PHOTO COURTESY -
ZIA KHAN | VIDEO - FIDA HUSSAIN
Good evening, everyone - I'm Mike Ghouse - founder of
Foundation for Pluralism - and your host for this
multi-ethnic, multi-faith Thanksgiving gathering.
Mission at the Foundation for Pluralism
to encourage individuals to develop an open mind and an open
heart towards their fellow beings, and make efforts to
respect and value the uniqueness of each individual, their
distinctive cultures, and their belief systems – while
acknowledging our Unity in the Spirit.
ways to bridge any barriers based on religious, racial,
nationalistic, linguistic, cultural, social or any other
affiliation – through recognition of our Oneness and
connection through universal human values of love, peace and
joy. Thank you for joining with us in this Thanksgiving
take time to express gratitude for one another, for our
cultures,for our country, and for the world we help create
begin the program, will you please stand and join us for the
procession of Flags and the Pledge of Allegiance
FLAG CEREMONY & PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE BY GIRL SCOUTS OF TEXAS
Walker & Mary Parker
mission statement for the Girl Scouts states,
“Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and
character who make
the world a better place.”
Scouts is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated
solely to girls – all
girls, where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls
build character and skills for success in the real world. In
partnership with committed adults, girls develop qualities that will
serve them throughout their lives—like
strong values, social conscience, and conviction about
their own potential and self-worth.
Scouts, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of
the many enriching experiences provided by the Girl Scouts, they can
grow courageous and strong. 'The Girls
Scouts of Service Unit 185 – Frisco, Celina and Prosper will now
present the flag ceremony and lead us in the Pledge of
Guard, salute your Flag
A few words about Pluralism.
is to encourage individuals to develop an open mind and an
open heart towards their fellow beings.
If we can
learn to accept and respect the God-given uniqueness to each
one of us,
then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
Foundation is committed to providing the media and world
insights, and policy solutions to effectively manage the
multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural societies.
We are committed to developing solutions for pluralistic
governance of diverse people.
is an attitude of accepting and respecting every beautiful
way people have come to worship the divine, including but
not limited to the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu,
Islam, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other systems of
religions are founded on the basis of Pluralism, meaning
inclusiveness of all human beings. If you are a Good Jew,
Muslim, Christian ……or a Hindu, you are indeed a
pluralist. When Jesus says follow me, Krishna says
surrender to me and Allah says, submit to my will; they are
all saying the same thing. “Be like God who loves and
belongs to all.” And, when you do become like God, all the
distinctions fade; everything belongs to you and you belong
to all. That is true freedom, release from the bondages of
“yours” and “mine” and that is indeed salvation, the eternal
I am pleased to introduce Julie Ann Turner as my co-MC.
is founder of Orbits of Influence,
Global Leadership Dialogue initiative, designed to bring
diverse leaders together to address the pivotal issues of
our lives, work and world.
of Influence is based on the belief that "Everyone
has a valid - and valuable - voice in creating community." Please welcome
Orbits of Influence Global Leadership Dialogue initiative (www.orbitsofinfluence.com)
brings together diverse leaders from across all spheres of
influence to engage in meaningful dialogue pivotal issues
and ideas of our lives, work and world. We embrace, and
constantly seek to expand, its diversity in all aspects –
such as ethnicity, gender, age, experience, interest and
belief system, as well as drawing from both public and
private, business and community, realms - as the most
critical issues we face clearly affect us all.
Based on the premise that
"Everyone has a valid -
and valuable - voice in creating community," Orbits
of Influence encourages leaders of every level, title,
position to assume their own leadership voice, in the belief
that each one has something unique and valuable to share
with the whole. Orbits of Influence provides a powerful,
proven dialogue platform that was designed specifically to
provide a space and a process for leaders to consider and
imagine solutions that span traditionally separate spheres
of interest (economic development, education, arts/culture,
health/human services, information/technology), so that we
may better focus our collective influence toward
higher-level, system wide solutions. Orbits of Influence
provides a complete system to progressively guide those
diverse leadership conversations from dialogue to visioning,
and on to shared, collective action, as the participants
assume leadership for positive change.
The Orbits of Influence model may be customized to enable
diverse groups of any size to address critical issues within
the safe and open space that dialogue creates.
Please enjoy exploring our our web site -
www.orbitsofinfluence.com, or contact me, Julie Ann
Turner at 972.612.2131
and Gentlemen, now is the time for the Cultural Program,
and I am pleased to invite my co-host Najma Ghouse to
present the program for you. Najma is an active volunteer in
many a organizations, she has set up medical clinics, health
fairs and committed to assist disadvantaged women.
She is one of the founding members of the Texas Muslim
emceed a variety of programs like the Bollywood concerts,
Move Star Shows, Poetry events, Pakistan Independence Day, 8
thanksgiving events before this…Please welcome Najma Ghouse
Acknowledgement and thanking all
the sponsors , organizers, religious and civic groups This
program is brought to you by The Foundation for pluralism,
Orbits of Influence and the Memnosye.
grow in life, as we expand our horizons, we continue to
discover that the life is just not what we know, it is much
bigger. To some, it brings humility that we are a part of
much larger universe, we are a miniscule part of it… it
takes out the Arrogance in one self.
invite you to a fascinating Journey of the world from Native
Aztec Indian Culture to the far East, and then to the
Egyptian/African/ Middle eastern to Indian.
NATIVE AZTEC AMERICAN DANCE
Ybarra (214) 766-7648
and Gentlemen, you are about to witness the native American
invocation of thanksgiving to the 4 elements of nature;
earth, wind, fire and water. It is a call to the
ancestors. The dance is dedicated to mother earth that
continues to give life. This formal prayer dance has been
passed on from generation to generation over the millennium.
These worshipful dances are still performed in its original
format by the Pyramids of Mexico.
group is called the Cualli Tepec Aztec dance group, a family
operated group that performs this sacred ceremony with
permission from the Aztec elders.
enjoy this… two part cultural expression.
pleased to acknowledge the support from the following
acknowledge the support of the faith based organizations
listed on Participants.
THE DANCE FROM THE FAR EAST….
Binasuan is a very colorful and spectacular dance from
Baso means drinking glass. Binasuan in Pangansinan
means "with the use of a drinking glass." In this dance,
the dancer displays good balance, graceful movements, and
unusual skill. The dancer performs with three glasses half
full of water or tubo, one on the head, and one on the palm
of each hand, while executing continuous fast turns,
sitting, and rolling on the floor without spilling a single
Please welcome Mary Ann Feliciano dancing the Taiwanese
We thank the many
civic organizations listed in the participants link
who have participated in this event.
Rupani Family - Amir Ali Rupani
Hemani Family - Farooq Hemani
Gharbieh Family – Jamal Gharbieh
Siddiqui Family – Basit Siddiqui
Khalid Family – Dr. Mohammad Khalid
EGYPTIAN/AFRICAN DANCE PRESENTATION
Nadirah Johara group (817) 456-7871
Jacque, Anisa, Nadirah, Zahena, and Zahara Johara, of the
Nadirah Johara group, have collectively been dancing for
over 25 years.
[Mike, are these names correct? I tried to extract them
from your original sentence – please confirm that mention
them all correctly … as well as the name of their group.]
As a group, the Johara group strives to represent Middle
in its true form, and bring awareness of this living art
form through lively and authentic performances.
Tonight they will be dancing 4 folkloric pieces.
The first, performed by Anisa is a beledi piece.
Beledi means "of the country".
The style and music comes from the beledi people of Egypt.
The second, performed by Zahara is a beledi taxim, a slower
more dramatic piece which usually uses only one instrument
with a quiet percussion.
The third performed by Zahena is a traditional Khaleegy
This dance originates from the gulf region usually performed
with hair tossing
and in T shaped dresses called Thobes.
Chest and hip movements are non existent in this form.
The fourth, performed by Nadirah Johara, is a cane number
traditionally known as Raks Assaya or dance with a stick.
It comes from Upper Egypt or "Said (phonetically Sieed)"
This women's dance mimics the men's martial art of the Tatib
Please welcome the Johara group
TARANGAM, INDIAN KUCHIPUDI
Sashi Tadapalli (214) 923-5144
KuuchipuDi is a classical dance form from the South Indian
state of Andhra Pradesh. It is known for its graceful
movements and its strong narrative and dramatic characters.
Tarangam is distinctive in the Kuchipudi repertoire.
It requires the dancer to be simultaneously agile,
energetic, graceful and expressive.
this particular piece, the dancer asks the world to behold
how beautiful little Krishna is and what bliss his
The piece ends with the performer dancing on a brass plate.
Dancer of the Tarangam will be Sashi Tadepalli.
Sasi Tadepalli has been learning and performing Kuchipudi
for about nine years,
under the excellent tutelage of Mrs. Padma Sonti.
Sasi performed her "Ranga Pravesam" - a milestone in a
dancer's career - recently and she continues to train
welcome Sasi Tadepalli, dancing the classical South Indian
Acknowledge the support of the following volunteers:
Turner, Najma Ghouse, Mary Ann Thompson, Bernie Mayoff,
Mirza Beg, Lubna Syed, Afsar Iqbal, Raffia Hussain, Ashar
Ahmed, Noureen Khan, Hena Ahmed, Sabeena Rahman, Salma
Choudhary, Fida Hussain, Basit Siddiqui, Zia Khan, Rehan
Obaid, Muriel Pinkus and Rabbi Robert Haas.
Turkey Carving & Narration of Thanksgiving
Mike to introduce Mary Ann:
Narration of thanksgiving by Mary Ann Thompson
introduce Presentation of Video from Unity Day 2005 …
Presentation of Video from Unity Day.
buffets, vegetarian, Kosher & Halal.
Townsend, Councilman, City of Richardson honored with the
symbolic Traditional turkey
Spirit of Thanksgiving, we would like to honor some special
leaders and communities for their unifying visions, and
their courageous efforts to opening the doors for all of us
to live in a more inclusive world.
Tribute to Rev. Martin Luther
King & Hon. Rosa Parks
foremost, we would like to honor two guiding lights of the
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ms. Rosa Parks -
who taught us to view one another, not through a lens of
color, but of character …
and most of all, through a lens of Love. And now, we
would like to invite:
Marie Weiss Armush, President of DFW International
Smith, Editor of the
Weekly … and
Perry Crenshaw, pastor of Warren United Methodist Church.
Davis of Ester Davis show on PAX television.
founder of DFW International Community Alliance, network of
all our ethnic
peoples and organizatinos
Peacemaker of the Year 2003..... I must add Einstein’s
words here “ peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be
achieved by understanding”…
She is author of many a great books, including Middle
Eastern cooking, a commentator on Goodmorning America, PBS,
CBS 11, NBC 5, KNON radio and has been on my radio show
She is one of the best promoter of cultural diversity..
Rev.Perry N. Crenshaw is a native of
Fort Worth, Texas and currently resides in
Texas. He has been the Sr. Pastor of Warren United
Methodist Church for the past seven years.
Currently, Pastor Crenshaw is an Ordained Elder in the North
Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. He also
serves as the Chief Financial Officer of the African
American Pastors Coalition, and is a featured contributor in
the anthology of sermons entitled, “Solutions: Sermonic
Answers to Life’s Situations”.
Crenshaw has a passion for serving God and His people.
is an editor of
weekly newspaper, a very popular ethnic news paper…
shining example of a person who knows how to make the
difference, she is a speaker, and host of Ester Davis TV
Cheryl Smith Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks …
Anne Marie’s Tribute on What Civil Rights means to
the American Conscience [?Mike, is this correct for Anne
reads the Plaque, and presents it to Pastor Perry Crenshaw …
and Ester Davis…
A Tribute to Jewish Community
like to invite; Leon Levin representing the Jewish Community
and the Mayor of Carrollton Ms. Becky Miller to join us on
stage for a special tribute to the Jewish Community… and now
we are pleased to invite:
about…..Mike to intro
about… A long time member of
Temple Shalom, Leon was on the board of Trustees for four
years and is a former Brotherhood chair. He has served on
almost every committee at Temple Shalom in Dallas including
being the Chair of their Caring Congregation. He continues
to welcome and teach the various Church groups who come to
Friday evening service. He is on Board of Trustees of
Chai House, a series of homes
for Jewish adults with mental challenges. Jerry is a proud
father of a daughter who is a rabbi in
and a former Navy Petty Officer who led services aboard the
Mike to pay tribute to the
been an integral part of the American experience since the
very beginnings of our country. They
didn’t arrive with the Puritans in 1620 -- Jews had already
been here for 130 years. Five Jews accompanied
Columbus on his first voyage in 1492 in a time and from a
place of extreme religious persecution. Indeed those
Jews were all forced to convert to Christianity before they
1, 1776 Francis Salvador had the dubious honor of being the
first American Jew to give his life for his adopted country
as the American Revolution laid the groundwork for this
nation of liberty and equality to take root and grow. Ever
since then, no group has ever appreciated more this
country’s welcome; has more appreciated and subscribed to
the welcome of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired,
your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”;
and no group has worked harder to help our country live up
to the words of the first phrase of the Bill of Rights:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Indeed, James Madison, the father of the United States
Constitution, once observed that "the [religious] devotion
of the people has been manifestly increased by the total
separation of the church from the state." Americans are
still among the most religious people in the world. Yet the
government plays almost no role in promoting, endorsing or
funding religious institutions or religious beliefs. Free
from government control -- and without government assistance
-- religious values, literature, traditions and holidays
permeate the lives of our citizens and, in their diverse
ways, form an integral part of our national culture. By
maintaining the wall separating church and state, we can
guarantee the continued vitality of religion in American
Discrimination and intolerance are scourges that continue to
arise in societies, especially in times of economic stress.
Minorities, whether religious or ethnic or cultural, become
scapegoats for the ills of society. In 1913 the
Anti-Defamation League was formed in response to rampant
discrimination against Jews. Its ultimate purpose is
to secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens alike
and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair
discrimination against any body of citizens.
Unquestionably, many things have changed -- mainly for the
better -- for Jews and other minorities in
since 1913. Discrimination in hiring, in schooling, and in
housing, once so common, is now prohibited by law. Unlike in
the past, few Americans feel compelled to conceal their
origins. Offensive caricatures rarely appear in the mass
media, and racial and religious stereotypes, on the whole,
no longer dominate American popular culture. These
changes are due, in large measure, to the efforts of the
anti-Defamation League and its allies.
in the past, the Jewish community works to expose and combat
the purveyors of hatred, discrimination and intolerance in
all the faiths are flourishing and enjoying the freedom,
thanks to the pioneering efforts of the Jewish community.
Mayor Becky Miller to present the trophy to Leon Levin. Mayor to say Tribute if she
Tribute to the Muslim Community
and we would like to invite:
Lupe Gonzales, FBI Chief, also known as Special Agent
Dr. Mohammad Khalid, President of American Muslim
Dr. Hind Jarrah, President of Texas Muslim Women’s
Foundation … and
Imam, Dr. Yousuf Kavakci of Dallas Central Mosque to
join us on stage for a special tribute to the American
Muslim Community …
Gonzales to present the trophy to AMF
Tribute by Mike
we honor the newly created American Muslim Forum for
its efforts to promote the time-honored American values of
religious tolerance, inclusiveness, and fairness by bringing
diverse communities together for greater mutual
American Muslim Forum would become a catalyst for American
Muslims to participate, contribute and develop programs that
would be good for all Americans.
Their mission is to actively participate in all spheres of
American life, and positively contribute towards peace,
prosperity and the security of our nation.
As Americans the Muslims celebrate, uphold, protect, and
defend the values enshrined in our Constitution.
American Muslim Forum
strongly believes that being American and Muslim is not only
compatible, but it re-enforces the creed of “One nation
under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
American Muslim Forum
aspires to be a voice for concerned Muslims
and a vehicle for participation in the American social and
Muslim Women’s Foundation
Their mission is to empower, promote and support Muslim
Women and their Families through Educational, Charitable and
The Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation believes that Muslim
Women must develop their Muslim Identity and make
significant contributions to American Society through
community activism, and provide role model for the Muslim
Now, we request our guest of honor, Mr. Lupe Gonzales to say
what he would like to say, “when special agent Gonzales
talks, people listen”
present the plaque to TMWF
Key Note – Mike
Greetings is the oldest form of initiating a conversation
when two people meet, it is an acknowledgment of the
existence of the other. From a Simple “Hi” to “Hamazor Hama Ashobed”- meaning I am fine and hope you are
too. The essence of greetings is “ I CARE” and this
statement is flavored by religions, traditions and cultures
- all mean goodness, pure goodness.
to greet you in the traditional greetings of different
Abho” - meaning God is Glorious, that is a Baha'i Greeting
“ Generalized Christian Greetings”
the go(o)d in me invokes the go(o)d in you”
Alaikum “ let you be peaceful and safe
Jinendra, Shalom Alechum, Sat Sri Akaal and Hamazor Hama
Asho Bed, the Zoroastrian greeting. All meaning "I Care
about you and your well being" - isn't it beautiful?
one day we could free ourselves from all the chains that
take away our freedom to be good, to be natural and truly
achieve the mukti to use these greetings as synonyms. It
feels so good to be free, try it, you will not give it up.
am an Indian, I can
talk about my own people –when you say "Salaam" or
"Namaste" to one of us, you will hear the
quickest response you can get from a few of us "I
am not a Muslim" or "I am not a Hindu". How small can we
get? They sound as if you should not have wished them .
responsibility falls on all of us to help people understand
that they are the most beautiful words to greet any one. I
would request you to see the new horizons for yourselves by
greeting people in any one of the above greetings
interchangeably as synonyms. Go by the essence of the words
and not the words themselves. You will feel that you have
will feel the Freedom
is beautiful, once you taste it, you will love it.
you ever felt the serenity, peace and joy linger in you
all day when you help some one that morning?
get to that point ‘with malice towards none’, the
boundlessness in you and the sense of alignment you feel
with the almighty is incredible. It is indeed liberating, it
is true freedom, it is worth having it.
what Jesus may have meant when he said “follow me” and
Krishna “surrender to me” and Allah “submit to my will” and
you will find the same essence in all spiritual traditions.
When you follow, surrender and submit, you have acquired the
qualities of God, you have become like him (her/it) all
loving, all caring which removes the “you” and
“me” barriers. Everything belongs to you, and
you belong to the Universe, that’s the salvation Jesus had
Krishna had guaranteed us, Ahura Mazda will supervise it and Allah
will deliver it to us.
Pluralism is an attitude of accepting and respecting every beautiful
way people have come to worship the divine, including but
not limited to the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu,
Islam, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other systems of
belief. The moment you believe yours is the only way, the
ego takes over and kills the spirituality and the piety in
you. Good riddance of ego for ones peace and tranquility is
the summation of all religions.” Arrogance and Ego is the
mother of all evil.
find solutions and methods with which we can achieve the
results that are good for all. Any idea that benefits one
group exclusively will not work in the long run. Even if it
benefits in the short run, you will pay for it in the long
haul.. There is an act of balance built into everything that
is Life. The trajectory of the momentum is always seeking
equilibrium which gives sure footedness, collectedness and
steadiness to reach the next plateau.
social, spiritual, religious, national and international
equilibriums that need to be maintained. No one can be
wished away to extinction, bombed to eliminate or hardships
to ethnic cleansing. Each one of us exist, we are the
reality with our shapes, faiths, colors, races, languages
an old song from a Bollywood movie " Na Koi Raha hai no koi
rehega, mera desh azaad ho kay rehega". Deeply meaning, that
the Alexander's, Pharaohs, Crusaders, Hitlers have come and
gone but the spirit of people was always stronger than the
Oppressors. The Mighty Roman empire could not crush the will
of the people, the Inquisitions did not do any harm to the
spirit of people. The Mighty British Empire could not rein
in on George Washington's spirit for freedom or Mahatma
Gandhi's obduracy to seek self rule. The Soviet Machinery
could not crush the Afghans, our own might couldn't do
No military might can ever quell the spirit of people, it
has never happened and will not happen ever, as it will
affect the equilibrium set in motion by the creator, who is
mightier than us. Power will never crush the will people.
The Beautiful Bus
Each community, each nation and each faith is like a
beautiful bus; all its tires need to have the same amount of
air pressure for it to run effectively, to give better
mileage, lasting tire wear out..... all the mechanical parts
must be greased, all the parts must be checked for a safe,
We need to work together to ensure that we are on par to
ride the road of progress, we need to fill the tire if it is
inadequate instead of asking the tire to fill it itself.
Whose loss is it if the tire does not fill it itself?
Terrorism: - Each one of us needs to work together and join
hands in making it go away. Remember, all of us are in it
together. It is wrong, dead wrong to assume that somehow
Muslims are not condemning this, they are, they are as sick
of it as you and I are. We need to fill the tires, and we
need to develop a language that brings people together to
find the solutions. The goodwill developed should detect
the spark of terrorism and diffuse it.
The work is done by bad guys and they need to be punished,
not their families, nationality or religion. Pointing guns
towards good people will not do much for goodwill -Each one
of us needs to be the 'source' of goodwill to bring that
equilibrium. You and I are not safe if the world around
I pledge that whatever I do, I will do it to bind people
together and not divisions, I pledge that I will find
solutions and not distractions and I pledge that I will do
my best to promote goodwill amongst people of any
affiliations. I pledge that I will be the source fo good
Swami Nityananda Prabhu & Mike Ghouse
Each one of the prayer leader will recite a line…. I have
assigned a name to each and will change as you prefer it...
God, help us keep the purity of our hearts, and help us
achieve humility, help us learn to over come our
prejudices, our anger and our jealousies, help us
over come our ignorance about others of those that
have created - Swami Nityananda Prabhu
God, help us believe that you treat all of us kindly and
without discrimination. Regina
God, help us not to think less of anyone that you have
created. Robert Mitchell
God, help us not to undermine the divinity of other ways
of worshipping you. Mary Ann Thompson
God, help us recognize that arrogance and ignorance is the
root cause of all evil and keep us away from them.
God, help us to know that rememberance of you is the
highest goal that humankind can achieve. Judy Arkow
God, help us respect everyone's way of worshipping and
honoring you, help us learn to hold individuals
accountable for their wrongs and not their parents, their
community or their religion, especially when they did not
condone the wrongdoing.
God, help us see that our salvation, our peace of mind,
our nirvana, our moksha, our mukti, our freedom and
joining your kingdom, is directly dependent on living a
life of following, submitting and surrendering to you and
respecting everything that you have created. Harbans
God, help us believe in the supremacy of you and the
oneness of the family of humankind. Jamshed
God, The world is a better place today because of
spirituality. Leon Levin
your religions are on the same side; that of
goodness for humankind.
God, we thank
you for blessing us with so many way to
worship you. Bhal Daulat
God, thank you for allowing us to reach this season, for
sustaining us, and for bringing us together this evening
for this event. John Dutton
God, help us remove the arrogance and the ignorance that,
my faith is the only way to worship you.