“Today is the highest Islamic holiday,” said Ismail Akbulut for the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation. “We are commemorating the story of Prophet Abraham when he was going to sacrifice his oldest son. Today we are getting together as cousins and celebrating this festival,” Akbulut added. “We have a future in this country together.”
I am shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific attack against the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. It is heartbreaking to see such a tragedy happen at a place of worship. I strongly condemn this hate-driven attack on the worshippers.
This week I was privileged to spend the night at the Pennsylvania compound of Fethullah Gülen, the Sufi influenced Turkish modernist. I had two sessions to ask him questions in front of his followers and was allowed to sit in on his evening meeting with followers as well as attend his two-hour class for his disciples in the morning.
Exiled. Away from his friends and family and watching from afar as thousands of Turkish doctors, teachers, professors and more have been jailed. Unbelievable, Bilici called it. Out of work and afraid of what was coming, he left the country. Eventually, he purchased a one-way ticket to America and is now, like thousands before him, a Muslim immigrant.
Jews and Muslims broke Halal and Kosher bread together at an interfaith dinner for iftar — the nightly meal during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The Kings Bay Y, a Jewish community center in Sheepshead Bay, hosted the May 17 event in partnership with the Turkish Cultural Center of Brooklyn.
I saw the simple room in which he lives, adjacent to the room in which we met: a mattress on the floor, a prayer rug, a few books, and a reading table. Everything I knew before the meeting was confirmed that hour: This man is not the kind of person who would (or even could) plan a coup.
Even before Mustafa Safak arrived at Temple Chai on Wednesday for closing Yom Kippur services, the San Antonio Muslim read up on the traditions associated with the Jewish holiday. Members of Temple Chai attended events this summer marking Ramadan, Islam’s holy month, celebrated June 5 to July 5 this year. “Now they’re reciprocating,” Safak said.
In an interview with the Atlantic magazine in August 2013, Gulen stated that “I had a chance to get to know practitioners of non-Muslim faiths better, and I felt a need to revise my expressions from earlier periods. “I realized and then stated that the critiques and condemnations that are found in the Quran or prophetic tradition are not targeted against people who belong to a religious group,” but “can be found in any person.”
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.”