Sunday, June 24, 2012

Film: Is this the America you want?




We are pleased to release the final cut of the trailer for the film
, Americans Together, Building a cohesive America. When complete, it will reflect most aspects of Americans, and their trials and tribulations, hopes and aspirations and their persistent pursuit of happiness. Whether you are a Native American, immigrant or a great grand immigrant, you would be able to relate to it. We will weave a story into the film to appeal to the larger audience.

Here is a trailer of the movie;



What difference will it make?

The famous story about a man walking on the beach picking the star fish and releasing in the ocean comes to my mind. It did not make sense to an observer watching it every day, so he asks the man, what difference does it make by saving one, when thousands of them out dying on the beach every day? The wise man replies, it made it to the one I released in the water, didn’t it?

In the 100 minutes film, we want to project the most critical issues we face as a nation and possible solutions. Nothing will ever change if we do nothing about it.

All issues are important, if we have to pick a few to fit in the time frame, then we have to pass some, not because they are not important, but because we have to hit ones that affect most of the population. That is our limitation.

It is a test for all of us, who would be involved as we move forward to genuinely assess and value issues that are more significant than our own? We will never be 100% right, but we can do the best we can.

The first investment is camera and related equipment; you can see the difference in quality of a few clips from the personal video and professional video. To have the right equipment and get the right effect we need the professional camera and paraphernalia. I need individuals to assist me in DC, NY, LA, Seattle, Chicago, Miami and Dallas.

If you believe, the movie will become a contributor towards bringing a positive change in America, where every one can continue to live his or her life without apprehension, please support, and please contribute generously. Your support will be listed at the website. You can donate any sum at http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/

Thank you

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916
America Together Foundation
www.AmericaTogetherFoundation.com
Dallas, Texas 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Muslim Speaker Mike Ghouse

NURTURING PLURALISTIC VALUES EMBEDDED IN ISLAM 

A Muslim Speaker, thinker, organizer and an activist committed to building cohesive societies with a belief that what is good for Muslims has got to be good for the world and vice versa to sustain peace, harmony and prosperity.

To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; Life and Matter. Over 1000 articles have been published on a range of topics in Islam and Pluralism. Insha Allah, a book outlining the Muslim vision is on the horizon.



In defense of Islam, pursuing a civil dialogue

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/columnists/steve-blow/20100919-In-defense-of-Islam-pursuing-9397.ece  
Over and over you hear it said: If Muslims oppose terrorism, why don't they stand up and say it?

 

If that has been you, Mike Ghouse ought to be your hero.

It is hard to imagine that anyone has worked harder than the Carrollton resident to demonstrate the peaceful and moderate side of Islam.

And that effort includes personally visiting Dallas' First Baptist Church last Sunday just to put a friendly face on the "evil, evil religion" that the Rev. Robert Jeffress denounced a few weeks before.

"It was wonderful," Ghouse said of the visit. "We were so warmly received."
He hopes a quick chat with Jeffress will be the start of deeper discussion about Islam and the importance of respect between religions.

"I want to have a dialogue with him, not to say he is wrong but to share another point of view," Ghouse said.

The 57-year-old Muslim was born in India and has lived in the United States for 30 years. He owns a small property management firm. But most of his day is devoted to building bridges between people of different faiths.

"It is my passion," he said in his distinctive raspy voice.

He has been a guest a dozen times on Sean Hannity's TV and radio talk shows. "I don't like the way Sean cuts me off, but I have to honor him for giving the American public a semblance of another point of view."

Ghouse said he can understand fear and criticism of Islam because he went through a time of similar feelings. As a teen, he was troubled by passages of the Quran. He called himself an atheist for a while.

But he said deeper study led him to realize the Quran had been purposely mistranslated down through history.

In the Middle Ages, European leaders commissioned a hostile Quran translation to foster warfare against Muslim invaders.

Later, Muslim leaders produced another translation to inflame Muslims against Christians and Jews.

"It was all for politics," he said.
Ghouse said he hopes to present Jeffress with a modern, faithful translation and challenge him to find evil verses.

"If he can, I will convert. I will join his church," Ghouse said. "If he can't, I will call on him to retract his statements and become a peacemaker."

Ghouse acknowledges that deep problems persist within Islam. "Three steps forward, two steps back," he said with a sigh.

And he agrees that mainstream Muslims have not done enough to counter violent images of their faith.

"That is very true," he said. "But part of it is that many Muslims have given up hope that we will ever be heard."

He said repeated denunciations of terrorism seem to fall on deaf ears.

And some efforts have backfired - like the proposed Islamic information center in New York. He said it should be hailed for furthering the moderate Muslim cause.
Instead, it has deepened hostility toward Muslims.

I have been astounded by the amount of anti-Islam propaganda that circulates via e-mail. Tons of it has come my way in the last few weeks.

One theme is that people like Mike Ghouse can't be trusted, that Islam encourages deception.

But Ghouse says actions speak louder than words. And he points to elections in Muslim nations.

More than half of Muslims live in countries with some degree of democracy. And time and time again, Islamist parties are overwhelmingly rejected in favor of secular, mainstream parties.

"The religious parties don't get more than 3 percent of the vote," Ghouse said.
Polls show deep mistrust of Muslims. "But the most important question in those surveys is: 'Do you know anything about Islam?' " Ghouse said. "Most people say no."
What keeps him going is faith in Americans, he said.

"The majority of Americans, if they know the truth, they will change their minds."
 
# # #

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, writer, thinker, futurist and an activist of Pluralism, Islam, India and Civil Societies passionately offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

He is a commentator at Fox News on the Hannity show, nationally syndicated Radio shows along with Dallas TV, Print and Radio networks and occasional interviews on NPR.  He has spoken at international forums including the Parliament of Worlds Religions in Melbourne, Middle East Peace initiative in Jerusalem, International Leadership conference in Hawaii, Washington and elsewhere.

Concerned by the divisiveness, he saw the need to bring Americans together and founded America Together Foundation committed to building a cohesive America, indeed it is in response to ACT America which is bent on pitching one American against the other.  We will be holding series of educational programs, conferences and workshops to address the issues that divide us such as Civil Right, GLBT, Quraan, Abortion, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Racial Profiling and Stereotyping.

The Annual Unity Day USA is in its 7th year now, it is a purposeful event to bring Americans together, on this Unity Day, we the people of the United States of America of every faith, race, ethnicity, culture and background will gather to express our commitment to co-existence, unity, prosperity and wellbeing of our nation.  

Thanksgiving Celebration is in its 15th year showcasing cultural diversity.

The 5th Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides is to learn and to acknowledge and reflect upon the terrible things we have inflicted upon each other and commit to avert such tragedies.  Through this event non-Jewish people have consciously learned about Holocaust for the first time, it was also for the first time that people of 14 faiths came together to join in to commemorate the Holocaust that commemorated within the Jewish Community for years. They are not alone anymore in their anguish, we are all in it together with them, and it is a Muslim initiative to effect a positive change.

The programs, seminars and workshops conducted by the Foundation for Pluralism have become a part of the America Together Foundation. While the Foundation for Pluralism continues championing the idea of co-existence through respecting and accepting the otherness of other, the commitment to nurturing the pluralistic ideals embedded in Islam through the World Muslim Congress continues.

# # #

Mike is working on two books scheduled to be released this year; The American Muslim Agenda and My Journey to Pluralism.

Mike has written over 1000 Articles on Pluralism, Islam, India, Peace & Justice and civil societies published in a wide spectrum of Newspapers and Magazines around the world.

Locally, he is a panelist at Dallas Morning News's and writes weekly on a range of issues facing the nation. Washington Post, Huffington Post and other news papers and sites regularly publish his work.  

Mike is available to speak on Pluralism, Islam, Civil Societies, and Peace & Justice at your place of worship, school, work place, seminars, workshops or conferences. His work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.MikeGhouse.net/



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pakistani Muslim actress defies the right wingers.

Ms. Veena Malik.

May Allah bless you and give you more strength.

Thanks for speaking up for so many women! Women have put up with this non-sense far too long. Whether they are Muslim, Christian, Hindu or others they continue to be oppressed. May Allah give you strength to speak up for all those women who are pushed around.


Keep going, you have the guts and we admire you. Although the Maulana on debate with you was respectful and not condemning, he was merely looking out from his point of view and his culture (not all Pakistani, but his ilk) he is not on the extreme like the Talibans or the Saudis. I’m glad he listened to you. 

A few right wing Muslims may disagree with you, so what? They don't support your family and you, you do. They are responsible for their actions and you are for yours. Thank you again for speaking boldly and standing up for many, many and many women who are routinely derided and made to shut up, of course that is not a Muslim thing at all, nor is that a Pakistani thing, a few men in all societies behave the same whether they wear pants shirt or kurta pajama, clean shaven or bearded, Americans or Arabs, Pakistanis or Indians, Lamas or cowboys, some men behave the same. 

Although all religions in general and Islam in Particular makes men and women to be fully participating and contributing members to the well being their family. No one was to take advantage of the other, that is the religious thing to do,  doing otherwise is the men thing they do.
 
Pakistani Actress Defies Mullah Accusing Her of Immoral Behavior on an Indian Reality TV Show - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMnAmRa4NYw&feature=player_embedded

Mike Ghouse
http://www.mikeghouse.net/ 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Muslim women in America speak out


'I Speak for Myself' is an essay anthology that gives Muslim women a voice and American audiences a much-needed glimpse of an oft-misunderstood group.
 
 The writers featured in the essay anthology 'I Speak for Myself' share what it’s like to be Muslim in America.
 
“Taliban prohibits Afghan girls from attending school.”
“Indonesian Sharia police ban tight pants for women.”
 
The media have plenty to say about Muslim women. But what makes the headlines isn’t the experience of the vast majority of Muslim women. And what rarely emerge are the voices of Muslim women themselves.
 
Two women have sought to change that by urging American Muslim women across the US to speak for themselves.
 
“I Speak for Myself” is a collection of essays that give Muslim women a voice and American audiences a much-needed glimpse of an oft-misunderstood group. Editors Maria Ebrahimji and Zahra Suratwala collected reflections from 40 American Muslim women to showcase the range of hopes, fears, doubts, sorrows, and joys Muslim women across the US experience. The result is almost startlingly honest, refreshing, inspiring, and anything but expected.
 
The best nonfiction titles of 2010
 
“Seeing my image in a full scarf, body suit and surfboard on the front page of Yahoo! reinforced in my mind the modesty I have come to cherish,” writes Sama Wareh, a field naturalist and traveling scientist in southern California.
 
“It’s never easy being the odd one out – always sitting in the pew when the rest of my classmates went to take the Eucharist or not being allowed to perform in the Christmas plays. These were the rituals that made Christianity appealing. At the time, I felt that the fun that Christianity had to offer was absent in Islam,” writes Souheila Al-Jadda, a television producer and journalist.
 
“It is frustrating and disappointing to catch hell in mainstream society for being Muslim and also within the Muslim community for being African-American. When I am not perceived as an oppressed Muslim woman in need of liberation, I am seen as an ignorant and potentially unruly black woman,” writes Jameelah Xochitl Medina, a PhD candidate and author.
 
The writers – journalists, doctors, artists, lawyers, academics, scientists, and students – represent the spectrum of professions Muslim women pursue. Writing with the candor of a personal journal entry, the contributors share what it’s like to be Muslim in America. They explore issues like wearing (or not wearing) the hijab, balancing Western and Islamic values, expressing personal identity, and navigating cross-generational conflict.
 
Amid the reductionist media portrayals of oppressed Muslim women, and in a world increasingly suspicious of Muslims, “I Speak for Myself” shatters misconceptions and presents the kaleidoscope of diverse stories that make up Muslim women’s experience in the US. It’s a valuable glimpse that’s rarely in the headlines.
 
-- Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.
 

Youth to petition Saudi King for women’s right to drive

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=2011030695238

FOUZIA KHAN
JEDDAH: Some Saudi youths have started a group on Facebook to petition King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to allow women to drive.

“We aim to accomplish this goal by sending a petition to the Saudi government to give them the right to drive. We will hopefully see women drive within the next three years,” said Hilal M. Al-Harithy, the founder of the group.

“I don’t think we can call it a campaign yet, for now it’s just an online petition. We started it because we feel that women in the Kingdom should have the right to drive, just like every other woman on the planet. Women in Saudi Arabia are not inferior to other women from across the world, so why are they being treated this way,” he said.

“We also started this group because the majority of women in Saudi Arabia face transportation issues; the solution is females driving. Islam does not deny them this right. So we started a campaign that encourages people to talk about their problems and try to find solutions for them,” said Maha Tahir, a supporter of the group.

The group already has 1,694 members and it is becoming more popular every day. They intend to gather at least 15,000 signatures before submitting the petition.

They said that they are targeting everyone living in the Kingdom and every Saudi citizen living abroad.
“We know that most people in the Kingdom feel that women should be able to drive when the conditions are right. With this petition we hope to make these conditions a reality as soon as possible,” said Al-Harithy.
The petition’s purpose is to show there are large numbers of people who feel it is a woman’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia and that they should not be denied. The petition will contain the name, ID number, nationality, city of residence and email of each person who signs, said Tahir.

“Its purpose is to show that the majority of men and women are in favor of the cause unlike media reports published a few years ago saying the majority of people are conservative and against it,” said Tahir.
“Depending on a driver on a daily basis is frustrating and exhausting. I feel helpless, trapped and paralyzed when there isn’t a man to take me to work, the hospital or anywhere I need to be on an urgent basis. What about the majority of ladies who can’t rely on the men around them when needed? We do not have decent public transportation in Saudi Arabia, nor safe sidewalks on all streets and depriving women of the right to drive is not helping the situation either,” she explained. “I am sure if most people took a little time to persuade family, friends and co-workers to sign the petition, we would have more than enough to make a difference Inshallah,” said Tahir.

The group said they want to submit the petition to representatives of the government with a comprehensive two-year plan to get women driving in a safe way.

“This way they can hopefully adopt the plan, and begin implementing it right away. While we are in the process of developing this plan, we would love for people to submit their ideas on how to develop it,” said Al-Harithy.
– Saudi Gazette __

Equal rights essential: ADAB

http://bdnews24.com/details.php?id=189133&cid=2
Dhaka, Mar 7 (bdnews24.com)—A platform of non-government organisations have put forward a 12-point charter that includes ensuring equal rights, empowerment of women and full implementation of CEDAW.

"Women will have to be brought into the mainstream for the country's development," said Mohammad Aminul Islam, director of the Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB) at a press meet at Dhaka Reporters' Unity on Monday.

He added that despite clear mention of equal rights for men and women in the Constitution, women are deprived of their rights even after 40 years of the country's independence.

"They are even deprived in the name of religion," Islam said.

The demands include ensuring equal rights by establishing a secular state in line with the 1972 Constitution, removing restrictions on clauses of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its full implementation.

Islam said that new regulations must be introduced that allow direct competition in polls for reserved women seats and bind all parties to allocate one-third of their national poll nominations for women.

Additionally, the organisation also demanded an end to harassment of women at educational institutions and workplaces.

"The National Women Development Policy formulated in 1997 will have to be implemented and the jurisdiction and responsibility of elected female members of Union Councils and Upazila vice-chairpersons will have to be specified," Islam said.

Coalition For Sexual And Bodily Rights In Muslim Societies

Call For Applications: Coalition For Sexual And Bodily Rights In Muslim Societies (CSBR): 4th CSBR Sexuality Institute 2011
Source: Women for Women's Human Rights (WWHR) - New Ways  14/03/2011
 
 
The Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR) is pleased to announce the 4th CSBR Sexuality Institute 2011 to be held between July 16th and 23rd 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Designed as a comprehensive curriculum on sexuality, sexual and reproductive health and rights with an in depth discussion on the linkages between research and practice, the CSBR Sexuality Institute offers a holistic interdisciplinary program combining history, theory, research and politics of sexuality with applications of advocacy and fieldwork. Deadline for applications: April 15, 2011.
 
The CSBR Sexuality Institute brings together leading sexual and reproductive rights activists, academics and researchers. Held previously in Malaysia (2008), Turkey (2009) and Indonesia (2010) with participants from 23 countries throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the institutes include lectures, group work, roundtables, panels, site visits and film screenings, as well as a methodology to engage participants’ own experiences around sexuality.
 
The realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights is an integral part of gender equality, development and social justice. However, sexuality continues to be a contested site of political struggles both in Muslim societies and across the globe. Increasing global militarism, conservatism, and nationalism over the last decades provoked a serious backlash on sexual and reproductive health and rights, both at national and global levels. Given the current polarizations, it is more pertinent than ever to strengthen critical insight, further research, enhance knowledge and capacity on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and build an inclusive and affirmative discourse on sexuality.
 
Aim
 
In the above mentioned context, the aims of the CSBR Sexuality Institute are:
 
•To further knowledge on the multi-dimensional and intersecting aspects of sexuality, health and rights;
•To develop a deeper theoretical understanding of sexuality through a historical overview and analysis of current debates and research at the global level;
•To provide a comprehensive and holistic understanding of sexuality in Muslim societies through a discussion of the history, legal frameworks, research, and current discourses;
•To enhance participants’ sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy skills on national and international levels;
•To increase participants’ capacity as leading advocates, practitioners and researchers on sexuality issues at national, regional and international levels.
To apply please complete the application form attached below and return it with a C.V. to csbrinstitute@wwhr.org by April 15th, 2011.
 
For further information and to apply, please download the following word document
 
CSBR 4th Sexuality Institute_Call_For_Applications.doc 75.50 kB
About the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR)
 
Founded in 2001, the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR) is an international solidarity network of organizations, and academic institutions working to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights as human rights in Muslim Societies. CSBR includes institutional members from Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, the Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen. Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR) – New Ways (http://www.wwhr.org/), co-founder of the Coalition, acts as the international coordination office of CSBR. As the only international network working on sexual and bodily rights in Muslim societies, CSBR has played a pivotal role in terms of advocacy, activism and research on sexual and bodily health and rights in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. CSBR has succeeded in creating an alternative discourse and progressive spaces around sexuality and sexual rights in Muslim societies.
More information on CSBR is available at http://www.wwhr.org/csbr.php.
 
Article License: Creative Commons - Article License Holder: Women for Women's Human Rights (WWHR) - New Ways