Mike Ghouse of America Together Foundation, has released the following statements.Let this be clear to my fellow Americans, we all have a collective responsibility to communicate and understand different values and learn to respect the otherness of others.
Let the Bikers draw cartoons of the Prophet, look to this as an opportunity to follow the practice of the prophet, he was a mercy to mankind and it is time for Muslims to demonstrate that. What did he do when he was harassed on his way to Taif? He prayed in the tradition of Jesus, forgive them God, for they know not. God's will was to show a way to build better societies by mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will and not by aggravating it. Thus he turned the other check as Jesus had taught and prayed for the well being of all.
This Friday, I urge Muslims around American Mosques to open up their hearts an minds of understanding, instead of sulking, retrieving to a corner, getting angry or harboring ill-will, I ask them to pray for the well being of Biker Americans in their Friday Sermons across the land and hopefully across the globe. Let them make an effort to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. Let's do our part right and seek God's help in repairing our relationships.
I request the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix to welcome the guests with abundant supply of bottled water, leave it on the tables outside. If I can make it, I would like to be there and meet with our biker brothers and sisters. I am one of them in free spirit, and one of you in practicing Prophet's kindness. More details at: www.AmericansTogether.org
The free speech is an enduring value and the hallmark of civilizations, and we simply cannot compromise on it, however much a few may abuse it. Indeed, Free speech is one strong element that will bind Americans together.
Criticism can fade away or rain on us depending on how we respond to it. Lack of conviction in one's faith breeds intolerance towards criticism, whereas firmness in faith can lead us to learn from criticism, explore the infinite wisdom and realize the strength of our faith (Imaan); a worthy feeling to have, instead of living in doubt and shooing criticism away.
We need to handle criticism of Quran, Islam and the Prophet with grace, and respond to it gracefully. At least it increases the chances of mitigating the conflict and restoring harmony. The other way around is fighting back, which guarantees further aggravation of the conflict and isolation. Let freedom of speech remain the corner stone of Islam.
I urge fellow Muslims to be open to all the criticism with confidence, let the doors of communications be open. Islam stands on its own; it does not need our defense, and it is silly to protect God or the Prophet, they are not weaklings or our property to protect, they belong to the whole universe, don't they?
As Muslims we seriously appreciate the gains we have had, that far outweigh the tensions given by a few who know not.
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Dr. Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, community consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. Mike is deeply committed to Free speech, Human (more...)