This weekly Pluralism bulletin will eventually carry the issues that affect us all:
- CFP – General Bulletin
- CFP – Muslim Segment
- CFP – Jewish Segment
- CFP – Christian Segment
- CFP – Hindu Segment
- CFP – Others as we gather the staff.
This weekly bulletin comes to you from the Center for Pluralism, an organization committed to building a cohesive America, where no American has to feel alienated or afraid of the other.
How do we build such an America, where you, your children, and grandchildren feel secure living in peace an harmony anywhere in the United States.
Please note, that General Bulletin will always be first and others as needed. As we gather people to represent different faiths, and political leanings, more will be coming years to come.
CFP – General Bulletin
Over the last 24 years, we have been writing the essence of each major religious festival and contributions of the spiritual masters in making the world a better place. Wish you the very best on these festivities and celebrations. We will make an effort to do a short write up on each one of this spiritual master and their contribution in making the world a better place for all of us to live in it.
04/05 – Ramvami (Lord Ram’s Birth) Wednesday, Hinduism
04/08 – Mahavir, (Lord Mahavir’s Birth) Sunday – Jainism
04/08 – Buddha, (Buddha’s Birth) Sunday – Buddhism
04/10 – Hazrat Ali ( Hazrat Ali’s Birth) Monday – Shia Muslims
04/10 – Passover, Monday, Jewish
04/11 – Hanuman Jayanthi, Tuesday, Hinduism
04/16 – Easter, Sunday, Christianity
04/20 – Ridvan, Thursday, Bahai
4/18 – Understanding the essence of Islam – 13 religions 13 workshops
Two perspectives on what Islam is all about. Theological heavy, is it about bringing salvation to the soul through worship and make one closer to God now, and hereafter. The other perspective: It is guidance to live in harmony with yourselves and with others around you. It is not about governance but living your life and letting others live theirs. Look up for details at – http://centerforpluralism.com/workshops/
CFP – Muslim Segment | Muslim Priorities
Organ Donation and Islam
Yesterday, I was a part of Taping the video talk – discussing organ donation in Islam. Prior to the show, I sent a text to several of my Imam friends to share a verse that supports organ donations. I was surprised at the responses – from a clear ‘no’ to different degrees of responses “ They did not transplant organs then, so the question is moot”, my regular reference Imams were out, thanks to the response from Imam Omar Ahmed from Madinah Masjid in Springfield, VA– to look up 5:32, “Saving one life is like saving the whole humanity.” Perfect!
Imagine if Cain and Able had both killed each other, the whole humanity would not have been there… yes, saving one life is like saving the whole humanity. Indeed Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said, “Whosoever helps another will be granted help from Allah.”
The video will be out in a week; meanwhile I will write an article and share it with fellow Muslims to start talking about Organ Donation and how critical it is. Culturally it is a taboo, but religiously, it is the right thing to do. If any one of you has seen good material, please pass it on. I am an organ donor, are you?
By the way, a majority of the articles I write on Islam – I seek Quranic guidance from Imam Zia Sheikh of Irving Masjid in Dallas, and Imam Yahya Abdullah of Masjid Islam in Dallas (trained by America’s Imam – WD Muhammad) and both respond to my requests quickly. Now, I am glad I can count on Imam Omar Ahmed and a few other Imams. I am blessed to have their support.
What are the Muslim priorities?
It saddens me to see our time spent on these items;
- Belittling other Muslims and other organizations – Nothing to be gained from it
- Is wine forbidden in Islam? A guy who wants to drink will drink any way. Can we stop him?
Not in America – We have our own American version of Islam (it will take time to sink in) where we believe there is no compulsion in matters of what one believes. In Saudi, you can compel others, as their Islam tells them to compel people in to obedience. A full article is available on American version of Islam.
- Hijab is not in Quran – So what? It is a cultural outfit, let women have the choice to wear or not wear or wear whatever degree they want to wear. Who are we to force her to wear, and who are we to ban it? We need to learn to respect the otherness of others as long as it is not taking away anything from any one. Why is it cultural – Plenty has been written about it, here is a Ted Talk from Samina Ali – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J5bDhMP9lQ
- Who is a Kafir – I have seen these discussions for the last 15 years… Islam is not about defining others, but living your own life responsibility. You are not accountable to anyone’s actions or deeds, so why worry? We are all from Adam & Eve and we were deliberately created into different tribes, nations, religions, races, ethnicities…. By branding others, we are creating a deeper chasm – leading to disharmony and chaos. God gave us intelligence over other species so that we can restore harmony (Quran 55: 5-11) whenever there is imbalance. That is what God wants; his creation to be intact.
- Music is Haram – Have you ever watched a little baby’s response to Music? Islam is the deen of fitra – that is expression of naturalness. Music and rhythm is part of your make up. If your version of Islam says it is Haram, then don’t do it, and if other version of Islam has no problem with it, let them enjoy the music.
The idea of compelling others to do things our way (of course we put God as an excuse to impose our whims) should not even crawl in a Muslim mind, after all we are not responsible for others’ actions.
Can we focus on these instead?
- Building relationships with fellow humans – the more we understand the others, the fewer the problems we would be. http://centerforpluralism.com/program/
- Creating a secure world for self and for others. RIGHT now, we may consider this to be a priority to Muslims – all of us are apprehensive, the trust in each other is declining. Once we rebuild the trust, we can feel secure that we can retire peacefully – all that we own will stay with us and our children can live their lives without fear.
- Being a part of the American story – are we a part of fellow Americans who are not like us? Are we in each other’s birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, happy moments, sad moments, do we know what their festivals are about…. We have programs to get us there – http://centerforpluralism.com/program/
- Being the Amin of the Society – This is a powerful model Prophet Muhammad gave us, it leads to building peaceful societies where we all can live in security. http://centerforpluralism.com/american-amin-award/
- The issues that affect all Americans should be a part of our focus besides our own. We should not react to issue that affect Muslims – that is too selfish! If everyone becomes selfish, your and my life would not be easy to live.
- Focus on Creating American world around us, and not a Muslim World. That is let’s do things that benefit all of God’s creation, not just Muslims.
Republican ‘Jihadi’ John Findlay needs to apologize to Virginia Muslims
Who are the extremists? It is those who disdain reason and logic and consider these two values as the useless crutches of the weak. Facts don’t matter to them. So, here comes Jihadi John, the executive director of the Virginia State GOP and makes the following statement.
CFP – Hindu Segment
The Hindu community is shaken with the murder of the three Indians in the last month. Some of my Hindus friends are calling the other names, bigots, uneducated etc, etc…. It does not change the situation. If we learn about each other, know each other and be there for each other… problems will be fewer.
The 60 Minutes segment about IT jobs has done some damage – Indians are hard working people, it is not their fault that the companies have hired them to the jobs they can do. But the companies that are hiring them are seeking to reduce their cost – there’s got to be a balance. If Trump has done on thing right – he has given us a wakeup call on strengthening the cohesiveness of America. We cannot afford to have resentments against each other, it will take us down.
We hope to have someone run the Hindu Segment of the CFP – till then; we will carry a small amount of information as we go forward. The theme will be the same, what are Christians doing to build a cohesive America.
CFP – Jewish Segment
Jewish community is as apprehensive about the current environment as all others are.
As we move forward in perfecting our union, we have to come together more often and on more occasions. The more we see each other, the more we learn and fewer myths will be left to guess about each other. The Passover Seder is being held in different places throughout the country; just call a synagogue near you, or even a Mosque, as there are a lot of joint events being held. It is a rich experience to be there and to know fellow Americans.
More about it Pass Over Seder at: http://centerforpluralism.com/a-passover-seder-haggadah-supplement/
40 of 50 headstones at French Jewish cemetery are smashed, toppled
The incident in the eastern village of Waldwisse was discovered a day after a Holocaust monument emblazoned with a Star of David was smashed in Greece.
We hope to have someone run the Jewish Segment of the CFP – till then; we will carry a small amount of information as we go forward. The theme will be the same, what are Christians doing to build a cohesive America.
CFP – Christian Segment
The Christian Community is divided into the conservative and moderate segments.
The American Christian Leadership conference held a one day conference on “Discovering a new paradigm to address our critical challenges”. It was held at the Washington Times Conference room in Washington, DC. Thanks to Rev. Michael Jennings for inviting me and Chairman Tom McDevitt to asking me to speak about my work and my relationship with Rev. Sun Myung Moon Ministry.
The topics they covered were True Character, Leadership and Good Governance, Marriage and Family as an essential resource, Building community and civil society and America’s hope. I wish I had attended the last two items, my specialty.
We hope to have someone run the Christian Segment of the CFP – till then; we will carry a small amount of information as we go forward. The theme will be the same, what are Christians doing to build a cohesive America.
By April 2018, we will have a CFP segment for all the major religions and major political parties.
PLEASE DONATE GENEROUSLY
Meanwhile, please make a generous donation – your name will be listed for supporting our efforts in building a cohesive America. You can donate at. https://www.paypal.me/AmericansTogether
This weekly bulletin comes to you from the Center for Pluralism. The Center for Pluralism is about building a cohesive America, where no American has to live in anxiety, discomfort or fear of another American. By learning to respect the “otherness” of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, we pave the way to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill. Then we all can live our lives and not worry about other’s religion, race, sexual orientation or ethnicity. We are all Americans.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is President and Executive Director of the Center for Pluralism committed to building a cohesive America where no American has to live in tension, apprehension or fear of the other. He is a pluralist, thinker, writer, activist, motivational speaker and a news maker. He offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 65 links at www.MikeGhouse.net