Jan 16

Denver Area Religious Leaders Affirm Muslim Statement That Condemns Violent Actions in France

January 15, 2015

For Immediate Release:

Denver Area Religious Leaders Affirm Muslim Statement That Condemns Violent Actions in France
Denver, CO

As faith leaders, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, Buddhist and others, we affirm our strong working relationships that we have nurtured here in Denver, CO, over the past decade.
On Monday, January 12, 2015, Multicultural Mosaic Foundation (MMF), a non-profit organization dedicated to help cultivate moral and cultural values in our society by promoting tolerance and dialogue, published this letter:

MULTICULTURAL MOSAIC FOUNDATION CONDEMNS THE ACTIONS OF GUNMEN IN FRANCE

Denver, January 12, 2015 –
Multicultural Mosaic Foundation abhors the actions and motives of three masked gunmen, who attacked the office of a French satirical newspaper in Paris on January 7th. The gunmen killed at least 12 people and left more injured.

The publication, called Charlie Hebdo, recently published several cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The gunmen are suspected to have been responding to these images with an atrocious act of self-radicalized retaliation.

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation also condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on the Jewish grocery store in Paris on January 9th. Such horrific actions represent an assault on human values and can never be justified.

There is no way to justify the killing of or violence against innocent people.

Members of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation vehemently condemn the attack of these gunmen. Their actions are wholly incompatible with the values and work of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation, which seek to promote unity, understanding, compassion and peaceful dialogue.

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation sends its thoughts and encouragement to the families and friends of those killed or injured, the staff at Charlie Hebdo, the Jewish community in Paris and the whole of France as they unite against such acts of terror.

Though we do not support the public denigration of any religion or sancta of any religion, we stand united against such violent actions. We are fervently opposed to any such heinous acts that attempt to divert the world from the truth that all of our faith traditions are based on…. that there is one Creator of us all, and that we are called as people of faith to increase love and understanding in the world.

The following faith leaders wish to affirm in the strongest terms our support of this response to the tragic events in Paris of this past week, including the attack and massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the murder of four hostages at a Jewish establishment, and the subsequent closing of the main Paris synagogues on the Sabbath, for the first time since WWII.

Ismail Akbulut, President, The Multicultural Mosaic Foundation
Paul K. Alexander, Ph.D., Director, Institute on the Common Good, Regis University
Imam Abdur -Rahim Ali, Greater Denver Interfaith Initiative
Carroll Watkins Ali, Ph. D, Greater Denver Interfaith Initiative
Msgr., Robert L., Amundsen, Pastor, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Lafayette, CO
The Baha’i’ Spiritual Assembly of Denver
Rev. Bonita Bock, ELCA (Lutheran)
Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, Director, Wisdom House Denver
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Cearley, Pastor, Presbyterian Church USA
Fr. Patrick Dolan, Pastor, Most Precious Blood Catholic Church
Rev. Dr. Jonathan Ellerby, Executive Director of the Althea Center
Kathy Escobar, Co-Pastor, The Refuge, Broomfield CO
Rabbi Brian Field, Judaism Your Way
Barbara Ford The Rev. Jann Halloran, Prairie Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Amanda Henderson, The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado
Pastor Douglas A. Hill, Lead Pastor, Abinding Hope Church
Mohamad Jodeh, Colorado Muslim Society Past President and current Board Member
Iman M. Jodeh, Associate Director & Co-Founder, Meet the Middle East
Rev. Paul Kottke, United Methodist, Senior Pastor of University Park UMC.
Sr. Magdalit, Catholic Liaison to the Jewish community
Rev. Dr. Kay Palmer Marsh, Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Fort Lupton
Rev. Julia McKay, Minister, Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church,
Greg Movesian, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Iliff School of Theology
Doshin Michael Nelson, Roshi , Integral Zen
Manu Raval, Representative of Universal Hinduism.
Rev. Dr. Vernon K. Rempel, First Mennonite Church of Denver
Anne V. Roth, former Global Trustee, United Religions Initiative
Rev Dr Scott J Schiesswohl
Rev. Diana Thompson, Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple
Rev. Thomas V. Wolfe, Ph.D., United Methodist, President, The Iliff School of Theology
The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Denver, CO
Art Ziemann, Church World Service

Contacts:
Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, Wisdom House Denver, 303 881-2800, boothnadav@gmail.com

Ismail Akbulut, Multicultural Mosaic Foundation, (303) 323-5273, akbulut@mosaicfoundation.org

Rev. Paul Kottke, University Park UMC, (303) 722-5736, pkottke@universityparkumc.org

Jan 12

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation Condemns the Actions of Gunmen in France

Denver, January 12, 2015 – Multicultural Mosaic Foundation abhors the actions and motives of three masked gunmen, who attacked the office of a French satirical newspaper in Paris on January 7th. The gunmen killed at least 12 people and left more injured.

The publication, called Charlie Hebdo, recently published several cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The gunmen are suspected to have been responding to these images with an atrocious act of self-radicalized retaliation.

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation also condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on the Jewish grocery store in Paris on January 9th. Such horrific actions represent an assault on human values and can never be justified.

There is no way to justify the killing of or violence against innocent people.

Members of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation vehemently condemn the attacks. Their actions are wholly incompatible with the values and work of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation, which seek to promote unity, understanding, compassion and peaceful dialogue.

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation sends its thoughts and encouragement to the families and friends of those killed or injured, the staff at Charlie Hebdo, the Jewish community in Paris and the whole of France as they unite against such acts of terror.

Jan 07

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation Condemns the Actions of Gunmen in France

Denver, January 7, 2015 – Multicultural Mosaic Foundation abhors the actions and motives of three masked gunmen, who this morning attacked the office of a French satirical newspaper in Paris. The gunmen killed at least 12 people and left more injured.

The publication, called Charlie Hebdo, recently published several cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The gunmen are suspected to have been responding to these images with an atrocious act of self-radicalized retaliation.

There is no way to justify the killing of or violence against innocent people.

Members of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation vehemently condemn the attack of these gunmen. Their actions are wholly incompatible with the values and work of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation, which seek to promote unity, understanding, compassion and peaceful dialogue.

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation sends our thoughts and encouragement to the families and friends of those killed or injured, the staff at Charlie Hebdo and the whole of France as they unite against such acts of terror.

Dec 15

Statement on Journalists Arrests

New York, December 14, 2014 –

The raids on Turkey’s top selling newspaper Zaman and prominent TV organization STV are profoundly disturbing to all of us who value democracy, tolerance and the role of a free press in safeguarding both. Journalists who report about the suppression of human rights are not enemies of the state; rather they are documenting the actions of those who undermine the safeguards of a democratic Turkey.

Whether driven by a desire to shift public attention from the anniversary of corruption probes, or by public criticisms of systematic nepotism and excesses of the presidential palace, these raids and arrests are politically motivated. Such actions taint Turkey’s image around the world and raise the growing authoritarianism of the Erdogan regime to a new level.

Participants of Hizmet civic movement remain committed to democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms. Accusations or arrests against people simply based on their worldviews, without any evidence of wrongdoing, reflect a new level of repression by Erdogan’s regime.

We urge democratic countries and organizations to strongly condemn these actions.

About Alliance for Shared Values

Alliance for Shared Values is a non-profit that serves as a voice for dialogue organizations affiliated with the Hizmet in the U.S. (also known as Gulen movement). The Alliance serves as a central source of information on Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet.

For more information, please visit www.afsv.org.

Contact:
Safiye Embel
Tel: +1.212.682.4278 or media@afsv.org

Dec 03

Turkish-Muslim foundation builds well in Africa in memory of the late James Foley

Turkish-Muslim charities, Kimse Yok Mu and Embrace Relief Foundation, have jointly constructed a water well in Uganda dedicated to the memory of James Foley, an American journalist killed by ISIS.

John Foley, father of the murdered journalist, attended an award-giving ceremony to introduce the opening of the well. “Jim has received many awards recently for his courage, his commitment, and his compassion but I can’t think of a more appropriate acknowledgement of his life than this well.” said late journalist’s father.

Stating that his son had always worked for the good of others, Foley continued: “I can’t tell you how wonderful a gift of a well is, because it brings life to so many who have so little and this is all what Jim is about.” Emphasizing the significance of a Muslim organization to honor his son’s legacy, Foley said: “I can’t think of a more warm and meaningful evening than this in which love has been stressed as a guiding principle for our international dealings and faith in God, whomever you wish to call it – Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Baptist.”

John Foley

At the event, New Hampshire Governor, Maggie Hassan, expressed her gratitude to the Embrace Relief and Kimse Yok Mu and thanked them for the well. Osman Dulgeroglu, the CEO of Embrace Relief stated that the terrorist acts of ISIS are a disgrace to the faith they proclaim and are crimes against humanity. “Our Muslim donors have thought that dedicating a water well, a source of life, to the memory of late journalist James Foley would be an excellent way to show support for our shared commitment to human life and to denounce the atrocities of ISIS.” said Dulgeroglu.

The well, constructed with the support of Istanbul based Kimse Yok Mu and US based Embrace Relief, will supply clean drinking water to 2,000 Ugandans.

Foley had been working as a freelance journalist covering the Syrian civil war when he was abducted by ISIL forces in November of 2012. He was not heard of again until a video of his beheading emerged in August of this year, with his captors explaining that the act was carried out in response to American airstrikes against ISIL.

About Embrace Relief

Embrace Relief is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in the US that brings together teams of volunteers to collaborate on humanitarian aid and disaster relief efforts. These teams provide an array of support, offering to assist financially, emotionally, and physically with families in need and with families and communities ravaged by disaster. The foundation collects for, delivers and distributes supplies and resources to families, individuals and institutions.

About Kimse Yok Mu

Kimse Yok Mu (KYM) is a nonprofit humanitarian aid and development organization based in Istanbul, Turkey and active in 113 countries. KYM focuses on disaster relief, humanitarian aid and education of vulnerable populations, accessible health care and cataract surgeries, post-conflict/post- disaster development, capacity building, and increasing access to clean water. Holding consultative status of the United Nations (UN) ECOSOC. KYM is also a solution partner of the UN.

Nov 12

At a multicultural center, Muslim women teach Turkish cooking

A traditional Turkish dish of eggplant kebabs during a hands-on turkish cooking class at The Mosaic Foundation. The foundation offers cooking classes as one of the ways it teaches about Turkish culture. (Photos by Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)
Photo: A traditional Turkish dish of eggplant kebabs during a hands-on turkish cooking class at The Mosaic Foundation. The foundation offers cooking classes as one of the ways it teaches about Turkish culture. (Photos by Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

AURORA — About noon on Sunday, not long after some returned from church services, about 40 people gathered for a Turkish cooking lesson from two women wearing hijabs.

The instructors, Elif Akbulut and Gulsum Ciftci Katmer, are members of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation, a nonprofit organization that hosts social, cultural and educational activities. The foundation was founded by Muslim Turks interested in establishing interfaith relationships with Christians, Jews and others.

Many of those who showed up for the cooking class had been to a Mosaic Foundation- sponsored lecture, movie, Turkish language lesson or trip that also featured Turkish food. The meals garnered so much interest that the foundation’s president, Ismail Akbulut, decided to add cooking classes to the center’s activities.

“I just got back from Turkey, and I’m here because the food is fabulous and I love to cook,” said Jaclyn Yelich.

“And I want to cook homemade Turkish food. I loved the meatballs there, and how fortunate we are to be making them today!”

Meatballs and eggplant kebabs were on the menu. A cafe table held copies of recipes for the kebabs and a pilaf — pilav in Turkish — that, alternating with bulgur, accompanies nearly every meal.

As Elif Akbulut demonstrated toasting the rice and a little orzo (she likes to add a couple spoonfuls of the grain-shaped pasta to make rice look more appealing), the others leaned forward. Most of the students were women who already know how to cook rice, but not like this.

“Rinse the rice first, and in southern Turkey, they add lemon juice to make the rice very white,” Akbulut said.

“Then you can cover the rice with hot salted water and leave it alone until it’s cool. Or you can first put the rice in a pan with a little oil or butter, and fry this until the rice toasts a little, and then add the water. I like to add some orzo to make it look nice.”

Her audience looked puzzled but interested. Add orzo, a pasta, to rice?
Elif Akbulut, left, and Gulsum Katmer demonstrate how to prepare Turkish pilaf during a hands-on turkish cooking class.

Elif Akbulut, left, and Gulsum Katmer demonstrate how to prepare Turkish pilaf during a hands-on Turkish cooking class.
Photo: Elif Akbulut, left, and Gulsum Katmer demonstrate how to prepare Turkish pilaf during a hands-on Turkish cooking class.

“It does make it look prettier,” said Amy Tamminga, after she sampled the finished pilaf, freckled with golden bits of orzo.

Then Katmer demonstrated eggplant kebabs, which include the meatballs Yelich likes so much, seasoned with finely ground onion, bread crumbs and spices.

Traditional Turkish cooks mince onions into fine pieces that almost are a paste, Katmer explained, “but I like technology.” So she put roughly chopped, peeled onion pieces into a mini-blender and gleefully watched them dissolve into mush.

“Faster,” she said with the satisfaction of someone who knows the tedious task of mincing an onion with only a knife.

She mixed the decimated onion into ground beef, along with other ingredients, deftly shaping meatballs the size of walnuts. Then, assigning cutting boards to four onlookers, Katmer and her helpers sliced slender Japanese eggplants — much slimmer than the outsize pear-shaped version at supermarkets — into round slices that matched the size of the meatballs.

One of the helpers was Amina Guder, age 9, who clearly is handy with a knife, slitting green chile peppers into thin slices.

“I like to cook at home,” she said. Her father, Ismail Guder, the foundation’s executive director, looked on as Amina and the others alternately threaded eggplant slices and meatballs on skewers.

The communally made kebabs baked in the foundation’s oven while everyone sat down to plates of previously prepared eggplant kebabs, pilaf and a salad of diced tomatoes and cucumbers.

“This is so good!” said Rosann Engblom, who brought her daughter, Quinn, a high school senior who’s been studying world religions.

“I’m all about food, and I love learning different ways of cooking. The eggplant is delicious! It melts in your mouth! Is that how the kebabs we made will be?”

Katmer, who was at the same table, smiled a little guiltily.

“No, these eggplant slices were fried in a little oil before they went on the skewers,” she admitted.

“For me, this tastes better, but it’s not as healthy as if you don’t fry the eggplant. But it tastes so good!”

Claire Martin: 303-954-1477, cmartin@denverpost.com or twitter.com/byclairemartin

Source: Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/food/ci_26909877/undefined?source=infinite

Sep 17

Fethullah Gulen’s Condemning Message about ISIS is Published on Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, LA Times

ISIS Cruelty Deserves Our Strongest Condemnation

As a practicing Muslim deeply influenced by tenets of my faith, I strongly condemn the brutal atrocities of the ISIS terrorist group. Their actions are a disgrace to the faith they proclaim and are crimes against humanity. Religion provides a foundation upon which to establish peace, human rights, freedoms and the rule of law. Any interpretations to the contrary, including the abuse of religion to fuel conflicts, are simply wrong and deceitful.

ISIS is not the first group to use religious rhetoric to mask its cruelty-Al Qaeda did so 13 years ago and Boko Haram more recently. What they all have in common is a totalitarian mentality that denies human beings their dignity.

Any form of violence against innocent civilians or prosecution of minorities contradicts the principles of the Qur’an and the traditions of our Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings). ISIS members are either completely ignorant about the faith they proclaim or their actions are designed to serve individual interests or those of their political masters. Regardless, their actions represent those of a terrorist group and, as such, they should be brought to justice and compelled to answer for their horrific crimes.

I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased in Iraq and Syria, and to the families of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and David Haines. May God give them strength, patience and perseverance, and alleviate their suffering. I also pray for the immediate and safe release of hostages and ask God, the Merciful, to lead us all toward mutual respect and peace. I invite everyone around the world to join me in these prayers.

Fethullah Gulen
Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate

Aug 26

Fethullah Gulen Statement on ISIS

New York, August 22, 2014 – I deplore the brutal atrocities being committed by the ISIS terrorist group hiding behind a false religious rhetoric and join the people of conscience from around the world in calling for these perpetrators to immediately cease their cruel and inhuman acts. Any form of attack, suppression or persecution of minorities or innocent civilians is an act that contradicts the principles of the Qur’an and the tradition of our Prophet upon whom be peace and blessings.

ISIS members are either completely ignorant of the spirit of Islam and its blessed messenger, or their actions are designed to serve their individual interests or those of their political masters. Regardless, their actions represent those of a terrorist group and they should be labeled as such and be brought to justice.

The goal of religion is to establish peace based on universal human rights, rule of law and high human values in the world. Any interpretations to the contrary, including the abuse of religion to help fuel conflicts, are either false or deceitful. In true Islamic thought based on its core principles, every mean to a legitimate end should also be legitimate itself. To think or act otherwise is nothing but Machiavellism.

I send my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased in Iraq and Syria, and to the family and friends of the slain journalist James Foley. May God give them patience and perseverance, and alleviate their suffering. I pray for the immediate release of other hostages and ask God, the Merciful to lead us all into a world of mutual respect and peace. I invite everybody to join together in this prayer.

May 25

What is Sufism?

Dr. Sophia Pandya on Sufism

On May 18, 2014, Multicultural Mosaic Foundation hosted another special speaker along with sampling of delicious Turkish food. The program started with a prayer for and a commemoration of the 300 hundred miners who died in Soma, Turkey last week. Dr. Sophia Pandia’s speech was titled “What is Sufism?” She joined us from California and gave a lively speech full of humor and exciting facts while informing the audience on the mystical dimension of Islam that is also called Tasawwuf. Dr. Pandia is a professor of religious studies at California State University and specializes on women, religion, and globalization.

Speaker Series on Sufism

Dr. Pandia gave many example stories from Rabiatul Adawiyya’s life while explaining different tenets of Sufism that included its critics, its evolution in stages over the centuries from a subversive to a more institutionalized movement, sources of Sufism, its practices, different branches, gender related issues, and different branches. She posited that claim of authority is an endless debate in the religious context that includes Sufism.

As the pearl of Islam, Sufism is interested in the esoteric side or the kernel of Islam which represents the hidden meanings. Sufis believe that “one should die before they really die” meaning that one’s ego must die, and one must achieve “fana” in order to be with God. Fasting, taking vows of silence, practicing celibacy, sleeping on the floor are some of the Sufi practices to move away from the body towards God. sufism in anti-orthodox and women like Rabiatul Adawiyya were able to attain a high status, because Sufism emphasizes spirituality.

Dr. Pandia also talked about Hizmet and Fethullah Gülen’s interpretation of Sufism that expresses love of all creation through service or hizmet, and has helped raise a new generation of moderate, spiritual, educated people who are able to engage with democracy, pluralism, and the contemporary world while building bridges through interfaith dialogue and braking stereotypes. She also mentioned the “super hizmet women” who are dedicated in such Hizmet activities of the type of outward Sufism that actively seek ways to reach out to others.

Dr. Sophia Pandya and Ismail Akbulut

Finally, Dr. Pandia presented the verse 24:35 from Qur’an depicting a beautiful image of God. The program ended with several questions that Dr. Pandia answered such as the commercialization of the Whirling Dervishes performances, and Al Ghazali’s leaving of practice of law in order to taste Sufism.

Apr 30

Press Statement Turkish PM’s Politically-motivated Crackdown on Law-abiding Citizens, including Mr. Fethullah Gulen, Undermine Democracy

NEW YORK, April 29, 2014 – We continue to be deeply disturbed by Prime Minister Erdogan’s politically-motivated attempts to crackdown on law-abiding citizens who have done nothing but exercise their right to democratic dissent.

The prime minister’s talk about demanding the extradition of Mr. Gulen, when there are no charges or legal case against him, is a clear indication of political persecution and harassment. Such manipulative tactics are common practices in autocratic regimes, not in a democratic country that respects the rule of law.

Mr. Gulen is a proud Turkish national and a law-abiding U.S. resident who has devoted his life to democracy, human rights and freedoms.

Mr. Gulen and Hizmet participants should be recognized for their service to society and for fostering dialogue and understanding between Turkey and the world. Instead, the Turkish government shamefully uses false pretense to oppress and harass its own citizens, both within and outside Turkey.

The prime minister has already used his position of power to propagate hate speech against Mr. Gulen and his sympathizers, defaming them in the media outlets that he controls, that constitute the majority of Turkish media networks and reach millions of citizens.

Despite a months-long defamation campaign, the prime minister and his cronies have failed to show any evidence to justify their accusations. Any evidence introduced in the future will be scrutinized as possibly fabricated.

While we remain concerned about Prime Minister Erdogan attempting to take undue advantage of Turkey’s strategic relationship with the US, we place our trust in the US tradition of democracy and the rule of law, and believe that Mr. Erdogan’s move will ultimately be seen as yet another alarming attempt by his government to suppress the freedom of their citizens and silence their critics.

Unfortunately, his actions will only achieve one thing: They will continue to polarize Turkey and isolate the Turkish people from their democratic allies around the world.

=====================

About Alliance for Shared Values

Alliance for Shared Values is a non-profit organization that serves as a voice for civic organizations affiliated with the Hizmet initiative in the U.S. (also known as Gulen movement). The Alliance serves as a central source of information on Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet.

For more information, please visit www.afsv.org
Media Contact: Yasemin Aksoy, tel: 212.682.4278, email: yaksoy@afsv.org

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