Pluralism News, April 12, 2020

Dr. Mike Ghouse   April 12, 2020   Comments Off on Pluralism News, April 12, 2020

7 items | America’s Future | Easter | Passover | Muslim Charities | Corona

1. Shaping America’s Future (full article at the end)
2. Happy Easter, a Muslim Celebrates Easter
3. Happy Passover
4. Do Muslim Charities get the credit they deserve?
5. Corona’s social impact
6. Before Corona gets you, what needs to be done?
7. Please sign the relief petition for Sikhs in Afghanistan

All of it at
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When we live as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to understand each other’s sorrows and joys, and festivities and commemorations. Wouldn’t it be nice if you know a little bit about your neighbor’s festival and perhaps invite them to your celebrations to start safe neighborhoods by understanding each other? Every human and every religious group celebrate something or the other in their way, each one is different, but the essence is the same; celebrations and commemorations. A simple language is used for most people to get a gist of it.   Over the last 25 years, I am blessed to have written the essence of major festivals of almost all religions from Bahai to Zoroastrians and everyone in between. It’s all on the google search.

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While 2,000 plus Easters have come and gone, has he really risen yet? Risen within us that is? I hope and pray that each of us will let Christ rise and shine through us, so we can allow him to use us to bring about a change that we are all yearning; a world where all of God’s children are respected and honored. Happy Easter!

Whether Jesus was buried and resurrected, or taken up by God, faith in him is shared by more than half of the world inclusive of Muslims and Christians. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, his message of loving thy enemy, love thy neighbor and forgive the other will set us free. Can we celebrate that message? I want to make a point here: Jesus and his message belong to the whole humanity, just as the message of all the spiritual masters including Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Zoroaster, Nanak, and others, who are a blessing to humanity.

Perhaps I may be the first Muslim to be baptized. It was an enriching experience to me in particular, feeling the symbolic transformation of the feeling of love towards all of God’s creation. Muslims feel the same upon the performance of the Hajj Pilgrimage; we become child-like with love for all of God’s creation; life and matter. The Hindus cherish an identical feeling when they take a dip at the Sangam in River Ganges, particularly during the Kumbh Mela.

More at
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Passover is the celebration of freedom. I hope this Passover brings freedom to humanity from the Corona. I will be participating in the Passover over Zoom with Andrea Barron I have bought traditional ingredients and am ready to participate. I have been a part of Passover on and off since 2005, started at Temple Shalom in Dallas, Texas.

Passover is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the story of the Exodus when Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt. It is celebrated for seven or eight days and one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays. The highlight is the Seder meal, held in each family’s home at the beginning of the festival, when the story of their deliverance is recounted, as narrated in the Haggadah (the Telling, or the Story). Matzah, (unleavened bread) is eaten throughout the festival, as are other foods that contain no leaven (yeast). There is a significant spring cleaning in the home shortly before the festival to ensure that no trace of leaven is left in the house during Pesach. Coconut pyramids and matza balls (which are put in soups) are foods that might be eaten at this time.
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One of my Christian friends interrupted me by saying that these charities served only Muslims. I asked him if Catholic Charities was only for Catholics? He said no, then I said, so are Muslim Charities, they are out there whenever there is a disaster serving fellow humans regardless of their religion. Azim Premji is one of the biggest donors in India, maybe the biggest in India, and it goes to all Indians. Salman Khan donates 90% of his income to his Being Human foundation, which serves all Indians. During the Gujarat earthquake, I know several of my Muslim relatives gave their jewelry for the cause. Nizam of Hyderabad donated a planeload of Gold when PM Shastri called for help. He also donated large sums of money to the Banaras Hindu University. In the first week of April 2010 – two Hindus in different parts of India were given the last rites by Muslims, as the relatives did not want to go near the dead bodies of their loved ones. Frank Islam Foundation pays to promote good stories to build harmony among the people of India. The list is endless.

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A majority of us will survive Corona, some of us will not.  How do we live on or how do we leave if we don’t? It’s a 9 minutes video, and I hope it is meaningful to you.

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We have a choice to reluctantly accept what comes our way, or choose to shape the future we want. Indeed, we plan our lives about our incomes, family, residence, and retirement and future of our kids and grandchildren. We also prepare our businesses to deal with the economic vagaries to sustain and grow. 

One of the significant sources of conflict comes from our interactions with fellow countrymen, in our case, Americans. It is how we deal with each other and treat the otherness of the other with the ultimate objective of living a secure life with the least tensions.   

Corona got dumped on us, and our culture of shaking hands, sitting next to each other in the meetings, and how we talk and eat has all changed. We have become more hygiene conscious, and that is good, reluctantly we are welcoming it.  

Our Scientists and Doctors will find a cure to Corona, as they have discovered remedies for Plague, TB, Malaria, Polio, Sars, Ebola, Swine flu, Chicken flu, and other viruses. 

 When we face difficulties, we take our frustrations on each other and aggravate the situation further instead of finding solutions. We can do better than that, and we are Americans, free and brave people. 

 We have led the world in every aspect of human progress from economics to medicine, automation to information technology, and set the world on the course of the government of people by the people. Now we have to apply our ingenuity in building cohesive societies. 

At the Center for Pluralism, we are dedicated to building a cohesive America, an America where each one of us feels secure about our ethnicity, faith, culture, race, and other uniqueness. To accomplish that vision, we have several programs, events, and workshops to bring about the results. 

Where ever we go, we witness people of different faiths, races, and ethnicities interacting, working, studying, intermingling, playing, and even marrying each other. Indeed, we see America’s diversity in every public space. American democracy works for the benefit of every American. These new interactions are bound to create conflicts and pit one group of Americans against the other.

We have to prepare ourselves to prevent such conflicts so that each American can live securely with his or her faith, culture, gender, race, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. New societal norms are emerging, and we have to deal with them.

We have witnessed the attitudes of the Americans who have been here for more than two generations towards new Americans. It is not a phobia, but a natural feeling of fear of losing one’s way of life and resources. The racial conflicts and the supremacist feeling among a few are the products of non-acceptance of the other. Then some of among us are inflicted with the diseases of Anti-Semitism, Homophobia, Misogyny, Islamophobia, Hinduphobia, Xenophobia, and other phobias. How long will we let these diseases consume us in hate and tensions, we need to extricate ourselves and be the free people again? 

A vast majority of us have heard things about others from our friends, news, social media, or our knowledge of others, and we instantly form opinions about others. As responsible individuals, we must strive to strip stereotyping and build pathways to ensure the smooth functioning of our society, whether it is the workplace or our neighborhoods.

 We have no shame in poisoning our kids and screwing their lives. Through our actions, our kids imbibe our prejudices towards others in general, particularly against women, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Blacks, Conservatives, or Liberals. It must be painful for our children if they have to work with the very people whom they don’t trust. First, the organization loses productivity when employees don’t work cohesively with others. Secondly, they live in tensions at work and at home. They cannot give their 100% to work or their families and live a fuller life.  

 We have to break away from our biases toward fellow humans to live a more vibrant and happier life. 

We need to reassure each other, particularly the disconnected ones, that together as Americans, we are committed to safeguarding the American way of life. No American needs to worry about losing his or her way of life. Together as Americans, we uphold, protect, defend, and celebrate the values enshrined in our Constitution, a guarantor of the way of life for each one of us.

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. We have the programs to facilitate people to open up to each other. Knowledge leads to understanding, and understanding to acceptance of each other. 

The Center for Pluralism will continue to bring non-stop actions in bringing Americans together from different faiths, political affiliations, societies, and cultures and be a catalyst for a safe and secure America for each one of us, as we move through this transition. 

 Nothing will change unless someone takes the initiative and makes a commitment to bring about the change. To quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Mahatma Gandhi beefed it up by saying, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

At the Center for Pluralism, we are committed to building a cohesive America, an America where each one of us feels secure about our ethnicity, faith, culture, race, political and sexual orientation, and other uniqueness. 

 If your vision for America reflects these ideals, we invite you to study our home page and let us know if you are interested in joining us.

Please donate to America Together Foundation/ Center for Pluralism to achieve to work on building our future society. We are a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, your donations are tax-deductible.

 Thank you. 

 Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers.