First let me address the myth about Sean Hannity, and application of the Quranic verse “Don’t let your bias make you unjust towards the other” in this situation.
In February 2013, Sean had called in 25 individuals for his show that included Representatives Peter King, Louis Goehmert, Ambassador Peter King, John Bolton and others including Mike Ghouse.
In the middle of taping another segment, Sean asked me to join him on the stage, while 23 others were sitting across on the bleachers. To paraphrase him (short version), “You are the only Muslim friend I know… but today I will do something for you that you have been asking for in the last three years…. from now on I will not use the word ” Muslim terrorists” and instead call it Terrorist among Muslims, would that make you happy? Hell yes! I gave him a big salute while others cheered on.
Boston Marathon bombing followed in April, CNN camera goes to Peter King, and this is what he said, “96% of Muslims are good people, and it is the 4% we have to worry… That is a 180 Degrees turnaround! The same man had called in to investigate every Muslim and the Mosques a year ago. That is reasonable change! Thank you Sean!
Muslims don’t have to love him, but should not hold any bias against him. I am glad that topic came up today, though we did not elaborate, but we touched up on it and here I am, writing about it. Just wanted to add, that CAIR team was vehemently opposed to my presence on Hannity and we had some fiery words about it, and finally Ibrahim Hooper had apologized to me. I have defended the need for CAIR, just as there are Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and others have their own CAIRS defending the Civil rights of the respective groups. I will continue to do that despite their attitudes towards me. They simply do not understand the power of engagement.
Personally, it is a mission accomplished – where we learn to place the blame where it belongs; the individuals and not religion. We (Muslims) cry out loud to “see the change”, it won’t happen unless we engage with people who differ with us. Mother Teresa had once said, if you want to make peace for the common good, go talk with your enemies, indeed Mother, you are right! Gandhi had said, if you want a change, be a part of it. Both are my mentors.
Listen to Hannity carefully, he is not against Islam or Muslims, but against the radicals among us, which all of us Muslims (minus radicals) are against but don’t speak up in strong terms on a national or international microphone.
I would venture to say that, even the stance taken by Brigitte Gabriel, Pamela Geller and others is not against Muslims, though their language is not palatable, they are activists and are outraged by lack of demonstrations by Muslims against the radicals, even though they have their own agenda. Unless I find information otherwise, I stand with my take.
The radicals among us are frightening not only to Muslims but to everyone else. I would go on to say, that even Jamie Glazov’s bias against Islam is not deep rooted, but stems from reading the wrong translations of Quran, and shamefully, beefed by the radical Muslim scholars in the past which does not contribute to peaceful societies. As Muslims we have to fix the wrongs of Sharia Law and understand the Genesis of Sharia law to rebuild cohesive societies where no human has to live in fear of the other.
I would rather have many Hannity’s in the world who keep every one on their toes than have sycophants who let the governments and groups become complacent and make mistakes to the detriment of the very public they serve.
This will be my 90th show with Hannity over a period of four years. Please remember, I am from Texas, and slow in responding to the fast pace of Hannity, but yet, I have always made a few points, and with humility I acknowledge that I was a disaster a few times and Hannity had beat me up, partly due to technical difficulties in the studios and partly my slowness. I will do well face to face with Hannity than via Satellite, where I don’t see any one of them but looking into the camera with no one to see, and when I don’t see them, I don’t get the cue.
I am getting a lot of hate mail since yesterday, and several of them have attacked me about my support or denouncement of ISNA, as if that is the only thing they have, in which case it is not bad. Their charge is based on accusations of co-conspirators, which is not true, as it has been cleared by the courts. ISNA is a good clean organization. However, I do have a gripe with ISNA’s priorities. Twice, I have submitted proposals to give presentation in their annual conference – “How to become a Mayor”, “how to be participants and contributors towards the well being of America”, that ultimately benefits all of us, and “what does it take for us to change”, but it gets run down by their bureaucracy. I understand their priorities are different, but I would place my priority on what Prophet Muhammad taught – to be the Amins of the society where he built relations with every one around him, that is how we build cohesive societies that function effectively.
I will however present a national proposal, hopefully in Huffington Post before Ramadan about what we can do, or if Sean wants to do it on his show, I will present the proposal. I hope they listen, if not, we have to get the grass root movement pick it up and go on with or without National Muslim organizations. We have to be engaged, and we have to become major contributors towards the safety, security and prosperity of America, we have to do more than our share to be equals.
And now about the sparks
In a live TV show, you don’t get a second chance to say a few words you really wanted to say, and take back a few words you did not want them in. All of us could have done better, but the idea is to express different points of view, and it is up to the public to choose what they will do with the information.
Here are a few phrases, rather paraphrases that got everyone going. “She (Brigitte Gabrielle) is as dangerous as the extremist”, “you (Jamie Glazov) are disgusting” and “You (inference) are an Islamist” and several more….
Tamara Holder said Brigitte Gabrielle is as dangerous as the extremists. I can fully understand her take, and I have said a very similar thing to Brigitte a few months ago “Your ‘statements’ are dangerous and are a come-on to those terrorist” while our men and women are serving in the conflict zones we should not be goading them. It negates the safety efforts of our administration.
It resonates with what I have been writing frequently, “For every Muslim ass, there is a Christian, Jewish, Hindu or a Buddhist ass, just as those creeps at ISIS and Al-Qaida will declare Jihad against us; we have some among us who would want to do the same. It is a serious issue, but to hype it up to the Nth degree does not bode well for the safety of fellow Americans. I stand opposed to any pre-emptive strikes or going to war.
Jamie Glazov thrives on selling hate, and he does not realize that hate is the mother of violence. Yet, he believes that people should speak the truth. Jamie will most certainly speak the truth, if he can take out his anti-Islam bias.
Jamie Glazov attacked Islam instead of the radicals and that got me going. Tamara called him disgusting and I would reiterate that his statements are disgusting. My studies have shown me that all religions have a similar objective; to create societies where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.
I want to assert a thought that very few on the right have had a chance to learn.
Religions and civil societies evolved to build cohesive societies where all the members of the society can function effectively and without fear of each other. Most people get that right, and a few don’t.
Justice is the key component of a society. When an individual commits a crime or violates other’s rights, both the civil and religious societies have prescribed punishment for him, with a hope that the punishment will act as a deterrent to others. Furthermore, you don’t punish the man’s parents, siblings, spouse and kids, nor do you punish the man’s clergy, Mayor of the town, the people of the town, his religion or people who follow his religion.
Blaming the religion is dumb
Men like Jamie Glazov do not understand a thing about religion, they may have studied the same wrong thing over and over again, and that does not make them an expert in the right knowledge.
You blame and punish the individual to restore harmony and justice, instead they blame the religion, not only they buy the alibis of the criminals, but they emphasize it. The guy may say Allahu Akbar and kill someone, but that does not mean you have to buy that he did it for Islam. Glazov hangs on to the statements made by some radical Muslims scholars from the past ignoring what Quran says.
Jamie, blaming Islam does no good. You cannot beat, kill, hang, slaughter, shoot or bury religion – it amounts to barking at the wrong tree, it does not produce any result. But punishing the bad guys restores justice, after all religion in an intangible thing and cannot do a thing but provide guidance.
Can you call Pamela Geller a murderer, and Bill Blasio a rapist? Because New Yorkers murdered over 1500 people, and raped over 3000 women last year? It would be dumb isn’t it? Blaming Islam or Muslims for the acts of the few is equally dumb.
Caliphate is another conspiracy theory. First of all, no two Muslims agree on anything. No doubt Islam is one, but its understanding is as different as Christ in different denominations. There never will be a Caliphate, the Saudi version of Islam, the brotherhood, Taliban and other versions have zero tolerance for each other. The division within Sunni is steep, let alone the animosity between Sunnis and Shias. The Caliphate is the imaginary product of conspirers.
What we all need to do is talk with each other, lay things out as bluntly as we can and then examine how we can build cohesive societies, where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.