Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gulen gave us the roadmap for dialogue with different faiths, says Congresswoman Lee

(Video Duration: 3 mins. 11 secs.)

Texas State Rep. Alma Allen (L),
Alp Aslandogan of IID (C),
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
The Institute of Interfaith Dialogue (IID) held its 7th Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner in Houston, Texas on November 24th, 2009.

Guests, which included Houston Police Department, several leading universities, the FBI, and Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce among dozens of other groups, tasted the possibility of peaceful existence between people of different faiths.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, State Representatives Alma Allen and Dora Olivo, Consul Generals of the UK, Turkey, and Norway were also present along with 380 distinguished guests to show their support of dialogue and friendship in the community. The event was co-sponsored by the Gulen Institute and Raindrop Turkish House.

In his welcoming speech Alp Aslandogan, the vice president of IID, talked about the concept of dialogue, and said that dialogue is all about communication: "Interfaith dialogue doesn't mean a compromise, it doesn't mean giving up the things you believe in or your values to be a participant in dialogue. It is also not an effort to unify religions or faiths. There are such efforts and I respect the intentions of the people who are doing that, but for IID dialogue is not that either. It is also not conversion, first it is not sincere if it is for that purpose and secondly it doesn't work. For IID, dialogue first means communication; human-to-human communication."

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) delivered a powerful closing remark. She put emphasis on the importance of coming together in order to avoid violence at home and abroad. She also brought forward for consideration leaders who spread similar messages throughout history: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Fethullah Gulen: "I come to you in peace as you have celebrated this evening, and be reminded Gandhi walked in peace, Martin King called us to be peaceful, Gulen -visionary- gave us the roadmap for dialogue with different faiths that are so much a part of our life..." she said.

Part of the dialogue dinner, IID also awarded the winners of the Dialogue and Friendship Art Contest. This competition was organized to encourage middle and high school students to creatively express their understanding of dialogue and friendship, and thereby enhance mutual understanding among the youth and contribute to the mosaic of diversity in Houston. The awards were presented to the middle and high school students by State Representative Alma Allen and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee respectively.