The Rumi Forum gave its traditional awards of the RUMI Peace and Dialogue at the dinner held at Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill.
The Congressional Service Award went to 12th District of New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt, who said giving religious messages under the roof of the US legislature was not against secularism. Holt also underlined the US did not exclude religion but permitted its citizens to experience their faith to the utmost level they wish.
Father Clete Kiley who gave the award to Holt said he admired Fethullah Gulen honorary president of the Rumi Forum and his movement.
Sally Quinn of Washington Post, who received Media Excellence Award said there was an embarrassing lack of understanding and perception concerning Islam. She complained that this attitude makes 50 percent of Muslims seem like terrorists. Quinn, who said she was formerly an atheist, now a believer, emphasized “without understanding religion we cann not count ourselves educated or sophisticated.”
The Congressional Dialogue Service Award went to Gregory W. Meeks, Congressman, 6th District of New York and Wayne T. Gilchrest, Congressman, 1st District of Maryland.
Dr. Akbar Ahmed of American University, Washington DC was given his award of Mawlana Jalaladdin Rumi by Bruce Lustig who is the senior rabbi of the Washington Hebrew Congress. Rabbi Lustig praised theTurkish nation for its generosity.
Sulayman Nyang of Howard University, Washington DC received the Commitment to Interfaith Service Award, the Peace Award went to Patricia Smith Melton, Founder and Board Chairwoman of Peace x Peace.
When the Rumi Peace and Dialogue Award was given Fr. Thomas Michel, S.J., Coordinator for Interreligious Dialogue, Global Society of Jesus in Rome, thanked Fethullah Gulen and the community who was inspired by his peaceful thoughts. Father Michel said, “I am not worthy of this award but those people.”
While the guests listened to Afghan music by the lyrics of Rumi the award holders frequently quoted Rumi in their speeches.
AWARDS COVERED IN THE MEDIA