By Mike Ghouse
September 14, 2013
When Pastor Jones announced burning 2998 copies of Quran, I said to myself, we have to do something about it and bring about a change in how Muslims react, and how they are perceived by fellow Americans. Hence we took a pro-active action.
Thanks to the print and web media – every Major Newspaper in the world has carried the stories and at least two dozen original pieces have been written about the event. A whole lot of it is listed at www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
The following are some of many of the responses the world has learned and expects when someone criticizes Islam, Prophet Muhammad, or Quran;
Violence – burning embassies, cars and destruction of property….
Calling Names, cursing or killing the one who said bad things about the three
Ishtey’all, enflame the situation by adding fuel to the fire – avenge or revenge
Passing the buck – blame the other “illiterate Muslims”, fringe elements etc.
What the world has not seen is a genuine Islamic response!
Our goal was to offer an alternate behavior model as a standard, indeed a genuine Islamic response, which can also be called Christian, Jewish, Hindu or plain common sense responsible response.
The model is not new at all, indeed, it was established by Jesus, Muhammad and all the spiritual Masters (peace be upon them) including non-religious and secular traditions; that of mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill for the common good of the society; a cohesive society where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.
Jesus called that Kingdom of heaven and Muhammad called it submission to a coherent system called Islam. A majority of people in all faiths believe in the beauty of their faith; however a few in each group don’t get that or abuse the faith to their advantage making enemies out of those who differ.
The folks in Mulberry and Polk County were ready for a new model to work in dealing with the situation, and they did, and have set an example to the world.
Imagine the reservation and apprehension when a Muslim steps into their town – I am sure they expected one of the five behaviors from this Muslim, but thanks to the Model of the Prophet – Amin, that I follow to the best of my ability. To be Amin is to be truthful, to be worthy of trust, to be just and to be a source of safety and security to others. The folks in Mulberry reciprocated with equal kindness.
For a public good to succeed, it has to be un-selfish, and no one has anything to gain from it but the community at large. Our volunteer team in Mulberry (listed on the site) followed the same model. None of us wanted anything out of it except the common good.
I want to state something that some of my Muslim friends may not have heard before. My good friend said a prayer for me that I have earned a prime spot in paradise, and I was quick to say, I do not way any such place. – We should not be driven by wages for the service, if we get paid, then it would not be service any more. We should rather do our share of work for creating a better world, as the Bhagavad Gita says, do your dharma and not be driven by the fruit.
Thanks to my key partners in the event - Butch Rahman, Suzanne Carter, Lynn Broom, Linda Jezard and others including the Mayors, police, Fire chiefs, Sheriff’s office and the media friends for placing their trust in me and believing that we will do the right thing – and not leave a mess behind for them to deal with later.
Suzanne traveled with me to the site where Jones was going to burn Quran, we had a good conversation, and I appreciate the trust she placed in me. Butch asked me, a stranger to stay in his home with his family, and I am glad I did. I am sure Prophet Muhammad would be smiling at me, but at least I feel good for following in his footsteps – to be the Amin.
This is what it takes to create a good society, where we all can enjoy living in it, and that is what the role of a Muslim ought to be. If you feel your dollars produce direct results, we invite you to donate $100 and over: http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/ and your support will be listed at www.UnityDayUSA.com and www.WorldMuslimCongress.com
I am grateful to all the sponsors and those who have pledged and may donate, but particularly the support from the magnificent seven for this event.
Mirza A Beg, my moral support and silent partner in the press releases and possible reports. Dr. Basheer Ahmed, Dr. Nauman Anwar and Farooq Hemani have always supported the work we do; I don’t have to ask them, they volunteer to fund the work. Then this time around – Butch Rahman turned in $100 on the 1st day I met him towards the cost of the work, Suzanne Carter for joining in with her superb team of volunteers. Moazam Syed was the first one to donate – this is all encouragement. All their contributions are listed on the site for transparency and accountability purpose, and more importantly their support has produced direct results.
God willing, we will put a book together with the full story, of all the little and big things, good things, and bad things that have happened in the process. The book will include feedback from the involved and the ordinary.
This is a new paradigm in bringing a change, a critical milestone for Muslims in the United States.
I request you, the members at World Muslim Congress and the Foundation for Pluralism to add your succinct but pragmatic comment in 50 words or less for possible inclusion in the book. A sponsor for the book is welcome by individuals or an organization. The book would be a compilation of many articles, your comments and reports in the media.
This book will be a must read for any one before building a Mosque in Murfreesboro, a Ground Zero Mosque or planning a major event. The proceeds will go towards nurturing the pluralistic values of Islam.
I will be happy to give a talk on the subject of how to become a productive citizen of America and earn the respect as a fully participating and contributing member of the society at large.
God willing we will do things with boldness and clarity.
A full report will be prepared and mailed to the ones who want to read.
Just Google “Quran Burning”, “Mike Ghouse” or “Pastor Terry Jones” and search for 24 hours or a week – you will be amazed with the print and web media coverage. Every Major Newspaper in the world has covered it in positive terms, a healthy change. The key contributing articles are on the panel at World Muslim Congress and Unity Day USA.