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Friday, December 3, 2010

Dallas Conference on building an inclusive America

 

No American has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. The purpose of this conference is to understand the issues and find ways to remove such fears in an open forum and restore the cohesiveness of our society and work towards building a safe and secure America
When: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM on Sunday, December 5, 2010
Where: Unity Church,
6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX
. 75230

PRESS RELEASE | INVITATION
You are invited, details below
No American has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. The purpose of this conference is to remove such myths in an open forum and restore the cohesiveness of our society and work towards building a safe and secure America
Since our independence in 1776, we have been tested time and again by various political, economic and religious forces to divide us, however, at the end we have come out strong as one nation. The Civil War, the Great Depression, the World War, Pearl Harbor, Women’s rights, Abortion, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, Budget Deficits, Unemployment, 9/11, the Iraq and Afghanistan War have all been difficult, but we will make it through and sanity will prevail.

The controversy over the Muslim Community Center in New York has unraveled the difficulties Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Wicca and others have endured.

We have come a long way to embrace and accept the otherness of other. However, this year has given rise to yet another temptation; to blame Islam, calling it an evil, evil religion and calling its prophet a false prophet. No American has to live in fear of the other, nor live in anxieties or discomfort.

Religion has been “abused” and “misused” to someone’s advantage, as Americans, are we going to let that happen? No, we can pull ourselves together and not fall for the temptations to divide ourselves.

If we make an effort, goodness will come to our rescue.   Mike Ghouse adds, “As members of diverse family of faiths, we seek to demystify the myths, malice and falsification of our respective faiths. It is time for all of us to gather and understand the Qur’aan, the holy book of Muslims, which has been the subject of attack by a few among us. Indeed, a conference is a positive response to negative sermons delivered from a few pulpits of America this year.”

The Conference puts the Quraan in the hands of panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, Clergy, lay persons, elected officers and the public. The uniqueness of the event is highlighted by facing the “terrifying passages” of Quraan.  For the first time in history, the actual verses  from Quraan will be read directly and explained by panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, Clergy, lay persons and elected officials who have a deep interest in bringing Americans together on common grounds.  The Muslim scholars either affirm their reading or share the additional information right from the very Quraan for further understanding.

It is time now to replace the ill-will with goodwill; no American has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. The purpose of this conference is to remove such myths in an open forum in the public and restore the cohesiveness of our society and work towards building a safe and secure America

When: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM on Sunday, December 5, 2010
Where: Unity Church,
6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX
. 75230
Event: Qur’aan Conference in Dallas
Purpose: To demystify the myths about Quraan and Islam
Website:
http://www.quraanconference.com/
Inquiries:
quraanconference@gmail.com
RSVP:
Confirmattendance@gmail.com
Call: Mike Ghouse (214) 325-1916
THE EVENT IS FREE


Thank you.
Mike Ghouse for
A COHESIVE AMERICA,
AMERICANS TOGETHER
http://www.quraanconference.com/ 
Documentary – listed at www.QuraanConference.com


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Invocation at Carrollton City Council

INVOCATION AT CARROLLTON CITY COUNCIL
Pluralism (inclusive) Prayers By Mike Ghouse
7:00 PM on Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let's reflect, wish and pray:

Dear God, creator of the universe, please accept our gratitude in every name we call upon you, be it Ishwar, Arihantas, Manito, Adonai, Allah, Mahavir, Buddha, Wahe Guru, Mother earth, Ahura Mazda, and in the name of Jesus.

Dear Creator of the universe, guide us do the right thing every moment of our life;

Dear Causer of life, guide us to open our hearts and minds to fellow beings;

Dear God,
Guide us the humility to respect your creation.
Guide us to shed the arrogance in us that we are superior,
Guide us to learn to respect and accept every which way one worships you.
Guide us to become conflict mitigaters
Guide us to become good will nurturers
Guide to us to create peace and prosperity to every one of us.
Guide us in creating cohesive societies with kindness and dignity to every one.
Guide our elected officials to work for peace and prosperity of our nation and our City.

Blessed are the peace Makers
God Bless America

Amen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TEXAS FAITH: Does firing Juan Williams improve our understanding of religious diversity?

That's this week's question: Are we better off by forbidding some views, some beliefs - however ill-expressed - in an honest discussion of America's view of Islam?

If you wish this article is worth reading, please feel free to comment at the end of the link, you can do thumbs up or down and recommend the article on top of the article

No, we are not better off forbidding any view however ill-expressed in an honest discussion of America's view of Islam. Neither God nor religion should be free from any critical study including Islam and Quraan. Yes, I am a Muslim, and like most Muslims I will defend that freedom to the core – Mike Ghouse

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, India and Civil Societies. He heads the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and offers Pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day.  He is available to speak at your school, work or place of worship. He is a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer. Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juan Williams defines Muslim garbs

1. Juan Williams is frightened when he sees Muslim 'garbs', really?
2. Juan Williams is pandering to the fears of the "frightened”*
3. Juan Williams signs up $2 Million contract
4. Juan Williams makes a fool of the right wingers
5. Juan Williams - http://tinyurl.com/2al7s2j
6.  Juan Williams - http://tinyurl.com/27zx43n

CHECK OUT THE MUSLIM GARBS
http://muslimswearingthings.tumblr.com/

The frightened souls are those who seek a false sense of security by creating chaos and pitch one American against the other.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hannity, Ghouse, Gabriele on Hannity Show

TALKING POINTS  
Sean Hannity show with Brigit Gabriel and Mike Ghouse
1:30 CST PM Thursday, October 21, 2010
Actual Show Script will be added as a link.  

Freedom of speech must be guarded and defended at any cost; ultimately truth triumphs over every thing and most certainly truth is sustainable. However to have the moral courage to defend that freedom, its application must be universal and not selective.

Fox is defending Juan Williams saying that he followed his divisive comment up by supporting Muslims, but that sound byte has done a lot of damage.  It reminded me of my encounter with Sean Hannity and Brigit Gabrielle on the Hannity Radio Show on Thursday, October 21, 2010.

Sean Hannity reads the words off my Blog on the air, “You said, it is good for America that Juan is fired” and jumps on to the free speech bit.  I asserted, “Sean, you did not read the next sentence and the last sentence”  he was making the very same sound byte mistake defending the sound byte of Williams. I wrote, “It is good for America that Juan is fired, it sets a new precedent in placing “Anti-Islam” bigotry in its place following racial slurs, the N word, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism or anti-religion, we have ways to go, we have to include "anti-Gay" slurs and other bigotted statements in that category. This can take us further to purge public statements in the interests of building cohesive societies for America; we have to laud this decision.”

The ones who jumped most are the political opportunists with a right wing agenda and aggressively put a “freedom of speech” spin to it. Had they sincerely believed in freedom of speech, they would have defended Helen Thomas’s firing for her anti-Israel remarks, Don Imus for his racial slurs and Rick Sanchez for the Anti-Semitic comments. If you are honest, you stand for all or simply don’t take a stand on any. In this case the bias is obvious.

It is not about the Freedom of speech, it is about building responsible societies, we cannot use the "N" word, racial slurs, anti-Semitic words, so why anti- Islamic phrases should be allowed? Look at the good that ban has brought to the society. 

We owe it to America to build cohesive societies based on truth and separating the myths from reality. We have to get over the phobias, fears and doubts about each other. We have to play fair and honestly bring up every one on the level playing field.

Then Brigitte say, "All Americans" believe what Juan said, that is they are afraid of Muslim garbs in the plane. I jumped on it, "All Americans?" that is Garbage. Not all Americans may be the right wing Americans.  At that point, either they cut me off or as the assistant claimed technical problems. 

Brigitte was saying something else that nearly 3/4th of Americans.. I will have to recall and write, or pull the transcripts for accuracy.

OK, it was the technical difficulty, they got me back on.
Brigitte comes back with 98% now, down from 100% Americans that would support Juan. Brigitte was jumping on NPR for freedom of speech, where were they when Don Imus, Helen Thomas and Rick Sanchez were fired?

She shoots her irresponsible mouth again claiming that all the crimes were committed by Muslims, when I listed Tamil Tigers, IRS etc, she discount, you can't use a singular incident. Heck what about Bombing Abortion clinics, murdering doctors, IRA, Meir Kahane’s shooting spree, and killing 22 worsippers in the Dome of the Rock, Gujarat Massacre, Gaza Massacre?

Here were my talking points, following that my note about Juan Williams this morning.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

We have to build cohesive societies where no American has to fear the other

Helen Thomas for criticizing Israel as it set a new precedent; wasn’t that the right thing?

Rick Sanchez was fired for making a nearly anti-Semitic remark, wasn’t that the right thing?

So what if Juan Williams is fired? If you stand up for him, you need to stand up for the others as well, if not, you are a hypocrite.

As a society we have come a long way in restricting racial slurs, the N word, theHolocaust, anti-Semitism, discrimination against women, GLBT bashing and others. It was against free speech one, but look at the good it has done in creating a civil society, respecting the otherness of other.

We have come a long way and we have more to go, and now its time to add Anti-Islam hate mongering to that column of bigotry, no American should feel deprived, denied of and pushed to a corner. 

Juan makes me wonder about his mind-set; was he simply expressing his bigotry or was he bashing Islam to get into the “inner circle” of big boys for fame and fortune?

Brigitte Gabriel is an example of Islam bashing, it is not only fashionable but it brings big money. The right wingers give her a big lift and maker her become big.  It is an irresistible bait right wingers throw at greedy men like Juan.

Right wingers are those who mess with the social cohesion of our nation and attempt to set one American against the other.

In the interests of building cohesive societies for America; we have to laud NPR’s this decision.

Sean sorry to say this, Juan can remain on Fox, most of them except you are bigots any way. They don’t have any sense of justice or fairness anyway.  But NOT on NPR which is usually free from bigotry. Now, it is time for all the media to follow the suit.

Oklahoma Legislature – who is really behind this? There is only one News item today on the topic and guess where it comes from? Of course it is the right wing Republicans, the losers; I hope the Oklahomans don’t fall prey to the right wing tactics.  Right wingers are those who mess with the social cohesion of our nation and attempt to set one American against the other.

Sharia law as implemented in Iran, Afghanistan, and Somalia is abusive of the intent of Sharia and no American Muslim wants it in America.  However by opposing some thing that is not there, the loser right wing republican candidates hope to earn their votes through a hate campaign… of course, Brigitte has fame and fortune tied to it.  Even Robert Spence is there to make money.

Sean if these people spend the time in building a cohesive America we are better off, the frighten the crap out of constipated men and ask for money, look at their sites. People should give money to peace makers who bring good to all.

No one in America wants the kind of Sharia Brigitte is making up. The Personal Sharia is about relating with the Creator, whereas the Public Sharia is about rules governing relationships with others. There are indeed a few flaws in divorce methodology, which is contrary to Quraan by the way. The punishment for Adultery, Apostasy, and death punishment needs to go. Well, we have that primitive death penalty in Texas as well.

Wife beating is a shameful act of men.  Just as the some of the Pastors are causing hate against Gays and Lesbians using scriptures to suit their agenda. There more men who kill their wives in western societies than all Muslims combined. Google it.

Yes the way the men have interpreted the verse, they show it as one can beat a woman – that is when there is question of being unfaithful, men instead of shooting of drowning the lady in the bay, Quraan advises to Men to admonish them not sleep with them and then the recommends separation, which the men have interpreted to mean beating softly. There are several new translations coming up in the market.   It is abused in those three countries, but not all Muslims.

How many American Men would not want a woman bishop or a pastor? There is similar number of among Muslims. How many Rabbis would not even shake hands with women, you will find that among Muslim men as well.

Sharia law needs to be updated, but in America we don’t need it, and as a Muslim I am the first one to stand opposed to the Public form of Sharia, while following the Personal form of Sharia.

GOOD FOR AMERICA: Juan Williams is FIRED

Thanks to NPR for firing him. It is a new precedent in placing bigotry in its place following racial slurs, the N word, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and now Anti-Islam or anti-religion. This can take us further to purge public statements in the interests of building cohesive societies for America; we have to laud this decision.

Juan makes me wonder about his mind-set; was he simply expressing his bigotry or was he bashing Islam to get into the “inner circle” of big boys for fame and fortune? Islam bashing is not only fashionable, it brings big money. The right wingers give them a big hug and help them become big. It is an irresistible bait right wingers throw at greedy men like Juan. (Right wingers are those who mess with the social cohesion of our nation and attempt to set one American against the other)
Thank God again for the media to fire Helen Thomas for criticizing Israel as it sets a new precedent. If she does not have the right to criticize a nation, and the media forced her out to retirement, then most certainly NPR has a right to do the right thing.   http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/helen-thomas-you-cannot-criticize-israel-in-the-u-s-and-survive-1.318705  

Rick Sanchez was fired for making a nearly anti-semitic remark - http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/10/rick-sanchez-syndrome.html


Juan can remain on Fox, but not on NPR which is usually free from bigotry. Now, it is time for all the media to follow the suit.

Mike Ghouse
Americans together
For Building a cohesive America

 # ##

OK Legislature
On Election Day, not only will Oklahoma voters help decide who represents them in Congress and their state legislature; they will also decide whether to officially prohibit Islamic law from being used in rulings in Oklahoma courtrooms. The measure puts renewed focus on those who claim that Sharia law is working itself into European courts and may soon spread to America.
FoxNews.com reports that the "media blitz" has started from a group called Act! For America which supports the proposed state constitutional amendment.

We want to make sure that the people in Oklahoma are educated about what Shariah law is all about and its ramifications," Brigitte Gabriel, president and CEO of the group, told FoxNews.com. "We're not taking any chances with this initiative passing marginally. We hope it passes with great victory."

But opponents say the initiative is the latest example of Muslims being unfairly targeted and could discourage foreign companies from doing business in the state if they believe international agreements won't be honored in court.

Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), told FoxNews.com, "We take a stand in opposition to the proposed amendment." (As a side note, CAIR has also been linked to the funding of Hamas, has supported the NAACP's claim that the Tea Party movement is racist, and supported the judge's ruling that blocked Arizona's new illegal immigration law.)

Shariah is the basis of law in most Islamic countries and has been used in Iran and Somalia, among other places, to condone harsh punishments like amputations and stoning.

Gabriel argued that Shariah law is taking hold in Europe, noting that at least 85 Shariah courts are operating in Britain.

"When we look at Europe, it is a preview of what's coming to the United States," she said. "We want to make sure this does not happen here."

But is Sharia law already working its way through America? Robert Spencer thinks so. In an article published by Human Events, Spencer calls out the "mainstream media" for its effort to "deny both that there is any attempt to bring Sharia to the United States, and that Sharia is anything to be concerned about in the first place." Spencer notes the New Jersey court case which I wrote about on Tuesday in which the judge ruled that it was ok for a husband to beat and rape his wife because the man followed Islamic law. The ruling was overturned, but the fact that the lower court judge was influenced by Sharia law is clear.

Another example of Sharia insinuating itself into American life are the footbaths that have been constructed in airports and schools for the ablutions prescribed before Islamic prayers. Imagine the outcry if holy water fonts were being placed in airports for Catholic travelers - but Islamic footbaths have been dismissed as non-religious, on the pretext that anyone can use them. It would be interesting to see what would happen if a non-Muslim tried.

The fact that Sharia law can be construed to allow any type of wife-beating is absolutely deplorable. The fact that Christians living in Muslim countries face persecution and "second class" status all in the name of Sharia law is also unacceptable. And yet, it goes on. That last thing we want is to have those kinds of actions accepted in America.

Read more: http://www.gopusa.com/theloft/2010/10/save-our-state-vs-islam-in-oklahoma.php#ixzz130vSbuoQ

GOOD FOR AMERICA: Juan Williams is FIRED

by Mike Ghouse on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 9:08am

Thanks to NPR for firing him. It is a new precedent in placing bigotry in its place following racial slurs, the N word, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and now Anti-Islam or anti-religion. This can take us further to purge public statements in the interests of building cohesive societies for America; we have to laud this decision.
Juan made me wonder about his mind-set; was he simply expressing his bigotry or was he bashing Islam to get into the “inner circle” of big boys for fame and fortune? Islam bashing is not only fashionable, it brings big money. The right wingers give them a big hug and help them become big. It is an irresistible bait right wingers throw at greedy men like Juan. (Right wingers are those who mess with the social cohesion of our nation and attempt to set one American against the other)

Thank God again for the media to fire Helen Thomas for criticizing Israel as it sets a new precedent. If she does not have the right to criticize a nation, and the media forced her out to retirement, then most certainly NPR has a right to do the right thing.   http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/helen-thomas-you-cannot-criticize-israel-in-the-u-s-and-survive-1.318705  

Rick Sanchez was fired for making a nearly anti-semitic remark - http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/10/rick-sanchez-syndrome.html

Juan can remain on Fox, but not on NPR which is usually free from bigotry. Now, it is time for all the media to follow the suit.

Mike GhouseAmericans together For Building a cohesive America

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net
# ##

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/21/juan-williams-fired-npr_n_770901.html

Juan Williams FIRED: NPR Sacks Analyst Over Fox News Muslim Comments Huffington Post   |  Jack Mirkinson First

NPR announced late on Wednesday night that it has terminated the contract of longtime analyst Juan Williams over his comments on Fox News that, when he is on a plane with Muslims, "I get nervous."

NPR's media reporter David Folkenflik broke the news on Twitter.

Williams' comments came during a discussion with Bill O'Reilly on Monday's "O'Reilly Factor." O'Reilly asked Williams if he had been in the wrong during his now-infamous appearance on "The View" last week. (There, O'Reilly's statement that "Muslims killed us on 9/11" caused Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to walk off the set in anger.)

Williams replied that he thought O'Reilly had, in fact, been right. He continued:

"I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

Williams did go on to tell O'Reilly that he had to be "careful" to stress that he was not talking about all Muslims when he criticized some and that America was not at war with Islam. He also compared blaming all Muslims for the actions of extremists to blaming all Christians for the actions of Timothy McVeigh. (O'Reilly responded that he was "done" being careful.)

In a statement, NPR said that it had informed Williams of its decision on Wednesday night, and that his remarks were "inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."

Williams had been a contributor and analyst at NPR for decades, but his dual role on Fox News -- where he has also been a longtime and frequent contributor -- drew so many complaints from NPR's listeners that it asked Fox News to stop identifying Williams as an "NPR News Political Analyst" in 2009.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Purple day today 10202010

PURPLE DAY TODAY 10/20/1020

To commemorate the suicide of 6 young boys who were harassed and driven to committ suicide. This reflects un-civility on our part. We have to work for a society, where everyone's space, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation and belief is respected. If you can wear or show purple today, it reflects your support for the innocent victims.

Please take the time to watch this 12 minute video. I salute the council man Joe you for standing up for them, it is the duty of whole humanity to do that. Joel, You have restored my faith in you as a human, unburdened by bias propagated by self appointed guardians of religions... to feel the pain and to stand up for the oppressed is what religion teaches one to be, every religion indeed.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax96cghOnY4

Americans Together
BUILDING COHESIVE SOCIETIES
An initiative of the Foundation for Pluralism & World Muslim
 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Should Christians (and other non-Hindus) beware of yoga?


Courtesy: Dallas Morning News, Texas faith Panel. The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, caused a stir with a recent column decrying the practice of yoga by Christians.

Mohler seems to be threatened with the popularity of Yoga, a beautiful practice to bring composure to oneself. He is obsessed with the idea that Yoga is a bait to lure his congregation away into “a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a `post-Christian, spiritually polyglot’ reality”, and then he asks, “Should any Christian willingly risk that?” How mistaken can one be? Yoga is not a mutually exclusive practice, nor is it a religion; it is indeed a catalyst in achieving the union of mind and body that is central to all spirituality.

Yoga is neither Christian nor Hindu; it is a beautiful gift that originated in India for the benefit of mankind to function cohesively.  All individuals and nations should give and receive the good without labeling it.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net  


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quran (Koran) Conference in Dallas, an American effort to build cohesive societies

The Conference puts a Quraan in the hands of panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, lay persons, elected officers and the public. It is to demystify the myths about Quraan and Islam. An American effort to build cohesive societies.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct 10, 2010 - DALLAS, TEXAS - The Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress have announced a conference on Quraan in Dallas to be held between 3:00 PM and 6 PM on Sunday, December 5, 2010 at the Unity Church of Dallas.  

Representing the organizations, Mike Ghouse adds, "As members of diverse family of faiths, we seek to demystify the myths and falsification of our respective faiths. It is time for all of us to gather and understand the Qur'aan, the holy book of Muslims, which has been the subject of attack by a few among us. Indeed, the conference is a positive response to negative sermons delivered from a few pulpits of America this year."

The uniqueness of the event is highlighted by facing the "terrifying passages" of Quraan.  For the first time in history, the actual verses from Quraan will be read directly and explained by non-Muslim panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, Clergy, lay persons and elected officials who have a deep interest in bringing Americans together on common grounds.  The Muslim scholars either affirm their reading or refer to the Quraan for further understanding. It would be indeed a first hand educational experience.

It is time now to replace the ill-will with goodwill; no American has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. The purpose of this conference is to remove such myths in an open forum in the public and restore the cohesiveness of our society and work towards building a safe and secure America.  

Bring your children to experience the multi-cultural costumes in a designated room for them.

Refreshments will be served after the event.

THE EVENT IS FREE

Please R.S.V.P. to confirmattendance@gmail.com  
Direct your inquiries to QuraanConference@gmail.com .

For details visit website http://www.quraanconference.com/


Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam and Civil Societies. He heads the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and offers Pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day.  Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Why do our faiths shape some political views, but not others?

Why do our faiths shape some political views, but not others?
10 Members of the Texas Faith Panel respond to the question.

"An element of hypocrisy is embedded in what is conveyed from the pulpit. An excessive emphasis is placed on homosexuality which the scriptures do not "appear" to favor, but that is not the only item that is disfavored. An equally strong punishment is prescribed for adultery and incest which are down played by the clergy as though they don't exist." Mike Ghouse, Foundation for Pluralism.

Full Story at: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/10/texas-faith-why-do-our-faiths.html 

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam and Civil Societies. He heads the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and offers Pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day.  Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rick Sanchez Syndrome

Rick digs into his memory and relates, “When my father and I delivered the furniture to this Rich lady in Boca Raton, I asked her for a glass of water and she told me to go outside and get it from the spigot or the water hose”. It’s amazing what holds people and what motivates them to go and excel. Rick is a decent human being and has the balls to ask tough questions, I hope more Journalists learn from him. No one should nurture anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic or anti-any sentiments to begin with, but if you find yourselves in a unnatural sentiment, fight from within, do you Jihad, the struggle to fight the temptation to slip from righteousness get out of it. Repentance and apology are the best cures and thank God, he did very well in that interview with Stephanopoulos.  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/howard-kurtz/2010/10/rick_sanchez_is_sorry_really.html

In 1982, the Sales manager at the now defunct Centennial homes did not hire me because I had an accent and he did not trust that I would sell the American dream of homeownership to folks walking in that door. It never left my memory and years later not only was I #1 community Sales Manager for Ryland Homes and Drees Homes, but also went on serving as a fellow board member on the Marketing team at the Home Builders Association.

In September, I gave a pre-show talk on the play “Kite runner” by the way no one should miss that show, it is a powerful drama about human aspirations, racism, humility, hope and getting even. In one scene, the bad dude confronts the man he hated when he was a kid and pushes him on the floor and says, “We have old scores to settle” and calls on him to fight like a man. Isn’t it human to bind ourselves with setting scores as well as expressing gratitude.

Way back in 1971, I drafted company letters for Sunder Chemicals in Bangalore, India. The owner Mr. Harbans Lal, praised every time, “you are going to become a writer” and I have now written over 300 articles on Pluralism and over 700 pieces on every aspect of Islam and hope to get two books out soon; one on Pluralism and the other one on Islam. Thank God my articles have been published in a large number of international news papers including Washington Post, Austin Statesman and Huffington Post including and oddly Tehran Times, Arab News, Sudanese News Paper and several Asian News papers. I was happy writing all over, but my happiest moment came when I started writing for Dallas Morning News, my home town paper.

Every time some one says a few good words, Harbans Lal comes on vividly with those words echoing in my ears.

The negative comments of that lady turned Sanchez to be someone, to be something and finally it came out. It negates the negative and brings a balance back. Let’s call it Rick Sanchez Syndrome.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Qur’aan Conference, an American event


Qur’aan Conference, an American event

From times immemorial Religion has been “abused” and “misused” to someone gain, usually for controlling others. Are we going to let that happen? As Americans, we can pull ourselves together and not fall for the temptations to divide ourselves. No American has to live in fear of the other, nor live in anxieties or discomfort.

All our faiths reinforce the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.” Details at http://www.quraanconference.com/

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obama Will Triumph — So Will America

Obama Will Triumph — So Will America
By Frank Schaeffer

Before he’d served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds -- including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter -- are sticking with our President. Why?-- because he is succeeding.

We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.

Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right. Obama’s critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe, the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition – from both the right and left.

As the President’s poll numbers have fallen so has his support from some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah not long ago; all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the 2008 election.

The left’s lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling “prophecy”-- snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn’t have anything to do with it!

Here is what Obama faced when he took office-- none of which was his fault:

# An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries

# Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral

# The worst economic crisis since the depression

# America’s standing in the world at the lowest point in history

# A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war

# A health care system in free fall

# An educational system in free fall

# A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)

# An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left

# A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration…

And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk!

“Help” from the Right?

What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists -- that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office -- do to “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate, wasn’t born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating "racist", was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly!

They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.

The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who was trying to actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: “No!”

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies, child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at all costs!

“Help” from the Left?

What did the left do to help their newly elected president? Some of them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in modern history!

Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won within virtually minuets of the President taking office, they’d been “betrayed”! (Never mind that Obama’s vocal support to the gay community is stronger than any other president’s has been. Never that mind he signed a new hate crimes law!)

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how "disappointed" they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere mortals!

And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond… “Governing”?! What the hell does that world, uh, like mean?”

The President’s critics left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone reality) thrown in for good measure. Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn’t consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!

The Obama critics' ideological ideas defined their idea of reality rather than reality defining their ideas—say, about what is possible in one year in office after the hand that the President had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation that voted Bush into office… twice!

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community – in just 12 short months -- President Obama:

#Continued the draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices regarding the war in Afghanistan
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Restored America’s image around the globe
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Banned torture of American prisoners
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of the American economy
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort to halt global warming
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stood up for educational reform
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Won a Nobel peace prize
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and balances
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even begin
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and patience
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of job losses
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants” needing to “water the tree of liberty”…
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)


Other than those "disappointing" accomplishments -- IN ONE YEAR -- President Obama “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!

Who actually has failed...

...are the Americans that can’t see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could be proved right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.

Here’s the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty “supporters” or hate-filled Republican detractors!

The Future Looks Good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts -- with a canny and calculating eye to the possible succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

Just because we didn’t get everything we wanted in the first short and fraught year Obama was in office not all of us gave up. Some of us stayed the course. And we will be proved right.

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays, depending on your point of view) to everyone!

PS. if you agree that Obama is shaping up to be a great president please pass this on and hang in there!

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of “Patience With God – Faith For People Who Don’t Like Religion (Or Atheism).”

http://frank-schaeffer.blogspot.com/2009/12/obama-will-triumph-so-will-america.html

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Muslims for Freedom of Speech

A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS

We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.

We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.

We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims. We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qur’an burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.

We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.

As Muslims, we must set an example of justice, patience, tolerance, respect, and forgiveness.

The Qur’an enjoins Muslims to:
* bear witness to Islam through our good example (2:143);
* restrain anger and pardon people (3:133-134 and 24:22);
* remain patient in adversity (3186);
* stand firmly for justice (4:135);
* not let the hatred of others swerve us from justice (5:8);
* respect the sanctity of life (5:32);
* turn away from those who mock Islam (6:68 and 28:55);
* hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199);
* restrain ourselves from rash responses (16:125-128);
* pass by worthless talk with dignity (25:72); and
* repel evil with what is better (41:34).

Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of both hateful speech and hateful acts, but always within the boundaries of the law. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of reflexive emotion, but with dignity and intelligence, in accordance with both our religious precepts and the laws of our country.

We uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both protect freedom of religion and speech, because both protections are fundamental to defending minorities from the whims of the majority.

We therefore call on all Muslims in the United States, Canada and abroad to refrain from violence. We should see the challenges we face today as an opportunity to sideline the voices of hate—not reward them with further attention—by engaging our communities in constructive dialogue about the true principles of Islam, and the true principles of democracy, both of which stress the importance of freedom of religion and tolerance.


SIGNATORIES:

Prof. Hassan Abbas, Quaid-i-Azam Chair, South Asia Institute, Columbia University
Anisa Abd el Fattah, Founder and Chairwoman, National Association of Muslim American Women (NAMAW)
Khaled M Abdel-Hamid, MD, PhD, writer
Ammar Abdulhamid, Executive Director, Tharwa Foundation
Imam Johari Abdul Malik, Director of Outreach, Dar-Al-Hijrah Islamic Center
Mehnaz M. Afridi, PhD, Adjunct Professor (Judaism, Islam & Genocide Studies) Antioch University
Asma Afsaruddin, PhD, Professor of Islamic Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, PhD, Director, Minaret of Freedom Foundation
Ahrar Ahmad, PhD, Professor of Political Science, Black Hills State University
Prof. Akbar S. Ahmed, PhD, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University
Osman Ahmed,PhD, President Islamic Society of Essex County, Newark, NJ
Prof. Parvez Ahmed, PhD, Fulbright Scholar & Assoc. Prof. Univ. of North Florida
Barbara Al-Bayati, Co-Founder, Orphan Whispers
Aman Ali, writer, stand-up-comedian
Javed Ali, founder and publisher, Illume magazine
Wajahat Ali, playwright, journalist, and producer of “Domestic Crusaders”
Sumbul Ali-Karamali, JD, LLM (Islamic Law), author of “The Muslim Next Door”
Shaykh al-Hajj Dawud Ahmad al-Amriki, Director, Muslim America
Salam al-Marayati, Pres., Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
Shahed Amanullah, Editor-in-Chief, Altmuslim
Patricia Anton, Board member, Muslim Peace Fellowship
M. Saud Anwar, Co-Chair, American Muslim Peace Initiative
Abdul Cader Asmal MD, PhD, Past President, Islamic Council of Mew England
Aref Assaf, PhD, President, American Arab Forum
Hussam Ayloush, Exec. Director, CAIR Greater Los Angeles Area
Hazami Barmada, Pres, American Muslim Interactive Network (AMIN)
Bahar Bastani, M.D., Professor of Medicine, S.L.U., Secy. General Shia Islamic Education Center, VP of IMANA-St. Louis
Victor Ghalib Begg, Senior Advisor, Chairman Emeritus, Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan
Jannah bint Hannah, activist, al-Fatiha Foundation
Farah Brelvi, Board of Directors, ACLU-NC
Arsalan Bukhari, Executive Director, CAIR-WA
M. Ali Chaudry, PhD, President, Center for Understanding Islam (CUII)
Kamran Cheikh, Activist, Committee member, Muslims for Peace, Justice & Progress (MPJP), researcher for Deen Research Center (DRC)
Noor-Malika Chishti, Vice Chair, So. CA Committee for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, Representative, the Sufi Order International, Member, World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relations
Robert D. Crane, JD, author of numerous books
Prof Golam Dastagir, PhD, Visiting Research Scholar, New College, University of Toronto, Canada
Almoonir Dewji, blogger - “That We May Know Each Other”
Mustafa Stefan Dill, blogger;/PR/social media analyst for Muslim issues; musician
Ramsey El-Moslimany, member, Board of Directors, Islamic School of Seattle
Lamia El-Sadek, political and human rights activitist
Mohamed Elsanousi, Director of Communications and Community Outreach for the Islamic Society of N America (ISNA)
Mona Eltahawy, journalist
Aziz Enhaili, Political analyst, columnist for Tolerance.ca
Yusuf Estes, Chaplain ret., author of many books, public speaker
Prof. Mohammad Fadel, PhD
Fatemeh Fakhraie, Editor-in-Chief, Muslimah Media Watch
Mike Ghouse, President, World Muslim Congress
Iftekhar Hai, President, UMA Interfaith Alliance
Rabia Terri Harris, Founder and Coordinator, Muslim Peace Fellowship
Hesham Hassaballa, M.D., author, journalist, blogger - “God, faith, and a pen”
Amir Hussain, PhD, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Iftekhar Hussain, Chair, Board of Directors, CAIR-PA
Arsalan Iftikhar, author, human rights lawyer, blogger - “The Muslim Guy”
Jeffrey Imm, Director, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.)
Ghazala Irshad, journalist, blogger - “The Floating Lotus”
Nakia Jackson, writer
M. Zuhdi Jasser, MD, President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Safi Kaskas, President & CEO Strategic Edge
Mohja Kahf, PhD, Assoc. Professor of Comparative Literature, Univ. of Arkansas, author “The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf”
Prof. Muqtedar Khan, PhD, author of several books, Blogger - “Globalog”
Farah Kinani, Journalist, blogger - “Global Voices”
Shaikh Ahmad Kutty, Resident Senior Scholar, Islamic Institute of Toronto
Faisal Kutty, Visiting Asst. Prof. of law, Valparaiso University School of Law and Adjunct Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto)
M. Junaid Levesque-Alam, writer, blogger - “Crossing the Crescent”
David Liepert, M.D., blogger and author of “Muslim, Christian AND Jew”
Radwan A. Masmoudi, PhD, President, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID)
Melissa Matos, President, Al-Ghazali Legal Society, Saint Louis University
Shelina Merani, community activist, artist, blogger “Muslim Presence”
Yahya Merchant, Interfaith Worker, Outreach contact for Islamic Center of Conejo Valley CA
Melody Moezzi, JD, MPH, writer and attorney
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, author of many books of poetry
Ebrahim Moosa, Assoc. Professor of Islamic Studies, Dept. of Religion, Duke University
Lt. Col. Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, U.S. Army Chaplain
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, President Sound Vision
Arman Musaji, artist
Sheila Musaji, Editor, The American Muslim (TAM)
Muneeb Nasir, President, Olive Tree Foundation, Editor IQRA Canada
Q. Amin Nathari, National Representative, Islam in America Movement (IAM)
Ahmed Naumaan, PhD, Director, Karsaz Inc.
Imam Abdul Hai Patel, Dir. Interfaith Relations, Canadian Council of Imams, Muslim Chaplain University of Toronto & York Regional Police
Aziz H. Poonawalla, PhD, scientist and blogger - “City of Brass” on Beliefnet
M.Waheed-uz-Zaman Rana, Imam, Prof. Emeritus, Dept. of Surgery, Saint Louis University
Hasan Zillur Rahim, PhD, journalist
Shaykh Ahmed Abdur Rashid, The Circle Group
Prof. Hussein Rashid, PhD, blogger - “Religion Dispatches”
Shafi Refai, President, United Muslims of America
Irfan Rydhan, Co-Founder of Muslim Unity Foundation
Muhamed Sacirbey, lawyer, diplomat, writer
Louay Safi, PhD, Common Word Fellow, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Christian Muslim Understanding, Georgetown University
Ghulam Abbas Sajan, Director Islamic Ahlul Bayt Assembly of Canada
Robert Salaam, blogger - “The American Muslim”
Raquel Evita Saraswati, activist, writer, blogger
Sarah Sayeed, President of One Blue
Sophia Rose Shafi, MA, MTS, doctoral candidate (Islamic Studies), writer
T.O. Shanavas. MD, Vice President, Islamic Research Foundation, author
S. Abdallah Schleifer, Distinguished Prof., Dept. of Journalism & Mass Com, American University Cairo
Ricka Shorish, M.S., R.N., volunteer/consultant, Avicenna Community Health Center
Jihad Shoshara, community organizer and activist, Chicago
Jafar Siddiqui, blogger - “Penjihad”
Prof. Laury Silvers, PhD
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, PhD, Sr. Lecturer, Islamic Studies & African American Religion, University of Florida
Prof. Ibrahim B. Syed, PhD, President of Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc., author
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, Nat’l Director, Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances, Islamic Society of N America (ISNA)
J.Tayeb, MD, President, CAIR-MI, ISNA founders committee member, Vice chair, HUDA free Clinic, Detroit
Pamela Taylor, Co-founder Muslims for Progressive Values, Panelist for On Faith
Tayyibah Taylor, Editor, Azizah Magazine
Dr. Hashim El-Tinay, President, International Peace Quest Institute (IPQI)
Mahdi Toourage, PhD, Assistant Prof., U of Western Ontaio
Tarik Trad, writer, humorist, photographer, artist and activist
Asma T. Uddin, Attorney, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Editor, Altmuslimah
Wahida Valiante, President, Canadian Islamic Congress and Chair of Islamic History Month Canada
Jason van Boom, Host of “Islam and Authors”, writer
Amina Wadud, PhD, consultant on Islam and gender, visiting scholar Starr King School for the Ministry
Danya Wellmon, Co-Founder Women Transcending Boundaries interfaith group
Svend White, blogger - “Akram’s Razor”, activist, writer
G. Willow Wilson, author of “Butterfly Mosque” and “Air” graphic novel series
Ani Zonneveld, President, Muslims for Progressive Values

http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_defense_of_free_speech_by_american_and_canadian_muslims/0018241

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In defense of Islam, pursuing a civil dialogue

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/sblow/stories/DN-blow_19met.ART.West.Edition1.356a575.html

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, September 19, 2010

Over and over you hear it said: If Muslims oppose terrorism, why don't they stand up and say it?

If that has been you, Mike Ghouse ought to be your hero.

It is hard to imagine that anyone has worked harder than the Carrollton resident to demonstrate the peaceful and moderate side of Islam.

And that effort includes personally visiting Dallas' First Baptist Church last Sunday just to put a friendly face on the "evil, evil religion" that the Rev. Robert Jeffress denounced a few weeks before.

"It was wonderful," Ghouse said of the visit. "We were so warmly received."

He hopes a quick chat with Jeffress will be the start of deeper discussion about Islam and the importance of respect between religions.

"I want to have a dialogue with him, not to say he is wrong but to share another point of view," Ghouse said.

The 57-year-old Muslim was born in India and has lived in the United States for 30 years. He owns a small property management firm. But most of his day is devoted to building bridges between people of different faiths.

"It is my passion," he said in his distinctive raspy voice.

He has been a guest a dozen times on Sean Hannity's TV and radio talk shows. "I don't like the way Sean cuts me off, but I have to honor him for giving the American public a semblance of another point of view."

Ghouse said he can understand fear and criticism of Islam because he went through a time of similar feelings. As a teen, he was troubled by passages of the Quran. He called himself an atheist for a while.

But he said deeper study led him to realize the Quran had been purposely mistranslated down through history.

In the Middle Ages, European leaders commissioned a hostile Quran translation to foster warfare against Muslim invaders.

Later, Muslim leaders produced another translation to inflame Muslims against Christians and Jews.

"It was all for politics," he said.

Ghouse said he hopes to present Jeffress with a modern, faithful translation and challenge him to find evil verses.

"If he can, I will convert. I will join his church," Ghouse said. "If he can't, I will call on him to retract his statements and become a peacemaker."

Ghouse acknowledges that deep problems persist within Islam. "Three steps forward, two steps back," he said with a sigh.

And he agrees that mainstream Muslims have not done enough to counter violent images of their faith.

"That is very true," he said. "But part of it is that many Muslims have given up hope that we will ever be heard."

He said repeated denunciations of terrorism seem to fall on deaf ears.

And some efforts have backfired – like the proposed Islamic information center in New York. He said it should be hailed for furthering the moderate Muslim cause.

Instead, it has deepened hostility toward Muslims.

I have been astounded by the amount of anti-Islam propaganda that circulates via e-mail. Tons of it has come my way in the last few weeks.

One theme is that people like Mike Ghouse can't be trusted, that Islam encourages deception.

But Ghouse says actions speak louder than words. And he points to elections in Muslim nations.

More than half of Muslims live in countries with some degree of democracy. And time and time again, Islamist parties are overwhelmingly rejected in favor of secular, mainstream parties.

"The religious parties don't get more than 3 percent of the vote," Ghouse said.

Polls show deep mistrust of Muslims. "But the most important question in those surveys is: 'Do you know anything about Islam?' " Ghouse said. "Most people say no."

What keeps him going is faith in Americans, he said.

"The majority of Americans, if they know the truth, they will change their minds."