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Update: Ramadan Friendship Dinners
We had two wonderful Intercultural Ramadan Friendship Dinners. We would like to thank all of the attendees who were caring to learn about a tradition that is different than theirs and promote understanding and friendship. Also lets not forget the volunteers of the Turkish community who have sponsored these dinners, along with Baris Kardas who served the dishes in the best way possible and earned a big applause by our attendees. Thanks to all. Below is the opening speech of these dinners. In addition you can find some photo memories.
OPENING SPEECH for Intercultural Ramadan Friendship Dinner
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, dear guests,
On behalf of the Intercultural Dialogue Institute Calgary I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of you. Thank you for making this event tonight very special with your presence. I would like to share a few thoughts about the month of Ramadan and its profound meaning for millions of Muslims around the globe and touch upon its implications in terms of living together in peace and harmony. Ramadan is a special and holiest month of the year for over 1.3 billion Muslims throughout the world. During this month, adult and healthy Muslims fast by abstaining from drinking and eating from dawn to sunset and pay special attention to their piety. Yet there is more than just not eating and not drinking to the fast of Ramadan. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, self-control and training to be a better, moral person. The Muslims fast because the Almighty Creator has commanded them to do so. They think of Ramadan as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. However, apart from being the month of prayers, supplications and spiritual purification, Ramadan has strong social and community aspects. On the one hand, it is a way of experiencing hunger and developing empathy for the less fortunate and learning thankfulness and appreciation for all of God’s bounties. On the other hand, Ramadan is the way of developing a sense of community. People are more generous, more cordial, friendlier and more ready than other times of the year to do good and charitable work. Muslims often invite their neighbours, friends, and colleagues to one another to share evening meals, exchange gifts and best wishes. Breaking fast with people from different cultures and faith traditions is one of these important practices. In fact, it is this interfaith and intercultural dimension of Ramadan which, we believe, is essential to this evening and to all the Ramadan Iftar dinners that our institute has been organizing for the last several years, because these events serve as another means of promoting dialogue and build bridges of understanding and peace. In this regard, it is an imperative for all of us as members of a truly global community as Calgary to come together around the common values and references, while acknowledging the variety of our beliefs and practices. Being loyal to a particular faith and its essence does not prevent its members form understanding contemporary values. By coming together here, at one table, we prove that this is a situation of great richness with remarkable opportunities for mutual understanding and for creating a society rooted in common values. We give the society the idea that people can live together regardless of group, faith and ideology. We have a great deal to learn from one another. Together, listening and responding with openness and respect, we can move forward to work in ways that acknowledge genuine differences but build on shared hopes and values, to attain peace and to help bring about the long-awaited cooperation of the world civilizations, and to encourage justice, love, respect and altruism. I would like to conclude my remarks with some quotes from the great minds of the past and present on some of the key idea emphasized here.
“We have to face that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together and if we are to live together then we must talk.” (Eleanor Roosevelt).
Be tolerant to the creations because all of them were created by God. (Rumi)
“I see … dialogue as a chance for people of different cultures and traditions to get to know each other better, whether they live on opposite sides of the world or on the same street.” (Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General of the United Nations)
Civilized people solve their problems through dialogue not fighting (M. Fethullah Gulen)
Thank you! My best wishes for a delightful evening.
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