Catholics, Hizmet bring faiths closer in the US

Fr. Leo D. Lefebure
Fr. Leo D. Lefebure


Date posted: February 14, 2012

In the view of doomsday reports from the US, it does not come as a surprise how ordinary Americans from all faiths, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, have worked meticulously to bridge the gap and sheer absence of dialogue between these three Abrahamic religions especially in the context of post 9/11 world.

SAURABH KUMAR SHAHI | New Delhi, February 13, 2012

Leo D. Lefebure, a Catholic priest by training and Professor at Matteo Ricci Chair, Department of Theology at Georgetown University, who has been instrumental in this initiative, was in town to share his experience about his interaction with followers of Fethullah Gulen and his Hizmat movement in the US.

Lefebure recounted how in the post 9/11 days, different communities worked in co-ordination to deal with the fall-out and how it subsequently lead to a wider interaction between the communities that helped further in understanding each other’s belief in a positive environment.

But it was not always easy. Lefebure maintains that a trilateral dialogue in the United States was sort of impossible just a decade or so ago. While the Catholics and Muslims could talk in amicable environment and with a basic level of trust, and so do Catholics and Jewish theologians and clergy; any such dialogue between Muslims and Jews were either a non-starter or even if they started, it quickly turned into an emotional outburst mostly due to the boiling down of the Arab-Israel conflict. It was amidst this kind of negative environment that followers of Hizmet movement, popularly known as Gulen movement, stepped in. A completely different kind of approach, mixed with the genuine urge to invite people of all faiths for dialogue made Hizmet’s initiative popular in the states.

The frontal organization for such interaction in the United States was Rumi Forum. Hizmet movement takes Rumi’s teachings as one of its core theological ideas and interprets the world through such a constructive prism. Not for nothing the forums for inter-faith dialogues by Hizmet started seeing Jewish clergy presence too, something that was unthinkable just a few years ago.

“I have seen events that have previously been unseen in the states. Once a group of Whirling Darvesh came to our DC area and gave a presentation of their ideology. It struck a resonance with both Catholic and Jewish audiences. It was shortly followed by the performance by the same group in a synagogue. That, I was told, was the first time in history that Darvesh performed in a synagogue. Some months after that there was an Iftar organised in a synagogue. Another first,” recounts Lefebure.

It is interesting how these dialogues end up finding issues of mutual respect and understandings. Mother Mary, a figure revered both by Catholics and Muslims often acts as the bridge. There is an entire Surah of Quran on Mary and the very fact has thrilled several Catholics who were previously not aware of the fact. Similarly St. Francis of Assisi, a clergyman part of the Crusader Army, who dared to start a dialogue with the then Ottoman Sultan, becomes another such figure.

Source: The Sunday Indian http://www.thesundayindian.com/en/story/Catholics-Hizmet-bring-faiths-closer-in-the-US/117/29898/


Related News

Turkey’s Gulen crackdown hits Canada

Efforts in Canada by Turkish authorities and supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have made life miserable for Gulen followers here, many say. They have been made unwelcome in mosques and restaurants frequented by Turkish-Canadians, and they have been cursed and protested against by fellow citizens.

Chorepiscopus Yusuf Sag: Fethullah Gulen’s service is admirable

Chorepiscopus Yusuf Sag, Vicar General and leader of the Syriac Catholic Church in Turkey: “I wish every country had its own Fethullah Gulen. I watched the students performing at the recent Turkish Olympiads in admiration. They all sang in Turkish like angels. I have to ask: Is it better that they sing Turkish songs or hold guns in their hands?”

Clergy share ideals as source of peace

Quotations from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian scriptures mixed easily with personal reflections as a Conservative rabbi, a Muslim imam, and a Lutheran minister joined together April 14 at Drew University in Madison for a lunchtime discussion on “Religion as a Source of Peace.”

Alevi, Sunni businessmen will finance joint prayer complex

İLYAS KOÇ, ANKARA The first joint mosque-cemevi (Alevi house of worship) project in Turkey will be financed by businessmen from both parties, the head of the Hacı Bektaş Veli Culture, Education, Health and Research Foundation, Kemal Kaya, said on Thursday. The idea for such a project, which aims to strengthen will of peaceful coexistence, came […]

Enes Kanter: Anyone who speaks out against Erdogan is a target. That includes me.

The situation in Turkey has been very bad since a failed coup attempt in 2016. Erdogan unleashed a massive purge, firing more than 100,000 public-sector workers and imprisoning more than 50,000 people. These people are not criminals. They include judges, academics and journalists. Erdogan thinks free speech is dangerous, and he accuses critics of being terrorists.

Wife of Calgary imam held in Turkey on coup allegations, says he still has no lawyer

The wife of a Calgary imam being held in prison near Istanbul, Turkey says she was pleased to hear that Prime Minister Trudeau recently spoke to Turkish officials about the matter. Rumeysa Hanci says her husband Davud had nothing to do with the attempt to overthrow the government. She says the family is still trying to get a lawyer for him.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Fethullah Gulen Criticizes the Da Vinci Code

AKP politician Akdoğan: Gülen’s support for peace talks of vital importance

Bryan couple joins interfaith tour of Turkey

Thai students participating in Turkish Olympiads paid a visit to Thai Ambassador in Ankara

When I met a Gandhian ‘Jihadi’ in America

Self-exiled Islamic scholar Gülen rejects Khomeini analogy for potential return to Turkey

The Gulen schools are signposts to a silent transformation in Turkey

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News