No American has to live in fear or apprehension of the other, and how do we break that bad habit of speaking negatively about Muslims? First, we need to pass a law to make it an offense to make anti-American-Muslim comments in line with racism, Anti-Semitism, Homophobia and Xenophobia. Secondly, Muslims have to participate in everything American, and not live in silos. The average American needs to know that an Average Muslims is no different than himself in his or her aspiration to have education, a job, raise a family and live the American dream of home ownership. To build a cohesive America we need all of us to participate in what is common to all Americans. Mike Ghouse
Rudolph Bush Follow @dallaspolitics Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Published at Dallas Morning News: March 17, 2015 1:21 pm
The news that has absorbed our part of the world recently revolves around a bus full of frat boys at the University of Oklahoma spouting a racist chant in some weird fraternity ritual.
When two of the young men’s names were revealed, both said they were just repeating what they were taught. They were followers in other words, trying to fit in with a tribe.
In many of our faiths, we are called to follow. We take comfort in the community of our faiths.
But how do we understand, as individuals, when we should follow and when we should step away and when we should try to lead?
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas
The expressions “monkey see monkey do” or “blind following” and “jumping sheepishly” are a part of the animal in us. A majority of us find it convenient to mock rather than act out of sanity, reason or rationality.
The Oklahoma University’s study of frat boys spouting racist chant, as they have said, was repetition of what they were taught, they may not like to be linked to “monkey see monkey do,” but that is what they did.
Obviously most of the things we do on a daily basis amount to following something or the other, whether it is at work, chores at home, behavior at social gatherings, playing, place of worship and even dating.
The word “follow” is bombarded into our psyche day-in and day-out. For a majority of us, it is convenient to follow rather than do the painful work of thinking and getting confused given the time we have for the given chore.
Here is a beautiful story to narrate blind following in Hinduism, and it is the same in all religions and will share in the future. One great Hindu scholar reaches the banks of the sacred river Ganges to take a dip, as it symbolically washes the sins and relieves the individual. It is a like walking on Via Delarosa in Jerusalem or performing Hajj for Christians and Muslims respectively.
The crowd recognized this great man, and decided to follow him. Obviously he knew what to do.
The Scholar lays his brass tumbler on the banks and walks into the river. On a second thought, he returns right back to secure his tumbler from being stolen. He digs up the sand, places the tumbler in it and covers it up and walks back into the river, then he comes back again, as he would not be able to recognize where he buried the tumbler since waves make the surface even. He plucks a branch from the nearby bush and sticks on the sand where the tumbler was and goes back to take the dip. The crowd was pleased to learn this erudite ritual.
When the scholar returns from the river to the bank to fetch his tumbler, he was shocked to find hundreds of branches stuck on the sand, amazing followers!
My experience and study of Fox News has offered me a few clues about when to follow and when to question on the issue of breaking habits.
When the law prevents and nails you from being a racist or making Anti-Semitic statements or hateful rhetoric against LGBT, how do you unload your pent up hatred and prejudices? Fox found that outlet; dump it on Muslims. Indeed, they have successfully created negative profiles of Muslims.
The average Fox Fan falls into that trap and is suspicious of American Muslims and equates them with terrorist abroad. The crimes committed by Muslim Americans are proportionate to their population – less than 3%. That puts everyone on par, yet the News Media shamelessly stereotypes Muslims. The University of North Carolina did a study and found Muslim-linked terrorism claimed the lives of 37 Americans while more than 190,000 Americans were murdered since 9/11. (Less than 1/10th of 1%)
No American has to live in fear or apprehension of the other, and how do we break that bad habit of speaking negatively about Muslims? First, we need to pass a law to make it an offense to make anti-American-Muslim comments along with racism, Anti-Semitism, Homophobia and Xenophobia. Secondly, Muslims have to participate in everything American, and not live in silos. The average American needs to know that an Average Muslims is no different than himself in his or her aspiration to have education, a job, raise a family and live the American dream of home ownership. To build a cohesive America we need all of us to participate in what is common to all Americans.
To read the take of other panelists, please visit Dallas Morning News at
America Together Foundation
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer
and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics and other
issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for
others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film ” Sacred” to be released on 9/11
and a documentary “Americans
together” for a July 4 release. He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox
News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including
Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at
www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are
at www.TheGhousediary.com – Mike is
committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on
issues of the day.