A few renowned scholars and individuals have shared their views about the book.
Bob Roberts, Renowned Evangelical Pastor & Founder of Global.net Author of “Bold as Love“
I’m so grateful for the work of Mike Ghouse and his desire to build bridges. You will love this book, it›s about how Muslims in America think, and how we should all be connected regardless of faith. For too long, we›ve ignored the divide between Muslims and Christians and the result is we are prone to believe the worst about one another. Thanks, Mike for this important book.
Bob Crane, the first Muslim US Ambassador
Mike Ghouse›s path-breaking book, American Muslim Agenda, recommends a new agenda in the form of a paradigm shift from the negativism of attacking Islamophobia to the constructive support of America›s founding vision as a model of every world religion›s essence in compassionate justice. This is based on the interfaith search for transcendent truth from both scriptures and natural law in order to translate this wisdom into principles of both ethical value and jurisprudence. These principles, in turn, are essential to guide the modern think-tanks that shape policy agendas, as well as to inform the voters and legislators who have the practical responsibility to translate the vision of compassionate justice into both societal and institutional reform. This is what it has always meant to be an American.
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, first Muslim woman scholar to translate the Quran sensitively!
Endorsement for The American Muslim Agenda by Mike Ghouse The author presents a challenge to American Muslims to lose their egos and integrate themselves into being fully Muslim, fully American. They have a Muslim example to follow and it is that of spiritual chivalry.
Spiritual chivalry is that the spiritual warrior constantly strives for the sake of others. It is not seeing yourself as superior to others, to be an enemy of your own soul for the sake of your Lord, to act justly without demanding justice for yourself. Spiritual chivalry is to manifest a beautiful character.
The spiritual warrior (fata or the feminine, fatat) is a person who has a sense of honor, is called ‘he who breaks the idol.’ God Most High has said [in the Quran], ‘We heard a spiritual warrior named Abraham speak of them [the idols Abraham broke]’ [21:20]. And He said, ‘And he (Abraham, the spiritual warrior) made them [the idols] fragments’ [21:60]. The idol of every person is his own ego, so in reality, whoever opposes his own passions is a ‘spiritual warrior’.
Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Executive Director, Interfaith Conference of Washington
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a warrior for conflict resolution and a partisan for non-partisan dialogue. He aims to bring all voices to the table of religious pluralism that he sets with the “agenda” in this book. He and I have shared presentations on panels where the perspective centers on covenantal pluralism, the idea that a God who can treasure one faith community must have the will and power to treasure all moral communities of whatever faith or of no faith. May his efforts in articulating the agenda for his beloved Muslim community inspire other faith leaders to delve self-critically and responsibly into the resources within their own religions to move beyond tolerance to a loving and robust mutual appreciation. Our times need his voice and need others to speak out as well.
Dr. Harbans Lal, Emeritus Professor, and Chairman, Dept of Pharmacology & Neuroscience, UNT Health
It is only recently that many courageous scholars and public servants began to tell what the real Islam was. Guru Nanak wrote hundreds of hymns in the Sikh scripture on who is a good Muslim. I am glad to see the recent book by Mike Ghouse. Mike began nearly 15 years ago to set the stage right. He started with a radio show on the world’s religions. I remember my frequent participation there and answering Mike’s piercing questions. Then he contributed hundreds of columns in leading newspapers and magazines. Now, he came up with his book that elucidates the purpose of religion in general and the role of Islam in particular as a member of the community of faiths. I recommend this book to the Muslim community and their neighbors who are followers of other religions. In fact, the adherents of other religions might consider Mike’s approach to spreading the sacred words of the founders of their beliefs.
Dr. Frank Islam, Philanthropist, and a Scholar, Washington
I am intrigued by the book, particularly the chapter on the Essence of Islam. The great Talmudic sage Rabbi Hillel in the first century BC said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this—to study it!” Dr. Ghouse responds to Rabbi Hillel with a corollary on Islam, “God has created us into different races, religions, sizes, colors and another uniqueness, respecting the otherness of the other and accepting the God-given uniqueness is the whole Quran and the rest is the explanation of this – to study it.”
Dr. Tariq Cheema, Founder, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists
“Bold and brilliant Mike Ghouse. He has not just drawn a roadmap for Muslim Americans to contribute to the society meaningfully but highlighted the unique value proposition of Muslims that mainstream America can bank upon to progress. In fragmented America today, the hope lies in the people of faith who believe in social justice and cohesion. This book is an open invitation and a call to action for all those men and women of conscience
Dr. Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times International.
This beautiful, well-written book, is the next level thinking for the Muslims, many of whom still live in the medieval paradigm of ‘them’ versus ‘us.’ Mike Ghouse is the Messiah for pluralism to pull the Muslims out of a sectarian vision, to a genuine universal brotherhood and sisterhood, befitting our global village, for the 21st century.
It is a must-read for every Muslim living in the West, who is desirous of genuine integration, to benefit from all the good that rational and democratic human societies have to offer. By the same token, it is a must-read for every Westerner, who wants to grasp the genuine peaceful and inclusive vision of true Islam.
The book is a breath of fresh air, away from the political Islam of the Islamists or the Islamophobes, a futuristic vision of coexistence, where we not only tolerate our differences but celebrate them.
Dr. Safi Kaskas, Modern translator of the Quran, his translations have been referenced in the book.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a courageous American Muslim. At a time when Muslims are under attack, he courageously stood tall and walked into the enemy’s camp to talk to them and to explain Islam as he knows it.
His book, American Muslim Agenda, is the summary of his experiences and vision for his Muslim community and America his country. I think we Muslims will be wise to listen to what he is saying and take steps away from our antiquated stands of us and them toward a new Quranic vision of competing in doing what is good.
The future of Muslims in America is what Muslims decide to make of it. In order to be successful, we need to think and really understand the environment in which we live. We also need to understand Islam with fresh eyes on the future, taking into consideration the need to find new solutions to the new problems we are facing without compromising our basic beliefs. This requires courage and resilience. It requires leadership coming from within the Muslim community, with the ability to unite and lead.
A valuable addition to religious discourse viewed in the United States
The American Muslim Agenda is designed to address many of the concerns of Muslims settled in the US and to combat some of the misconceptions and misunderstandings that fuel Islamophobia in this country. However, the book will appeal to non-Muslims as well who are interested in a book that is easily readable and offers a compelling explanation of many Islamic practices. Dr. Mike Ghouse has been active in the promotion of interreligious harmony and pluralism in this country for a long time and this book is a valuable component of his mission. He has tackled problems, such as interfaith and intrafaith marriages that are becoming common as young Muslims meet boys and girls of different faiths, mingle with them and fall in love.
Especially, vexing is the situation when a Muslim woman marries a non-Muslim man, a practice that has been frowned upon in traditional Muslim societies. Ghouse, while appreciating the anguish of some parents, offers thoughtful advice and answers. He has solemnized many such marriages in his career. He delineates twelve values as Islamic, which are perhaps common with other faiths, which he believes Muslims should follow and adhere to. The book is sure to generate some controversy among conservative and orthodox followers of Islam, but that is what makes it more readable. The author deserves our appreciation.
Prof .Faroque A Khan M.A.C.
Moderate Muslim Speaks Out.to
Congratulations to the author Dr. Mike Ghouse for a timely book that proposes a very doable agenda for the growing Muslim population in the USA. The author answers very eloquently the frequently asked question–why don’t the “moderate” Muslims speak out, Mike has done it. There are many take-home messages in this book both for Muslims in America and the larger population, in the process he has explained and cleared up many falsehoods and myths which exist about the Muslims.
To cite a few examples
a) Quoting from the Quran—compare several translations and read the ayahs that precede and follow the ayah that you are studying, several Quranic translations misrepresent the true meaning
b)Search for the truth–the author’s personal journey from faith to no faith and finally embracing Islam is a fascinating read
c)Conflict resolution–using the Prophet Muhammads (pbuh) example and preaching the author emphasizes the role of a Muslim as a peacemaker, bridge builder and one who resolves conflicts
d) The author’s passion for pluralism comes across as he sites the many personal anecdotes and experiences, he has moved way beyond tolerance to a loving and robust mutual appreciation for friends and folks alike,
I was frankly surprised to read in the opening pages his praise for folks who do not have a high opinion of Islam/Muslims, Pam Geller, Shaun Hannity, and others, Mike makes a cogent argument for his reasons. The theme of the book is laying of a roadmap for integrating American Muslims so they become fully Muslim and fully American. The book is well-referenced, its an easy read with personal anecdotes reader can relate to. Excellent addition and contribution at a time when such a book was greatly needed. Recommend it highly.
This book is a roadmap for Muslims, allies & those wanting to understand the Islamic faith. I bought this book to help guide me as not only a new Muslim but also a Muslim in politics. I highly recommend this book to anyone in & outside the Islamic faith. It educates about the beauty of Islam & erases false notions. Often while reading the book I thought that the message that Mike put forth should be read by everyone. This work is educating, inspiring & dispels false notions. It’s helped me be a better American & Muslim. His message resonates. Worth owning.
Ruby Amatullah – activist – www.Letter-to-america.org
In spite of some differences of opinion with the author, I think the book, ‘American Muslim Agenda’ by Dr. Mike Ghouse, is an important read for all American Muslims, especially for imams and others who influence the Muslim communities across the country.
Mike Ghouse is contributing to the bridge-building task between Muslims and America that is long overdue. This agenda of engaging others – who are affected with a heavy dose of Islamophobia due to ignorance and/or false propagation — in dialogue is often a difficult task. The incidents Mike mentions when facing scathing and abhorring remarks about Islam, he diplomatically and tactfully compels the accuser to explore and engage in a dialogue. This indeed is a challenging job: handling, one the one hand, one’s own irritation, anger, impulses and on the other, diffusing the extreme levels of prejudice and ignorance in the other. This kind of ice-breaking job requires enormous restraint, patience, wisdom, diplomacy, a sense of humor, and above all courage – the qualities the Quran assigns paramount importance to. Mike is definitely an ice-breaker. Only an ice-breaker can break the walls of darkness and bigotry to save societies from polarization, volatility, and other illness. The imams, Muslim scholars, and writers should read this book and be resolute to propagate dialogue and constructive engagement with the non-Muslim communities intensely and relentlessly. The result of such a constructive agenda is that Muslims win and America wins.
The rest who prefer to blame others, harbor anger, and resentments, and shut the door facing absurd criticism of Islam can never hope to make such a change in America. What they can expect, however, is that they would leave an America to their next generations that would face evermore uphill battles and polarized society as the prejudice-mongering wins and reason fails.
The path of truth and enlightenment is not easy. But the struggle is a must for peace and progress. Every person of conscience has a moral obligation to be part of that struggle. This is the conduit of peace and justice and therefore, essentially, a path to Islam.
An activist like Mike, who has long been advocating pluralism and harmony in America, this book is expected. However, this kind of courageous effort is long over-due and must be pursued relentlessly and emphatically by others in order to help create a healthy American society.
The book, American Muslim Agenda, essentially is in compliance with the Quranic principle, expressed in many places, that exhorts believers to find commonality and harmony in the diversity of humanity (2:48, 5:48, 11:118, 42:15, 49:13, and so on). And the purpose of this deliberate attempt, according to the Quran, is to peacefully coexist and cooperate with others who take a different path to God to promote justice, peace, and welfare for all. The essence of Islam is urging believers to help build a just and cohesive society wherever they are. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) left a timeless legacy by creating a cohesive society, the community he did not grow up in but immigrated to. He governed by the rules he laid down in the Medina charter (Sahifat al-Medina), the first written constitution in history, in which he declared that Muslims, Jews, and Other residents all are part of the “umma” or equal members of the community. The constitution is a federal system of governance guaranteeing freedom including religious freedom. The modern scholars marvel at the amazing similarities between the Median charter and the US Constitution that was framed eleven centuries later. Both charters aim to help establish a cohesive, pluralistic, and harmonious society.
Establishing justice or creating a just society is the main goal of Islam. The Quran alludes that peace can’t be sustained without establishing justice. And justice rests on truth. The truth Quran propagates is that all human beings are God’s vicegerent (khalifa) on earth., therefore, are equal. In many places in the Quran, humanity is addressed as the “children of Adam,” meaning all human beings are part of a greater human family.
The truth, according to the scripture, is that human beings are empowered with the capacity to overcome divisions and conflicts to establish peace and universal brotherhood. This capacity to discern right from wrong and to overcome difficult struggles confronting evil is denoted in the Quran as “fitratulla” — an Arabic word meaning God-given True nature and/or God’s own nature – that God has empowered humans with.
The scripture proclaims (in 30:30) that complying with the dictates of this True nature is the “One Ever-True religion (al-Din, al-Hanif) for mankind.” How more inclusive and universal a definition of religion could be than this? I elaborated on the meaning of “fitratulla” in my site www.consultquran.com in the main message called “The Universal Message of the Quran” and elsewhere. “Fitratulla” consists of faculties – spiritual, intuitive, and cognitive – that can sense truth and discern right from wrong. Anyone, irrespective of the brand of faith he/she claims to follow, complying with the dictates of this ‘nature’ or conscience is on the right path to God. Countless prophets came to different people in different times or civilizations to deliver this same message from God. Down through time, it is men, not God, who changed the word of God into different religions and sects. Muslims are also part of that failed story.
The words ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslim’ are very much misunderstood by both Muslims as well as by non-Muslims. Mohammad Asad, a prominent contemporary scholar, points out these mistakes in his translation of the Quran, “The Message of the Quran”, that the meaning the Quran ascribes to these words is different from that are in circulation in the Muslim world. A ‘Muslim’ is one who submits to the Will and moral law of God, and ‘Islam’ is the state of that submission. When the scripture lays down that God is not going to accept any other religion except ‘Islam’, the universal concept of the term is used and not restricted to the followers of the Prophet Muhammad and Quran. Anyone in humanity could be a ‘Muslim’ if he/she ‘submits’ to the Will of God. If a so-called ‘Muslim’ – a follower of the Prophet Muhammad – fails to submit to God and therefore leads a sinful life may not be a ‘Muslim.’
‘It should be borne in mind”, Asad says, ‘that the “institutionalized” use of these terms – that is, their exclusive application to the followers of the Prophet Muhammad – represents a definitely post-Quranic development and, hence, must be avoided in a translation of the Quran.’ [note to verse 68:35] see Home |
The Quran expounds that there are different paths to God and only God knows who is closer to Him. A paramount injunction of the Quran is that only God has the exclusive right to judge the piety or righteousness of a human being. No human being should trespass this bound without perpetrating blaspheme or grave sin. The residual feeling of a believer then is to walk through this life with humility that he/she doesn’t know, therefore, he/she should pursue life without being judgmental about others. This humility is the essence of Islam and this is the root element of pluralism. Mike is raising this issue of pluralism effectively for the readers. This is a service to Islam and this is a service to America.