We need to prepare ourselves for those eventualities to prevent possible conflicts, and lay a good foundation for nurturing goodwill and effective functioning of the societies. Exclusive communities will become a thing of the past. If you live amidst others, you must also respect the otherness of others, as you expect them to do the same for you.
You may be anxious to express the same sentiments that I have expressed here, and I hope this note assures you and I for who we are. A majority of us are moderates, meaning individuals who want to get along with others, mind our own business, not judge others until we have the first hand knowledge, respect the otherness of others and wish the very best for others. The moderates believe in the Golden rule, treat others as you want to be treated. Moderates is not a group of people, it is the attitude of individuals, you and I can be a moderate most of the times, all the times and a few times.
You will find me in the company of people who are on the extreme right, left and the center, liberals and conservatives, progressives and regressives, religious and atheists, gays and straight, republicans and democrats, communists and capitalists, and enemies and friends.
Mother Teresa is one of my ten mentors, and she had said something to the effect that, “If you want to make peace with those who differ, go talk with them, talking with friends will not change the equation.” I strongly believe in it and am driven by it.
Please don’t fall in to the trap of judging me because who I am with, God has blessed me with the wisdom to have strong convictions, but be open to knowledge. I remain who I am, and you are who you are, and I will always make an effort to know the other. The more we know about the others, the fewer the conflicts we will have. We have to take the time to understand other’s fears and aspirations to find solutions.
A few people I knew did not want to invite me to speak in their gatherings, because I was on Sean Hannity show, they did not even hear what I say on the show, but drew their own conclusions. The other day I posted a picture with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and got some nasty e-mails for being with her. I was surprised even Katrina Lantos of US Human Rights agency is perceived negatively. Once I defended Pamela Geller’s right to speak in London that produced a lot of hate mail. On the other hand, I have vigorously defended CAIR on Hannity and other shows, and the right did not like that either.
A month ago, I was standing with a man who wore a hateful T-shirt against LGBT community, a few people chewed me out for merely standing with him, and of course, I speak out. A few months ago, I was with a Bicyclist who made from San Francisco to Washington defending the rights of the Unificationist church members who are being persecuted, I was called names for associating with the ministry of Rev. Sung Myung Moon, what do they know about him? Just a week ago, some one wrote ‘ugly’ emails for standing up for the rights of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. One of these day, if I live on, I will chronicle these incidents. Don’t laugh, every groups has men and women who are sadly misinformed. There is one from every faith group from Atheist to Zoroastrians and every one in between, and there is from every race and ethnicity as well. No one can cast the first stone, Jesus was right!
Some of us will always be searching (consciously and subconsciously) and working to free ourselves from malice and prejudice, indeed, it is liberating and brings genuine peace of mind.
We held symposiums about the Genocides around the world, as many as we can, the Indians were ticked off because we talked about Sikh Genocide and the Gujarat Massacre which happened in India, but the Pakistanis were happy about it. When we talked about the Bangladesh Genocides, the Indians were happy as it reflected badly on Pakistan, and when we talked about the harassment of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, a few Muslims were ticked off, and when we talked about the plight of Kashmiri Pundits, there was no appreciation from a few Hindu friends. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said, standing up for Justice is one of the most important values and the right thing to do, if you cannot stop it, the least you can do is speak up, the Prophet was right!
I played the son, and it was difficult for me to find anyone to play father or mother and slap the son on the stage. Americans just don’t do that, it is our culture. I talked to Rev. Petra Weldes, my sister in spirituality, she said, she would have loved to slap me. Petra, you will get that opportunity, LOL!
Every religion is beautiful and is committed to teach us all to learn to live with each other with least conflicts. A majority of the followers of each religion get that right, a few don’t. It is our responsibility to reach them out, the allay their fears about others. The Torah says, don’t look down on strangers, for once we were strangers too, indeed Torah is right!Pluralism is not a set of rules, it is simply the attitude of live and let live religiously, politically, culturally and socially. We are committed to building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of a fellow being.
I am blessed to be a pluralist with zero bias towards my fellow humans, and
urge you to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You do your part and let others do theirs. http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
Please don’t judge me for who I am with, as I plan to be with every one of God’s creation.
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Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in.