Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Louisville Eid Celebrations, Prayers, Misogyny, Urdu and the film.

Despite the problems in the world, life should go on!  Our kids need to see the problems but must be taught to move on in life and learn to create a better world through such experiences. 

Perhaps, we can cherish what we have done in raising our kids to be friendly with fellow kids regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity or other uniqueness. Indeed, that is the very first model of citizenship that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) initiated; he was called Amin, a sum total  of many qualities among them are the truth teller, honest, unbiased, non-judgmental,  trustworthy, caring and respectful of his neighbors; Jews, Christians, Pagans and others at that time.  Very few of us want our kids to be bigots, and almost all of us want our kids to grow up with an open mind and an open heart. Thank God for that.

Most Parents want their kids to have a better life, and they fix them up with material things. I hope they fix them with things that will make them a better and caring human as well. 

At this time, I am concerned about the ugliness of a few Jewish and Palestinian parents who teach hatred towards the other. Man, they are messing up their kids, when they grow up they will have difficulty in working and relating with normal people. I hope it becomes a norm with the Jewish and the Palestinian parents in the conflict zones to teach their children about the suffering, and I pray that the Jewish and Muslim parents don’t screw up their kid’s life by injecting hatred for each other and I pray that the kids will reject their parents hatred for the other. Parents may have had a bad time, should they make it bad for their children too? I pray not. 

Indeed, life is a gift of God and we have to do everything to preserve it, and express our gratitude for what we have, and pray for those who lost the loved ones and all their life time’s love of labor in the ongoing conflicts, wars, massacres and genocides.  

This Ramadan has been a blessing, none of the Mosques I have been to in the last 30 days, none, not one of them preached hatred towards any, and they simply prayed for the victims. I hope the same is true in our churches, synagogues and other places, as I intend to visit them and hope to find goodness in the places of worship..  Article at Oped News  

Now coming to this Eid - I have lost the desire to take pictures; I just took a few even though camera was with me in the car or on the shelf at home.  But it was good to see every one appreciate the blessings of Ramadan while praying for the well beings of the victims of the conflicts.


It was good to visit a few friends’ homes for the Eid, a beautiful tradition that most of us have brought forward. We also stopped by at the River Road Mosque; it was good to see families gather there on a social basis. Eid is a time to catch up with most people. Great food everywhere, and finally we had our family gathering at home, and Yasmeen cooked some of the most fabulous dishes. 


I am sensitive to bias, prejudices, misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Hinduism, homophobia and other evils of the society. My antennas pick up the tiniest vibrations and I speak out.  Check out Ramadan’s Pluralism Message

The convention center was a great place to accommodate the Muslims of Greater Louisville and loved the open hall - with no wall separating men and women although they were in two different sections. I did not take pictures, but the arrangement was good. 

The Imam who delivered the sermon at the convention center was good, but for the insensitive misogynistic comment. He began his talk by addressing the women, asking them to quit talking and control their kids…. That is awful! Only women talk? Where does he live? Men gossip and chatter as much as women do in our society, and children are equally managed by either parent; it’s just not the mothers.  

I talked to the Imam after the prayers, and asked him not to be misogynistic in the future. He can always address the noise makers, whoever they are, but not point to a group of people; in this case women – that is stereotyping.  By the way, this is the men thing, and men from every faith, race and ethnicity are guilty of it, and I visit every place of worship from Aztecs to Zoroastrians and every one in between, the story is the same. All we can do is take corrective steps. Indeed, Islam teaches us to give dignity to every woman and a child, and we must.  We need a sensitivity training for men.


Someday, when I have a little time, I would like to know more about APPKI, an organization that I have come to admire. I just found out that Dr. Aftab Ahmed was also one of the founders of the APPKI. You guys and gals are blessed ones to have open hearts and minds, keep it up. Indeed, it was Jinnah’s dream to have a Pakistan or its representation to be inclusive of ever Pakistani regardless of his or her faith or ethnicity and you guys have done it. This note is an update to the article I wrote about APPKI at Huffington post. 


I am pleased to commence a monthly or bi-monthly informal gathering to exchange poetry and literature in Urdu and Hindi languages. The first session would be at Yasmeen’s house on Wednesday 7-8:30, tea and light refreshments will be served and we can rotate this in different homes. It will be intellectually refreshing to have a gathering like this. But please RSVP by texting me at (214) 325-1916, I don’t want to have 50 friends over and not be ready for it.


Produced by America Together Foundation, a non-profit organization. 

The Film is based on a successful real life event about ordinary people effecting extraordinary changes. It is a story about skillfully managing conflicting issues of safety of Americans overseas, upholding freedom of speech, improving perceptions about Islam and preserving sanctity of religions.

The film depicts human fears, apprehensions; thrill seeking, suspense, drama, romance, disappointments and the role of justice during the attempted Quran burning event in Mulberry, Florida.

It is an epitome of nonviolent conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance based on the teachings of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Hopefully the world will see a new paradigm in making; what Muslims ought to be, and how they will respond to future incidents of Quran Burning, criticism of Islam, and cartoons of the Prophet. It will be good for Muslims and good for the world. Indeed, blessed are the peacemakers.Tax deductible Donations of $1000, $5000, $10,000 or greater can be made at:


(214) 325-1916
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, IslamIsraelIndiainterfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes all his work through many links.

Ramadan Is Morphing Into a Meaningless Holiday Season

The Muslim holiday has taken on a completely different form in America, one that more closely resembles Christmas

This article originally appeared on Patheos.
I belong to a very particular generation of Muslims, one who formed a Muslim identity well before the turning point of 9/11. Those days were very different — it was a time when Muslims in America were still primarily under the radar. It was also a time before the Internet flooded us with information (and misinformation) about Islam and Muslims. I still had to explain to work colleagues why I wasn’t ordering anything at lunch during Ramadan, and conversations around me didn’t always revolve around my Muslim identity or global politics. It was much easier to be a normal American, and to be seen as one as well.
Under the cover of this relative isolation, my Ramadan experiences were different then they are today. It was a much more intimate affair — I would spend my evenings in quiet prayer and then break my fast either at the mosque with my community or in small home gatherings with friends and family.
These experiences forever defined within me the scope, power, and meaning of this month. It was certainly a time to be social, to reconnect with community and family, but the heart of it still lay with my relationship with God. It was relatively apolitical as well — we didn’t argue about moon sighting methodologies or getting Eid on school calendars.
Fast forward to modern American Muslim life. Ramadan has taken on a completely different form, and I’m as guilty as any in indulging and reinforcing it. Within our communities, invitations to iftars/social events get sent out weeks in advance, often overlapping so much that the truly determined “iftar-hop” in order to get them all in.
In a month devoted to the abstinence of food, we paradoxically spend our days preparing it, and our evenings feasting on it, making sure to Instagram culinary creations that took the better part of a day to finish. We have turned our attention from celebrating the month inwardly to making sure others know about it. We spend an increasing amount of time blogging, lobbying and spending on Ramadan.
The greatest shift, however, is in how Ramadan is perceived by society at large. I regularly get unsolicited “Ramadan Mubarak!” messages from friends, colleagues, even strangers — both in person and on social media. Where I live in Washington, D.C., the iftar has become a public celebration, where all sorts of institutions outside the Muslim community — non-profit organizations, think tanks, embassies, city halls and federal government institutions — jockey to claim one of the days of the month for iftar dinners that are open to the public (I know this because I spent the last three years organizing the State Department iftar, a much sought-after ticket among the upwardly mobile, Muslim or not).
What is happening to the Ramadan I used to know? I feel we are inadvertently following the model of Christmas and turning the month into a “season” that is a time for socializing, indulgence and consumerism above all else. Corporate America is sensing this and is responding accordingly with Ramadan promotions and special events (latest example: the DKNY Ramadan launch this week), using a barely-modified Christmas playbook.
Our need for belonging makes us applaud any public acknowledgement of our holiday, whether it is a Best Buy ad, a politician’s Ramadan greeting or a department store Ramadan display. I regularly attend public iftars where nearly half the attendees are not Muslim, and any religious aspect is relegated to a small side room so as to not get in the way of networking and socializing. When you start seeing people like Wolf Blitzer at iftars, you just have to wonder what is happening to our most precious religious holiday.
None of what I’m seeing is inherently bad, of course. It certainly is a mark of recognition and cross-community understanding that we’ve been able to cement Ramadan into the public landscape while keeping it relatively free of the geopolitics that so infects our identity these days.
Our economic power has convinced corporate America to respect us as a demographic group, and our increasing political clout has enabled elected officials to calculate that they would gain more votes than they would lose if they cater to us. When you consider the beating we take in certain elements of the public sphere, these are certainly things to be proud of.
But in pursuing the advancement of our communities, it would be a shame to lose what Ramadan is really about and what it was meant to be. How do we make sure that doesn’t happen?
Shahed Amanullah is the founder and original editor-in-chief of Altmuslim, CEO and co-founder of LaunchPosse, CEO and founder of Halalfire (parent company and a former senior advisor at the U.S. Department of State.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Video Gallery for Ramadan

Upon clicking each link listed  below,  you will see the corresponding video in the video Gallery space on the home page, more will be added to the list

Ramadan, a gift for Muslims by Nouman Ali Khan 1:10:31

Animated Productive Ramadan 4:27

Mike Ghouse

Photo Gallery for Ramadan News


Key photographs taken during the month of Ramadan. Effort was made to visit every possible mosque of Shia, (including Bohra and Ismaili) Sunni (quite a big list), Ahmadiyya, Sufi, and WD Muhammad traditions in Dallas and other Cities
 wherever we went including Masjid Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.  ( Please note I have not been to Isamaili and Sufi place of worship during Ramadan, but been on social occasions).

It is beautiful to see how each group expresses its devotion to the creator in their own way, and I have made an effort to chronicle the uniqueness of each place of worship. 

Mike Ghouse

Click each link and see the pictures in the  Photo Gallery.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eid Mubarak dilemma


Many of us have been debating and will continue to debate about our traditional greetings of Happy Ramadan and Ramadan Mubarak to each other. It is not a happy Ramadan to many and it is time for all of us to ponder. 

The deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza, passengers from the two plane crashes, Christians in Islamic State, Iraq and Syria, and Muslim, Sikh and other deaths across the world and deaths of military men on both sides of the conflicts must all be mourned.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) always chose the most peaceful way to find solutions; he was the ultimate peace maker and a mercy to mankind, and we should not let that go of us, we need to be the peace makers and mercy to fellow beings.

My thoughts here are influenced by seeing the entire humanity as one. Indeed, our belief is based on God to be God of the Universe, and Prophet to be mercy to entire mankind and us to be peacemakers for the entire Aalameen, whole humanity, thus the phrases; Rabbul Aalameen, Rahmatul Aalameen and Mukhlooqul Aalameen.

Not only Muslims, but Jews, Christians, Hindus, Atheists and others are equally concerned about the deaths of innocent civilians and it would be wrong to discount their goodwill at this time, let our words mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill, a formula of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Good calls

Most Muslims have followed Prophet’s guidance in speaking out when there is injustice, and we have done that in different formats.

The Jews, Hindus, Christians, Atheists and all others have joined in the demonstrations throughout the world to protest Israel’s aggressive campaign that has killed over 700 civilians mostly innocent children. 

No violence has been reported in the demonstrations, and we need to thank God for that. Animals don’t know how to express their anger and resort to fighting and killing each other, humans were gifted with a tongue to dialogue, and dialogue we must. We need to remind ourselves, we are humans.

Please remember we are all in this together, and we must we continue to restrain ourselves from developing prejudice, hate or anger towards any group of people – be it Jewish, Muslim or the other.  Prejudice eventually will take down every one.

Bad calls

6 out of 190 nations are justifying excessive Israeli aggressions, indeed this has been the case for nearly six decades.  This is sheer stupidity, their support is supposed to protect Israel, but will actually harm Israel’s long term security. There is a sense of anger for the injustice towards Palestinians from over 90% of the world citizenry; their helplessness and frustrations are translating into anti-Jewish sentiments and thus resentment towards United States, the feeling is they are getting away with murders and injustice.    It is like the world v USA-Israel-Canada combine.  The ugliness of Anti-Semitism is on increase, and for this no one but the leadership of Israel and the United States is responsible, we cannot let Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia and other evils of society to flourish. It’s time to think and time to speak out against our elected representatives in the United States.
Al-Baghdadi, the rogue and the thief has gone on a killing spree and terrorizing Christians to convert or pay Jiziyah in his new Islamic State.  This is not Islam and we condemn this strongly, Islam is about freedom and not oppression. This ugly man is maligning the name of Islam further, and if we cannot capture and imprison this man, he will mess up a whole lot more, and Muslims will come to regret it. 

A few ugly Rabbis’ and the Ministers in Israel are calling for annihilation of Palestinian children and mothers who give birth to children quoting from their holy books. Indeed they are a match for some of the Imams who are misinterpreting Quran not to trust Jews. Damn them, they are wrong. God is not unjust, God is not discriminatory, and God cannot wrong his own creation and God cannot play favorites.  Together, they are fueling the fire of hatred.  This needs to stop.  For every Muslim ass, there is a Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and other ass. All it takes is for us to speak out.

Ugly calls

A few Jews, Christians and Hindus are justifying the Israeli massacres, while a few Muslims have not blamed Hamas for firing the rockets into Israel. This is a shameful behavior, none of us should rejoice death and destruction, or justify the killings. 

The day we mourn for our own and not others marks the disgusting selfishness in us, and the day we mourn for the deaths of all people, we are entering the zone of civil societies. Unless we stand for the rights of others, why should anyone stand up for us?

Ramadan celebrations

I am not sure if we can can be genuinely happy when there is oppression, mass killings and murders of Muslims, Christians, Jews and others is going on.  We must, however,  thank God for the blessed month, and pray for the well being of all humanity in our congregational and individual prayers. Let our kids know that life goes on, celebration and commemoration is all part of the life. God reminds us, and which one of the favors do you deny? 

Ramadan celebrations are scheduled for Monday, July 28, and some will be celebrating on Monday, and some may have already done today. I am finding it difficult to say Ramadan Mubarak.

May God help us remove any ill-will or malice towards fellow beings, and fill us with abilities to find peaceful solutions to the complicated issues, may this Ramadan bring blessings of goodwill, at least in our individual hearts. Amen!

May God guide Netanyahu, AlBaghdadi, Asad and other tyrants, and may God give guidance to our senators and congresspersons to give common sense to be just.

May God help us guard ourselves from from being prejudiced towards groups, faiths, tribes or nations. 
Yes, we can hold individuals responsible for their crimes, but not their nations or faiths, residents of such nations and followers of such faiths. 

May Ramadan's blessing shower the entire humanity, may all of us understand the dividends of peace, and realize the secure feeling when we work for cohesive societies where none of us have to live in fear of the other. Amen!

Reading suggestions:

Sanity prayers for Jews and Muslims

Thank you

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam,IsraelIndiainterfaith, cohesive work place. He is committed to building aCohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day Mike believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up, and the process of making the film "Flames of Passion" has begun. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; regularly at Oped News and several other periodicals across the world. His personal indexes all his work through many links.

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4th Celebrations, Muslims and Ramadan. American Muslim Agenda, a new beginning for Muslim Americans

Let this 4th day of July 2014 be a historic beginning for Muslim Americans. of you may not know this, but upon Declaration of our Independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslim.

Despite a few, who have painted Muslims in a negative light for their own gains; Muslims have always been well wishers of America and will continue to do that. The Journey began with the birth of our nation, and I am pleased to make a recommendation to my fellow Muslims to take this relationship further deeper.
What will I do on July 4th? 2nd of 3 articles on American Muslim Agenda
( to be published at )


Let this 4th day of July 2014 be a historic beginning for Muslim Americans
It is time for Muslims to set their agenda, and develop short and long term plans. We have to debate, discuss and work on developing a final agenda that is good for the Muslims and good for fellow Americans. Here is a 3 part series of initiating such agenda. 
In the first part of the series at Huffington Post, we shared;
1. What does it take to be the Amins “trust keepers” of our society?
2. Why should we stand up for the rights of others? 
3. No American should live in apprehension or fear of the other.
It is at - 
Now, we will address the need for engagement with the society, July 4th, and the others celebrations and commemorations.
July 4th and Muslims
Many of you may not know this, but upon Declaration of our Independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslim. 
Morocco was the first state and signed the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship; first of its kind. Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic was the next, and Tippu Sultan, the King of Mysore State (India) was the third. According to Dr. Range Gowda, Tippu Sultan’s historiographer, the congratulatory letter to America is preserved in a French Library.
Despite a few, who have painted Muslims in a negative light for their own gains; Muslims have always been well wishers of America and will continue to do that. The Journey began with the birth of our nation, and I am pleased to make a recommendation to my fellow Muslims to take this relationship further deeper.
Muslim Americans reaching out to every American.
Let’s take a conservative number of 3, 150,000 Muslims in America, even though a 6-7 millions figure is thrown without any substantiation. This number is roughly 1% of the American Population – one out of 100 Americans is a Muslim.
If each Muslim sends 100 invitations to fellow Americans to join him or her for a grilled Hot Dog, Hamburger or Barbeque at the backyard, public park or a Mosque parking lot with appropriate permissions, about five to seven neighbors may show up, and it may not cost more than $25.00 to serve them. If this is done consistently, in about 10 years, most of Americans would know each other as fellow celebrators of the festivity together. This is not the responsibility of Muslims alone; all of us have to learn about each other to be good neighbors.
Do you know what Quran says about it? In 49:13 God says, he has created mankind into many tribes, communities, nations and people, and he fully understands that conflicts are bound to happen with such diversity, and then he says, the best ones among you are the ones who get to know each other. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding, and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the other and when that happens, conflicts fade and solutions emerge. This is how we create safe societies for our children.
Caution: No matter how tempting it is to flaunt your religiosity, religion is your personal belief. Please do not discuss religion and politics with your guests. it will ruin the relationship – get to know your neighbors as folks with common interests. No matter how smart you are, the moment you suggest your religion is superior in any form shape or innuendos; you will be causing conflict off the bat, and that is not friendship. You don’t tell your friend that your wife is more beautiful than his or your husband is more handsome than her husband.
Be a caring neighbor and be there for them in their celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, funerals and other commemorations, after all they are your neighbors. 
This is the month of Ramadan, and celebration of July 4th should be a joy while fasting, indeed your personal faith becomes stronger when you let your will power gain control over temptations, fasting is not about being hungry, it is about the sacrifice you make for the sake of God and the common Good. More about it at
This Ramadan, you do not have the time to send the invitations, but have the time knock on ten doors on your street and invite people to hot dogs at your place. Do the invitations next year.
Happy July 4th – if you are driving, carry a lot of water bottles and stop and share some with the stranded ones on the road. What Muslims need most is a lot of Goodwill.
What does engagement mean to Muslims?
It simply means you are invited to your neighbor’s birthday party, Mayor’s inauguration, a political rally of the party you belong to, an interfaith prayer, neighborhood watch meeting, a town hall meeting, celebration of Independence Day, veterans’ day parade, Christmas party, Passover gathering, Diwali, Chinese New year, (Iftar parties) and other community based activities.
If you are not invited, it is not because you are a Hindu, Muslim, Chinese, African American, Arab, Latino, or the other, but precisely because no one knows about you. You have never been a part of any group, other than your own.
Over the years, I have watched with admiration the efforts made by the City and community service organizations to reach out and include all minorities, but sadly, a handful of us respond to it, it’s not only Muslims, the story is same with all minorities.
A few will make an effort and serve on a committee, but drop out quickly because they did not see the fruit on the very same day they planted the seed. Everything takes time, nurturing and development of relationships. The sense of belonging it generates is priceless. You feel confident of your being and your place in the society.
Each one of us rises from the basic level of taking care of the needs of our families to self-fulfillment. We want to give it back to the community and we want to volunteer. Indeed we can contribute towards the overall betterment of the community we live in by engaging with the people.
The power of engagement.
On the individual level, I have been able to diffuse many possible conflicts simply by engaging with people. One such example happened in 2007, there was a rumor that Muslims in France have pushed the Government to ban Holocaust Studies, this rumor was designed to humiliate Muslims. Thanks to Maria Arita at Fox News, she called me up to find out my take. What did I do? I asked her to give me three hours and called my friend late Elliot Dlin, director of Dallas Holocaust Museum, he verified that to be untrue and thanks to Maria, the rumor stopped right there.
On a national level, engaging with Sean Hannity at Fox News has produced significant results for the common good of America, and Muslims. If someone knows you, and you have earned his or her respect over a period of time, going through the full cycle of humiliation, acceptance and appreciation, then he accommodates you.
Thanks to Sean Hannity, he has clarified his position time and again with me that he is not against Muslims or Islam, but against the radical elements. That he will consciously use the term ‘Radicals among Muslim’ instead of ‘Radical Muslims’ was a significant rational improvement and I am glad to be an instrument in that development. I was advised against engaging with Hannity and have been screamed at and ridiculed as well, it would have been easy for me to run from the double edged sword, but I chose to stick with it, as I believe in engagement has its own miracles of mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. Mahatma Gandhi had suggested if you want to see good beneficial changes in the society, be a part of it. More about Hannity at:
On the flip side of the engagement, Huffington Post stands out as a great example of active engagement. No other newspaper had bothered to deal with the minorities, as the coverage was not profitable for them. Huffpost paved the way; they believed that engagement with different Americans was necessary in moving the nation forward. What is good for America eventually became good for them. Today, I am glad to be a part of Huffington Post’s guest writers, and I am glad it is a profitable business.
Engagement works both ways. are innumerable situations where getting engaged with the “other” causes the “other” to join and become “together’, and together as Americans we can achieve a lot, one among them is freedom from tensions about each other.

In the next installment, we will be talking about Engagement, Pluralism, Volunteerism and participation. 
Mike Ghouse is a Muslim speaker, thinker and a writer, and presides over the World Muslim congress, a think tank, and a forum with the express goals of nurturing pluralistic values embedded in Islam to build cohesive societies.

American Muslim Agenda, a new beginning for Muslim Americans on this 4th day of July - 1 of 3

Let this 4th day of July 2014 be a historic beginning for American Muslims, where they will put together a clear agenda to participate and contribute towards the well being of America.

God created an integrated and interconnected world in harmony and balance, and all he wants from us is to maintain that balance. That is simply the God’s will.
The World Muslim Congress, a twelve year old think tank, has worked on presenting an “initial agenda” for Muslims in America based on Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) guidance. We hope this will spur debates, followed by discussions and emergence of a Muslim agenda within the framework of American Agenda.
Due to the length of the plan, it is presented in 3 installments.

Ramadan’s pluralism message for Muslims - Saudi Gazette

Ramadan’s pluralism message for Muslims

Tariq A. Al-Maeena 

Mike Ghouse is from the World Muslim Congress, a think tank committed to nurturing the pluralistic values of Islam. This group is about Muslims and their civic responsibilities; it is not about religious practices but simply about learning and creating a religious, social and civic space for Muslims in the community of faiths.

For this Ramadan, Mike would like to get the following message out: “By the end of 2020, there will not be a major city in America, and perhaps in the world, where you will not find people of different faiths, cultures, ethnicities, races, nationalities and social backgrounds working, eating, praying, playing, marrying, and doing things together. This is bound to create conflicts, and thus we need to prepare ourselves to deal with such eventualities.

“The guidance can be found in every religious tradition; all of them were committed to creating cohesive societies where no one had to live in apprehension or fear of the other.

“I am pleased to reiterate the Islamic tradition in this essay. The Holy Qur’an 49:13 says that God has created us into different tribes, communities and nations. It was indeed His choice to create each one of us to be unique with our own thumbprint, eye print, DNA, color and taste buds. Yet, the whole creation was put together in perfect balance and harmony (55:7).

“That brings us to pluralism which is defined as, ‘respecting the otherness of the others and accepting the (God-given) uniqueness of each one of us.’ ‘You are who you are, and I am who I am.’ Q109:6 (Yousef Ali). ‘To you be your way, and to me mine.’  Your faith is dear to you as mine is to me, together, we have to live and work on maintaining that harmony for our good and for the Creator’s joy. God’s religion is peace.

“Such diversity is bound to create conflict and mess up the delicate balance, so the Holy Qur’an encourages that the best among you are the ones who know each other. Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, and with that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

“Pluralism is your choice to have good manners, and a good attitude toward fellow beings as guided by the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and common sense. My focus of this essay is application of God’s recommendation ‘to know each other’ within the fold of Islam and with members of the diverse family of faiths.

“A majority of us are saddened with the day-to-day events in the Muslim world, calling each other infidels and killing each other in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and elsewhere. The Holy Qur’an says killing one person is like killing the whole of humanity. You are not to kill a single soul unless it is in self-defense. We talk about unity, and spew so much hate for the other in the same breath; it needs to stop as God wants peace.

“I am appealing to those Muslims who have the integrity to match their words with their actions, and pray for the integrity of others who lack it.

“During this Ramadan, please make an effort to do your Iftar (breaking fast) in every mosque of varying denominations, or at least seek God’s guidance to remove hate and bias from our hearts for each other. Invite each other, not to discuss differences but to know each other to learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept each other, so that conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

“Take some fruits and dates and just go there and let the imam or the volunteers know that you are from a different tradition and are making a sincere effort to be part of the larger community in every which way you can.

“Over the last four years, I have been to almost every mosque of every denomination in the United States. I have chronicled the uniqueness of each tradition with full respect at

“When you visit your friend’s house, you don’t criticize how they have arranged their furniture; in fact you may reluctantly praise it, but never put it down. You don’t dare criticize how their kids keep their rooms, eat or talk. For God’s sake go to other mosques with the same attitude, the attitude of pluralism.

“This year, we have four Fridays in Ramadan; make an effort to attend at least four major denominations on each Friday.

“Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was called Amin, the trustworthy, truthful and just and the person around whom people felt secure. We need to follow similar principles within our society. We need to have comfortable working relationships with everyone from all faiths including fellow Muslims of different denominations.

“The life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a bold example of living civility, with openness and confidence. The greater value he taught was to respect the otherness of others. Let’s follow him and build friendships with people of faiths and no faiths and become Amins of society.

“Together as Muslims, let’s make the world a safe and secure place for every one of God’s seven billion to live cohesively. Let’s not blame others, but do our share of good in our own mosques, neighborhoods, communities and towns on a smaller level. This is our home. M. Ghouse”

Just think what the world would be like if we did just a little bit of that?

— The author can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@talmaeena