Jet Lag on Return from Turkey

July 20, 2012

Jet Lag on Return from Turkey

At the invitation of the Turkish Cultural Center (TCC) in Erie, a select group of 12 from various local faith communities and universities in Erie County just returned from a 10-day trip to Turkey.  As executive director of Inter-Church Ministries (ICM), I was honored to be among those on this historic, intercultural trip.

The Turkish Cultural Center (TCC) Erie is a non-governmental and non-profit organization founded by the Turkish-American community of Erie in 2008.  Its primary goal is to build bridges of understanding, acceptance and trust among communities in the Erie County area.  This intercultural trip to Turkey is one way the TCC seeks to interact with members of diverse groups to share and appreciate our common values.

As you may know, today is the first day of Ramadan.  During my trip to Turkey, I learned that, as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, Muslims keep Ramadan, the fasting month, not only by abstaining from food and drink from dawn to sunset, but also from evil intentions and desires.  I’m told that it teaches love, sincerity, and devotion…It develops a sound social conscience, patience, unselfishness, and will power…It also helps the wealthy to understand the difficulties of those who suffer from hunger.

Like Christianity and Judaism, Islam is rooted in the Abrahamic tradition.  This recent trip to Turkey represented another fine opportunity for ICM to embolden its vision — in its efforts to encourage interfaith cooperation, by beginning to build bridges of understanding among our Christian, Jewish and Muslim neighbors in Erie County and beyond…Shalom.

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