Date posted: October 30, 2009
ALI H. ASLAN
The Rumi Forum, a think tank established by Turks living in Washington, D.C., to foster intercultural dialogue, bestowed its traditional Peace and Dialogue Awards on Tuesday, honoring Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary-General Professor Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Democratic Congressman Gerry E. Connolly of Virginia, Professor John Borelli from Georgetown University, Professor Sidney Griffith from the Catholic University of America, Maureen Fiedler, host of the Interfaith Voices radio program on WAMU radio, and Ebru TV, a Turkish channel aired in the US.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers called on US President Barack Obama not to send additional troops to Afghanistan in his speech at the award ceremony, adding: “You cannot get peace by winning wars. … There is no military victory in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else.”
Congressman Connolly praised the activities of the Rumi Forum, saying, “If there is something that I think is important and that is represented by this forum tonight and the work of the Rumi Forum, it is the ability it has to bind us all in tolerance and understanding.” Congressman Mike McMahon of New York described the protocols signed between Armenia and Turkey for the normalization of their diplomatic ties and the opening of their border as historic.
Several attendees speaking at the award ceremony expressed their support and admiration for the honorary president of the Rumi Forum, Fethullah Gülen, a renowned Islamic scholar advocating increased interfaith dialogue. “He is not only working hard to teach us respect for one another but also the necessity of learning more about one another,” Professor Griffith said of Gülen.
Great interest in the ceremony from congressmen
The Rumi Forum award ceremony was attended by 14 congressmen, both Republican and Democrat, the largest number so far present at an event organized by Turks living in Washington, D.C. The attendees were Gerry Connolly (Virginia); John Conyers (Michigan); Walter Jones, Larry Kissell, Howard Coble and Bob Etheridge (North Carolina); Keith Ellison (Minnesota); Bill Cassidy (Louisiana); Nick Rahall (West Virginia); Mike McMahon (New York); Jean Schmidt (Ohio); Robert Aderholt (Alabama); Kendrick Meek (Florida); and Vic Snyder (Arkansas).
Representatives, including ambassadors, from embassies of Turkey, Afghanistan, Albania, Yemen, Romania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Greece, South Africa, Bahrain, Fiji and Mali also attended the event.
Source: Today's Zaman , 29 October 2009