World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey's Jewish community hosted an iftar at the Darülaceze, a public shelter for the elderly and those in need of care in İstanbul, on Wednesday evening.
The iftar, held in the Okmeydanı neighborhood, brought together members of the Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox faiths as speakers gave messages of unity and solidarity throughout the event.
Among the iftar's attendees were Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, İstanbul Chief Mufti Rahmi Yaran, the leader of Turkey's Jewish community, İshak İbrahimzadeh, Beyoğlu Mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan, Darülaceze President Nevzat Bayhan, Chief Rabbi of Turkey Rav İsak Haleva, Deputy Patriarch of the Turkish Syriac Catholic Church Yusuf Sağ, Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) Chairman Mustafa Yeşil, caricaturist Salih Memecan and many Darülaceze residents.
Delivering a speech at the event, Topbaş said: “What is happening in the Islamic world now upsets us deeply because many innocent people are losing their lives every day near our borders due to civil wars going on in their countries. Despite the chaotic period they are going through, we came together to show that despite our different races, languages and religions we can still live in peace. Because we know that coming together, listening to others' concerns and accepting the diversity of society can solve every problem.”
Bartholomew I also stressed unity and solidarity: “We all have different religions but this does not prevent us from coming together around a table and sharing our diversity with others. These kinds of acts should be encouraged by everyone because they, certainly, also please God. I hope this kind of event will happen more often in different parts of the world. Ramadan is very important because the holy month of Ramadan offers a spiritual atmosphere that encourages integration between different cultures and reminds people of the importance of love, respect and peace.”
When it was his turn to address the attendees, İstanbul Chief Mufti Yaran said, “I hope this can be a model for everyone who still doesn't understand the diversity of our society.” He added: “Different ideas and beliefs need to be respected as this is the essential condition for peace. … We want to show this with this iftar.”
Mutlu, the governor of İstanbul, said: “Ramadan is a very important and special time for Muslims not just in Turkey but all over the world. It is very important for us to be here with the many people who have different faiths, which shows the unique diversity of Turkish society. And I want to thank everyone who attended the iftar and Turkey's Jewish community for organizing such a nice event and gathering all these people together.”
Sağ, of the Syriac Catholic Church, said: “Ramadan is such a special time, not just for Muslims but for all people who practice an Abrahamic religion. I'm very happy to come together with people of other faiths. We came here to share Ramadan joy with our Muslim brothers.”
Wednesday's dinner was the first iftar hosted outside of a synagogue by Turkey's Jewish community.Last Mod: 02 Ağustos 2013, 11:14