Peace Islands Institute

Jun 24th
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Iftar with Turkish Families

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Turkish families hosted on dinners many many Christian and Jewish families during the holy month Ramadan. These coming togethers at the grass-root level have been laying the foundations of a dialogue based on honest values. Below is what one of the guests wrote in her church’s newsletter. Second is brief impression of another valuable guest. We pray that these dialogues may continue.

Laurie Gaulke

“Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews and the Christians - whoever believes in God … and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord.” !


(Quran 2:62, 5:69)

Did you know that:
- the angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammed and taught him verses from the Quran?
- some of the prophets in the Quran are Abraham, Noah, Job, Joseph, Moses and Jesus?
- for the entire month of Ramadan Muslims the world over fast (no food, water, smoking, gum – nothing!) for 13 hours EVERY day until sunset permits them to break their fast with an Iftar?

I know we didn’t. That is until we had the opportunity to share in this delicious, holy meal with two Muslim couples on the last Friday of Ramadan. Our family eagerly jumped at this chance (thanks to the NJ Interfaith Dialogue Center and the UVUMC Social Concerns team) to get beyond the politics, fanaticism, fear and misunderstanding that are plaguing many Muslims and non-Muslims, and spend at least one evening sharing our faiths, hopes and dreams over one of the most delicious meals we have had.

Our hosts were two young, recently married Turkish couples who are over here studying at Rutgers and working; the wife of our host is actually studying Islam Christian relations up in Hartford, CT. Our dinner began with listening to the actual call to break the fast via the Internet (thank heaven for modern technology!). A haunting and soaring sound echoing from the towers of a Mosque thousands of miles away. And the meal (home cooked)– what a thanksgiving!

From Turkish bread (Graham’s favorite!), red lentil soup, chicken with rice, squash, pastry, stuffed grape leaves…we could hardly try it all, to the dessert of sweet pumpkin slices and strong Turkish tea, we enjoyed an evening of conversation about our lives and our faiths, that we are far more alike than different, even in our faiths, and, what it all boils down to is that we are all “People of the Book” as described in the holy Quran, struggling to do God’s work in an often hostile world.

Our family fervently prays that when this opportunity next arises a sea of hands will raise at UVUMC to share this very special evening with another faith family.

“Salaam alaykum!”
(Peace be with you)


Dr. Linda Baratte

It was a sacred experience to join with Ozgur and Berna last month in sharing the Iftar meal at their lovely and welcoming home. Their hospitality to my husband Jim and me was such a gift. Berna had worked all day to prepare delicious foods. She spoiled us so. Our after-dinner conversation was as rich as the traditional Turkish desserts! We had a chance to hear stories of faith and family and to be reminded of what we share as beloved sons and daughters of the same God. It was a comfortable, trusting environment where questions could be asked about our traditions and we could listen to the answers with deep respect. We are excited to host Ozgur and Berna at our own home as well. In the meantime, we plan an outing to Paterson , where we will show them the historic Paterson Falls and they will show us where to buy Turkish meat pizzas.
Thank you for making this experience in friendship possible.

With deepest regards,