The Rumi Forum and the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) of Washington, D.C., organized an Intercultural Iftar Dinner in efforts of promoting interfaith dialogue.
Guests from different countries, cultures and religions gathered around the same iftar table Monday night in Washington, D.C., for the special Muslim tradition of the daily fast-breaking during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. The Rumi Forum and the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) of Washington, D.C., organizations in the Washington metropolitan area promoting interfaith dialog and peace, organized the Annual Intercultural İftar Dinner. Turkish Ambassador Namık Tan was in attendance along with ambassadors and embassy officials from various countries such as South Africa, Mozambique, Norway, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Bahrain, Senegal, Fiji, Indonesia and Sweden. White House and State Department officials and some business leaders gathered around the iftar table as well. Guests from a myriad of religious and cultural backgrounds sat down to share iftar, during which they had the opportunity to taste the unique flavors of Turkish cuisine prepared by skilled hands. The dinner commenced with the traditional evening call to prayer, which was accompanied by the English translation projected on a screen. Following the iftar, the evening’s speakers called for dialog and cooperation to combat religious and cultural discrimination. Ambassador Tan, noting the shrinking of the world through globalization, said, “Everyone should work together to cooperate and understand one another.” Merely talking is not enough, Tan said. To achieve true dialog, everyone must be able to love, respect, aid, forgive and apologize, he said. Referring to the “smart power” approach put forward by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Tan added that Turkey has found an alternative strategy to solving problems, called “soft power.” Tan said that Turkey considers “soft power” to be the best tool in conflicts because of its central geographic location. The Rumi Forum was founded in 1999 with the mission to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue and to provide a common platform for education and information exchange. The Rumi Forum endeavors to foster the noble ideals of Rumi, bringing people and ideas together for a more peaceful coexistence. The TAA is established as a broader umbrella organization for federations, councils and similar entities which bear the qualities and share the objectives of establishing closer relations with the Turkic American community and the community at large and also with the members of other ethnic communities in the US.