Muslims say no to Bikini at Miss World Pageant – Mike Ghouse on Fox News

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On The O’Reilly factor between Greg Gutfeld, sitting in for Bill O’Reilly at Fox News,  and Mike Ghouse, president of America Together Foundation and the World Muslim Congress about the Indonesian ban on bikini at Miss World Pageant.

Fox News Video:

I have stood up for every race, ethnicity, culture and religion, and this time I am standing up for Muslim sensitivities to ban Bikini at the Miss World Pageant in Indonesia to be held on September 28, in Jakarta, Indonesia. We have to stand up for up for every one’s right to be who they are and who they want to be.

Of course, this is a fodder for the Islamophobes to cash in on hyping up the situation that radical Muslims are gaining control in every sphere of life, and that they will take over the world.  My fellow Americans like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer will squeeze every penny out of their nincompoop supporters. The more they frighten, the more donations will roll in; frightening Americans is their business.

I am thankful to Fox News and Greg Gutfeld to take me on the O’Reilly show to share my perspective.  The show was broad casted between 8 and 9 PM EST on Friday, June 7, 2013. Most of my talking points made it in the show but a few critical ones did not and they are here below. 

The bikini ban did not happen overnight, it was a part of the year long negotiated business transaction between the organizers of Miss World and the Indonesian cultural and tourism authority. 

 One of the great American values is to respect the sensitivities of other people. What is good for the goose has got be good for the gander.  Dale Carnegie had perfect words for this situation, “If you want to gather the honey, don’t kick the beehive”.

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

That is exactly what the Miss World Pageant did; they agreed to respect the Indonesian culture, predominantly Muslim to address their concerns. When in Rome, do as Romans do.
“All of the more than 130 contestants will be required to wear Bali’s traditional long sarongs instead of the sexy bikinis that are historically part of the competition, “said Adjie S. Soeratmadjie of the RCTI, the official broadcaster and local organizer.

In fact the chairwoman of the Miss World Organization, Julia Morley said, “Indonesia is designing for us a very beautiful one-piece beachwear, and I’m very happy with them,” she told The Associated Press by phone from London, adding that the pageant will include a special beachwear fashion show.

In America we call it lobbying and bribe the decision makers in one form or the other and get the job done, the Indonesia garment industry probably was looking to promote their version of the bikini in to the world market through the pageant. 

As Americans, we are open to most things, but we have our own problems. We have protested against the sinful ugly war, Muslim protests against Bikini, so what?

Aren’t we sensitive to the needs of our business?

Would a traditional Jewish family eat in a restaurant where the meat is not kosher? If the restaurant is predominantly in a Jewish community or Muslim community, it is in their business interest to serve Kosher/ Halal meat, is it not? 

So what if we are sensitive to the needs of Muslims in a predominantly Muslim community? Why should we push our way on to them? Do they push their ways on to us?

We should be proud of the demonstrators, it is a healthy sign of democracy, if the Republicans do not protest, and Obama will get away with many things. Protesting is the democratic thing to do, and we must appreciate it. 

Forget the Jews, Muslims and Hindus; would you and I eat dog meat, if that is served in a restaurant? Did we not protest Horse meat in burgers? Hindus protested about beef ingredient in the French Fries as well.  What about McRib by McDonalds?  What did Jack in the box and McDonald’s do? They did not appease any one; they did what was right for their business, just as the Miss World Pageant did to protect their business.

Why do we need to piss people off? What is our gain? Dale Carnegie had once said if you want to gather the honey, you don’t kick the beehive. We need to be sensitive to the needs of the culture we operate in.

Opposing Bikini is not necessarily a Muslim thing to do; it is indeed a Cultural thing. Hindus have done, Muslims have done and Christians have done it. 

In 1996 the pageant was marked by violent protests in India – Mind you this was done by the Predominantly Hindi culture. The event was culture sensitive, the models danced to traditional Indian music and dance.

There is the business angle – 2 billion people watched it. 

When Tebow knelt on the field, how many Christian Americans loved it?

Bangalore was flooded by 10,000 Para military troopers, water hoses, sniffer dogs to protect the event from the protestors. “Shashikala, leader of Mahila Jagran Samiti (Forum for Awakening Women) which had promised the immolation protest, remained at large, police said. But an unemployed man in southern India died after setting himself ablaze in protest.”  
Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez had to mend their dance moves for the fear of riots, you cannot call this a Muslim thing either, the same things have happened everywhere in different parts of the world with different pretexts. 

As far as Greg Gutfeld throwing in the London incident of hacking a soldier without giving me the time to respond was not the right thing, he should not have brought it up to begin with. Greg Gutfeld’s fears are misdirected. If I was the police commissioner of United Kingdom, I would have said this to the criminal, “Shut up you criminal, you violently hacked another being to death for no reason, I am going to book you, you can plead insanity, I may have that evaluated, but if you abuse your religion or Qur’an, I am not going to spare you – no Muslim organization in UK had authorized you, and neither Quran authorized you to murder another being – As a civil society, we know only one thing – you are a plain criminal, pleading religion is inadmissible, you are in for a long haul and a criminal.”

Let the Muslims protest, it is their right to do and we have to admire their freedom. 


In an effort to placate religious Muslims, organizers of the Miss World competition have jettisoned the bikini competition for this year’s pageant in majority-Muslim Indonesia. Greg debated the ban with Mike Ghouse of the World Muslim Congress. “I stand with the Muslims and their sensitivities,” Ghouse said. “They have the right to defend what they believe in and we should be proud of them for protesting, which is the sign of a healthy democracy. This is a business decision – if you want to open a restaurant in a Jewish neighborhood, you want to sell kosher food. In this case, they’re doing this show in a predominantly Muslim country.” But Greg contended that the move was made primarily out of fear: “I have a feeling it’s more about capitulation than sensitivity, it’s the intolerance of Muslims who threaten violence.”

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 aCohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day 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 indexes his work through many links.

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