An interview with the book author Mike Ghouse

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Q: Would this bring attitudinal changes among Muslims towards others and others towards Muslims?

A: Indeed, this book lays out a clear agenda to foster harmony among fellow Americans.  It is akin to planting a seed and nurturing to give the beneficence to the next generation. 

Some of the reservations we have about Muslims are based on what we have heard from our parents, friends, teachers, pastors, and TV.  It is time for us to learn first-hand about them and remove the misunderstandings and live freely.

It is one of the bold books written about Muslims, and it highlights the sources of extremism and how to fix them.

Unfortunately, some of the Muslim scholars from the past have reduced Islam to a religion of rituals and obedience to Allah without understanding the meaning and wisdom behind it. This book brings clarity to Muslims and fellow humans and separates the chaff from the wheat for you.

Q: What is the overall theme of your book?

The overall theme of the book is to open people’s hearts and minds towards each other. I believe that the ultimate unexpressed purpose of humans is to live freely and be comfortable with one’s culture, race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and individuality.

Q: Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers?

It will appeal to Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, as they have never seen the pristine, pluralistic Islam. Non-Muslims perceive Muslims to be extremists, whereas Muslims have not seen Islam beyond the rituals. It is time for all of us to learn about each other for the express purpose of living in peace and harmony with each other.

Moreover, for the first time in Islamic history, the essence of Islam is explained. It is human nature to get along with fellow beings, and this book will resonate with them and pave the path for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Q: Can this book be used for teaching the Pristine Islam?

Muslims and Non-Muslims have learned about the rituals of Islam, a limited view. Muslims endlessly recite “submission” to God.is Islam but seldom see the purpose of doing so. How do Islamic values benefit the entire humanity?

This book offers a full-blown curriculum to teach about Islam, not the rituals, but the wisdom of Islam. The book includes several new chapters, which were never written before in Islamic history and one among them in relation to your question is “the “Twelve Islamic Values” Muslims traditionally see Islam in terms of “Five Pillars” this chapter offers 12 Islamic values, all embedded in the Quran and how they make the world a better place to live.

These values are: The American Amin, Tawhid- (the Oneness of God), Accountability, Truthful, Justice, Forgiveness, Service, Humility, Equality including gender equality, pluralism, Free will and civil dialogue. Each one of these values is universal in nature.

Q: What is the essence of Islam?

It is a brand-new chapter in the book American Muslim Agenda with extensive quotes from the Quran. ISLAM remains a myth to many people, including Muslims, simply because its purpose was rarely explained, and its role visà-vis humanity is seldom understood. Most Muslims believe the goal of Islam is to worship one God, and yet, some Muslims have reduced Islam to a religion of rituals. Is that what Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had on his mind? God wanted each one of us to be an individual who cared for God’s creation—fellow humans and the environment. Muhammad led the way by becoming a model citizen—the amin.

Q: You famously talk about Civil Dialogue, what about it?

The purpose of a dialogue is to understand each other’s point of view to find solutions to a given conflict, without getting angry, digging in our heels, or denigrating the other. There are a few guiding principles to carry a civil dialogue and I am pleased to highlight the guidance of the Quran. Prophet Muhammad’s example and Rabbi Gordis, “Dialogue has meaning if it respects the autonomy of the other; absent that respect we have a monologue.” Whether we are conducting a dialogue at the workplace, place of worship, school, playground, government, and other places, we all have to be conscious of another person’s point of view.

Q: Finally, what is your vision for the role of Muslims in America?

Muslims are equal participants and contributors to the peace and prosperity of America. Muslims love our immortal declaration of independence written by Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1776. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This declaration resonates with Muslims, as Prophet Muhamad made a similar declaration on March 6, 632 AD, that is Eleven hundred forty-four (1144) years before Jefferson made the immortal declaration of independence. “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.:

Indeed, Thomas Jefferson had owned a copy of the Quran. Muslims have the same vision for America, as the fathers of this nation had. To make us a more perfect union, ultimately every American must have the opportunity to serve the highest office of the land.

My vision is to see a Muslim woman President of the United States in the year 2036. No one has ever achieved anything without seeking it. What all the things we have to do to have the unreserved acceptability of a Muslim woman president? How do we get there? American Muslims need to come out of their silos and live in the big world. Why a Muslim Woman? Why should we set the goal to elect a Muslim woman as the President of The United States of America in 2036?  It is all in the book.

TAKE AWAY POINTS FROM THE BOOK

1.      The American Muslim Agenda challenges Muslims to think and restore Islam to its original purpose – i.e., to create a cohesive America, where each one of the 323 Million Americans feels secure with his or her faith, race, ethnicity culture, sexual and political orientations. 

2.     The American Muslim Agenda paves the way for Muslims to own their mistakes, and remedy them. It corrects how fellow Americans perceive Muslims.

3.    Islam is not about imposing (Sharia) your ideas or governing others. Islam is about living your life and letting others live theirs, with freedom. That is the original Islam.

4.    The essence and purpose of Islam are narrated from a humanity’s (Aalameen) perspective for the first time.

5.    Never before in Islamic history, twelve values of Islam that contribute to creating secure, orderly and cohesive societies have been articulated.  Verses from the Quran fully back each value. Thus, the book becomes a reference manual to teach and learn Islam.

6.    The best way to combat Islamophobia is through education, engagement, and dialogue. There are many success stories narrated including dealing with Fox News, Sean Hannity, Stuart Varney and the supposedly most of the Islamaphobes.

7.    This book is the product of twenty years of research and interviews with the right, left, and the moderate fellow humans from many faiths including 150 interviews at Fox News and its many right-leaning guests.

Thank you