Muslim Bulletin | 11.01.15

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Some thoughts
1. Who is a Moderate Muslim?
2. Donald Trump is right for once. Burqa is a matter of choice
3. Should Engagement with mainstream society be our priority?
4. Beyond Tolerance, a call to religious freedom and hopeful action
5. A successful Parliament of World’s Religions
6. Where do you stand politically and socially?

7. Muslim issues across the world; Syria, Rohingya, Palestine, Yemen
8. India’s Modi letting India down

American Muslim Institution,
a hope for Muslims in America

1. Who is a Moderate Muslim?

Some argue that there is no such thing as a Moderate Muslim, because moderation is what makes a Muslim, we are supposed to be moderates.  The other side of the argument is that, there are three types of Muslims based on their attitudes towards others; Right-wing (~10%), Left-wing (~10%)  and the Moderates (~80%) that is how we broadly describe Christians, Jews, Hindus and others. (The ~% are not empirical)

The right wingers not only strongly believe what they believe, but seek ways to enforce their views on others in varying degrees. The  ISIS, Wahhabis, Talibans, Hindutva, Neocons, extreme Zionists and their likes fall into the Right-wing category. Please remember, we are all slaves of our beliefs, and there is always a room for each one of us to free ourselves.  A small percentage among the right believes in killing or using force to bring a change and or control others.

The left on the other hand go to the other extreme, they are open to every idea and believe in total freedom, their boundaries are too thin. There are issues with it, for example, when the sex freedom took over in the 60’s, it generated a lot of VD’s. We have to have rules to follow for the common good of all.

A “moderate Muslim” is someone who respects the otherness of others and accepts the God-given uniqueness of each person. He gets along with everyone and minds his own faith and let others mind theirs,  and he is not hung up with people of other faiths, races or cultures. He is not biased towards Muslims who differ from him, he knows each one is responsible for his own actions and no one will carry other’s burdens on the Day of Judgment. He is equally at ease with Muslims of different practices.  He will rarely entertain the idea of controlling or forcing others to be obedient. It is not in his or genes.

It is ironic that all the three groups have a similar goal – to have the society function cohesively, but their understanding of ‘how to do it’ creates problems.  

The argument is made, if you use the term Moderate Muslims it implies, others are not. That is not the case, we are all moderates, and we need to say it to distinguish from those who are not, particularly when all of us are lumped as one. Those who argue against the usage still refer to ISIS as fringe, or those who misinterpret Quran, it is their choice. Aren’t they radicals? Doesn’t that make the majority of us moderates?

God allows every human to seek repentance till his or her last breath, and we need to strive to work with every one to bring harmony among humanity.

I am comfortable being a Moderate Muslim and this is how I had introduced myself to Dr. Ben Carson, ” I am a moderate Muslim, one of the 6 million of American Moderate Muslims and am with American Muslim Institution.I would like to hear your opinion on this. 

2. Donald Trump is right for once. Burqa is a matter of choice

I am not supporting any candidate right now, but certainly hope to engage with each one of them and let them know that we are available to offer free consulting on Islam and Muslims. I do praise what is good in an individual and critique what is bad.

The full article is pending publication, but here are a few excerpts;

Born and raised in New York, Trump understands diversity. He probably has seen all the cultural expressions of New York’s inhabitants, and seems to have accepted diversity as a part of God’s creation.

The Burqa is a regional and a cultural wear and not a religious garment. But over a period of time, culture and religion in certain parts of the Middle East and Central Asia have blended and become inseparable. Being cultural, it varies from country to country– not all Muslim women wear Burqa; A Muslim woman’s modesty garments vary from a simple scarf to wrap-around scarf to a shuttle-cock covering. Trump is right when he says Burqa “is a matter of individual choice.”

The purpose of Hijab (covering) is twofold; to ensure safety of women through modesty, and to prevent men from staring at the obvious. The Quran says to men; “Lower your gaze” and to women, “Cover your bosoms” and live freely without apprehensions.

Except for a few women from major metropolitan cities, most Indian women from all faiths will not wear mini-skirts when they are here in America; you cannot get them to wear it either and that is their comfort zone.
I took my kids to every place of worship so they could grow up to be accepting of others, and when I went to the Baptist Church I wore casual clothes, and my jeans had a hole on the back pocket, I was comfortable with that, but my wife was not, so the next day my favorite pants disappeared. Culture means conformity with others in a given situation.
Women should not be a game for men – they should have the freedom to wear what gives them comfort. No man should tell her to wear or not to wear the Burqa. It should be her choice.
It is utterly wrong to conclude that Muslim, Sikh, Hindu or Christian men treat their women badly. No, that is not the truth. You will find a similar percentage of men in all groups treating women badly. It has got to go.
What is it to you if a woman wears Burqa or not? What is your gain or loss? Let it be her choice.
Full article has some good examples and explains about the comfort zones. Once published, it will be shared, but either way it will be at on Tuesday.

3. Should Engagement with mainstream society be our priority?

We have to become Amins of the society, that is being truthful, just, kind, trust worthy and be a safe zone others. Every one should feel safe with us. People have to trust us and be comfortable telling us like they feel, that is when we can solve problems. If we get angry, ridicule or chase them away, problems will linger forever. We have to be good patient listeners.

I am blessed to be a small fraction of an Amin, and to me that is the most important part of being a Muslim, and it may be the foundation of Islam and building peaceful societies.

Here are two interactions this week:

Todd writes, “I agree people should be free and dress as they choose but even liberal minded people will have reactions. I have a really hard time with the face covering. I feel a strong negative whenever I see it in a way I never feel about other kinds of religious garb worn by either men or women. I don’t fully understand my reaction, but I think people in public should be recognizable and identifiable … it feels like a cultural kind of contract or expectation, like covering genitals. In Rome, durring a summer in the ’90s it was a thing for men to walk around the city in Speedos and an open front shirt. It was really revolting and I had a strong negative reaction to the immodesty of it. My reaction to face covering is equally strong but for a different reason. My reactions to either instance are way different. I feel tempted mock the immodest tourist. I don;t feel that way about the face covered woman. I just really wish they wouldn’t hide themselves away, indicting everyone around them by the need for such protection..”

My response:
Thanks for sharing your feeling, indeed, I had the very same feeling for years… until my late wife gave me a panic attack…. and that changed my attitude as I had to go thru questioning myself and my attitude.  One day, she announced that she will start wearing the Burqa. She had never worn any kind of Hijab other than covering her head during the prayers, which most women do. For a few minutes I was dumbed down; I acted like a snake had bitten me.  I had to arrest myself before speaking, as the thoughts raced. “Am I a brute to tell her not to wear? Can I tell her not to wear? Will I go out shopping with her in that Burqa?” It was quite a mental exercise for me, and I am glad I was put to the test and finally said, “Najma, that is your choice”. She was probably testing to see if the man who believes in equality would live up to his words. 


Note: Piyush is an influential nationally know Indian American, he is anti-Muslim from the core and is on my group for the last ten years, I did not cut him off, my challenge was to have him see a different point of view… like Sean Hannity, it took me 5 years for this man to come around and acknowledge things…. and be less ill-ful, it will take some more time. There was one writer at Dallas Morning News who was rabid Islam hater in 2003, today, he is my friend and wants to write a profile about me. He will defend Islam now. 

If you are in public and want to change things, you have a huge responsibility to bear, including  humility and insults, but never let your faith, nation or culture be blamed for your  responses, especially those that ridicule others.  You will always win by being good.

Piyush Bhai,

I don’t do things to earn respect or something else, I do it because it is my duty, I will do my Dharma and it is up to the creator to give the fruit – both of the holy books Quran and the Bhagvad Gita say that. I don’t need anything but encourage people to understand each other and live in peace.

Many a Indians admired the Chief Ministers Modi,  Jay Lalitha, Mamta, Yadav and others who went against the central government , and brought prosperity to their states.  Democracy was vibrant then. 

The Manmohan Singh Government was on their toes, they had to be very careful as the states questioned them. If there was no opposition, don’t know what Manmohan would have done… 

Now Modi is at the center, and our social fabric of the nation is falling apart, the failure to win Delhi Elections  cut their arrogance down, and now, the failure in Bihar will give them warnings to get their act together. 

Who would be better off if the Modi government gets its act together?
Dissent is one of the most valuable asset of democracy. 

Take care

Brother Mike:

Thanks for a very thoughtful response; especially the line “Dissent is one of the most valuable asset of democracy. “

Best wishes,
PS.  I hope the opinion stated below by you becomes our “guiding principle.”

4. Beyond Tolerance, a call to religious freedom and hopeful action

Washington, DC – October 22, 2015 —  Evangelical Ministers, Imams and community leaders gathered up in Washington, DC to figure out how to co-exist. 

It was a powerful event loaded with unpleasant statistics but paved the way for taking the next step; action.  We the Muslims need to seriously focus on positive engagement.  Over 100 people attended the event – and per the independent research, the Evangelical pastors have a much lower opinion of Islam and Muslims than the general American public. A heart to heart conversation took place followed by a pledge to improve the situation.  My dear friend Imam Zia Sheikh is a big part of it.
The survey provided the tools and gave us a starting points for engagement. I have taken pictures of the slides, but will get their power point and put together an action plan for consideration.    

The event was headed by Pastor Bob Roberts of Texas ( a great friend) and Imam Maged of Adams Center, it was held at the First Baptist Church in Glenarden outside the beltway on North East side of Washington, DC. 

I have absorbed these facts with a determination to improve the perceptions about us and hope to give presentations to Muslim and non-Muslim groups in behalf of American Muslim Institution, please let me know if you would like to  arrange a gathering of at least 25 Muslims and non-Muslims who can do simple things to change the perceptions and create a society where all of us can live without apprehensions.

The full story, Catherine Orsborn is the Director of shoulder to shoulder campaign, thank God for her efforts. The report, her speech and pictures are at:

5. A successful Parliament of World’s Religions

Euphoric is the best word to describe the feeling one had during this conference. Where else can you learn so much about a religion, particularly other’s religion? Indeed, it was a myth busting event about Islam. Nearly 10,000 people representing over 200 faith traditions attended the event.

It really was a Muslim rally, the word Muslim was plastered all over the programs, the Chairman is a Muslim, the emcee for the key event was a female Muslim Doctor in her late 20’s…. it was a much needed event.  Thank God, there was a good Muslim participation. 
Indeed, if we want to become a part of the mainstream, and if ISNA, ICNA and others can join and do the parliament kind event for people of all faiths, Muslims would be much better off in the long run. It will give the opportunity for non-Muslims to see that we are good people just like them and bust the stereo typing that Fox News has created.

Here is a report with some pictures and more will be written about it.

6. Where do you stand politically and socially?

How do your beliefs align with the potential candidates? You may surprise yourselves, and I did, for years I was a Republican fighting and writing about the differences, when I took the quiz, I felt more in tune with Democratic values than Republicans, however, I chose to go independent, as I value the candidates in both parties who represent inclusive values.  More about it at :

To take the quizzes go to 

7. Muslim issues across the world; Syria, Rohingya, Palestine, Yemen

Those of you who cannot donate money, time or services, here is a simple option, that is some thing I have done and urge you to consider.  Give up two meals, 2 coffees and 2 sodas a week and send that money to the cause of refugees. You don’t have to stand on the sidelines, you can be a part of the whole and you can do it. We need to quit talking sympathies and start the actions, it is good for us spiritually when our talks and acts correlate.


8. India’s Modi letting India down

If Prime Minister Modi does not speak up on the issue and stop the extremists of his party members to run over him, he will make India, a Langda India; that is a limping India.

A solid India stands on two firm legs; 1) Prosperity and 2) Social Cohesion.

Prosperity is creating jobs, raising income levels, pulling the ones in ditches onto a level playing field to build a larger Middle class and create an expanded consumer base, whose consumption will create jobs and the economy will multiply and the standards of living will go up. The more people do well, the better the nation does.  Modi is talking big about it and we can give him two years to produce results.

Social Cohesion on the other hand is like a human’s body cohesion – heart, brain, kidneys, liver, vision, nose, tongue, touch, hearing, and the flow of blood, breathing and all parts of the body need to function cohesively to be normal. One failure can cause the whole thing to fail or make the body ineffective. If you think the discharge part of the body is less important, wait till it stops, it will cause the whole or part of the body to malfunction.  Like wise, all people have to function together well, and it is in the interest of the body that it makes up the deficiencies, so we as humans, and as Indians have to meet those deficiencies in fellow Indians.

Those of you who are blinded by the love for Mr. Modi, I appeal to you to look for greater love for the nation. Modis will come and go, but the Nation will continue. I am challenging your patriotism, none of us want India to go down, so let our loyalty be to India and not Modi, until he proves that he can keep these two functions in shape, I will hold my praise for him, will you?

I don’t want my India to be a Langda India, neither do you? If we all wake up and criticize Mr. Modi, guess what will happen? He will be motivated to do the right thing. Don’t you want that? 

Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached. Swami Vivekananda must have meant this for us in 2015 and 2016.

NOTE: Those of you who have an interest in Indian affairs, please visit my blog for articles and my notes on India 

American Muslim Institution,
a hope for Muslims in America

Under the leadership of Ambassador Islam Siddiqui and Dr. Aquilur Rahman, we have formed American Muslim Institution.

Our vision for American Muslims is simple, we would like to shape and see “An America in which all religious and ethnic communities contribute to her success while living in peace and harmony, free from prejudice and discrimination.”  As we continue to work with the pace we are working, in about three years, “Americans will see Muslims as their neighbors and fellow citizens, committed to fighting against violent extremism and protecting the homeland.” 

Our mission is, ” To be a credible, proactive voice for American Muslims and to promote a positive image of Muslims through dialogue and understanding both within the American Muslim community and with other American religious communities, civic and political leaders, and opinion makers. “

If you would like to be a part of the team, please arrange for a meeting in your town with at least 25 individual men and women who are committed to bring the change personally or can facilitate it. We hope to make this  a productive meeting for American Muslims.

Ambassador Islam Siddiqui and I, or either one of us will be happy to join you and share our vision. 

Please visit our website, 

Mike Ghouse at (214) 325-1916 

Please note, the above opinions and items are my own, and no one but me is responsible for them. AMI’s views are expressed only at

Here is a profile written by a friend recently:

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