Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Importance of Dialogue: Religious Leaders, US Congressmen Gather at Iftar

By Ali H. Aslan - Today's Zaman - Istanbul, Turkey
Friday, September 21, 2007

The Rumi Forum, a Washington-based organization working to foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue and whose honorary president is Fethullah Gülen, for the second consecutive year brought together a number of distinguished speakers and invitees for an iftar dinner.

The iftar -- the evening fast-breaking meal in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan -- was organized under the auspices of 21 US congressmen, and five members of the US Congress were among its guests.

The keynote speaker was Professor Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

İstanbul's Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II (Mutafyan) and US Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios were guests of honor at the event.

Congressman Rush Holt, speaking to Today’s Zaman, said: “Here in Congress, in this room where we stand, there is much talk everyday but very seldom real dialogue. Tonight, with the Greek Orthodox, the Armenian, the followers of Rumi, the society of Jesus, the Jesuits, the Protestants, Catholics and variety of Muslims, this has been a remarkable evening of dialogue.”

The host of the program was Brenda Bearden, an instructor at Georgetown University. The event was organized at the Cannon Caucus, one of the most prestigious rooms in Congress.

The event started with a prayer from the chaplain of the House of Representatives Reverend Daniel Coughlin, followed by the Muslim evening prayer, which was broadcast on a screen with English subtitles.

The participants started off eating dates, in line with the Muslim tradition for breaking the daily fast.

The guests showed great interest in the video clip for the “Song of Brotherhood,” sung by Turkish folk artist Mahsun Kırmızıgül and shot in the southeastern city of Mardin.

A group of Afghan performers sang songs with lyrics from 13th century Sufi Saint Mevlana Muhammed Jelaluddin Rumi, the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi order. Works of a Turkish ebru (paper marbling) artist were on display on the Congress halls.

Congressmen Wayne Gilchrest (Maryland), Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum (Minnesota), Nita Lowey (New York) and Holt (New Jersey) attended the dinner while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was represented by her assistant Mercedes Salem.

Turkish Ambassador to Washington Nabi Şensoy, Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy, Eritrean Ambassador Ghirmai Ghebremariam and Mauritian Ambassador Kailash Ruhee, as well as diplomats from the Israeli, Indian, Ukrainian and Singapore missions in the US, attended the iftar.

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Suat Kınıkloğlu, Yeni Şafak columnist Fehmi Koru and Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin were among the guests from Turkey.

All speakers at the dinner emphasized the importance of dialogue. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim US Congressman, began his remarks with the Muslim greeting “Assalamu alaykum.”

[picture: Afghan musicians performing songs with lyrics by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi order, at the Rumi Forum's iftar dinner at the US Congress Wednesday night.]

1 comment:

irving said...

May a thousand, and ten thousand such meetings be held every day, inshallah.

Ya Haqq!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Importance of Dialogue: Religious Leaders, US Congressmen Gather at Iftar
By Ali H. Aslan - Today's Zaman - Istanbul, Turkey
Friday, September 21, 2007

The Rumi Forum, a Washington-based organization working to foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue and whose honorary president is Fethullah Gülen, for the second consecutive year brought together a number of distinguished speakers and invitees for an iftar dinner.

The iftar -- the evening fast-breaking meal in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan -- was organized under the auspices of 21 US congressmen, and five members of the US Congress were among its guests.

The keynote speaker was Professor Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

İstanbul's Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II (Mutafyan) and US Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios were guests of honor at the event.

Congressman Rush Holt, speaking to Today’s Zaman, said: “Here in Congress, in this room where we stand, there is much talk everyday but very seldom real dialogue. Tonight, with the Greek Orthodox, the Armenian, the followers of Rumi, the society of Jesus, the Jesuits, the Protestants, Catholics and variety of Muslims, this has been a remarkable evening of dialogue.”

The host of the program was Brenda Bearden, an instructor at Georgetown University. The event was organized at the Cannon Caucus, one of the most prestigious rooms in Congress.

The event started with a prayer from the chaplain of the House of Representatives Reverend Daniel Coughlin, followed by the Muslim evening prayer, which was broadcast on a screen with English subtitles.

The participants started off eating dates, in line with the Muslim tradition for breaking the daily fast.

The guests showed great interest in the video clip for the “Song of Brotherhood,” sung by Turkish folk artist Mahsun Kırmızıgül and shot in the southeastern city of Mardin.

A group of Afghan performers sang songs with lyrics from 13th century Sufi Saint Mevlana Muhammed Jelaluddin Rumi, the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi order. Works of a Turkish ebru (paper marbling) artist were on display on the Congress halls.

Congressmen Wayne Gilchrest (Maryland), Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum (Minnesota), Nita Lowey (New York) and Holt (New Jersey) attended the dinner while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was represented by her assistant Mercedes Salem.

Turkish Ambassador to Washington Nabi Şensoy, Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy, Eritrean Ambassador Ghirmai Ghebremariam and Mauritian Ambassador Kailash Ruhee, as well as diplomats from the Israeli, Indian, Ukrainian and Singapore missions in the US, attended the iftar.

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Suat Kınıkloğlu, Yeni Şafak columnist Fehmi Koru and Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin were among the guests from Turkey.

All speakers at the dinner emphasized the importance of dialogue. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim US Congressman, began his remarks with the Muslim greeting “Assalamu alaykum.”

[picture: Afghan musicians performing songs with lyrics by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi order, at the Rumi Forum's iftar dinner at the US Congress Wednesday night.]

1 comment:

irving said...

May a thousand, and ten thousand such meetings be held every day, inshallah.

Ya Haqq!