A Catholic Priest’s Letter to Fethullah Gülen

Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith
Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith


Date posted: October 25, 2012

In Niğde, we visited the schools of the Sungurbey Education Foundation, established by a private businessman-donor, Celal Afşar, whom we were privileged to have as our host. He is also a close colleague of Fethullah Gülen and good friend of Fr. Alexei Smith. Mr. Afşar asked Fr. Alexei to write a letter to Mr. Gülen, describing our group and the nature of our trip, which Mr. Afşar will deliver personally to him when he visits him next week in the USA.  Here are excerpts from the letter:

My Dear and Respected Dr. Fethullah Gülen,

Permit me first to extend my condolences upon the death of your brother. May his memory be eternal.

Second, allow me to introduce myself.  I am a Catholic Priest in Los Angeles, CA, serving not only as a parish priest but also as Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer of Archdiocese, which means that I direct the Catholic Church’s relations with all other faiths in our city.  Some ten years ago I had the great privilege of introducing members of the Hizmet Movement to the Interfaith Community in our area.

Since then I have actively supported and participated in activities of the Pacifica Institute in Los Angeles, attending their luncheon programs and Anatolian Festivals as well as speaking at their Friendship Dinners, not only in Los Angeles, but also in Reno and Honolulu.

I have traveled to Turkey twice before with the Pacifica Institute and am currently in Niğde with them again,m visiting my friend Celal Afşar, and it is at his suggestion that I write you today.

I want to share with you the glad tidings that twelve of us Catholic Priests, in partnership with Pacifica Institute, have come to Turkey — some for the first time — to experience the rich Christian past and present here, as well as to learn about the Hizmet Movement, its schools and members, and its approach to interfaith dialogue. Some of these priests have had very limited experience with Muslims, and all of us have, of course, been exposed to the very negative stereotypical image of your faith that is all-too-often presented in our media. But now, having been exposed to the very positive image of Islam that the Hizmet movement presents, these priests are discovering much that is deeply meaningful to them in their own lives and ministries.  This visit brings us all a new understanding and our attitudes are being transformed.  All thanks to the members of the Hizmet Movement here and in Los Angeles, whom I commend highly.

It is my firm belief that Catholics and Muslims together have a great deal to offer the world with our shared moral values and concerns for social justice, as well as our dedication to quality education available to all without exception. This has been abundantly manifested in the schools we are visiting during our stay here in Turkey.

We are brothers and sisters in the One Creator, and as such have a responsibility to work together for the greater good of all humankind.

I assure you of my prayers for you, and I ask yours for us.  I further assure you that I — and I believe many of those who are journeying here together — will continue to partner with and support the Hizmet Movement in its endeavors for Interreligious Dialogue and acceptance of others created in the image and likeness of the One God.

Peace be upon you.

Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith
Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer
Archdiocese of Los Angeles

fr.-alexei-smith

Source: http://prieststurkey.wordpress.com/


Related News

Where does Gülen stand on: democracy, human rights, and minorities?

Gülen recognizes democracy as the only viable political system of governance. He denounces turning religion into a political ideology, while encouraging all citizens to take an informed and responsible part in political life of their country. He stresses the flexibilities in the Islamic principles relating to governance and their compatibility with a true democracy.

‘Erdoğan to take action against Hizmet after restructuring judiciary’

Despite Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s continual accusations that the faith-based Hizmet movement is plotting against him through recordings that have implicated Erdoğan and his son Bilal in bribery and corruption, the prime minister has refrained from filing any lawsuits against members of the Hizmet movement, which has raised questions from analysts.

Fethullah Gülen’s message to PM Tayyip Erdoğan regarding consultants [in 2005]

Mehmet Gündem: If you were to write a letter or send a message to the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, what would you tell him? Fethullah Gülen: “Do not be content with employing consultants only from among the admirers of your party. Do not only speak with your own organizations. Benefit from the wise people who love Turkey; because they act objectively, and seek no personal gain.”

Fethullah Gulen’s Thanksgiving Message

I pray that God, the Most Merciful provide food, shelter, and clothing to those who are hungry, homeless or otherwise in poverty, through the generosity in the hearts of their neighbors and fellow citizens. For those who are suffering from disease or strife, May God end their suffering and provide them comfort.

“Reserve in your heart a seat for all” – Friendship Dinner in Rochester, NY

“Reserve in your heart a seat for all”, a memorable quote by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish civic activist and the Peace Island Institute’s Honorary President, could have been the slogan for the evening. The Peace Island Institute (PII) branch for Upstate New York in Rochester was celebrating its 11th Annual Friendship Dinner with Award Ceremony at the Double Tree Hilton in Henrietta

4th International Panel for Sharing Coexistence Experience in Korea

The 4th International Panel for Sharing Coexistence Experience, which brought together the representatives of the religions in South Korea and the religious groups from Turkey and the United States, and the round-table meeting, titled “Combating Religious Extremism at the Public Level,” hosted by Seoul National University, were held in South Korea.

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

Yalçınbayır: Turkey has tendency towards institutionalization of bribery, corruption

Response to aspersion on Hizmet

UN and OSCE experts deplore crackdown on journalists and media outlets in Turkey

Fethullah Gulen’s interview with The Wall Street Journal

For first time, Fethullah Gülen curses purge of police officials in emotional speech

‘Ekol Hoca’ center of attention on Periscope with his ’online prep school’

Kimse Yok Mu launches aid campaign for Gazans

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News