Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Muslim's reflection on Memorial day 2015


Please do not wish a “Happy Memorial Day” on this day; it is not a celebration to be happy about, it is rather an observance to commemorate and ponder. We observe the Memorial Day on the last Monday of May every year; remembering and honoring the men and women who died while protecting and serving our country.

Why does it matter to you? The freedoms that you and I cherish or take it for granted, did not come to us on a platter and was not a given thing either, it was earned for us through the sacrifice of men and women who fought for it. It is particularly important day for all the immigrants who enjoy full civil rights and equal opportunity in America.

I am pleased to share my thoughts, hoping you would find it to be a meaningful day for you. What will I do and what can you do is as follows.

The tradition of Memorial Day observance began after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and confederate soldiers who died in the civil war. Indeed, it was the civil war that abolished slavery which was the stepping stone for passing the Civil rights Act of 1964 and the very cause for the immigrants to make it to America.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and reflection, it is time to pray for those have passed away, whether they are related to us or not and whether they have served in the military, police and fire or not. Please take a few moments to remember all those who have influenced, affected and cared for us, and those who cared for others whether we know them or not. It is not necessarily a noble thing or a religious thing, it is the right thing to do.  Indeed, it is the thing that enriches our souls and brings humility and connects us back with ourselves.

On the Memorial Day in 2010, I drove from Louisville to Dallas, an 840 miles journey and stopped at every cemetery that was visible on the road side. I said a short prayer asking the creator to restore the balance on the earth though forgiveness to those who have sinned and bring completeness to those who left incomplete transactions in life.  I particularly remember stopping at 4 national cemeteries, and there was one near Nashville on I-40 for the veterans, which was off the road, and I drove through a creek to get there and paid my homage to the men and women who died for my country's freedom. It just feels good to be a part of the whole.

What is the point in doing all this? Its a moment to connect with ourselves and know thyself. We are on run every day chasing the next moment, and there is no time for ourselves...we give time to strangers, friends and others, and it is a good idea to give some time to ourselves. 

The best thing you can do for yourselves is it to take 'an hour' away from everything and every one, and reflect on your life. There is nothing more peaceful than knowing yourselves. 

There is a beautiful Islamic supplication that asks God to forgive the ones who are alive and the ones who are dead, and the  parents, family, friends, believers and strangers. It runs something like this, “Dear God, forgive me and my parents and my teachers and all the believing men and women, the living and the dead with your mercy. Amen." Thank God for this inclusive pluralistic prayer seeking goodness for all the living and the dead.

It is time to pause and reflect on life and express gratitude to those who helped shape you. In my case, I will take out some time to reflect about my Mother,Father, Maternal Grand father, Dadski (father figure), my late wife,  one of my two favorite uncles, the relatives I was close with, the teachers who were good to me, and the strangers who were good to me, and friends who have passed away and several others.   

I will pull over on the road side at every cemetery I spot on the memorial day and silently pray for them. Praying for the unknown connects you with the unselfish-self in you, giving a sense of joy that is hard to explain. Try it and see how good you feel about yourselves - visit a cemetery, eventually we all have to go there.

I am writing this every year as a reminder, several of my friends have called and wrote that they also made the trip and it felt good for them.

Let's wish (pray). Dear God, we thank you for the life and the freedom you have given us, and we thank all those who have sacrificed their lives to have this freedom to stand freely and pray here today, I salute our men and women in the uniforms for protecting and defending our freedom. Amen.

Oped -

God bless America.

Mike Ghouse, Speaker
Motivation | Pluralism | Human Rights | Religion.
(214) 325-1916 text/talk


Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism,IslamIndiaIsrael-PalestinePolitics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at and his writings are at - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mother's Day Interfaith Celebrations - Huffington Post

Mother is the ultimate definition of selflessness! No matter what happens to the world or even her, she is there for you in your need; she recognizes your need much before you know it. Of course every day is Mother's day, and each one of us honors her in a variety of ways. From simple caring to doing things for her that makes her happy. Mothers don't need a whole lot; they just need to know that you care. Remember you were showered by her attention when you needed it.

Every religious tradition has elevated mother to nearly the status of God, because she possess many a qualities of God; kind, merciful, beneficent and caring among thousand other qualities. Mother is the reason for our existence; sustenance, nurturance and shaping who we are. I dedicate this write-up to my Mother, and all the Mothers out there. There is a beautiful song in Urdu/Hindi language

Full Report with Mother as she is called in over hundred global languages and almost all South Asian Languages - continued at:

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Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day- all about him at

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Anti-Semitism Raises its Ugly Head in Irving TX

Anti-Semitism Raises its Ugly Head in Irving TXLink -
  Robert may have pointed it out accurately, that is back door Antisemitism in works. As a society we need to put and end to our old animosities causing unwanted tensions - the Christ Killer (Jewish-Christian) and Massacre of Jews in Khyber (Jewish Muslim) and Son of God v. Prophet (Christian-Muslims) keep erupting in various shapes and forms. We need to learn to respect the otherness of others and accept our differences and move on and not live 1400 or 2000 years ago. 

I wish I had known about Richardson earlier and I would have gone and spoken forcefully. 

Neither Muslims or Jewish counselling decisions are binding until the civil judges approves them to make them enforceable. This is interference in the liberty of married couples and their disputes.  This is waste of public funds and fanning hatred. 

Robert thanks for the article, it is a good piece.

Please check this seminal piece on Sharia 101, everything you want to know about Sharia and more.

Mike Ghouse
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Courtesy of Patheos

Anti-Semitism Raises its Ugly Head in Irving TX

Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne has succeeded in getting the Irving City Council to vote its support of a bill by Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, that would forbid judges from using foreign law in their rulings. The reason, according to the mayor, and apparently Rep. Leach was to block the actions of religious courts.
So I went looking for religious courts in the DFW Area and the first thing I found was the Beth Din of the Magen David Congregation, This Jewish congregation offer the following: “A Beth Din is a religious rabbinical court for Din Torah [Torah court]” and goes to say “The Beth Din serves the community by arranging for a “Gett” [divorce by Jewish law], orthodox conversions, assisting with financial agreements, halachic questions, marriage counseling, dream interpretation, business counseling, arbitrations [according to Jewish law] and other agreements, documents and decrees. If you have need for a Gett or assistance of the Beth Din, contact Rabbi Moyal today!”
Well I say if it calls itself a court, and does what courts do, its a court. So surely this is exactly what Mayor Van Duyne is after, keeping Orthodox Jews from having their religious courts.
And of course Rep. Leach wants to do the same thing state-wide, so I assume that these Jewish courts must be virtually everywhere there are Jews.
Now I know that Texas hasn’t exactly been friendly to the Jewish people. 60 or 70 years ago Jewish doctors couldn’t practice in most Texas hospitals, Jews couldn’t join country clubs and civic association, and private schools were totally closed to Jews. But I had really hoped we had gotten beyond this kind of anti-semitism and were prepared to allow Jews to be accepted fully in our society, despite their unusual clothing (not just kipahs, but of course Orthodox women wearing only black and covering their natural hair with wigs or headscarves, and Jewish men with their black hats and talit hand from their shirts.) I thought we were willing, here in Texas, to recognize that Jews should have full religious freedom.
But no. The Irving City Council openly debated a statement aimed clearly at Orthodox Jews, and the Texas State Legislature will hold hearings on an open attempt to attack the Orthodox Jewish Community and its faith. So apparently we might as welcome back the KKK and wait for the next round of synagogue burnings. Thank you Rep. Leach. Thank you Mayor Van Duyne. You may not have intended to attack Jews, but appears that you did.
I do wonder, of course, where all those evangelical Christians are who put Israel’s national flag next to the US flag in their sanctuaries. Are you all just going to let public figures advance legislation that attacks Jewish Interest? Pastor Hagee down in San Antonio. Shout out. Have you heard these folks are attacking your buddies? But I haven’t heard from the Jewish community either, although I’ll grant most aren’t Orthodox. Still, AJC, ADL AIPAC. Just going to let this happen?
I guess we’ll see.
Read more:

Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Irving (And the Imam Who Has To Tolerate It)

Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Irving -
Link -

It is waste of public funds and public time, what a husband and wife decide between them is their business and not the GD business of the legislators. They don't believe in life liberty and pursuit of happiness, damned traitors of our constitution.

Look for a few other articles on this site about the topic

Please check this seminal piece on Sharia 101, everything you want to know about Sharia and more.

Mike Ghouse
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Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Irving (And the Imam Who Has To Tolerate It)

Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh: "we always seem to take one step forward, two steps back." Photo by Justin Clemons
Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh: “We always seem to take one step forward, two steps back.” Photo by Justin Clemons

In the paper today, Avi Selk has a lengthy story about some anti-Muslim foolishness going on in Irving. It centers on a religious tribunal that is supposedly going to usurp the U.S. Constitution and ruin America. (I’m exaggerating only a little bit.) Last night, the City Council voted 5-4 to support a bill authored by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) that would forbid such tribunals from using foreign law in their rulings (which is already illegal).

I wrote about all this for the April issue of D Magazine, which won’t mail to subscribers for another three days. So I’m posting the article here. Before I wrote my story, I spent some time with Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh, the head of the Islamic Center of Irving and a man who has far more patience and compassion than I do. For your edification:
The first thing you notice at the Islamic Center of Irving is its large green dome, or qubba. Representing the vault of heaven, it seems to shine in the afternoon sun atop the center’s bright white mosque, or masjid. The 37,000-square-foot center — a complex that includes the mosque, a school, and a multi-use hall, all currently undergoing expansion — offers an impressive picture in this drab corner of northwest Irving.

When you enter the complex through the Islamic School of Irving (adjacent to the mosque) after early afternoon prayer, the tranquility of the center is broken, if only slightly. The hallway floods with men, many still wearing the traditional cap for prayer, the taqiyah. Most are smiling and shaking hands and offering best wishes and praise for Allah. Many reflexively say hello to the non-Muslim stranger standing in the hallway, looking confused, asking for the man who has led the prayer: Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh.
Imam Zia directs me to his office, wasting no time with small talk. He is a busy man, leading five prayers a day — Friday’s midday prayer can draw as many as 2,000 members. He is also an author (Addressing the Taboos: Love, Marriage and Sex in Islam and Islam: Silencing the Critics) and a lecturer (he speaks five languages).

“This all happened very quickly,” he says. His smile suggests weary bemusement over a social-media firestorm that recently engulfed Imam Zia and the Islamic Center. “It started with the right-wing website story. Then suddenly the mayor [of Irving, Beth Van Duyne] is posting on her Facebook page. From that, hatred and misinformation filled her site and others. And, of course, she had never even spoken with us.”

The website was, and the post was titled “Islamic Tribunal Confirmed in Texas.” The headline suggested this was something new, even though the tribunal — a panel of four who mediate or arbitrate disputes — had been a registered nonprofit in Texas since 2012. In fact, the 25 or so cases the tribunal hears a year are the sort of family law (divorce proceedings) or business disputes (whether remodeling work was done right) that secular mediators often hear; this tribunal is merely guided by Islamic religious principles.

The day the post went up, it was debunked by, which found its claims “false,” concluding: “[T]he tribunal neither possessed nor claimed any ability to supersede extant laws in its jurisdiction, either civil or criminal. Parties are not obligated to participate in the mediation it offers, nor does the center have any power to operate outside the law.”

Other faiths have similar religious arbitration or mediation groups, such as the Christian Peacemaker Ministries and the Jewish Beth Din. In Dallas, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas has a tribunal. Few consider this unusual—until Muslims are involved.

This certainly seems to have been Van Duyne’s major concern. On February 6, she took to Facebook to express her concern about the Breitbart story and let the world know “Sharia Law Court was NOT approved or enacted by the City of Irving.” (No one had suggested it was.) She continued for a few paragraphs, concluding: “While I am working to better understand how this ‘court’ will function and whom will be subject to its decisions, please know if it is determined that there are violations of basic rights occurring, I will not stand idle and will fight with every fiber of my being against this action. Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own. The American Constitution and our guaranteed rights reigns [sic] supreme in our nation and may that ever be the case.”

The post was shared more than 700 times and elicited commentary ranging from confused (“How did this even come about this is are country”) to hostile (“Those who don’t like it here are welcome to leave.and immigrate any country that will accept you”). In an effort to better understand the theological and cultural underpinnings of the tribunal, Van Duyne appeared on The Glenn Beck Program and proclaimed, “This is not city-sanctioned, we weren’t given an opportunity even to pass anything, and we’re not supportive of it. … I think you need to put your foot down and say this is America, we have laws here already.”
A few facts worth noting:

Most important, the tribunal is not affiliated with the Islamic Center. Imam Zia is one of four members who constitute the tribunal. Its official address is in North Dallas, but the tribunal meets about twice a month for hearings wherever they can find a suitable office (usually in Arlington).

Second: despite Van Duyne’s claims, the city of Irving has taken no stance on the center or the tribunal (which, again, isn’t even in Irving). It did issue a statement saying that the city wants residents to obey the law and that Irving “is proud to have one of the most diverse ZIP codes in the United States.”

Third: Van Duyne’s confusion is one of willful ignorance. All of the foregoing information is available online. If you want to know what the tribunal is and what it does, it has a website. If you want to learn about the Islamic Center — about its history (started in an apartment in Irving in 1989, became an official nonprofit in 1991, current complex opened in 2004), or its education services (a recent sensitivity training workshop: “What Our Neighbors Think of Us and Why”), or its members — it’s all online.

Better yet, show up for the weekly open house on Sundays at 2:30 pm for a tour of the Islamic Center. You should do so, if for no other reason than to meet Imam Zia, something of a hero to the Muslim community. He was born in a mountainous region known as Azad Kashmir, between India and Pakistan. When he was 4, his family moved to England. At 13, he began 12 years of study in a theology program at an Islamic institute. By 16, he had memorized the Quran. In 1994 he completed his master’s (a doctorate in theological foundation followed). Two years later, he took a job at a mosque in Virginia, eventually making his way to Irving, in 2005, because of the Islamic Center’s expansion plans.

After 10 years in his post, Imam Zia has become a leader outside the church as well. He is part of a regular gathering of community activists, including black pastors, who work to see caring leaders elected to the City Council and the school board. He holds meetings at the mosque with local officials (fire chief, police chief, city department heads) so he can relay relevant issues and concerns to his congregation. He makes aiding all the poor in Irving a priority for his mosque. In the past year alone, the center has given more than $50,000 to various causes to help the needy.

“Imam Zia has been a constant source of help for those in need in our community,” says Anthony Emanuel Bond, founder of the Irving NAACP. “He and all the Muslim brothers and sisters that I have met and worked with are so loving and giving. They truly desire nothing more than to serve God and live in peace.”

Having been in Irving for a decade, Imam Zia has grown accustomed to the small-town grandstanding. Although careful not to be too critical of Van Duyne directly, he says the ignorance she displayed is something Muslim-Americans must face in today’s climate, whether that be in Irving (where emails with subject lines like “IRVING ISD INDOCTRINATING ISLAM” make news) or elsewhere (the recent “cartoon contest of the Prophet Muhammad” held in Garland).

“Unfortunately, in terms of understanding, we always seem to take one step forward, two steps back,” Imam Zia says. “But we will continue to do our level best to educate people.”

Three weeks after her Facebok post, Van Duyne finally met with Imam Zia. She told him that she said nothing wrong in her post or on The Glenn Beck Program, so no apology on her part was needed. Imam Zia told me he was disappointed but held no ill will toward her. All of which you could have guessed without my telling you.

Quranic formula on law and order verses


Mike Ghouse, World Muslim Congress, Dallas | Washington (214) 325-1916 |
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Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on 
Pluralism,IslamIndiaIsrael-PalestinePolitics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film ” Sacred” to be released on 9/11 and a documentary “Americans together” for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at and his writings are at – Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.