White House, Washington, DC, September 25, 2019 — Vice President, Mr. Mike Pence, walked into the meeting held at White House titled, “Faith-Based community safety and Security Symposium.” It was a surprise visit.
At the end of his short talk, he shook hands with a few, and as he was ready to leave, I walked up towards him. The security guard held me. I waived the copy of the American Muslim Agenda in the air and signaled that I wanted to present the book to him. The Vice President walked towards me, and I said, “Sir, this book is about Understanding American Muslims and their contributions in making America Great Again. It is about building a cohesive America, and we hope to have a Muslim woman president in the year 2036. ”
He listened and promised to read the book, the’ American Muslim Agenda’ and ‘get back with me.’ I hope he would make this brief encounter as productive as he did with my previous meeting.
It was my 2nd interaction with the Vice president. The first one was at the CPAC meeting on February 23, 2017. I presented a short letter addressed to President Trump and he promised to pass it on to the President. He did, and Trumps’ first sentence at his opening address at the state of the union after acknowledging the dignitaries came from that letter. It’s here- https://centerforpluralism.com/cfp-delivers-the-letter-to-president-trump/
Then, I presented a copy of the book American Muslim Agenda to Kevin Smith, one of the directors at Home Land Security. He did the same as Attorney General Barr who stepped out of the stage to have a conversation with me and to receive a copy of the Book American Muslim Agenda. His kind gesture is appreciated.
About 200 individuals representing several faiths attended the event. Amanda Robbins had organized the event precisely and perfectly. Muslim leadership was also present, and it was good to see them all. Hurun Nisa-Adams Center, Imam Faizul Khan-Masjid ISWA, Imam Talib Shareef of Masjid Muhammad, Akhtar Hossain-MACCP, Oussama Jammal-USCMO, and Dr. Ashraf Sufi-ISNA. There may have been a few others, and I did not know them.
Imam Talib Shariff shared his experience with the gun-toting white supremacists four years ago. Of course, they decided to cancel the meeting in all the 17 Mosques around the nation. Here, about 400 non-Muslim neighbors had formed a human chain to defend the Mosque. The point was made by all, that it is necessary to build relationships with the communities we live in. Each community had faced severe harassment and what helped them were their neighbors. There were several discussions, and one of them was a panel about the security measures taken by each place of worship. The participants were Imam Talib Shareef, President, and Imam of the Nation’s Mosque, Brad Orsini of the Jewish Federation of Pittsburg, Pastor Frankie Jones from a Baptist Church in Virginia, Kiran Gill, the executive director of Sikh American Legal Defense Fund.
There is another version of the same story dealing with 17 gun-toting White Supremacists.
In September 2015, the group that did not like Muslims were planning to hold anti-Muslim demonstrations across 17 (or 19) mosques in the United States. At a meeting of 30 plus Muslim leaders, chaired by Congressman Keith Ellison at CAIR’s national headquarters, they were about to decide to close the Mosques and not deal with the gun toters.
Thanks to Congressman Keith Ellison for letting me speak, which was seconded by Dalia Mogahed and the whole narrative changed. I presented it as an opportunity to welcome the strangers with full hospitality by serving them water, hot dogs, and waving American Flags.
When they come with their guns to demonstrate in front of the Mosque, expecting Muslims to be hostile, let them learn that Muslims are hospitable people and hope it will change their false perception about Muslims. When they see Muslims are as patriotic as them, It will speed up the process of acceptance of Muslims as a part of the American family of faiths. A press release was sent and published in 100 plus News Papers, and thank God, they decided, that their teasing will not work and canceled the demonstrations across the nation.
The program at the White House was managed very well and ran by the minute. However, due to the walk-in by the VP, it was off by 20 minutes, and they were apologetic about it. You have got to admire the American system, where everyone is equal. Indeed, equality is one of the 12 Islamic values highlighted in the book American Muslim Agenda, fully backed up with verses from the Quran.
Thanks to Dr. Basheer Ahmed, Dr. Nauman Anwar, and Farooq Khan and a few others who understood the necessity of communicating with the elected officials and have them see the Muslim point of view.
The visionaries mentioned above decided to fund the books to present to the Senators, Congressmen, State Department, White House and Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Thus far, over 100 books have been distributed, and ten more books reserved for Texas Senators and a few Congressmen to be presented as a gift from Dr. Nauman Anwar. Now that the Congress is back from their summer break, I will be reaching them. We will place more books in the hands of the presidential candidates. We need funding for another 100 books, you can buy and ship them to me, and I will deliver it to the designated Senators and Congressmen, but first, you need to read the value of the book, the Muslim efforts to build a cohesive America.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a thinker, author, speaker, newsmaker and an interfaith wedding officiant. His new book American Muslim Agenda is available on Amazon. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is the Executive Director at the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. His information is at linked-in.