Fascist.”

You’d be slightly more accurate in describing the Islamists as “Islamic Totalitarians,” but even that has problems. Many of them don’t want a single, monolithic state, which is a prerequisite for the “totalitarian” label. They’d rather have a relatively weak central government with most of the authority handled by regional councils of “the faithful.” In this way, they’re not so different from the small government conservatives we have over here. Why not just say “Islamic militants” or “fundamentalists?” You know, the labels that are actually accurate?

In summation, would people please stop using words they don’t know the meanings of to describe groups whose methodology and motivations they don’t understand? Those of us who actually know something about the matter in question would appreciate it.

Michael Crichton
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CA: MOSQUE OFFERS FOOD, SHELTER FOR VICTIMS OF SAN DIEGO WILDFIRE

(SAN DIEGO, CA, 10/22/07) - The Islamic Center of San Diego (ICSD), the largest mosque in San Diego County, today announced that it is offering shelter and food to the victims of the San Diego County wildfires, particularly for people living near the Rancho Bernardo and Poway area.

WHAT: Mosque offers shelter, food for victims of San Diego County wildfire
WHERE: Islamic Center of San Diego 7050 Eckstrom Avenue, San Diego, CA

CONTACT: Taha Hassane, Imam of Islamic Center of San Diego, 858-722-8615 or 858-278-5240, E-mail: imam@icsd.org


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MO: MUSLIMS TO WEAR PINK HIJABS FOR BREAST-CANCER AWARENESS - TOP
Religion News Service, 10/22/07


After years of watching non-Muslims warily eye her religious attire, Hend El-Buri joked with some veiled friends that it might finally break the ice if they all wore bright pink hijabs to their University of Missouri classes one day.

The wardrobe whim has evolved into a national campaign involving thousands of other Muslim students, aiming to tear down social barriers and raise money for breast-cancer research (participants are asked to contribute to Susan G. Komen for the Cure).

The college junior created a group on Facebook proclaiming Oct. 26 as National Pink Hijab Day. Through word of mouth, more than 6,500 participants have signed up across the country, including young Muslim men who will wear rosy caps or shirts to show solidarity.

"It might make Muslim women more approachable," explained El-Buri, 20. "We might have different faiths and we might look different, but breast cancer can affect any of us."

SEE ALSO:

CA: MUSLIM WOMEN'S PANEL IS PART OF A FOUR-DAY EVENT - TOP
Linda Lou, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/20/07


In the spring of 2004, Dr. Waheeda Samady decided to wear a black head scarf, or a hijab, for the first time in her life, even though she has always been a practicing Muslim.

Her classmates in medical school immediately asked if someone she knew had died, she said. Their second conclusion, she said, was that her father had married her to a man who insisted she wear a veil.

Many acquaintances had a hard time believing that she wanted to wear it.

Samady, 25, talked about her decision to publicly display her religious beliefs at a panel discussion Thursday at Palomar College. The discussion, Women in Islam, was part of a four-day series of events sponsored by the Muslim Student Association to dispel misperceptions about the faith.

Samady, a resident at Children's Hospital, said she doesn't like talking about her experiences with the scarf because it's such a small part of her religion, yet it's the most visible symbol. She said not all Muslim-American women wear scarves, and if they don't it doesn't detract from their devotion. It was a combination of wanting to reject the dictates of fashion trends and of increased interest in her religion, Samady said, that prompted her decision to wear the hijab. Women are often judged for how they dress, she said, and since the scarf represents modesty and purity, she decided to wear something meaningful to her.

“The most feminist thing that I do sometimes is wearing the scarf,” she said. (MORE)


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EVANGELICALS UP PAYMENTS TO IRANIAN JEWS - TOP
JTA, 10/22/07


U.S. evangelical Christians are offering Iranian Jews $10,000 per person to immigrate to Israel.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which is sponsoring the program, has raised $1.4 million for the aliyah project. It increased the grant offer to $10,000 from $5,000 after a lower-than-expected response rate, The Associated Press reported.

The fellowship claims the Jewish community in Iran is in grave danger, but the AP story says most of the 25,000 Jews in the Islamic republic do not feel threatened -- a claim buttressed by Iran.

Most of Iran's Jews left for the United States or Israel over the past 50 years. Iran’s Jewish community remains the largest in the Middle East outside of Israel, and Iranian Jews have legal and constitutional protections as well as a representative in Parliament. (READ MORE)


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Mistrial declared in Muslim charity case

By DAVID KOENIG, Associated Press Writer 44 minutes ago
DALLAS - A judge declared a mistrial Monday for four former leaders of a Muslim charity accused of funding terrorism, after chaos broke out in the court when three jurors disputed some verdicts that had been read.
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The fifth defendant, former Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development Chairman Mohammed El-Mezain, was acquitted of most charges against him. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on another, which resulted in a mistrial on that count.
The outcome came about an hour after a confusing scene in the courtroom, in which three former leaders of the group were initially found not guilty of most counts involving funneling money to terrorists. But when jurors were polled, three jurors said those verdicts were read incorrectly.
U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish sent the jury back to resolve the differences, but after about an hour he said he received a note from the jury saying 11 of the 12 felt further deliberations would not lead them to reach a unanimous decision. Then, he declared a mistrial.
The jury forewoman said she was surprised by the three jurors' actions.
"When we voted, there was no issue in the vote," she said. "No one spoke up any different. I really don't understand where it is coming from."
In all, five former Holy Land leaders and the group were accused of providing aid to the Middle Eastern militant group Hamas. The federal government designated Hamas a terrorist group in 1995 and again in 1997, making financial transactions with the group illegal.
The cases for two defendants initially found not guilty along with El-Mezain ended in mistrial. The jurors did not reach verdicts on charges against the foundation itself or two individuals, former chief executive Shukri Abu Baker and former chairman Ghassan Elashi, resulting in mistrials for them, too.
The mistrial was at least a temporary victory for the five former Holy Land leaders, who said they ran a legitimate charity that helped Muslim children and families made homeless or poor by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It was not immediately clear if the government will retry any of the defendants. A gag order preventing those involved from speaking about the case still stands, the judge said.
The initial verdicts read Monday, following 19 days of deliberations, said three former leaders of what was once the nation's largest Muslim charity were not guilty of funneling illegal aid to terrorists. Charity fundraiser Mufid Abdulqader was cleared on all counts. El-Mezain and the group's New Jersey representative, Abdulrahman Odeh, were initially acquitted on most counts.
When Fish polled the jurors a second time after more deliberations, they agreed on finding El-Mezain not guilty on 31 counts with no decision on the other, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. That resulted in a mistrial on that count.
Jurors heard two months of testimony, mostly from FBI and Israeli agents who described thousands of pages of documents and hours of videotapes seized from Holy Land, from former associates of the group, and from Palestinian charities that got money from Holy Land.
Prosecutors said Hamas controlled those Palestinian charities. Their contention hung largely on the word of one witness, a lawyer for the Israeli domestic security agency Shin Bet, who was allowed to testify under a pseudonym.
Defense lawyers argued that none of the Palestinian charities aided by Holy Land were ever designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government.
Holy Land was founded in California in the late 1980s and moved to the Dallas area in 1992. FBI surveillance of the group's leaders dates to at least 1993, when agents eavesdropped on a Philadelphia meeting in which participants talked of supporting Hamas' goal of derailing a peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians.
___
Associated Press Writer Anabelle Garay contributed to this report.


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SAY NO TO INTOLERANCE
An initiative of Jewish voice for peace

Petition - say no to intolerance
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 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 bring and maintain a balance in the society.

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

It is ironic that there is actually shameless campaigning going out to promote hate against another people. How are they different than KKK and the Nazis?

Peace involves using the language and action that mitigates conflict and not enflare it.

We need to dialogue with Spencer, Horowitz, Colter, Santorium and Emerson, the premier group that erroneously creates chaos hoping it leads to peace. My prayers and invitation to these men and woman to have a true conference about the issue, and do it in a civil democratic fair way. That which is sustainable and Just.

Hating Muslims or any one, will not bring peace. Peace comes when one can act and talk peace.

The Jewish voice for peace has taken the initiative to bring about some sense to this senseless spread of hate. Please sign the petition and forward it to your friends. Remember, peace is the moral responsibility of each one of us, if we cannot do anything, at least express our support by signing the petition.

Cick the link to sign the petition: http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/jvfp/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=754

Say No to Intolerance and Islamophobia

Click here to write your comments:
http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6736957828074326611&postID=3440489842171816229&isPopup=true

Say no to intolerance

SAY NO TO INTOLERANCE
An initiative of Jewish voice for peace

Petition - say no to intolerance
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 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 bring and maintain a balance in the society.

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

It is ironic that there is actually shameless campaigning going out to promote hate against another people. How are they different than KKK and the Nazis?

Peace involves using the language and action that mitigates conflict and not enflare it.

We need to dialogue with Spencer, Horowitz, Colter, Santorium and Emerson, the premier group that erroneously creates chaos hoping it leads to peace. My prayers and invitation to these men and woman to have a true conference about the issue, and do it in a civil democratic fair way. That which is sustainable and Just.

Hating Muslims or any one, will not bring peace. Peace comes when one can act and talk peace.

The Jewish voice for peace has taken the initiative to bring about some sense to this senseless spread of hate. Please sign the petition and forward it to your friends. Remember, peace is the moral responsibility of each one of us, if we cannot do anything, at least express our support by signing the petition.

Cick the link to sign the petition: http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/jvfp/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=754
Say No to Intolerance and Islamophobia

Click here to write your comments:

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6736957828074326611&postID=3440489842171816229&isPopup=true


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


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Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the www.FoundationforPluralism.com and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the www.WorldMuslimCongress.com 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 Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com

For a full bio: http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Understanding Islam

Understanding Islam
Monthly workshops on wisdom of Religions

The Foundation for Pluralism has undertaken the role of bringing practical living knowledge about religions to your town. “We believe knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of another point of view”.

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 at least a few of the attendees will walk out with an open mind and an open heart towards fellow beings. It is rather difficult to shed the prejudices, but once we do, there is genuine freedom in it. We have to change the perception about others, so we can invite full contributions and participation partnerships from all faith communities in the nation building and building our own lives in peace and security.

Islam:

Everything you wanted to know about Islam, you can learn about it in this short 90 Minutes workshop.

Essence is the crystallization of what each idea, philosophy, faith or practice is about. Islam can be summed up as Justice. When justice is the norm of a society, people live a secure life knowing that no one will take advantage of them, when justice becomes the soul of the society, fear dissipates and peace prevails paving way for prosperity to one and all. Justice is the single most human craving that needs to be met for societies to live and let live.

Justice is a floating equilibrium that maintains the balance in one’s life and what is around him or her. Islam stands squarely on the principles of justice, equality, peace and respect to God’s creation; life and matter.

Ritual is a necessary step towards achieving the serene, blissful state of mind. Where one follows the instructions laid down in a manual, to Muslims that manual is called Qur’aan, each faith has its own manual that works for followers. Whether you want to have a good physique or keep good health, you have to follow the routines in the gym and in your diet to get there. Just as you have to drive the vehicle through the road hazards and follwing traffic rules to reach the destination. Islam has 5 such rituals, traditionally called Pillars of Islam, they are: i) Pledge, ii) Prayer, iii) Fasting, iv) Charity and v) Pilgrimage.

Finding the truth is one’s own responsibility, as truth frees one from the bondage of hate, malice and ill-will.

Program:

5:30 - 6:30 Understanding Pluralism
6:30 – 7:30 Understanding Islam
7:30 – 8:00 Q&A

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14315 Midway Road, Addison, TX 75001
Directions: Click Map : From LBJ, north on Midway, after Spring Valley.
Confirmation: ConfirmAttendance@gmail.com
Schedule: http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Calendar.asp

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 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 as the 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

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)

POINTS TO PONDER

1. Is attempting to undermine divinity of other faiths amount to arrogance?
2. Is blaming a religion, 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 prejudice?
6. Is God free or some group owns him/her? Are we not limiting its limitlessness?
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 is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ with a simple theme: "Good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is http://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/ Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mahatma Gandhi Today

MAHATMA GANDHI TODAY
Mike Ghouse, October 2, 2007

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the five humans on the planet who has impacted my life profoundly. He was a messenger of peace; his language nourished reconciliation, and his actions encouraged co-existence. Whether it is the conflict between Hindus or Muslims or with the British Raj, his words mitigated conflicts and directed one's thoughts and actions towards solutions.

He was one of the most powerful leaders we have had in the last two centuries. He did not want anything for himself, nor did he want to control anything or lead any one. All he wanted to do was create a society of mutual respect and co-existence. Every one always wonders how did he get to make people listen to his message of non-violence? The answer is simple; People knew, he gained nothing from what he does, but instead they gained from his effort. Indeed, those who are un-selfish have invincible moral strength. Nothing frightens them or cows them down. You will find the same commitment and moral strength in Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Zoroaster, Mahavira, Confucius, Nanak, Baha'u'llah, Mother Teresa and so many other great souls. Muhammad is my other mentor who had all the power on the earth during his life time but lived a simple life, and told his own daughter that she ain't going to get a free pass to God, she has to earn it by doing good deeds, i.e., doing things for other's good. Every one of the above teacher's strength lie in one simple thing: Their sense of justice was strong as a mountain and they were absolutely un-selfish.

Mahatma Gandhi's non-Violence movement is a model that will last for centuries to come. Every great teacher listed above has taught the same message over and over again. The idea is that there is a balance of energy in every human, doing bad things deflates that energy and doing good things recoups it. You may have experienced the elated feeling of having a great day, when you helped someone in dire need. Non-Violence is a belief that the tyrant is blessed with the same energy, but is not aware of it and we have to help him realize it after enduring the suffering. Fighting out may bear the result for short run, but in the long run, the fighting and the avenging continues. Whereas the non-violence method of achieving the objective is sustainable, justice ultimately brings lasting peace, and non-violence sustains it, violence disturbs the balance.

I have a special connection with the Mahatma, and am making this disclosure for the first time in public. I have met the Mahatma twice in my dreams; first time was way back in 1971 when the Mahatma, the Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University Dr. Narsimaiah and myself were talking over a meal and he gave a pat on my back and told me that I have a lot of work to do. Then again in 2005, I saw him smiling at me encouraging me to continue with the work of Pluralism.

My message on this day is watch what you say; does it conflagrate the dialogue, does it make the opposing parties dig in? or does it propel people to work towards solutions. You can apply this formula at your work, home or any situation and see the difference. Be a winner, by making the others a winner too.

Mahatma Gandhi probably would have endorsed my view that, if we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness to each one of seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. That is the mission of the foundation for pluralism.

Today, October 2nd is Mahatma's birthday, may this day make our leaders think, and believe that there is a greater joy in creating peace. Here is a message from Arun Gandhi, Mahatma's Grand son. I am also honored to have shared the conference space with Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi as a co-speaker at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2006.


YOUR COMMENTS PLEASE:


A Message from Arun Gandhi
......................................................................................
Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi on Gandhi's birthday


Mahatma Gandhi would be disappointed -- and troubled -- by the growing religious intolerance here in America and around the world.

Yet, my grandfather would be a source of inspiration, guidance and strength -- as he would sit down with you -- to humbly offer his suggestions for meeting these difficult challenges.

Because in every part of the world: religious hatred and polarization are increasing. And extremists are fanning the passions of intolerance and fear (and sometimes outright violence) in the name of God -- and in pursuit of their narrow political agenda.

Here in America and elsewhere in the world, religious extremists have been quite successful in manipulating their view of religion for political and economic gain.

Like you, I have been disappointed to hear Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell misuse religion - by damning their political opponents, by claiming the partisan support of God, and by polarizing America with their extremist political agenda.

Meanwhile, some national leaders in Washington DC are now trying to divide the world according to religion - by oversimplifying and demonizing other religions and people.

As a board member of The Interfaith Alliance, and as an American, I've put a lot of thought into the problems we face as a people and as a country. You see, I have personally faced severe religious intolerance in Tennessee and elsewhere in America. And I've seen too much injustice and violence -- meted out in the name of God -- to allow these developments to go unchallenged.

I've also devoted my life to preserving my grandfather' s writings and furthering his tradition.

And I am absolutely convinced he would support the important reconciliation work of The Interfaith Alliance - which draws its supporters from over 65 faith traditions to work together to challenge religious political extremism - while promoting the healing role of faith in public life.

...I was fortunate enough to spend my teenage years with him, as Mahatma Gandhi calmed violent crowds - with only his frail body, famous walking stick, and words of profound wisdom.

In these difficult times, Grandfather Gandhi would remind us to:

1. Be open to the beauty of beliefs that are different than yours.

The Interfaith Alliance brings people from Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Catholic, Sikh, Buddhist, and Jewish traditions - to build better lines of communications and to point out the many things we all have in common - so we can peacefully address whatever may trouble us.

Resist the temptation to wall yourself off from all the fears in the world.

Don't play into the hands of extremists who say the best solution is to divide the world as well as people in America along religious lines.

Don't let the media and our current religious leaders scare us into mistrusting or hating our neighbors in the world - because they wear a head scarf, or speak a different language.

In this modern age, we are unavoidably connected to the world, and these futile attempts to wall ourselves off from people who disagree with us, is simply the wrong strategy.

2. A neighborhood is not a community.

A neighborhood is only a geographic distinction -- a place on the map.

In far too many neighborhoods, the residents don't even know the people on their block. And people who are different are often shunned, ignored, hurtfully misunderstood or harassed.

My welcome to Tennessee was also marred by harassing phone calls from a local preacher.

Every other morning for four months, a fundamentalist minister in the Religious Right would call my house at 5 or 6am - to tell me I was not wanted, I was an evil heretic, and that I should move from Memphis because of my beliefs and obvious dark skin. When you are faced with such ignorance and visceral agitation, I hope you too will find comfort, wisdom and strength in the teachings of my grandfather - and in the powerful examples of perseverance by people like Martin Luther King Jr., who was by the way gunned down in my town.

Likewise, I have not let this fundamentalist zealot silence me or stop me in my pursuit of a more just, fair, open, civil and peaceful community, country and world. Nor should they stop you!

My father was imprisoned many times in South Africa for his moral opposition to Apartheid, my cousin was assassinated by political opponents, and I've seen many decent, moral and good-hearted people spit upon, beaten up, ridiculed, banished, or even killed for their beliefs.

So, if I can do anything in honor of these enlightened souls, it's to encourage you not to despair.

Don't let the other guy win because he seems more powerful - or gets more media attention.

3. Popular support does not validate the "correctness" of our opponents.

Mahatma Gandhi spent most of his life (as have I) trying to defend the rights of persecuted religious sects or ethnic groups who were being ignored, discriminated against, or slaughtered.

Time and time again (as in America right now), the dominant forces believed in their moral superiority because of their apparent strength in numbers at that point in time.

Some Americans are even suggesting that proper morality or ethics can only be found in their narrow view of ultra-conservative Christianity or whatever extremist vision they're promoting.

But grandfather told us and showed us that the soundness and fairness of our ideas will ultimately prevail -- regardless of the size or power of the opposing forces - IF we show the required tenacity, inner strength and flexibility required for the longer struggle for justice.

And his storied life demonstrated the power of love, forgiveness, patience, conviction, nonviolent activism, polite discourse, and a search for common ground and better understanding.

That's why I hope and pray that you will support a citizens group here in America that is trying to carry forth my grandfather' s vision for interfaith cooperation. The Interfaith Alliance offers us an intelligent, sober and resourceful mainstream alternative for reconciling the religious animosities now plaguing us.

The Interfaith Alliance has also shown: there is much more that unites us here in America and around the world amongst religions, than divides us. And calmer heads like yours are needed. So, please help us to promote the positive and healing role of religion in public life and compassion, civility, and mutual respect for human dignity.

While grandfather would admit that, "Democracy necessarily means a conflict of will and ideas, involving sometimes a war ? between different ideas," he would also point out that claims of religious supremacy are dangerous - if not challenged by fair-minded intelligent souls like you.

Fundamentalists have created an explosive atmosphere all over the world.

Whether it's Christian extremists here in America, radical Hindu nationalists in India, or Muslim fundamentalists in the Middle East or South Asia: these religious extremists have exploited their religion and followers -- to debase and misinterpret other religions and people.

And the violence and hatred they preach only leads to more destruction and polarization.

While we can be respectful in our protest and civil in our activism, we cannot afford to sit back and allow the Christian Coalition or any other group claim that our government should adopt one version of religious beliefs for its policies and laws.

Nor can we allow any fundamentalist group to claim that God supports their political agenda while your religious beliefs or political leanings are labeled "evil" or shameful in the eyes of God.
The violence in the Middle East is a visible reminder of the divisive power and awful human toll of religious disagreements when combined with politics.

These religious conflicts also point out the important role for voices of moderation.

So, won't you stand up with me for sensible dialogue and cooperation among religions?

...[We] need to remember the Golden Rule. Martin Luther King Jr. and many other powerful historical figures have likewise urged us to love our enemy. Mahatma also pointed out: "Love is the subtlest force in the world."

He said we need to respect people who may be different, and this requires much more of us than merely tolerating people's differences. With "tolerance," you could believe you don't need to like or even talk to the other person - the stranger, the foreigner, and the "infidel" -- and we all lose. The point is: showing respect requires much more effort, more humility and more understanding.

Respect only comes about when we learn more about one another - and this is one of the most important functions of The Interfaith Alliance - as it pulls together leaders and adherents from more than over 50 different faith traditions - for open dialogue and respectful cooperation.

Mahatma Gandhi learned many lessons from his long battles to end discrimination, to lift the standards of living for the Untouchables, to prevent violence, and to overthrow the strongest imperial power on the globe when India won its independence from Great Britain.

One simple reminder he left us is:

4. Listen to your inner voice ? and become the change you wish to see.

We all have a tendency to wait for the other person (particularly our opponent) to make the first move - to change before we are willing to change.

We also know the path of hate, retribution and a thirst for "an eye for an eye" justice will make the whole world blind.

And Mahatma Gandhi taught us that it's important to start with yourself in seeking the transformation you want to see realized in the world and in your community. He would gently remind you that we all have an obligation to do our part, no matter how difficult the task may seem.

Inspirational Quotes from Mahatma Gandhi

# There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all, i.e., the voice of conscience even though such obedience may cost many a bitter tear, and even more, separation from friends, from family, from the state to which you may belong, from all that you have held as dear as life itself. For this obedience is the law of our being.

# The test of friendship is assistance in adversity, and that too, unconditional assistance. Co-operation which needs consideration is a commercial contract and not friendship. Conditional co-operation is like adulterated cement which does not bind.

# Non-cooperation is an attempt to awaken the masses, to a sense of their dignity and power. This can only be done by enabling them to realize that they need not fear brute force, if they would but know the soul within.

# Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

# Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.

# It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.

# Democracy is an impossible thing until the power is shared by all, but let not democracy degenerate into mobocracy.

# They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.

# I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

# Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.

# Whenever I see an erring man, I say to myself I have also erred; when I see a lustful man I say to myself, so was I once; and in this way I feel kinship with everyone in the world and feel that I cannot be happy without the humblest of us being happy.

# I have but shadowed forth my intense longing to lose myself in the Eternal and become merely a lump of clay in the Potter's divine hands so that my service may become more certain because uninterrupted by the baser self in me.

# An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody will see it.

# Even as wisdom often comes from the mouths of babes, so does it often come from the mouths of old people. The golden rule is to test everything in the light of reason and experience, no matter from where it comes.
# Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

# Fear is not a disease of the body; fear kills the soul.

# The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.

# An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

# Weeding is as necessary to agriculture as sowing.

# Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities.She has the right to participate in the minutest details in the activities of man, and she has an equal right of freedom and liberty with him. http://www.interfaithalliance.org/site/pp.asp?c=8dJIIWMCE&b=120703
###

Arun Gandhi, one of The Interfaith Alliance's Executive Committee Members at-Large, is a prolific author and co-founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, Tennessee. The mission of the Institute is to teach and to apply the principles of nonviolence and resolve personal and public conflict. Mr.. Gandhi is the fifth grandson of Mohandas K. "Mahatma" Gandhi and grew up in South Africa during the system of apartheid. He learned from his parents and grandparents the importance of creating social change through nonviolent acts. Drawing on these lessons, he and his wife dedicated their lives to improving their Communities. In India, they designed and implemented programs that address social and economic depression reaching over half a million people, and the programs continue to grow. Most recently, Mr. Gandhi and his wife Sunanda co-authored, The Forgotten Woman: The Untold Story of Kastur, the wife of Mahatma Gandhi. They lecture worldwide, but are based at the Institute in Memphis.

Click here to write your comments


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Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the www.FoundationforPluralism.com and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the www.WorldMuslimCongress.com 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 Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com

For a full bio: http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ahmedinejad V Bollinger

Ahmedinejad V Bollinger

Peace building requires us to use a language that mitigates the conflicts and helps building bridges, even with our enemy, as going to war hurts us as much as it hurts the enemy. We have seen the deaths of 3800 of our own men and women, and a million Iraqi’s. Do we want more or less of this? Those who want war must consider sending their boys and girls or spouses to the front lines for an understanding of the ravages of war.

When President Ahmedinejad visited the United States in September, he was asked by the Columbia University to speak (speech link included below) to the students, he did. Prior to his speech, President Bollinger of Columbia University introduced him in derogatory terms. As an academic, he made us Americans look bad.

As Americans, we have to question this. Is Bollinger's behavior acceptable? Do we insult a guest, whom we invite to speak, not as a response to the speech, but even before he speaks? Bollinger has set a bad example. There is no excuse or justification for this. He put us Americans in a bad light, does he care? He is free to claim, that he did it in an individual capacity, and he was sorry that he was presumed to be representing an American University. I hope he has the guts to apologize in behalf of American People. His rude mannerism do not represent me or that of any American except himself as an individual.

No doubt, as Americans, some of the sycophants are toeing the line of our Government, however, it is not heroic to curse your guest in your home, neither it is a responsible behavior. I hope we do not condone such behavior, as it reflects on 297,000 million of us.

I sincerely hope, the Iranians do not view this as an American attitude, but a Looney's sad tales. And I do hope, they pressure their governments to stay away from challenging others and build relationship and work with the international community to keep away from developing the destructive nuclear arsenal. They can take the lead.
here is the letter from the Iranian Academics:

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8606300370


TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Seven chancellors and presidents of Iranian universities and research centers, in a letter addressed to their counterpart in the US Colombia University, denounced Lee Bollinger's insulting words against the Iranian nation and president and invited him to provide responses for 10 questions of the Iranian academicians and intellectuals.

The following is the full text of the letter.

Mr. Lee Bollinger
Columbia University President

We, the professors and heads of universities and research institutions in Tehran , hereby announce our displeasure and protest at your impolite remarks prior to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent speech at Columbia University.

We would like to inform you that President Ahmadinejad was elected directly by the Iranian people through an enthusiastic two-round poll in which almost all of the country's political parties and groups participated. To assess the quality and nature of these elections you may refer to US news reports on the poll dated June 2005.

Your insult, in a scholarly atmosphere, to the president of a country with a population of 72 million and a recorded history of 7,000 years of civilization and culture is deeply shameful.

Your comments, filled with hate and disgust, may well have been influenced by extreme pressure from the media, but it is regrettable that media policy-makers can determine the stance a university president adopts in his speech.

Your remarks about our country included unsubstantiated accusations that were the product of guesswork as well as media propaganda. Some of your claims result from misunderstandings that can be clarified through dialogue and further research.

During his speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad answered a number of your questions and those of students. We are prepared to answer any remaining questions in a scientific, open and direct debate.

You asked the president approximately ten questions. Allow us to ask you ten of our own questions in the hope that your response will help clear the atmosphere of misunderstanding and distrust between our two countries and reveal the truth.

1- Why did the US media put you under so much pressure to prevent Mr. Ahmadinejad from delivering his speech at Columbia University? And why have American TV networks been broadcasting hours of news reports insulting our president while refusing to allow him the opportunity to respond? Is this not against the principle of freedom of speech?

2- Why, in 1953, did the US administration overthrow the Iran's national government under Dr Mohammad Mosaddegh and go on to support the Shah's dictatorship?

3- Why did the US support the blood-thirsty dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 Iraqi-imposed war on Iran, considering his reckless use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers defending their land and even against his own people?

4- Why is the US putting pressure on the government elected by the majority of Palestinians in Gaza instead of officially recognizing it? And why does it oppose Iran 's proposal to resolve the 60-year-old Palestinian issue through a general referendum?

5- Why has the US military failed to find Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden even with all its advanced equipment? How do you justify the old friendship between the Bush and Bin Laden families and their cooperation on oil deals? How can you justify the Bush administration's efforts to disrupt investigations concerning the September 11 attacks?

6- Why does the US administration support the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) despite the fact that the group has officially and openly accepted the responsibility for numerous deadly bombings and massacres in Iran and Iraq? Why does the US refuse to allow Iran 's current government to act against the MKO's main base in Iraq?

7- Was the US invasion of Iraq based on international consensus and did international institutions support it? What was the real purpose behind the invasion which has claimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives? Where are the weapons of mass destruction that the US claimed were being stockpiled in Iraq?

8- Why do America's closest allies in the Middle East come from extremely undemocratic governments with absolutist monarchical regimes?

9- Why did the US oppose the plan for a Middle East free of unconventional weapons in the recent session of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors despite the fact the move won the support of all members other than Israel?

10- Why is the US displeased with Iran's agreement with the IAEA and why does it openly oppose any progress in talks between Iran and the agency to resolve the nuclear issue under international law?

Finally, we would like to express our readiness to invite you and other scientific delegations to our country. A trip to Iran would allow you and your colleagues to speak directly with Iranians from all walks of life including intellectuals and university scholars. You could then assess the realities of Iranian society without media censorship before making judgments about the Iranian nation and government.

You can be assured that Iranians are very polite and hospitable toward their guests.

HERE IS AHMEDINEJAD’S FULL SPEECH: http://mikeghouse.blogspot.com/2007/09/ahmedinejad-columbia-speech.html
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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 television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of 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

The Indian Lobby's Future

The Indian Lobby and its Future
Mike Ghouse, October 1, 2007


The Indian Lobby is in a good position to march ahead, as much as it is learning from the Israel lobby, it can also learn that going too far, can bring negative returns.

A healthy balance is more sustainable in the long run, than taking advantage of one another. India has always sought a middle ground, has never waged a war on another county, and neither has it aggressively sought to frighten the little nations and rule. It is paying off and we are going to have to sustain that policy and not fall prey to our new relationship.

We have seen rise and fall of empires, almost every time, the fall was followed by an un-just rule.

America was the superpower for years but when we resorted to un-just wars, taking sides for a quick benefit rather than a just benefit, we have lost and we are losing it now. Hopefully the slide will end with our current President, who has a disapproval ratings of 74% from Americans. Further, we want the next President who would seek cooperation of other nations in doing good things, and not waging wars, we want the president to lead the world through the example of our democracy, of our respect for peace and our respect for human dignity and certainly not alienating and creating enemies around the globe".

India earned her respect by being non-aligned all the way from independence through the 60's. Then we tilted towards Soviet Union and now towards America . This relation is natural, both of us are democracies and we have a common interest to let the world see the light of democracy, and see that people run their own lives and their citizens are treated with dignity, liberty and justice.

Imperialism has gotten away in the human history; but only for short term. There is a old saying in Urdu/Hindu " Jis ki laathi, us ki bhains", whoever owns the stick drives the cattle.

Israel lobby had gone too far to the detriment of American interests. It started out with a legitimate need; to protect and defend Israel ’s right to exist. Power is corruptive, and the lobby is no exception to that. In their enthusiasm and their ability to influence the President, Senate and the house, they have gone far off bringing diminishing returns. For every two steps they take, they will have to back at least one, and if they still don't get it, the law of karma takes over and they may have to back peddle several steps to catch up with the eternal act of balancing. Had they been just to America and Israel both, they would not be facing the issues they are encountering today.

I hope the India Lobby takes the approach of sustainability of their policy rather than what can we get today? There are always a few petty ones around, who are less for India , but more against other nations. Their agenda is hate, and they make their way into the lobby to get their agenda taken care of, they pretend that they are for India , but they are a liability to India . As Indians, we have to contain these extremists among us, if not we could lose momentum. It is time we check them out, each one of them.

We stand to gain a whole lot for both the nations, if we remain true to the ideal for what is good for India has also got to be good for America .

Your comments: http://mikeghouse.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/09/the-indian-lobby-and-its-future.htm

Suggested reading : The Law of Karma and the Israel Lobby http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/08/israel-lobby.html

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 television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of 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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The Hill's Next Big Player Is Made in India.

Mira Kamdar, Sunday, September 30, 2007

The fall's most controversial book is almost certainly "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," in which political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt warn that Jewish Americans have built a behemoth that has bullied policymakers into putting Israel's interests in the Middle East ahead of America's. To Mearsheimer and Walt, AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobbying group, is insidious. But to more and more Indian Americans, it's downright inspiring.

With growing numbers, clout and self-confidence, the Indian American community is turning its admiration for the Israel lobby and its respect for high-achieving Jewish Americans into a powerful new force of its own. Following consciously in AIPAC's footsteps, the India lobby is getting results in Washington -- and having a profound impact on U.S. policy, with important consequences for the future of Asia and the world.

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"This is huge," enthused Ron Somers, the president of the U.S.-India Business Council, from a posh hotel lobby in Philadelphia . "It's the Berlin Wall coming down. It's Nixon in China ."

What has Somers so energized is a landmark nuclear cooperation deal between India and the United States, which would give India access to U.S. nuclear technology and deliver fuel supplies to India's civilian power plants in return for placing them under permanent international safeguards. Under the deal's terms, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty -- for decades the cornerstone of efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons -- will in effect be waived for India, just nine years after the Clinton administration slapped sanctions on New Delhi for its 1998 nuclear tests. But the Bush administration, eager to check the rise of China by tilting toward its massive neighbor, has sought to forge a new strategic alliance with India , cemented by the civil nuclear deal.

On the U.S. side, the pact awaits nothing more than one final up-or-down vote in Congress. (In India , the situation is far more complicated; India 's left-wing parties, sensitive to any whiff of imperialism, have accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of surrendering the country's sovereignty -- a broadside that may yet scuttle the deal.) On Capitol Hill, despite deep divisions over Iraq , immigration and the outsourcing of American jobs to India , Democrats and Republicans quickly fell into line on the nuclear deal, voting for it last December by overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Even lawmakers who had made nuclear nonproliferation a core issue over their long careers, such as Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), quickly came around to President Bush's point of view. Why?

The answer is that the India lobby is now officially a powerful presence on the Hill. The nuclear pact brought together an Indian government that is savvier than ever about playing the Washington game, an Indian American community that is just coming into its own and powerful business interests that see India as perhaps the single biggest money-making opportunity of the 21st century.

The nuclear deal has been pushed aggressively by well-funded groups representing industry in both countries. At the center of the lobbying effort has been Robert D. Blackwill, a former U.S. ambassador to India and deputy national security adviser who's now with a well-connected Republican lobbying firm, Barbour, Griffith & Rogers LLC. The firm's Web site touts Blackwill as a pillar of its "India Practice," along with a more recent hire, Philip D. Zelikow, a former top adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who was also one of the architects of the Bush administration's tilt toward India . The Confederation of Indian Industry paid Blackwill to lobby various U.S. government entities, according to the Boston Globe. And India is also paying a major Beltway law firm, Venable LLP.

The U.S.-India Business Council has lavished big money on lobbyists, too. With India slated to spend perhaps $60 billion over the next few years to boost its military capabilities, major U.S. corporations are hoping that the nuclear agreement will open the door to some extremely lucrative opportunities, including military contracts and deals to help build nuclear power plants. According to a recent MIT study, Lockheed Martin is pushing to land a $4 billion to $9 billion contract for more than 120 fighter planes that India plans to buy. "The bounty is enormous," gushed Somers, the business council's president.

So enormous, in fact, that Bonner & Associates created an India lobbying group last year to make sure that U.S. companies reap a major chunk of it. Dubbed the Indian American Security Leadership Council, the group was underwritten by Ramesh Kapur, a former trustee of the Democratic National Committee, and Krishna Srinivasa, who has been backing GOP causes since his 1984 stint as co-chair of Asian Americans for Reagan-Bush. The council has, oddly, "recruited groups representing thousands of American veterans" to urge Congress to pass the nuclear deal.

The India lobby is also eager to use Indian Americans to put a human face -- not to mention a voter's face and a campaign contributor's face -- on its agenda. "Industry would make its business case," Somers explained, "and Indian Americans would make the emotional case."

There are now some 2.2 million Americans of Indian origin -- a number that's growing rapidly. First-generation immigrants keenly recall the humiliating days when India was dismissed as an overpopulated, socialist haven of poverty and disease. They are thrilled by the new respect India is getting. Meanwhile, a second, American-born generation of Indian Americans who feel comfortable with activism and publicity is just beginning to hit its political stride. As a group, Indian Americans have higher levels of education and income than the national average, making them a natural for political mobilization.

One standout member of the first generation is Sanjay Puri, who founded the U.S. India Political Action Committee in 2002. (Its acronym, USINPAC, even sounds a bit like AIPAC.) He came to the United States in 1985 to get an MBA at George Washington University , staying on to found an information-technology company. A man of modest demeanor who wears a lapel pin that joins the Indian and American flags, Puri grew tired of watching successful Indian Americans pony up money just so they could get their picture taken with a politician. "I thought, 'What are we getting out of this?', " he explains.

In just five years, USINPAC has become the most visible face of Indian American lobbying. Its Web site boasts photos of its leaders with President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and presidential candidates from Fred Thompson to Barack Obama. The group pointedly sports a New Hampshire branch. It can also take some credit for ending the Senate career of Virginia Republican George Allen, whose notorious taunt of "macaca" to a young Indian American outraged the community. Less publicly, USINPAC claims to have brought a lot of lawmakers around. "You haven't heard a lot from Dan Burton lately, right?" Puri asked, referring to a Republican congressman from Indiana who has long been perceived as an India basher.

USINPAC is capable of pouncing; witness the incident last June when Obama's campaign issued a memo excoriating Hillary Rodham Clinton for her close ties to wealthy Indian Americans and her alleged support for outsourcing, listing the New York senator's affiliation as "D-Punjab." Puri personally protested in a widely circulated open letter, and Obama quickly issued an apology. "Did you see? That letter was addressed directly to Sanjay," Varun Mehta, a senior at Boston University and USINPAC volunteer, told me with evident admiration. "That's the kind of clout Sanjay has."

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Like many politically engaged Indian Americans, Puri has a deep regard for the Israel lobby -- particularly in a country where Jews make up just a small minority of the population. "A lot of Jewish people tell me maybe I was Jewish in my past life," he jokes. The respect runs both ways. The American Jewish Committee, for instance, recently sent letters to members of Congress supporting the U.S.-India nuclear deal.

"We model ourselves on the Jewish people in the United States ," explains Mital Gandhi of USINPAC's new offshoot, the U.S.-India Business Alliance . "We're not quite there yet. But we're getting there."

Mira Kamdar, a fellow at the World Policy Institute and the Asia Society, is the author of "Planet India : How the Fastest-Growing Democracy is Transforming America and the World."

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Israel Lobby & Democracy
http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/09/israel-lobby-democracy.html