We are proud to announce that the Interfaith Dialog Center (IDC) is expanding and diversifying its activities to spread mutual understanding through dialogue at the grassroot level. We believe that a sustainable dialogue can only be achieved if we experience it at all levels of the society.
One of the unfortunate consequences of 21st century lifestyle is the weakening of relationships and interactions between neighbors and neighboring communities. As a result, people care less about each other because they don't share with and know about each other. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) emphasized the importance of being a good neighbor and asked Muslims to form good relationships with their neighbors and tend to their needs regardless of their religion or ethnicities. Many people complain about a lack of time and opportunity to interact with their neighbors and communities. In fact, they miss a great opportunity to learn about each other, educate their children, and expand their horizons.
The IDC realizes this is a problem in society. In order to improve the interaction between neighbors and communities, the IDC is launching Project Neighborliness . As you may know, Ramadan (the month that Muslims fast throughout) is soon starting.* Ramadan is special in Muslims' prayers and spiritual lives as they demonstrate their devotion to God Almighty by performing their obligatory fasting, giving their compulsory charity in this month, and performing other extra prayer services. *Ramadan this year is in September.
Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) urged Muslims to invite their friends to dinner and break bread with them even if they have only a single date or olive to serve. In this context members of the Turkish American community invite their Christian, Jewish, and other brothers and sisters to share Iftar Dinners (breaking the fast) at their homes. Our community members will host guests starting from September 1, 2008.
Project Neighborliness will not end with Ramadan, but will continue throughout the year. We would like this to be an opportunity for a continued dialog and relationship that will last. This will help not only you to learn about Turks and Muslims but also Turkish Muslims to get to know their Christian, Jewish, and brothers and sisters of other faiths as well. We believe by breaking bread together we will have dialog and understand each other better. This will enable our children to follow our example and make our and future societies a better place to live in.
We are hopeful that this project will deepen the relationship amongst members of all faiths in our communities, be fruitful for many outcomes, and continue in the coming years.