Apr 21

He (Jesus) is one of the great prophets along with prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad

Another exquisite dinner with speaker took place at MMF on April 19, 2015. It was a night of interfaith dialog with full of quality conversation, intellectual thought and academic knowledge. Delicious Turkish food and Turkish tea were inseparable components of the event as usual. The keynote speaker was Zeki Sarıtoprak, Professor of Islamic Studies, and the author of the book Islam’s Jesus.

Saritoprak talked about his research on the place of Jesus (peace be upon him) in Islam that led to the writing of the book and signed his book at the end of the program. Accordingly, Jesus is mentioned more than 90 times in the Qur’an and more than 100 times in the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and is considered as the miracle of God in Islam. He is one of the great prophets along with prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad.

Sarıtoprak also talked about the miracles of Jesus in Islamic texts, his descent, the relations between Muslims and Christians, and the importance of dialog among Abrahamic faiths. He underlined the interpretation that Jesus’s descent to earth is an indication of cooperation between Muslims and Christians that will bring peace and justice to the world. He asserted that the coming together of the members of the Abrahamic religions under the belief on oneness of God, is a very important goal that can help solve world’s problems and injustices.

At the end of the program, the participants had a chance to ask questions. Among the questions Sarıtoprak answered was a question regarding extremist groups who interpret Qur’anic verses selectively and out-of-context in justifying their political agenda. He emphasized that Christians and Jews are People of the Book and have a special status in Islam. Further conversation with the speaker took place while he signed his book for the interested participants.

Apr 10

Fethullah Gulen Awarded 2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award

Islamic preacher honored for his commitment to humanitarianism

Atlanta, April 9, 2015 – Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College awarded its prestigious 2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award to Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen in recognition of his life-long dedication to promoting peace and human rights. The chapel has been giving a community builders prize and a peace award since 2001. Past recipients of these awards include leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Andrew Young and Archbishop Desmund M. Tutu.

In a statement presented today, Mr. Gulen said he was humbled by the honor and accepted this award on behalf of the Hizmet participants from different nations, religions and ethnic backgrounds who have devoted themselves to serving fellow humans.

“These educators keep schools open in places like Iraq despite the ISIS threat; they provide education opportunities to girls in Nigeria and Afghanistan; doctors, nurses and humanitarian relief workers serve under dire conditions in places like Somalia and Sudan; entrepreneurs donate to charitable causes despite economic hardship.” He said in his statement: “You were kind enough to recognize their efforts and I simply accept this award on their behalf.” For his full statement, please visit: Fethullah Gulen Statement Accepting the 2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award.

The Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award was designed to promote the importance of positive social transformation by honoring those who demonstrate extraordinary global leadership toward reconciling differences. Although Mahatma Gandhi was a Hindu from India, Martin Luther King Jr. a Christian from the U.S., and Daisaku Ikeda a Japanese Buddhist, the overwhelming ethical consistency in the global reach of their philosophies and influence serve as an inspiration to all the world’s citizens.

The chapel’s dean Dr. Lawrence Carter said that the chapel will recognize Gulen alongside photos of Gandhi, King and Ikeda in the chapel, as a Muslim representative of the same spirit. For details on the award, please visit: http://www.morehouse.edu/mlkchapel/our-work/college-of-ministers-laity/.
About Fethullah Gulen

Fethullah Gulen is an Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate, whose decades-long commitment to education, altruistic community service, and interfaith harmony has inspired millions in Turkey and around the world. Described as one of the world’s most important Muslim figures, Gulen has dedicated his life to interfaith and intercultural dialogue, community service and providing access to quality education.

About Alliance for Shared Values

Alliance for Shared Values is a non-profit that serves as a voice for dialogue organizations affiliated with 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.

Mar 23

Regardless of which religion the disrespectful acts are against, the religious leaders have the responsibility to condemn such acts openly

Aurora, Colorado: March 15th.

Multicultural Mosaic Foundation organized on Sunday, March 15th, 2015 an interfaith panel discussion on respect for the sacred. The panelists were Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, Reverend Paul Kottke, Imam Abdur-rahim Ali, and Attorney Dan Recht who discussed the recent events in Europe and the U.S from religious and secular perspectives. The moderator was Reverend Amanda Henderson. A diverse audience of about a 90 people attended the panel and the preceding dinner with a taste of Turkish food.

The religious leaders’ statements indeed showed the audience that the approaches of the Abrahamic religions to the issue are not very different from each other. They emphasized that regardless of which religion the disrespectful acts are against, the religious leaders have the responsibility to condemn such acts openly. Also, the panelists stated that congregations should demand such reactions from their leaders.

Further, the panelists pointed out that respect for other religions’ members need to be taught in the places of worship, and that religious leaders need to pay attention to this deficit.

On the other hand, prominent lawyer Dan Recht approached the topic from freedom of speech and constitutional rights perspective. Recht stated that the state’s intervention in press is not constitutional in the U.S, and highlighted the importance of peaceful and coordinated reactions coming from religious congregations against offensive acts to their beliefs.

Feb 12

Statement on Chapel Hill Shootings

Denver, February 12, 2015 – The Multicultural Mosaic Foundation strongly condemns the slaying of the three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is heartbreaking to see the loss of young, innocent lives and to see the assault on peace and tolerance we so cherish in the U.S. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased.

We urge the state and federal authorities to investigate the motives behind these killings. We also urge the media to show the same level of sensitivity for crimes against Muslims as it does otherwise.

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

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