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Monday, November 18, 2013

Starting over with a clean slate

Instead of an open heart quad-pass surgery in Louisville, our Doctors in Dallas decided to do a balloon and a stent. I appreciate my friends Dr. Harbans Lal and Dr. Amer Suleman for pushing and facilitating me to go for the alternate procedure. Thanks to Dr. Taysir Jarrah for the smooth operation, I did not even feel it. Thanks again for the prayers, duwas, prarthanas and wishes.

This was a wake-up call for me to think through life, and I am pleased to share the following, this was written when the surgery was originally scheduled.


http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/11/michami-dukadam-starting-life-over-with.html


Michami Dukadam

STARTING OVER WITH A CLEAN SLATE



This is not my obituary. It is a moment of reflection, and if it prompts you to think about your own mirror, then I have served the purpose of writing this note. 

My bypass surgery is scheduled for 11/11/13. Thank God it gave me the opportunity to be silly, ridiculous, pensive and thoughtful.  Do all of us get that luxury?  What if you don’t? What are the things you would have done or not done? This is an exercise for such eventuality.


Another 20 minutes would have ended my life on July 9, 2013 without giving a notice,  it was indeed a major heart attack.  Of course, no one but the manufacturer knows the life of our battery; we don’t come stamped with unlimited life warranty. I hope you find this booklet to be your mirror.

Should I become the statistics and not make it through the surgery, I want you to know that I have lived my life and am happy to go or stay on.

This is one of the most beautiful moments of my life, and wish every one of us takes a moment to reflect on life. It is liberating to know ourselves and re-assess the priorities of our life.  

Michami Dukadam is a powerful phrase I have learned from Jainism, it simply means I will wipe all the negative thoughts from my mind, and ask you to do the same, I seek forgiveness from you, and I reciprocate the same. It will release both of us from burdensome bondage into Moksha, Mukti, Nijaat, Salvation or freedom.



Today is one such day, I am asking ya’ll to forgive me and I will do my part, I carry no-ill will, malice or hatred towards any one. Thank God, I am free like my new Grandson Jayden.

Let’s start our life on a clean slate.

Michami Dukadam.  
Thank you

Page1 of 20
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Purpose of this booklet
I HOPE YOU CAN FIND YOUR MIRROR, AS I HAVE FOUND MINE

 
I am hoping, each one of us can find a new mirror to see ourselves, and purposefully determine what we want out of life. 
Tum bhi ek din marja o’gay, hum bhi mar’jayeingay
Takraron ko ab chodiye, sukoon hum kab payeiengay
One day, your life will come to an end, and mine too
if we keep arguing, when will we find peace?
When will we stop and smell the roses?

Whether it is new or an age old tension between you and you sister, brother, parents, spouse or kids, and friends, customers or clients, how long will you carry the burden?  Tum bhi ek din marja ogay, hum bhi marjayeingay, then why carry it?  Death will end the complaints any way; why not end them today, now?
Whether it is hatred for and individual, a group, or their faith, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture or other uniqueness, it is our burden, they quietly come and go, they may not even know about our hate, but we’d be still carrying the burden, anger and pain.  As a corollary, you or your friends may have loved someone intensely during your teen years without the other even knowing about it. Pyaar huwa chup ke se.
THANK YOU MY FRIENDS
I have been blessed by many friends and well wishers.  I was going crazy just thinking about all the people who have been good to me, but here is a partial list, and I know some of you will forgive me for not remembering to write your name here.   

Saleh Shariff, Adil Khan, D. D. Maini, Harbans Lal, Basheer Ahmed, Len Ellis, Nauman Anwar, Farooq Hemani, Surinder Mittal, Mani Rahman,  Bill Matthews, Lata and Sante Chary, Joshua & Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk, Rizwan Sheikh, Mirza Beg, John Hammond, , Yuri and Mark Hernandez, Amir Rupani, Jerry Middents, Zaf Tabani, Petra Weldes, Zafar Iqbal, Jon Halsey, Tatiana Androsov, Mohammad Suleman,  Michael Jenkins, Kundan Sharma, Shabnam Modgil, Kathy Joplin, Lon Burnam,  Karen Hollie, AG Chini,  Rafi Faruki, Moazam Syed, Asifa Ijaz, Amer Shakil,  Amanullah Khan, Sultan Choudhary, Marylou Ghyst, Rita Clarke, Zia Shaikh, Zafarullah Hanjra, Linda Evans, Laura Sutherland, Butch Rahman, Sher Suleman, Paul Goldstein, Suzanne Carter,  Mumtaz Mir, Sultan Shahin, Vatsa Ramanathan, Gow Fields, Hasan Mahmud, Peggy Larney, Irfan Ali, DW Lewis, Bangalore Harbans Lal, A. Ramachandran and many more to be added.  
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I found my Mirror
I HOPE YOU CAN FIND YOURS

All the stuff I have accumulated over the years would be useless.  It would be a hassle for my wife to get rid of that crap (good stuff to me) should something happen to me, and my kids have zero interest in anything I own except the family pictures.

Why should they spend the time in disposing off the stuff they don’t need?   Should I burden them with a sense of guilt to get rid of that stuff, or should my love set them free?  Should I worry what they will do to my stuff after I am gone?   
 
Can I base my life on goodwill, or freedom? Or should I become a watch dog guarding my ego, my way of doing things, controlling others and living on edge, seeking perfection in others. To be tense and give tension to others?  It’s a choice we make, to enjoy life with or without things we need, and do things that give us peace of mind.

I FOUND MY MIRROR

With a few exceptions that I regret, I have not maligned any one, or gone around telling bad things about others. I have not tried to control other people’s life to suit my whims, what would be the gain?  I have no grudges in my heart either.

What is the gain with hatred and malice or backbiting? It’s actually a loss, it keeps you bonded with dislike of others.
Asking others to forgive you for your shortcomings is not giving away control of your life, but giving an expression to how you feel. If they act, you forgive them and move on.  Let it not be you who gives up on hope.
Let’s tie the loose ends of life, every day and live a full life!  My mother tied the loose ends, and I was able to facilitate Najma, my late wife to do the same, and here I am, making the efforts.  If you feel ill-will towards any, or get the temptations  to denigrate the other. Go back to square one to your mirror.
Michami Dukadam friends. Let’s start our life afresh with a clean slate, now, from today! 

 Page 3   
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What will I do?
IF I SURVIVE THE SURGERY

It is good to have a plan in life, how much you succeed depends on other factors, like health, resources and the drive. If you wish to join our work with a strong commitment, please let me know. 

This is my plan, and you will find your plan, if you are given a choice to think or write.  I was able to write at least a dozen things.



1. The book "Standing up for others" will be released by Christmas, no ifs and buts. Sean Hannity of Fox News will be releasing it.  Standing up for others is the right thing to do, if you don't stand up for others, why should anyone stand up for you? When we stand up for each other, the world becomes a great place to live. www.StandingupforOthers.com


2. Establish the Center for Pluralism, an institute to study and teach cultural, family, social, political, and religious pluralism. The shortest definition for Pluralism would be-respecting the otherness of others. When we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

We have to consciously build cohesive societies where no human has to live in tension, discomfort or fear of the other.

3. Production of footage for the film, Americans Together, building a cohesive America.  Post production and marketing to be done in 2015-16.  Hopefully, this would be a first film where every representation of America can be seen. It is again a movie to reflect the book Standing up for others and building cohesive societies. We need funding for this.

4. Push the Interfaith dialogue to its limits, so we can face tough issues head-on, and get it over with it.  I hope we learn to live with our differences, rather than pretending to be nice, but live with a load of sill-will within. Such attitudes are explosive and generate phrases like they asked for it, or they deserved it when the other group is in difficult situation.

5. Initiate and continue with the Intrafaith dialogue in Islam, bringing different traditions to discuss the differences and learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the difference without denigrating each other.




6. Go full time speaking on Pluralism, Interfaith, Intrafaith, Islam, Israel-Palestine, India, Foreign policy, building cohesive societies and motivational and key note speeches.
7. Initiate a Leadership program in political Pluralism. We hope to establish the program to orient leaders with the concept of inclusiveness. We want no bigots in our politics and for that we have to plan it.
 8. Write books— With over 2000 articles written and published, I am blessed with the material for the books like American Pluralism, Essence of Islam, Cohesive societies, Gratitude, and Living your life.
9. Continue to write at Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, Smirking Chimp, and occasionally at Washington Post, Houston Chronicle,  and News papers around the world.
10. Continue with the Presence on Media with Sean Hannity and look forward to be on Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow and Farid Zakaria shows, giving me a presence across the political spectrum from right to the left and the middle.  I am a  moderate Republican.
11. Participate and write poetry in Urdu/Hindi language, it’s my 5th love after family, friends, Pluralism and tourism.
12. Yasmeen and I will take a world tour and visit all the places we wanted to visit.
13. Establish a Center for Pluralism in Bangalore, India honoring my father and mother for opening the windows of pluralism to me and my family.
How much of this I achieve, I will leave it to God’s grace, but I will put in my effort, and your duwa, prarthanas and wishes will certainly help. Thank you.

 
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Gratitude to family and friendsTHANK YOU, THANK YOU AND THANK YOU


I am blessed to have married Yasmeen, a great wife, who lets me be me, and who will be who she is. One of the tilting reasons we met was the love for Urdu Poetry. Over the years, we have come to respect the otherness of other and have accepted the individuality of each other.  It will not be a perfect life, but a great life together. 

Nothing gives more joy to a father than having good caring, loving and responsible children. In my case open minded kids with no prejudice, and I am happy about it. I am proud of my son Jeff, daughter in law Fern and daughter Mina for having an open mind towards fellow beings. I am blessed to have them,  and I am looking forward to spending a lot of time with my grandkid Jayden, I am hoping to hold his finger and walk to the school, and tell him stories and teach him pluralism. 
Yasmeen is blessed with daughter Maheen and a caring son in law Phillip,  and three grand children Isaiah, Jalen and Kian.  

I could not ask for greater family and friends than I have. However,  I feel for those who are alone, it’s not easy for them, and I request each one of you to give a minute to those who need to be heard, particularly during the holidays. 

Over the last several years on major holidays, particularly duringThanksgiving, Christmas, Mothers day, Fathers Day and New Years, I share my phone number on facebook, twitter, and even the articles I write at  Huffington post  and elsewhere for those who are alone, to give me a call, there is a brother in me, and a fatherly figure in me to listen. You can do it too. It brings happiness to you and them equally. My Akka (older sister) Late Dr. Kalpana Rao use to cook dinner on thanksgiving for those who did not have families, what a good example to follow.

My sister called me up this morning and asked me to come home and have the surgery done in Bangalore.  She said that she and my brothers have decided to keep a portion of their monies from inheritance for my care! My eyes welled up with emotion, these are my younger siblings! I am blessed.
I appreciate my family, and particularly my sister Dilshad Noor, Aman Uncle, Tanveer Rahman,  Saleh Shariff, Adil Khan, Mary Blauvelt-Kiefer, Lili, Becky Jones, and Naseem & Dr. Qureshi.  Of course, I am always grateful to my father, mother, grandfather and Dadski Everett Blauvelt.

 Page 6  
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This is the Book
Standing up for Others
IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO STAND UP FOR OTHERS,
WHY SHOULD ANY ONE STAND UP FOR YOU?



Standing up for others is the right thing to do; every human goes through a period of invincibility to vulnerability, and if we don't stand up for those who are vulnerable, then why should anyone stand up for us when we are vulnerable?

The most difficult and influential scene of my life was watching Jews inhumanely herded to a huge pit, and were shot into it during the Holocaust. The hurtful looks in their eyes has been very painful to me. I connected with their plea, in my college I helped a friend with answers during the exams, and was caught red handed and taken to the Principal’s office. None of my friends stood up for me, I was looking at them, perhaps even for an acknowledgement, and they walked away as if I did not exist. I can never forget my helplessness and I said, never again.

The story is same whether it is Bosnia, Rwanda, Gujarat, Sikh Genocide, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Native Americans, Africans, Maya….  There is a pattern of hatred, control and the insecure animal in the perpetrators. The world betrayed the victims in all cases. I saw the pain in their eyes standing in front of that pit with dignity. They were looking at the world and saying in their hearts "where are you my friends, where are you? Where is humanity in you? Are you just going to let this happen? What happened to our friendship, did that mean anything to you?

Evil persists in the world, not because of bad people, but because good people do nothing about it.  We have to tell the bad guys that the world is not with them and when enough people speak up to begin the process of weakening the bad and strengthening the good, for the common good of all parties.   The idea of alms, charity, taking care of the elderly, weak, sick and the children is a common theme in every religious tradition. It is indeed insurance for every one's well being. I cannot be at peace when others around me aren't, and hence it behooves for me to take care of the ones who need assistance.

If we allow bias towards any human, we miss out a part of God in our  spirit.  Fight your bias towards others from now on, and see how happy you would be. We are made to be good humans and if we become one, we are home! 



Standing up for Atheists
Belief in God is not a requirement to live a normal day to day life; it is not a requirement to be a good human being either. Whether one believes in God or not, the creator loves his creation anyway, and every human will spend the time he was charged up with whether he is a theist or an atheist. Every life will end.  Indeed, we have created God in our own image. The story is about defending their rights to their belief with many examples.

Senator Williams' Remarks Offended Hindus


Governor of Kentucky attended a factory opening ceremony that created 275 jobs for Americans in Elizabeth Town.  Senator Williams criticized the Governor for sitting cross-legged with a "dot on his forehead," and described the ceremony as "polytheistic." It is not only a Hindu issue, it is indeed an American issue and so I spoke up and wrote a piece and hope to meet him and share the wisdom of Hinduism. Unless we stand up for each other, we cannot expect an America where all men would be equal. Many such stories are included in the chapter of Standing up for Hindus.
Security for Jews and Justice for the Palestinians
What inspires me to be involved in the Israel Palestine conflict? The following is the story of my struggle to see a cohesive world, the story will take you through different emotions but at the end, I hope you feel a sense of completeness of the story.
 Standing up for Christians
Wherever Christians are harassed and persecuted, I have spoken up. Whether it is Asia Bibi in Pakistan, Pastor Naderkhani in Iran, Christian Convert Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan, Lena Joy in Malaysia, burning of Santos Albertus church in Bekasi, raping of Nuns in India or torching 150 Christian homes in Pakistan, we have spoken up as well as documented the belligerent opposition of a few.
Standing up for Gays and Lesbians

Don’t make the mistake that one has to be gay to stand up for gays, if that were the case, the world would be chaotic and ruthlessly selfish. Each one of the spiritual masters worked to build a society where no one had to live in fear of the other, as it will keep everyone in the fear. The role of religion was to build cohesive and secure societies. I have taken a strong stand in support of the rights of LGBT, and again it is tempting to do nothing and save harassment, then what good am I,  if I cannot stand up for a fellow human?


Standing up for immigrants.
It was not easy to walk into the Mayor’s office in the City of Farmer’s branch along with the Mexican and other Latino immigrants. Dallas Morning News decided to publish my picture on their front page and my statement was quoted instantly in every Latin American news paper.  I have been involved in immigration reforms, and please to be a fully participant citizen.
Standing up for Others

Standing up for Baha'i, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Native Americans, Jain, Wicca, Zoroastrian and others…. and of course Muslims! The book has a chapter for every group of people.
My Inspiration

Prophet Muhammad’s words have inspired me —when you see oppression against fellow beings—stop it, and if you cannot do that, talk with them, then he concludes, the least you can do is to speak up.  At least you have fulfilled your individual responsibility to see justice. Mahatma Gandhi and MLK have said—injustice to one is like injustice to all.

I am dedicating the book to two of the individuals I admire, not for their take, but for who they are; Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Brother Sean Hannity. 

I urge you to speak up when you see oppression of any human, particularly those who are not related to you in any form. 


Page 7, 8, 9
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Some of my work
THIS IS THE JOY OF MY LIFE

NURTURING UNITY—UNITY DAY USA

We have been celebrating 10 years of Unity in a determined way. Annual Unity Day USA events – to build bridges, undo-stereotyping and bring people of different faiths, races, politics, and ethnicities together to focus on the common good and safety of America.

Each one of us feels at home, and at peace when we have a sense of Unity, it happens when New Town shooting takes place, 9/11 occurs or Tsunami hits. Unity day is about nurturing Unity during peace times as well as times of conflict. It is driven by the belief that knowledge of each other leads to understanding, and understanding to acceptance of each other.

We have to be genuine in our effort, no tokenism but sincere inclusion of all Americans, yes, every American is included. Please visit 
www.UnitydayUSA.com  

CONFLICT MITIGATION MODEL

A major change in dealing with conflicts in the history of the world is established now. The Mulberry event seeded the change about how Muslims would react to future Quran burning, criticism of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Islam, and how Americans perceive Muslims; an alternate but standard behavior was established for the first time in history.  Respecting the freedom of speech of Pastor Jones and respecting the Quran, the precise point made to Muslims and fellow Americans respectively. The program communicated those two clear messages to the world.


It’s a powerful story –over 300 news papers around the world carried our story, Saudi, Pakistan, India’s leading papers endorsed our model, the Shia and Sunni News agencies reported in Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. Our men and women were out of harm’s way, and no violence took place this time… anywhere.  I am encouraged by the tremendous support it received from all corners of the world. It was good to see Malala replicate it in her own way, and if we keep doing this… we can see a lessening of violence and mitigation of conflicts. It takes two sides to see peace.  It’s a special report on Quran burning at www.WorldMuslimCongress.com.
EMPATHY FOR HUMANITY | HOLOCUAST AND GENOCIDES

It is a purposeful event for people to come together and develop empathy for each other’s pain, and look to each other’s suffering in the most human way. Unless we feel the pain of others, why would others feel our pain?  It is also an event that takes you out of the “me, me and my suffering only” to,  “we are all in this together” and have to work and bring the change for common good.  
7 years of Holocaust and Genocides events – Touching upon Holocaust every time and highlighting different Genocides across the world.  The feedback we received from all groups was healing. 

Until we started the program, non-Jews never commemorated Holocaust anywhere; we were the first ones to commemorate for the general public. It is also a Muslim initiative to bring about understanding between peoples. 
www.HolocaustandGenocides.com
QURAN CONFERENCE | AN EXEMPLARY  MODEL of EDUCATION

Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas created a storm in Dallas when he said, Quran is an evil book written by an evil prophet.  So, we stepped in to deal with him in the most civilized and peaceful manner - 5 TV interviews, and three Major news paper reports later – we organized the Quran conference – with ten non-Muslim clergy to demystify the myths about a few verses that have been maligned. It is an incredible model of demystifying myths about others.

Finding the truth is our own responsibility, we cannot feel anxious about what others talk, we have to do the research, ultimately, no one is responsible for our peace of mind, but ourselves.  The feedback from the pastors was just incredible! 
www.Quraanconference.com

MY MENTORS


These men and women have shaped my attitudes, and I thank them, they are models of pluralism.  Prophet Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Guru Nanak, Mahatma Gandhi, Bahaullah, MLK., Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Dale Carnegie, Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Gusdar Abdurrahman Wahid, Swami Vivekananda, Abraham Joshua Heschel,  Rev. Moon, my Nana (Maternal Grandfather), my father and mother. Among the living pluralists, HH Aga Khan,
 Barack Obama, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Bishop Tutu and Pope Francis.
INTRA-FAITH DIALOGUE | DIALOGUE WITHIN.

Some of the wars, death and destruction are not with the “outsiders” but with folks from within. Each sub-group undermines the other and arrogantly claims superiority over the other including denigration. God has not signed a deal with any one behind other people’s back. No religion is an exception to this, particularly the Christian and Islamic faiths.
It is nice to have the distinct honor of moderating and organizing the World’s first Muslim intra-faith dialogue at the Boniuk Center at Rice University. The Shia, Sunni, Ahmadiyya and WD Muhammad groups never sat down face to face before, God willing I will be involved with another one at Harvard University and the Qatar Foundation. If religion feeds arrogance and self-righteousness, then one really has not understood it, Islam and (all other faiths) are about humility that which builds bridges.

Perhaps, I am one of the few Muslims in the world with zero bias towards others. I follow Quran which teaches me to respect the otherness of others and accept the God given uniqueness of each faith.  If I survive, I will continue my work. It is not easy, I get attacked and discouraged every now and then.
PLURALISM WORKSHOPS

We have conducted 26 workshops in understanding the essence of all the beautiful religions,  including Atheism. The idea is to know each other.
Festivals of the world—for the last 20 years, I have written the essence of about every festival in every major religion. If we merely understand the essence of each festival, we would appreciate how other people commemorate or celebrate their tradition. 
Talk Radio on Religion— we have done over 520 hours of Radio shows on every religion including Atheism. The idea is to free ourselves from bias towards the others.
There is more, but this is good!
Page 10, 11, 12
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20 YEARS OF RESEARCH ON PLURALISM
People of different faiths, races and  backgrounds come together
 
click on picture to see larger version



We have to build a cohesive America, where no American has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. 

It is our individual and collective responsibility to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Hate, prejudice and stereotyping are some of the many root causes of disrupting the peace in a society. It is our duty to track down the source of such ill-will and work on mitigating it.

We believe humans are open to choices, and will make best choices if the path is paved for them. We have provided many paths, through our annual events, like Unity Day, Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides, Thanksgiving and other conferences. It has been our experience that our participants walk out with a commitment to be less biased, less prejudiced and willing to stand up for the others for the sake of  common good.
click on picture to see larger version
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7th Annual Holocaust and Genocides
www.HolocaustandGenocides.com
click on picture to see larger version
Due to sensibility of the event, we want to assure you that it is an all inclusive event, over the last several years, we have focused on Holocaust and several Genocides across the world, and we hope to commemorate every one of them.  This is a symbolic event to represent all Genocides and the Jewish Holocaust.

The purpose of this event is education, we hope to learn to acknowledge our failings, and our mission is to create awareness of the inhumanity within each one of us to find the solutions.
Are we willing to see other’s pain, or are we focused on just ours? We hope to learn about every human tragedy in the given time we have, and our character is determined by how patiently we resist the temptation to reduce other people’s suffering.

Please mark your calendar, invite your friends and invite sponsors for the event and share about this among your friends. We also would like to list all the organizations who commit to be present at the event. All donors over $100 will be listed on this website.
The event is on 1/26/2014—for details, please visit the site. Volunteer if you could, you’d feel you have done your share of work to better the world
.................


Americans Together
A DOCUMENTARY FILM

Americans Together is a documentary about Americans working toward building a cohesive society. 

It is time we bring fruition to the change we want, here is the first step towardbuilding an America that is good for every one of us. Our focus will be overall prosperity rather than pitting one against the other.

Every American must feel a sense of security, safety and freedom. If we can learn to accept te otherness of others and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Collectively, we are represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. We see God as one, none and many and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names. America Together Foundation is committed to preserve this pluralistic heritage of America.

We are looking for partners:
· to fund and participate in our documentary
· to research stories and write script. 

Americans Together is an educational and pragmatic initiative to weed out myths from reality, which are hurting the social cohesiveness of America. The myths are vigorously propagated by a few to disrupt the delicate balance in our society by pitting one American against the other for their own perceived gains. We need to counter it with love, caring and affection. We have the systems in place to rectify.
The trailer is at www.AmericaTogetherFoundation.com
 



To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, one who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. Just about every activity of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) included  those two elements. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; Life and Matter.
We are driven by the Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is aware
Our Mission is to work for a world of co-existence through inclusiveness and participation. As a member of diverse family of faiths, our efforts will be directed towards justice and equity to attain peace for the humankind with a firm grounding in commonly held values. We cannot have advantages at the cost of others. Such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace. We believe what is good for Muslims has got to be good for the world, and vice versa, for the goodness to sustain.
Indeed we aspire to promote goodwill amongst people of different affiliations, regardless of their faith, gender, race, nationality, culture or any other uniqueness blessed by the creator.
Our short term goal is to understand different faiths and let the values of Islam be understood as well. We know very little about other faiths just as others know almost nothing about Islam. The idea is to know each other, so we can be good to each other.   
Our Long term goal is simply to bring a realization that the purpose of religion is to bring peace and tranquility to an individual and further create balanced relationships between the individual, society and the environment. Learning about other faiths need not imply infidelity, but rather the search will enrich one's own faith, it reaffirms the idea that the intent of every faith is to "fix" the individual as an active working and participating spoke in the wheel of life. Most people get it and a few don't. www.WorldMuslimCongress.com

SYMPOSIUMS

1. Anti-Semitism
—Not a week goes by without someone making an anti-Semitic remark, and shame on us for not saying a thing about it. If each one of us can stand up against Anti-Semitism, we will individually contribute towards a better society that we really want to live in. It is subtle. Should others do that to you?


2. Quraan Conference—Myths are manufactured about others without any substantiation; it is an old business of maligning others to have a momentary gain. Those who malign have not made a sincere effort to find the truth, let alone understand the book.

3. GLBT—It is embarrassing to watch our presidential candidates’ vitriolic against GLBT’s, yet they subscribe to our constitution where all men are equal, what hypocrisy?

4. Racial issues —We are developing the content for understanding racism and hope to make short documentaries and find solutions to this evil, it will not go away for a few generations, all we can do is to make an effort to reduce it and bring awareness to the society, how it hurts and affects the overall society.
5. Stereotyping—This is the most common form of ignorance that surfaces every minute of the day in our lives. Our freedom to think is lost when we stereotype people and fall in ditch when we justify it. If we want others to treat as fairly, we have to do it too.

6. Women's rights—Women are 51% of our population, yet they are not fully represented in the government and leadership of the nation in civil and religious corridors. This has got to change for the sake of creating a better society. It should be your character and skills that determine your abilities and NOT your race, gender or religion...more

7. Native Americans—Chief Seattle, a Native American said this perfectly, “All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the webs, he does it to himself."


 
It is a purposeful positive event for Americans of different faiths, races, ethnicities and other uniqueness to come together to rededicate ourselves to our pledge; One nation under God with liberty and Justice for all. We will pray for peace, prosperity and security of our nation.
Last year the event focused on the positive response of Sikh community to the Wisconsin Shooting and this year, we will focus on the positive prayerful response of Muslim community to the planned Qur'an Burning by Pastor Terry Jones in Mulberry, Florida.
You will be a part of history in creating a model behavior in dealing with conflicts and building a cohesive America, where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.  The 10th Annual event is moved to Mulberry, Florida - for a singular purpose - to mitigate possible apprehensions generated by the planned burning of 2998 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013. We hope the event restores our faith in the cohesiveness of America, and we the people will go on about our business of living our daily lives.The full press release: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/08/planned-muslim-response-to-quran_18.html
We will gather:
to be together as Americans
To express our gratitude to our men and women in uniform
to honor individuals who have contributed to the well being of Mulberry
to emphasize and appreciate diversity represented by America.
to cherish the otherness of others.
to commit to be good neighbors
to rededicate our pledge to the peace, prosperity and security of America
As Americans, and as American of all hues, we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. All our faiths reinforce the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all”.
On this Unity Day USA, we, the people of the United States of America of every faith, race and ethnicity, will gather to express our commitment to co-existence, safety, prosperity and the well being of our nation.
www.UnitydayUSA.com

Our mission is to encourage individuals to develop an open mind and an open heart toward their fellow beings. If we can learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the genetic uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
What is Pluralism? In cultural terms, it is recognizing your culture as a beautiful expression of life to you, as my own is to me. When it comes to food, it is appreciating the well done steak you enjoy over the medium rare I delight, or vice-versa. Religiously, it is learning to honor the way your worship or bow to the creator in gratitude, is as divine as my own.
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, playing, marrying, and doing things together.
We need to prepare ourselves for those eventualities to prevent possible conflicts and lay a good foundation for nurturing goodwill and effective functioning of the societies. Exclusive communities will become a thing of the past.
Pluralism is our future, and as a futurist, based on the trends, I foresee, that two generations from now, we would be comfortable in saying, my religion, culture or life style is one of the many choices, and further down the road, a significant number will proclaim that my way of life is not superior or inferior to any.
Claiming superiority would be sheer arrogance and religion (a major part of life to many) is believed to imbue humility that builds societies, communities and nations in creating that elusive kingdom of heaven where all live their lives without apprehension or fear of the other.
Every Wednesday, you can read my column in Dallas Morning News offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.  www.FoundationforPluralism.com



Its all my writings including writings by others about my work. www.TheGhouseDiary.com
I started writing about social issues in 1970, mostly in Urdu Language. Then through 1977 I wrote 42 some poems and 24 articles.

There was a gap of 17 years between 1978 and 1993, I did not write much, neither did I socialize. Just work, family and home.  Whatever I wrote was in commentary format here and there.

In 1993 I published a news paper called Asian News and started writing again, however, I lost all the pieces I had written till 1999 - when I opened my blog at Sulekha.Com. Since then most of my writing has been preserved. Still there is a lot I did not save, I regret that. Then through 2005 - much of my writing is saved at Yahoogroups. I have over 40 blogs on just about every topic I have dealt with.

But this Blog is full time blog since 2008 and all my writing go here first.  One of the most amusing thing I discovered in the last month was that I have not changed any since 1971. The pieces I wrote about God, Society, Religion is identical to what I am writing now. I wonder why did I not improve? www.TheGhouseDiary.com 
Peace is attainable and we should not give up on it. The Jews deserve security and the Palestinians the hope. Both deserve peace and security.

"Peace hinges on hopes for the Palestinians and security for the Israelis, anything short of justice will not produce sustainable peace" - If Jews and Muslims can take the position that we cannot have peace when others around us don't and work on first removing bias and stereotyping from their own minds, conflicts will fade and solutions emerge. (more on left panel)   
www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com

"We provide all people the ability to celebrate marriage and other religious functions according to their beliefs. We believe that this is an innate human right and is also protected by the 1st Amendment. Our values come from the understanding that all people, whether religious or not, have deep personal values and should be treated with respect, acceptance, and understanding."

Marriage is a celebration that brings people together, and we want to extend that ethos further by being a church comprised of a wide cross-section of people that have found common ground in the service of bringing people together.

To begin, the legal dimension to officiating a wedding simply involves completing a piece of paper, the marriage license. The marriage license is the legal document of marriage. It is filed for by the couple from their local government prior to the wedding.



The role of the minister is to conduct the wedding, have the couple present their marriage license, make sure that the information is correct, and complete the license. The couple then returns the completed license back to its office of issuance. http://interfaithmarriages.blogspot.com/


We are proud of our heritage - a multi-faith, multi-cultural, multi-regional and multi-linguistic society, where we have come to accept and respect every which way people have lived their lives. For over 5000 years, India has been a beacon of pluralism - it has embraced Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Baha’i and Zoroastrianism to include in the array of the indigenous religions; Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. 

Indian democracy is a shining example to the world, where the people have peacefully transferred the powers. Indians are inherently secular and economically capitalistic. They believe in "live-and-let-live" life style, which is the essence of capitalism.Through the years we have expressed the highest degree of maturity on handling extreme situations; the more divergent opinions we hear, the larger our heart grows, the bigger our embrace would be and we can cushion more differences.

Let’s continue to honor the concept that there is always another side to the story, as finding the truth is our own responsibility.I am proud of my heritage and am proud to be an Indian-American. Please join me in the discovery of India on a daily basis, as time permits and share the wealth of knowledge you have on this forum. http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/

d
It is time for us to begin addressing the unity within the Muslim community and with the communities of the world for building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. 

To have the power to effect a positive change in a given society one must be just. It is not justice when one gains at the wrongful expense of the others. Many a Muslims have lost the gut in their voice because they have failed to stand up for others.


Three things are required to earn the grace of God: belief in God, belief in the Messengers and accountability of our actions towards creating peaceful societies. Anyone who submits to these ideals is broadly defined as a Muslim – someone who subscribes to the idea of oneness of humanity, to talk, act and feel like one family who lives cohesively with the given differences for the good of the family. Every Muslim that I know of, and that is a lot of Muslims in every denomination is driven by the Shahada- the pledge; That God is one and Prophet Muhammad is his last messenger.  www.RamadanDaily.com

Sharia in its simplest form is a "HOW-TO MANUAL" based on Quraan and the Hadith (Prophet Muhammad's sayings). It it is a human effort to understand the concept of Justice enshrined in Qur'aan for living a day to day life.

The private domain of the manual is about the relationship between an individual and the creator, whereas the public domain of the Sharia law is about the relationship between the individual and the society.

The contentious issues stem from treatment of; divorce, women's rights, inheritance, theft, adultery and apostasy. Our focus is in understanding and bringing forth various opinions and thoughts to get a grasp of the system.

The core value of Islam is Justice. The violations of justice and the rule of law are found in every faith, culture and political traditions at varying degrees. No community can cast the first stone.

Sharia industry has been built with strong fortifications to the point that many a Muslims are caused into believing that Sharia is divine. Justice is one of the core values of Islam and Sharia should be looked from that lens and not vice-versa.

It is like the defense industy, tax preparers industry or the Holocaust industry - where they make it so complicated that they are needed. It is their business protection plan.

Islam is a simple religion for one to follow and be accountable for his or her actions. We don't need an industry and Islam does not have clergy built into it.

We can retain the private Sharia and let go of the public sharia, the civil laws of the nation provide ample justice and we don't need a duplicate system. It is not divine to begin with to hang on to it.
www.ShariaLaws.com

There are several other blogs based on the topics

THIS IS THE JOY OF MY LIFE


Thank you
mike

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Ghouse
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a 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, 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 www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.
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