Islamic think tank launches two shows to counter stereotypical images of Muslims in America
Islam remains a myth to many people, including Muslims. Its essence, purpose, and its role vis-à-vis humanity are seldom understood or even explained.
“Indeed, the teachings of Islam are designed to build kind, just, and caring societies where every human feels secure,” says Mike Ghouse, President of Washington DC based Center For Pluralism.
“However, some Muslims have reduced Islam to merely a religion of rituals,” he says. “The rituals are indeed the pathways to achieving purposeful milestones in one’s life.”
“But Islam is much more than the rituals of the five pillars, and it is about the universal values that guide humanity to live in peace and harmony,” says Ghouse, author of “The Quran, a contemporary Understanding”, and the “American Muslim Agenda.”
Ghouse and Dr. Safi Kaskas, senior researcher in Islam and Multifaith Reconciliation at the Center for World Religions Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, have joined hands to launch two weekly Zoom shows under the aegis of the World Muslim Congress.
“The shortage of Muslims to communicate Islamic values has been a significant problem in society,” says Ghouse in a media release explaining the rationale for the shows.
“if we don’t speak, someone else will talk negatively about Islam as they may have something to gain by producing stereotypical images of Muslims, pitting fellow humans against the Muslims. Hence, we have taken the lead to initiate this program.”
The first show, “Muslims Together in Politics and Media” is on Zoom between 12:00 -1 PM EST every Sunday.
“The purpose of this program is to encourage Muslims to run for public office and highlight their contributions to the political, economic, social, and pluralistic landscape of America. Muslims are committed to building a cohesive America,” says the press release.
“Our guests have included governors, senators, congressmen, state reps & senators, city council, and School boards members,” it says.
The second show, “Islamic Values” is on Zoom between 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST every Sunday. It is a series of 17 values presented by Dr. Safi Kaskas and Dr. Mike Ghouse.
“You will be surprised to hear the inclusive and pluralistic nature of Islam. We hope this program becomes the teaching tool in mosques and schools in building a cohesive America,” say the presenters.
Dr. Safi Kaskas says, “Islam the way I know is an inclusive religion. The Qur’an recognizes the Torah and the Gospels as books of guidance and enlightenment.
“Its first application in Medina was a great attempt to build a pluralistic society, where equality was guaranteed to every member of society as well as the basic freedoms including the freedom of worship.”
“These are the values we celebrate in our American Constitution and were an integral part of the Medina Constitution,” notes Dr. Kaskas.
“It is a dream come true for me to share the values of Islam with my fellow Americans,” says Ghouse.
“I have questioned everything about Islam, Quran, and the Prophet. The Bhagavad Gita says that finding the truth is one’s responsibility, and I have found the truth; Islam is indeed an inclusive and pluralistic religion,” he asserts.
“God wants us to care for his creation, i.e., fellow humans and the environment. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) led the way in establishing the role of a model citizen, also known as —the Amin, Al-Amin,” he says.
“God has created everything in harmony and balance, and we are to observe the limits as it affects us all (Quran 55:5-11). The God-given free will drives us into conflicts with others, and it is our duty as the vice-regent (intelligent beings) to restore harmony whenever it wavers. That is all God wants us to do,” says Ghouse.
Islah al-Alam is a new phrase coined by Mike Ghouse, which means continuously restoring harmony to the world, says the release.
Details about the speakers and the links to the weekly shows are available at www.WorldMuslimCongress.org, home page of the World Muslim Congress, “a think tank committed to change the inadequate narratives about Islam by presenting the values that will contribute towards building cohesive societies.”