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

AFSV Statement on Temporary US Travel and Immigration Ban

AFSV believes the temporary travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations, including a ban on the immigration of Syrian and other thoroughly vetted refugees, will not address its intended goals of keeping Americans safe.

Fethullah Gulen denies ties to attempted coup in Turkey

As a wave of violence washed over Turkey, President Erdogan pointed the finger of blame to Fethullah Gulen. In a rare interview with CNN’s

Pulitzer Prize equals five years in prison in Turkey

The statement in the headline belongs to Bülent Arınç, deputy prime minister and spokesperson for the Turkish government. Moreover, he is responsible for the government’s media policy. For Western readers, I should clarify that he was not joking when he said, “A journalist might win the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting, but he should face the consequence of five years in prison.”

Turkish Cultural Center co-hosts Iftar at Westchester Reform Temple

Interfaith Gathering Breaks the Fast of Ramadan at Westchester Reform Temple, which was co-hosted by the Turkish Cultural Center. Mehmet Ozhabes, president of the Turkish Cultural Council welcomed everyone saying it is tradition to raise the tent and open the flap wide to receive guests. “The tent,” Ozhabes said, “is a place of peace and friendship.” Religious leaders from White Plains and Mayor Tom Roach were present. Roach spoke briefly about the importance of celebrating the diversity in communities.

Minister thankful to Fethullah Gulen for backing the peace process

Minister of EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis, thankful to Fethullah Gulen for backing the ongoing peace process in Turkey’s Kurdish issue, said, “The peace process is a process in which the entire nation feels the honor of being equal citizens of the same state under the same flag. So I would like to […]

Turkish Human Rights Violations Put Under Microscope

The annual dinner celebrates and strengthens civic ties within the Turkish diaspora and with the United States; last night was no different save the sobering theme of the proceedings: Turkish human rights violations.

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

Imam who lives in rural Pennsylvania arouses praise, concerns

Ishik University To Educate Students About the Threats of [the so-called] Islamic State

Qatar deports 45 Turkish nationals over Gülen links

The real issue is the National Security Council [in Turkey]

I’m ashamed

Daily Sabah rehashes decades-old, refuted claims against Gülen

Turkish Deputy PM rules out ‘ill will’ against Gülen community, unveils prep school draft details

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News