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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

June 2019
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Speeches

If the language of religious people (Muslim, Christian or Jew) is offensive or out of place when shared with others, whether religious, business, scholarly, political or otherwise, perhaps we need to de-religiousize it. If our language, arguments or conversations are offensive to civil society, and if we cannot speak to every corner of the Earth and share it with kings and the common person, we need to strip away the dialectics and speak to the universal concerns near and dear to all humanity.

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Most American Muslims will tell you that America is the most Islamic country in the world, because it safeguards the rights that have been given to Muslims in their constitution, which is the Qur’an. It makes provisions for you to be a full human being and participate in society. Why do they come to America when they hate this place so much? They do so because they know that they can come here and be a street peddler; in 15 years their son will go to college, in five years he will become a lawyer, and they will have citizenship and full rights in this country. This is the hope that America gives.

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Syria contains a lot of marks of past prophets. You can find churches and mosques in the same neighborhood. In Damascus you can find two Jewish temples. They can worship God freely without any difficulties. The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus contains the tomb of John the Baptist. There is a very important gate in Damascus. It is the very gate through which the Apostle Paul passed when he began to be an apostle for Jesus Christ.

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Man is free to choose. He can answer God’s call for peace, love and compassion, or answer the devil’s call for hate and crime. Men can go lower than beasts or higher than the angels. It depends on the status of our internal jihad (internal struggle) whether we follow the forces of the divine or the forces of the devil.

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The media is a powerful weapon, the weapon that is being used with great force, tact and ruthlessness to attack Islam and Muslims. People do believe what media tells them to believe, because a time comes when media, from being a carrier of a message, becomes the message itself. Today this message is that Islam is violence. This is one big fat lie which must be nailed.

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An aware and wisdom-seeking Muslim believes in himself and his belief, and therefore can fear not the other. Tolerance is a sign of open-mindedness, and the intellectual and behavioral world of Muslims is indeed open and vast. Those who are tolerant believe in themselves and their role in the world, and they are known for their foresight. Intellectuality is compatible with foresight and open-mindedness, and tradition is jeopardized through narrow-mindedness.

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Civic responsibility in political society, I believe, refers to the duties and responsibilities of the individual Muslim as a citizen to the society that gives him protection and provides the environment for the fulfillment of his personal potential.

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Like other religions, Islam teaches us to love and respect, to be kind and helpful to everyone. Prophet Mohammed clearly prohibited killing those who are not fighting with you and killing women and children even during war. Life is sacred. Saving a life is like saving all of mankind. And killing one is like killing all of mankind.

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Human rights, affirmed by the Holy Qur’an, are basic rights in Islam enforced and protected by law, authority, and all concerned in the Islamic community.

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Prophet Mohammed came into this world for the blessings of everyone. This is not just for Muslims. It is for everyone, for all regions. And he is a prophet of blessings, a prophet of blessings for everyone.

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The pursuit of interreligious dialogue and harmony should not be simply an academic one. We must be aware that we live in a religiously, culturally and ideologically pluralistic world that we can either share or destroy. We must, therefore, be selective in our choices of sacred texts and concepts, and we should give preference to those that encourage greater understanding and cooperation among the people of different faiths and ideologies.

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A vicious cycle of anger, hatred, and violence between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples has led to a terrible loss of human life, great suffering, and an ongoing disregard for basic human rights. The nations’ leaders will also have to be bold and courageous enough to face the taboos that have been avoided, namely, the issue of Jerusalem and the holy sites, the borders between the two neighbors, the settlements, and finally—the heart of the problem and the most sensitive aspect—the issue of the refugees and their right to return.

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