The Washington DC-based Rumi Forum hosted its second annual Congressional Interfaith and Intercultural Ramadan Iftar Dinner on Capitol Hill in Washington. Guests included a total of 21 members of congress, congressional staffers, prominent scholars, clergy and members of the media.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference, made the keynote speech at the dinner at the U.S. Congress and stressed the need to energize interfaith dialogue. Professor Ihsanoglu said that any terrorist or radical cannot represent Islam. Ihsanoglu pointed out that Islam was not a religion of violence and expressed concern about the rising sentiment of islamophobia around the globe. “Extremists exist in all religious traditions. Sometimes extremists have spoken on behalf of Islam,” he stated. He said “What we really need is to have a more comprehensive framework, which I call historic reconciliation between Islam and Christianity, Islam and the West." Ihsanoglu called upon representatives of all faiths to have an agenda for their interfaith dialogue to transform misconceptions to mutual respect.