Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I will stand up for your rights, would you stand up for mine?

I will stand up for your rights, would you stand up for mine?


Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Supreme Court extends same-sex marriage nationwide - indeed, America is for freedom

Every human has a God given right to eat, drink, wear and believe whatever he or she wants, and marry whoever he or she wants. Some among us may not agree with the idea of same sex marriage, but that is the ultimate freedom.  Freedom guaranteed to one is freedom guaranteed to all.

Carlos McKnight, 17, of Washington, holds up a flag in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday.    JACQUELYN MARTIN/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
When God gave the options to Adam and Eve and explained the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit, and yet they chose to eat it, God did not stop them or slapped them for the wrong doing (at that time), instead God lived up to his word. That is when the freedom took seed and it is God given.

Freedom is a God given gift that we should cherish! God could have stopped Lucifer from tempting Adam and Eve, he could have stopped Adam from consuming the forbidden fruit, and he could have prevented Jesus from the crucifix, Moses did not have to speak up against Pharaoh, Muhammad (pbuh) did not have to endure persecution. God Almighty could have stopped everyone in the tract, but he did not, he gave us the freedom to choose how we deal with conflicts and restore harmony.

If Hilary gets elected as President, America would have achieved the ideals laid out by the founding fathers - that we are all created equal. Indeed, each one of us should have the equal opportunities and equal access to everything.

Congratulations to the GLBT community, now they can live freely without apprehension.  I hope the Evangelical Imams don't issue any Fatwas against this or blame this SC decision for the water crisis in California.

Once again, we appreciate President Obama to open the first official door.

Dr. Omid Safi reflects on Same-sex Marriage :
Let me pause, though, and say a word about what I have witnessed in the last few days about the Muslim public discourse regarding same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court ruling. I have been impressed by what I see as increased nuance in our public discourse from many people, including many who are personally and religiously opposed to homosexuality but recognize the importance of the state not imposing exclusionary practices on citizens.
However, there is one item that I am concerned about, and I would add, disappointed in regarding a number of these public statements. I have seen quite a few Muslim leaders articulate something along the lines of "From the perspective of mainstream, normative Islamic law, any type of sexual union outside of marriage is unethical and immoral."
If that is what we are going to state publicly, then let us be honest and transparent and state that this normative Islamic law also included--and includes--the possibility of concubines and polygamy.
Both are sanctioned in the Qur'an, and in Islamic law. Neither is likely to be viewed with great favor in the public discourse, which is why I suspect Muslims leave them off of our discussion.
Naturally, I have no interest in advocating for concubinage or polygamy: in the case of the first a hierarchical institution and in the case of second one that is open to many kinds of abuse (though I recognize there are times that it may work for some, and God knows better than I do.).
But yes, if our appeal is going to be to existing, historical "mainstream, normative law", then we have to be willing to publicly defend and stand by concubinage and polygamy. To leave them off and pretend that "traditional" sanctioned models of Islamic marriage only include that between one man and one woman united in marriage is at best intellectually weak and at worst dishonest. The same thing goes, of course for others who present a "Biblical" model of marriage.

Thank you,
Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links atMikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

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Supreme Court extends same-sex marriage nationwide


I am glad I am free, are you? It is indeed the land of the free

Not being affiliated with either the Republicans or Democrats, has allowed me to see who is a good candidate for America without compulsion for conformity, or guilt of seeing the good in others. I am a Muslim and I am proud to be free, Islam has allowed me to be Just, fair and free.

My faith teaches humility and I do not claim my religion to be superior, and your religion teaches the same, except that you may not have explored it. My religion suits me as yours suits you. I stand up for every human and his or her right to her space, sustenance, nurturence and freedom in the pursuit of their happiness. To be spiritual is to believe and practice God values with no barriers between you and anyone of the 7 billion of us. Are you free?

Thank you,
Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thank God, Obama care is secure now

Thank God, Obama care is secure now | Americans Together.org

Thank God for the Supreme Court for upholding Obama Care. Republicans, not all the good ones, but a few extremists among them cannot fathom a black man to be the president and are constantly trying to hide behind their ugliness by making attempts to tear down every good thing Obama is doing for America. They have introduced several bills to undo affordable care… and appealed to the Supreme Court twice and got rejected. 

I urge the good Republicans to speak up and save their party from the extremists elements among them who don’t give flip about average Americans – and they should, ultimately, it is all of us, 100% of Americans that makes this country run.
America will stand with Obama and not these guys who are determined to ruin America. Good Republicans, please speak up and put this thing behind and move on with producing good things for America. Obama is one of the few best presidents we have had in 50 years and earn some respect by respecting him.

Thank you,
Mike Ghouse
Center for American Politics

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings atTheGhouseDiary.com 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Get that confederate flag down

If you agree, please sign the petitions:

  1. Change Org https://www.change.org/p/south-carolina-governor-get-that-confederate-flag-down
  2. White House - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/take-confederate-flag-down

The confederate flag represents hate for fellow Americans who are Black.

Should we allow symbols of Nazi Flag, Swastika, SS, Crusades symbols, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden (we did not bury the guy), Milosevic and the Spanish Missions as our heritage? Should we allow them on public buildings, because they were an ugly part of our heritage? 

Doesn't  it continue to keep the flames of hatred alive, as was the case of Dylann Storm Roof and others who seek refuge in it when they are hateful? 

The flag represents our heritage no doubt, but rightfully belongs to the Museum as President Obama has articulated. 

This flag continues to stir up tensions and fears, we need to build an America where no one has to live in fear. Those who love the flag will lose nothing, they can still have it in their homes but not flying in the public. They have a right to make their children live in silos, and unfit to live in the society where all of God's creation works, plays, and lives together.
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Thank you,
mike ghouse   
(214) 325-1916

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist,  TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

Friday, June 19, 2015

South Carolina Massacre - the terrorist kills 9 in a church.

Charleston Massacre | www.AmericansTogether.org

On June 18, 2015, a terrorist barged in to a Church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed 9 innocent people.  A place of worship is an universal sanctuary of peace and we must  honor that, just as we pullover when a funeral procession or a fire truck run through the road. 

First, let’s pray for the departed souls to rest in peace,  and pray that this situation does not aggravate further into racial tensions.

This terrorist happens to be a White Christian man who hated Black Christians,  and the situation has nothing to do with Christianity, just as the Jewish gunman opened fire and killed 22 Muslim Worshipers in Jerusalem;  the extremists among Muslims are hell bent on Killing Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan, the extremists among Hindus destroyed a Historical Mosque in Ayodhya and raped, killed and burnt Muslims in Gujarat,  Buddhist Monks violently burnt men and women in Burma; the mobs from Hindus massacred the Sikhs,  Muslim fanatics go on a killing spree in Bangladesh, 
and the Isis men are beheading Christians, Yazidis and Shia. 

These acts of terror are perpetrated by individuals from every faith, race or region, but in no case the religion authorized them to do this horrendous acts of murdering innocent people.  The criminals are there in every region, religion and race.  

What causes them to be terrorists? I hope we can study this and find solutions.
We endured the Wisconsin shooting where a terrorist walked into a Gurdwara (Sikh temple) and randomly killed worshipers, in response, the Sikhs set the new standards of dealing with the conflict – instead of blaming “all,” they chose to hold candle light vigils across the country and forgave the terrorist. This is an act which Jesus, Muhammad, Nanank and other religious leaders have advocated.

We need to work on greater integrity of Americans for the safety and security of all of us.

As a nation, particularly the relatives of the victims can set the new standards in civility by forgiving the murderer, but keep him in the prison until he has a chance to genuinely repent. Forgiveness extinguishes the fears and hatred more than any eye for an eye will do. There a more terrorists like him, a trial in the court will bring out the worst in him for us to understand his sickness and deal with others. Killing him will kill one person, forgiving and rehabilitating him will save a heck of a lot more lives.

As a nation we mourn together with a few minutes of silence of our own, without blaming any one, but determined to bring a positive change thru peace and non-violence. We need to find a way to heal. Please take a minute and pray for the improved relations among us all. Amen.

To read views of other panelists, please visit Dallas Morning News-Texas Faith: When racism becomes terrorism


News links

  1. BBC - http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33179019 
  2. The confederate flag - http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/19/charleston-shooting-confederate-flag/28990095/
  3. The terrorist Dylann roof is capture - http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/us/charleston-church-shooting.html?_r=0
  4. Politics of Flag - http://www.newsweek.com/why-its-so-hard-move-confederate-flag-south-carolinas-state-house-344958 
  5. 9 Killed -  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/06/18/local-vigil-for-south-carolina-shootings.html

Mike Ghouse, Speaker
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on PluralismIslam,IndiaIsrael-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 www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

9/11: My personal Journey from 2001 and my commitment to America.

-  http://americatogetherfoundation.blogspot.com/2015/06/911-my-personal-journey-from-2001-and.html

Since September 11, 2001, many stories have been told and experiences shared, but here is one story among many, that I hope my fellow Americans ought to hear, particularly those who are afraid of everything and everyone, and believe in conspiracies.

In the second half of the piece, I have included links to the Terry Jones' Quran Burning event from 2013, which was diffused through peaceful means. It is a story about skillfully managing conflicting issues of safety of Americans overseas, upholding freedom of speech, perceptions about Muslims, preserving sacredness of religions and building cohesive Societies.

It is an epitome of nonviolent conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturence 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.  A film is being made about this and is called "Sacred".

I hope this piece prompts you to think of the difficult encounters you may have had dealing with people of different faiths.  This is a long story and I hope it offers insights into what it takes to build a cohesive America, an genuinely free America where no one has to live in apprehension and fear of the other.

Please remember God is a good and a just guy. He has not signed a deal with Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus or others behind each others back, and  he treats all of his creation with the sameness as a teacher treats her students or a chef wants his patrons to enjoy his cuisine.  There is serenity in being fair and just, it is the ultimate goal for harmony and balance in the society.  Can we be fair to each other? 

This is also the story of the birth of Unity Day USA, a day to bring Americans Together.

The idea for Unity Day USA was first conceived on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and took its current form on Sunday, September 11, 2005. It is an initiative to come together to stand up for the safety, security and cohesiveness of America.

On this Unity Day, we the people of the United States of America of every faith, race, ethnicity, culture and background will gather to express our commitment to co-existence, unity, prosperity and well being of our nation.

Our civic leaders including Mayors, Council members, State representatives, Senators, Congresspersons and other officials will honor us with their presence. Each Mayor at the event will give a one minute speech to share his/her thoughts about co-existence and promoting social cohesion in their respective cities. Additionally, our men and women in uniform including police and fire chiefs will be honored for their outstanding service to our nation.

Leaders from various faith communities will share a few words of wisdom from their respective scriptures, beliefs or oral traditions. Unity Day USA is about re-affirming our faith in the goodness in humanity, and the longing for harmony and co-existence. The traditions include but are not limited to Native American, Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Earth-traditions, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Wicca and Zoroastrians; thus it is an all inclusive event.

It is an awesome experience to feel a sense of unity with fellow Americans that will bring a feeling of coming home to where we drop all of our identities to be united together as an American family.

As Americans we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. Our faiths reinforce the idea of one nation with liberty and justice for all.

As a Muslim, I am deeply committed to America, the land of the brave and the free with liberty and justice for all.
Pictures, comments, sound bites are all at  www.Unitydayusa.com   

On the day of 09/11/2001

Dallas, Texas. About 10:00 in the Morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was called in by AM Radio 1150 to address the situation; and  950 AM also joined in to simulcast the program. The great tragedy had left every one speechless and had frozen everyone from doing anything. I was shaking but was committed to make sense out of the chaos and bring coherence to the day, and pave the way for relevant action.

I was on the air for 7 hours straight, standing on my feet and getting just about every community, religious, civic and business leader and the general public on the air to talk about the situation. Many of them read prepared statements, and one by one they condemned the attack. I did not even get to eat or take a break. The calls were pouring in and I was completely absorbed in the situation.

Among many who jumped on the idea to hold interfaith prayers were Mr. Joel Brooks of American Jewish Congress, Ms. Vinoda Kumar of the DFW Hindu Temple, Mr. Mohammad Suleman of the Islamic Center of Dallas, Mr. Poras Balsara of the Zoroastrian community and Kevin Rafraf from the Baha’i Temple, the list was endless. All the announcements and pronouncements were going on the radio live from every community leader. Mr. Taiyab Kundawala of India Association agreed to hold, and announce the prayer vigil at the association and the fund raising was set up the very next evening. Mr. Mansoor Shah of Pakistan Society was there to do anything that needed to be done. Mr. Ashok Kumar Mago of the Indian Chamber of Commerce also joined in on the Radio. I apologize to many friends, whose name have gone blank on me. I would appreciate if you could share them. This will go as a chapter in my upcoming book on Pluralism.

While this was going on, my late wife Najma had called in to announce about the blood drive and sure enough, hundreds of people were lining up at Wadley Blood center. She drove to the facility and the folks told her that the lines were too long and asked us to hold off the announcements till the next day. I wish I could get hold of the CNN tapes from the next day where they interviewed me for over 10 minutes at the Radio Station we were hanging out. Our friends and my late wife said that every word I said on the TV was just the right word, what a relief! I was tense, but determined to clear the muddy waters. 

9/11 is one of the most significant days of my life, and I have made a life time commitment to dedicate this day, every year to serve my nation by bringing Americans together for the safety and security, and peace and prosperity of America.

A major change occurred in my life around that time. I was an Atheist for a long time, not a belligerent one but the pluralist kind, and for the first time in about 30 years I chose to be called a Muslim in Public Sphere. Thanks to my father for inculcating the values of Pluralism in my initial set up. More at Indian American Pluralist

In the random readings of holy books that I continue to do, I came across a verse in Bhagvad Gita, “finding the truth is one’s own responsibility”. The timing was perfect as Islam was being attacked, indeed, that was the reason I had walked away from Islam in the late sixties. This Bhagvad Gita verse inspired me to go find the truth.

Karen Armstrong’s book on Muhammad had made a huge impact on me. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a divine, distant and a mystical figure to me until I read her book, it made me look to him as another human whose life and decisions I could relate with. He was bent on building cohesive societies and just about every one of his actions was grounded in a singular theme; mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwil so all can live in relative harmony. More atHow do I relate with Prophet Muhammad and Prophet the Pluralist

I made it my business to hone on the verses in Qur'an that had driven me away from Islam. I had made several attempts and each time I did not like the translations I read. The verse, “finding the truth is one’s own responsibility” did not allow me to gulp down what was apparent about Qur'an. Over the years of searching, I discovered that Quran was deliberately mistranslated by politicians who wore the label of Christianity as well as Islam.
Steve Blow in Dallas Morning News put my thoughts in the words that I cherish, "In the Middle Ages, European leaders commissioned a hostile Quran translation to foster warfare against Muslim invaders. Later, Muslim leaders produced another translation to inflame Muslims against Christians and Jews." Relax, the first translation is not in circulation but is used by the right wing Christian and Jews to support their tirade, the second dangerous translation is by Hilali khan which right wing Muslims like.  Unfortunately it exists and Muslims are now aware of the problem.

However there are over two dozen translations which are alright ( I cannot claim the credit, but I was a catalyst in bringing to attention and now since 2012 editions a few major mis-translations have been corrected. ( Apology to Jews and Christians ) .  The best one among the available translations is by Muhammad Asad. However,  we need a new translation which the average person can relate with and reflects the universality of God. All the mis-translations are atwww.Quraanconference.com

That was my background in relating the story of 9/11. 

As the community was fully involved on the air with me, the Interfaith-faith prayers, blood donations and fundraising for the men and women in uniform were all in place by evening. The fog was clearing up, Osama bin Laden was the bad guy and Muslim-Americans had nothing to do with his actions, nor did they authorize him to terrorize any one. Indeed, he placed a wedge between Americans that still needs to be undone. I had literally declared a war against this man.

Atheists, Baha'i, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Jews, Native Americans, Pagans, Sikhs, Wicca and Zoroastrians along with area city mayors, FBI, police and fire chiefs and community leaders graced the first interfaith event in Frisco. Out of which a new tradition evolved called Unity Day. It continues year after year.

A few of us formed a team from different religions and went from place of worship to place of worship and shared the prayers or gave a small talk about the respective religion. That’s where we build the relationship of trust between us for me to read the Jewish Prayers when Joel Brooks was not available, recite the Zoroastrian Prayer for Poras Balsara, Jain prayers for Pradeep Shah or Hindu Prayers for the Hindu community and of course, I represented Ben Moghaddas of Baha’i faith and was always a substitute for the Muslim community. There never was a shortage of Christians, Muslims and Sikhs in interfaith activity at that time. However, it has dwindled down now. Muslims are not participating as much, and at many places I am the only Muslim participating in smaller interfaith events. They go to the big ones though.

One of the biggest walls between Hindus and Muslims was dissolved that week. President of The Dallas Islamic Center, Muhammad Suleman asked me to pull the religious groups for the interfaith prayers and I was pleased to include Hindu prayers. Vijayshree Venkatraman came and chanted the Om Shanti Mantra amidst all other prayers. Perhaps it was the first time Hindu prayers were recited in a Mosque complex. I am sure it is done in India, but it was a new experience for Muslims in Dallas.

If there was one gratifying moment in my interfaith life, that would be one. The other ones are chanting the Jainism’s Navakar Mantra at the Maya Temple in Mexico, Hindu prayers in the Snotes at the Mayan Temples, getting Baptized in the name of God at the place in Jordan River where Jesus was Baptized and dancing with the Pagans in Melbourne and spending time with the Native Australians.

In 1993, I published the first issue of Asian News Magazine which was co-edited by Abraham Thomas. A new standard was set in bringing the communities of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka together. The highlight of the paper was extensive calendar and write ups on the essence of every possible festival that took place in Dallas. Then in July of 1996, AM Radio 1150 approached me to begin the Radio Service for the communities, indeed it was the first Talk Show Radio for the community which paved the way to full time Radio services. These two items highlight the pluralism work that was going on. Every Saturday on the air, we had a segment called Festivals of the world where we shared the essence of every religious festival; we had religious leaders from Aztec to Zoroastrians and every one in between sharing the essence of their festivals on the air.

Unity Day USA - established

The idea for Unity Day USA was first conceived on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and took its current form on Sunday, September 11, 2005. It is a Muslim initiative to come together to stand up for the safety, security and cohesiveness of America, my initial team included Lee Holcomb of UT Dallas and other volunteers and women members from the Plano Mosque who handled wonderful refreshments.

During planning session of the event, I was opposed by a few to hold prayers from all religious groups in an alphabetical sequence. They preferred that Muslim Prayers be done at first and others to follow, someone did not want Islam to be in the Middle of Hinduism and Jainism. Even the idea of the Abrahamic faiths first and others following it was floated. I was not in favor of it as I have always believed in equality of all humans and by corollary all religions, we dug in our heels.

Before it got messy, I called Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci and asked his guidance on it and I was praying for wisdom from him and was willing to walk away from the event if there was a preferential treatment to any group. He thought it over and said, Islamically I was on the right tract to treat everyone on equal footing, however he said, if you want to be political, you choose. I asked him if I could put those words in an email and send to the group, and that was the end of the conflict, what a relief! This Imam is a blessing to our town, indeed I have written a few more of the interfaith moments between us.

The prayers were indeed led by 13 groups of religious leaders. Regina Rafraf led the Baha’i prayers, Ben Boothe led the Buddhist prayers; Christian prayers were led by the late Baptist Minister Roy Harrell with a team of clergy from Presbyterian, Methodist, Unitarian, Catholic and other denominations; Swami Nityananda Prabhu led the Hindu group representing 7 different Hindu Temple; Islamic prayers were led by Imam Dr. Yusuf Zia Kavakci with Shia, Bohra, Ismaili, Sufi, Warith Deen Muhammad, Sunni and other Muslim traditions, Pradeep Shah led the Jain prayers, Rabbi Haas led the Jewish prayers, the Sikh prayers were led by Bhai Harinder Singh and Ramneek Singh, Wicca prayers were led by Brian Langford and the Zoroastrian Prayers were lead by Poras Balsara. In the later years Native Americans, Pagans, Earth based Traditions, Atheists and others have joined in, no one is excluded, however a few continue to malign us and refuse to join standing shoulder to shoulder with people of different faiths.

FBI Chief Danny Deffenbaugh, Mayors or Mayors pro-tem and Police chiefs of Plano, Frisco, Richardson, Dallas, Garland, Carrollton, Addison and representatives of congress woman Eddie Bernice Johnson and State Representative Florence Shapiro were all on the stage. Among the civic leaders were Dean Hobson of the UT Dallas among others.

My conversation with Maria Arita of Fox news was interesting. She wanted to know if it was difficult to pull these various groups together. She could not resist the inherent bias and blurted out, "was it the Moslems that were difficult?" I said no and the answer will be in my upcoming book. It’s an amazing story of interfaith.

In the 3rd annual Unity Day event we discovered something beautiful about how we hold things inside. I have sincere relationships with my friends in different religious communities and they share whatever bothers them, usually is it about Muslims. Every one wants to genuinely find the truth and thanks to my friends from the Zoroastrian and Sikh Communities who held back the issue for two years.

Dr. Harbans Lal and Firdosh Mehta asked me to find out why Muslims walked out on them, when it was their turn to pray in the first Unity day? Remember the Alphabetical sequence? I thank Bhagvad Gita for instilling in me with “finding the truth is one’s own responsibility”… we dug up and found out that it was the prayer time for Muslims when the Sikhs and Zoroastrian got on the stage. I shared that story and told our friends attending the event that you have got to admire our Muslim brothers and sisters, when the time for prayer comes up, they drop everything as nothing else is a priority to them and Mayor Pat Evans appreciated the hint. If that time were during the speech of the Mayor, they would simply fulfill their duty to God and pray. Isn’t it amazing what was construed as dislike to hear the Sikh and Zoroastrian payers, was not? It was such a relief to our friends Dr. Lal and Mehta.

Gregory Gomez, the Apache American surprised everyone and continues to remain the talk of the town. When Gomez went on to the stage with our Hopi Chief Ambrose to cleanse the environment (Done with feathers, a native tradition and I have been cleansed a few times). The first words the Native American spoke thrilled the audience, it was ironic, unexpected and truthful, he said, “Welcome to my country”. The biggest appreciation came from Richardson Mayor, Gary Slagel without missing the beat.

A few more of the moments are athttp://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/09/do-jews-christians-and-muslims-better.html or in Dallas Morning News at: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/09/texas-faith-do-jews-christians.html

God willing my upcoming book will share some of the most difficult and humorous interfaith moments.

The Biggest Achievement of Unity Day

The pinnacle achievement of Unity Day was on 9/11/2013 - Here is the full story about it and a film is in the making with the title "Sacred".  A New Paradigm for Muslim World. Indeed, every year, our friends who attend the event have said, they feel good about being prejudice free and free from stereotyping others, that is the power of the Unity Day. 
Bad Statistics
Sean Hannity is not a murderer, just because he lives in New York, and New York City alone murders 300 people a year, what a shame!

Bill Blasio is not a rapist because he is the Mayor of New York, and New York City alone raped 1000 women last year, what a shame!

Throughout America, we have the same federal laws  for the criminals as well as the good people among us.  Criminals violate the laws, and the good people don’t.  The problem is not the law books or enforcement, but the few who do not follow the good laws. It is the same story with a few Muslims, it is not the Quran or Islam, it is them, those few. 

We don't stereotype people based on actions of a few.

As Americans we need not swayed by the current events in the world with the ISIS, Al Qaeda and their likes, they are shamefully within the comparable statistical range  of the world.  Same percentage of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus or others behave the same; mind their own business and a similar percentage are extremists. Read more at Two Islams.

Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Racism, Homophobia, Xenophobia and Misogyny destroy the fabric of the nation and keep each other’s throats.  We need to clean up ourselves and build a safe America for everyone.

Islam teaches one to be non-judgmental, and consistently encourages individuals to do good. It emphasizes about individual responsibility towards the peace and security of society at large. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) described a good deed as an act which benefits others whom you don't even know, such as planting a tree that serves generations of wayfarers with fruit and the shade. The world is a better place today because of a good legacy bequeathed to humanity by people of all faiths that came before us. We owe it to coming generations to leave the world a little better than we found to usher an era of justice and peace. Indeed, this is the same message, every messenger of God in every faith or a peace maker or a wise men and women have reiterated.

On my part, I am committed to build a cohesive America, and last year the Unity Day was held in Florida, and here is one of the most powerful stories, which is being made into a film.

How to be build a cohesive America, watch this 10 Minutes video at www.AmericaTogetherFoundation.com

Our dream

Each one of us has a dream… a dream  to have livable wages, a loving family, children, a home, reliable car, decent health care, and comfortable retirement.
A majority of Americans want a just   society with safety and security.  We want to live our lives as good neighbors and let others live theirs. 

Our right

Our founding fathers laid the foundation of the creed for such a society, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they  are endowed by their Creator with    certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness".

Our spirit

Martin  Luther  King  Jr.  expressed  the same  in  his famous speech, “ I have a dream that our little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” 

Our world

Native American Chief Seattle said it   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 web, he  does it to himself."

Our questions

Based on the previous statements and    a commitment to one nation and one America, what are we doing individually to preserve that web?
What are our initiatives?
What are the divisive issues?
Are we going to allay these phobias?
What is your vision for America?

Our responsibility

President Kennedy pointed us in the right    direction,  “Ask not what your country  can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”.  When we give to the country, we collectively receive as well.

Our empathy

Are we connected enough with each other?  Can others empathize with us or even understand the truth about us?    We are no different than them in our   endeavors and aspirations of life.

Our action

Let’s explore daily opportunities to make America a better place for each one of us.  Let’s treat others as we would wish to be treated and have compassion for others who might look different.

If we can learn to respect the otherness of other, and accept the God given uniqueness of each   American, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

We are committed to providing      education, workshops, and training for future leaders.  We have programs in place to move forward.  All we need is your support.

Our contribution
It takes time, effort and money to bring positive changes; will you consider contributing $25, $50, $100, $500, $1000 or up?

You can do a one time donation or  recurring monthly donation through our PayPal account on our website. http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/ 

Or you can mail a check to:

America Together Foundation2665 Villa Creek Dr, Suite 206
Dallas, TX 75234
(972) 243-7040

Thank you

Mike Ghouse, Speaker
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics 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 www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

America is God's own Country, America Together Foundation

America is God’s own country | AmericansTogether.org

Indeed, America is God’s own country!  It is a representation of everything God has created on this planet from sea to the shining sea.

We are one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. We are represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. 

We are blessed with every possible faith that you can imagine on the earth, there is no other nation with this many faith representations as we are.

Together as Americans we believe in one God, no God and many God representations;  we believe him to be male, female and genderless; we believe it to be a being, non being and everything;  nameless and innumerable names.
We have green pastures, rivers, mountains, deserts, snow, rainfall, storms; we have cold to hot climates.

We have families who opt to live a simple life with no modern amenities and we families who live in lap of the luxury that is unmatched anywhere.

We believe in our immortal declaration of independence, “
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;”

Indeed, America is God's own country, a miniature universe represented by all of God's intentional diverse creation. We have the freedom to be who we want to be and achieve whatever we want to be.

God bless America!
Thank you


Mike Ghouse, Speaker
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics 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 www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

McKinney's Black Kids Were Seduced into Thinking They Are Safe in the Middle Class | Dallas Observer

I continue to want to investigate or sit in on the police training, where did they go wrong, how were they set up do deal with conflicts? 

This is a good piece worth reading and sharing. "We seduce them into this trance of childish well-being and security as only a child can feel it – unquestioned, a given, a thing like the sweet air we breathe – and then we play a terrible trick on them. All of a sudden they’re facing a monster they don’t even know. "

Mike Ghouse

Americans Together


McKinney's Black Kids Were Seduced into Thinking They Are Safe in the Middle Class
Brandon Hicks via Youtube
All of a sudden nobody remembers what teenagers are? They’re stupid. They're wonderful. They're awful. And they run from the cops. Many of their parents tell them to run from the cops, especially during the college admissions years.

If they come from rich enough families, their parents hire bartenders, bouncers, lawyers and public relations firms to protect them from the cops, because their parents know how stupid they are. And wonderful. Of course.

So the kids in the McKinney pool incident all showed up at once, uninvited, and they were a mob? Does somebody really think that’s an issue? Welcome to the age of social media. It’s how teenagers happen. They multiply before your eyes. First you see one. You blink, and then there are 100. Try not to blink.

And now I suppose we’re going to be subjected to some dragged out super-legalistic investigation of whether the cop in McKinney was an asshole. You’re kidding me. If there really is anybody out there who can’t tell that that cop was a total asshole, then I can only conclude that such a person must be a total asshole.

But what about race? Skin color. Continent of origin? Was that an issue? Would this cop have behaved the same way had he rolled up (literally) on a bunch of lily-white kids at a suburban pool party? I suppose here all we can do is consult our own personal experience, not that I, as the parent of a white teenager, ever had to deal with the police. Much. Maybe just a few times. That I can remember.

I have seen or known of instances where Dallas cops were called to houses where almost all-white crowds of teenagers were making trouble. In fact, I think I have known of a whole bunch of those. First of all, trouble is a spectrum. I can think of a very few instances where serious crime was occurring — burglary or vandalism — and the cops in those instances rolled up hard.

The McKinney pool party was at the other end of the spectrum. If those kids were loud, if they used bad language, if some of them climbed the fence to get in, then that may have been bad behavior, but it was way at the soft end of teenage bad behavior — the idiot end, the end of the spectrum of teenage misbehavior that every parent of a teenager knows all too well.

That is definitely not a black thing or a white thing or a Latino thing. It may well be an American middle class thing. Back during Ebola, when I was spending some time in the African and Southeast Asian immigrant community in Dallas where the outbreak occurred, I was struck by the prevalence of extremely disciplined and respectful teenagers around those apartment complexes.

Whenever I saw one of them, I thought, “Just give it a year, kid, and then you can start calling your dad a butthead for refusing to give you an iPhone.”

If we’re going to be at all honest with ourselves, we have to admit that middle class teenagers in this culture can be entitled and crazy and stupid, and when they all start tweeting each other about a party, they can be crazy stupid trouble.

In years of watching the cops roll up on teenage parties in white middle class and privileged venues, I have never once seen a cop treat children the way that guy in McKinney did. Never. It’s not a gray area.

I have seen the police look like they really wished they could take a flashlight to somebody’s head. I have seen them steamed. I certainly have heard them use all kinds of F-words and other obscenities, which in our society is just trying to make yourself heard.

But I have never seen a cop throw a teenage girl on her face on the ground and sit on her. I never once have seen a cop get himself so far out on a limb with a bunch of little brats that he has to draw down on them.

I do not believe it would have happened with a bunch of white kids. I told you I’m just basing this on personal experience, of which, as you can tell by now, I have had a little more than I might have wanted to admit at first.
You know what really strikes me about the McKinney incident? Back when all black kids lived in the ghetto and the white middle class was a distant rumored realm, it would never have occurred to black kids to go bouncing into a big pool in an affluent white area and start behaving like typical idiot teenagers. Back when the lines of race were hardened and violent, black kids were afraid of white people.
But the black kids interviewed on TV in the McKinney incident had the terribly sweet, innocent, wide-eyed, wonderful and idiotic expressions of … teenagers. Any teenagers. Of any race.
We as a society – and their parents – have plumped these children down in the bosom of Middle America and told them whatever it is we tell teenagers – do your homework, have fun, do not give the police permission to search and call daddy immediately so he can call a lawyer.

You could see it in some of their eyes: nobody had told them, “You may get shot or the shit kicked out of you, because you are black.”

We seduce them into this trance of childish well-being and security as only a child can feel it – unquestioned, a given, a thing like the sweet air we breathe – and then we play a terrible trick on them. All of a sudden they’re facing a monster they don’t even know.

As much as the McKinney incident had to do with the cop being an asshole, it had that much and more to do with the kids at the pool believing they could just be American middle class teenagers. I am grateful it does not fall to me to tell them it’s not true.


Who said History is boring? A way with words

Who said History is boring? | AmericansTogether.org

 You are in for a big surprise when you learn the sources of idioms like, ‘dirt poor’,  ‘it cost me an arm and a leg’, ‘bring home the bacon’,  ‘chew the fat’ and ‘kick the bucket’ etc. If you know something that is not here, add it below.  NPR has a program called , ‘a way with words’ it is fascinating to hear the origins of the worlds, and it is worth listening.    
Source: unknown but developed.

An expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usualmeanings of its constituent elements, as kick the bucket or hang one'shead, or from the general grammatical rules of a language, as the tableround for the round table, and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics.

There is an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London, which used to have a gallows adjacent to it. Prisoners were taken to the gallows (after a fair trial of course) to be hanged. The horse-drawn dray, carting the prisoner, was accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like ''ONE LAST DRINK''. If he said YES, it was referred to as ONE FOR THE ROAD. If he declined, that prisoner was ON THE WAGON. 

So there you go ... More bleeding history.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were "piss poor", but worse than that were the really poor folk, who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot, they "Didn't have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500s:  Most people got married in June, because they took their yearly bath in May and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.  The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies.  By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.  Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!" 
Houses had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.  When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof.  Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."   

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom, where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence. The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying; "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance. Hence: a thresh hold.
(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight, and then start over the next day.  Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: ''Peas porridge hot, peas’ porridge cold, pea’s porridge in the pot, and nine days old''.  
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over they would hang up their bacon, to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "Bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around talking and ’’chew the fat''.  
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death.  This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous. 

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or ''The Upper Crust’’.  

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and  wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of ''Holding a Wake''.
England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people, so they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, thread it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.  Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus someone could be, ''Saved by the Bell ''or was considered a ''Dead Ringer'' And that's the truth. 

Now, whoever said history was  boring ! ! !

An arm and a leg – when you say, it cost me an arm and a leg – it has to do with pre-photography era, where portraits were painted – usually of face and busts,  as it was expensive to do the full picture, and they artists charged to add and arm and a leg, thus the phrase, “it costs me an arm and a leg”.

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