Pakistanis to rejoice!
A lot of good news is pouring in from different angles. I have made recommendations for a Posthumous Peace Award to Asma Jahangir who lifted the name of Pakistan among nations who have fought for human rights.
Now in the last few months, there is a burst of activism in Pakistan about Pluralism, some great articles have been written about it. They are all here at the Center for Pluralism site which you can also access through www.PluralismNews.com – It is about Pluralism in religion, politics, society, and culture across the globe, particularly in places where there are more than two or three religious, political parties and ethnicities exist.
In September 2016, Syed Yaqoob Shah an Aalim and I worked on conducting seminars on Interfaith in Pakistan, my health did not permit me to go, but Shah Saheb made it happen and now he has taken interfaith activism to new heights and hosts a weekly show on Facebook. When Diwali was celebrated, he invited key Muslim religious leaders and we talked about eating the Prasad – food blessed in the name of God. A lot of myths have been busted through these interactions about Hindus. For Hindus it is divine, for Muslims, it is just good tasting food given with affection and caring without any religiosity.
A few years ago, I received calls from Multan and Karachi about Pluralism, then we had three delegations from Pakistan as Department of State’s guests with whom I spent half a day each about sharing what Pluralism in religion, politics, society, and culture means, and how the interfaith activities are carried forward here in the United States.
Two decades ago, the word Pluralism was resented by the conservatives and right-leaning men from among people representing different faiths, but in particular Muslims. Many of them continue to misunderstand the word Pluralism; it is not a mix-match or a Hodge Podge or giving up your beliefs and traditions. I was consistently attacked for propagating what pluralism is, but now, after six speaking events, some 3500 articles and several discussions people have opened up.
Pluralism, my friends is simply an attitude of respecting the otherness of others and never giving up your culture, religion or politics, instead, we remain who we are, and the others remain who they are, but together we work on acknowledging our uniquenesses, differences, and commonalities to figure out how to live in harmony. Quran strongly supports this.
Please mark your calendar for a Dinner and entertainment night on Saturday, April 4/21/18 in Washington, DC and April 28 in Dallas, Texas. Many of you had attended the 19th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner, this would be an evening to remember. We will be mailing formal invitation, please send your mailing address to – CenterforPluralism@gmail.com
Center for Pluralism
Pluralism Is Necessary for The World’s Collective Survival
Faryal Baloch from Multan writes, and I endorse it. “She writes, “Pluralism in societies or one may say a religious society doesn’t mean to eradicate the differences or smooth things up under one canopy. Pluralism specifically means to reinvent the ways of living, arguing, connecting and disagreeing in a society of differences and inequality. It’s always dangerous to keep discussing and complicating the “religious identities “and “religious violence” which often derail our understandings about the concept of pluralistic societies. Religion is everywhere. The much-needed pluralism is necessary to bridge the gaps between different cultures and religious worlds.”
Pakistan discovering the true meaning of Pluralism
Stretching from the cradle of civilisation, the Indus Valley, to central India, the Thar is regarded as the only fertile desert in the world. It’s a region not only fertile for vegetation, but also for religious and cultural harmony. Mithi, where about 80% of the population is Hindu, is the commercial hub of Tharparkar. It doesn’t take long for one to notice the Hindu influence in the city, with houses adorned with ‘Om’s and colourful mandirs with deities perched on top of their entrances – a very different sight from the sacrosanct “MashAllah” emblem on every other house in Rawalpindi.
Pakistan inculcating the values of tolerance
Another panel discussion was moderated by Afia Salam on the following theme: how well do students understand the world they live in? They all demanded calling collaboration between government and citizens-based initiatives in the arena of education especially to improve school learning methodologies. More at https://centerforpluralism.blogspot.com/2018/02/pakistan-inculcating-values-of.html
The Pakistani American Doctor’s Organization – An exemplary Organization
Dr. Vasdev Lohano, the outgoing president of the association and I had a brief conversation during a break, and I am pleased to share the gist of it. Talking about the cohesiveness of his organization, his pride came through in these words, “Culture trumps religion and binds us together with language, customs, heritage, arts etc. We should focus our energies to promote culture to create harmony among each other. I have seen so many times people forget who you are if you start talking with them in their language.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/the-pakistani-american-do_b_5323434.html#es_share_ended
A Blue Print for American Muslims
This book will be out in April. The Blueprint will address the issues that have kept Muslims in silos, ghettos, clusters and in tiny ponds and offers guidance to come out of the shells and connect with fellow Americans. As a community, American Muslims have not developed any concrete plans to extricate themselves out of the chaotic situations, hostility and incessant Islamophobic rhetoric they face. Each time a terrorist acts out, they start praying and wishing that the terrorist were not a Muslim. Then condemnations and denial will follow; that the terrorist is fringe, he is not one of them or he is an extremist. Then they will start combating the conservative media defending the faith. This book is a primer to a Blueprint for Muslims to consider. A Muslim is someone who should be a conflict mitigator and goodwill nurturer, a formula for peaceful societies practiced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and guided by Quran.
What do we do at the Center for Pluralism?
If you want America to function cohesively, where you feel secure about yourselves, your faith, your face, race, ethnicity, culture and even your politics, we have a space for you. If you wish to be part of the Center for Pluralism as a volunteer, donor, scholar, or a writer, please write to Mike@Centerforpluralism.com – Most of our articles can also be accessed by clicking www.PluralismNews.com
To build integrated and safe societies, Muslims or anyone should not be living in their own ponds of their world, they need to be a part of the whole universe. Our work at the Center for Pluralism involves embracing the whole humanity – the more we know each other, the fewer the problems we will have. Under the guidance of Allah who is Rab of the Aalameen, Prophet who is Rahmat to the Aalameen, Muslims may consider being servants of the Aalameen instead of chasing our own tails. Everyone’s safety hinges on the security of people around them.
Marriage is indeed an expression of a commitment to a relationship between two individuals. The men and women who take the bold step to become one regardless of their origins, faiths, races, and ethnicities must be applauded. They are setting an example of how to live in harmony despite their differences. God says he has created every species in pairs, and then he uploads love among them and God must like this.
Interfaith marriages are becoming the new norm of the society. In a few years, one out of two marriages would be of interfaith. Yes, this is across the board, whether you are a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Baha’i, Atheist or the other. According to the Pew survey, 40% of people of faiths will be marrying a person of another faith, it is higher among Jews, it is 50%. There is a good well-researched article – Can a Muslim woman marry a non-Muslim man? A few of you may not like it, but if you read through the arguments, you may see the validity in it. Details at – www.InterfaithMarriages.org
It makes sense to create a better world for all of us, then our world will be secure. Your donations are tax-deductible – its a 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit organization.
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Please send your questions to Mike@Centerforpluralism.com
COMING UP FOUR BOOKS THIS YEAR
- Blueprint for American Muslims – April 2018 – how can Muslims shape the future
- Standing up for others – July 2018 – Why should anyone stand up for you, if are not willing to stand up for others.
- Americans Pluralism – November 2018 – The origins and practice of Pluralism in America
- Mistakes Muslims Make – September 2018 – This may piss a few Muslims and Muslim organizations. The book points out the mistakesMuslimss make and offers solutions to watch for such traps.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is blessed to have stood up for the rights of people of every faith from Atheists to Zoroastrians including Native Americans, Pagans, immigrants, Wicca and LGBTQ communities across the globe. He has a solid record of work for each one of these communities and a book is being written chronicling this work as an encouragement to people to enjoy the joys of “standing up for others”.
Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. As we learn to respect the “otherness” of others and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts will fade and solutions emerge. He has dedicated his life for this purpose and offers programs to bring about the positive change—to create cohesive societies.
Center for Pluralism