Muslim, Jewish, Christian leaders gather for fast-breaking meal
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
AA photoRepresentatives of the three Abrahamic faiths came together in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district for a fast-breaking meal on the first day of Ramadan on June 6, in a show of solidarity between adherents of different religions in Turkey.
Representatives from Beşiktaş Municipality, as well as high-ranking Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious figures sat down for this year’s first public iftar meal in historic Ortaköy Square.
Wishing a peaceful Ramadan to Turks and the whole world, Istanbul Mufti Rahmi Yaran said Istanbul and all former Ottoman areas were places where the adherents of different religions had lived together peacefully.
“There is an indicator of it tonight. We are together with people and representatives of other faiths who are again our citizens. I hope this will be a message to the world from God. The world needs this message,” said Yaran.
Beşiktaş Mayor Murat Hazinedar said Ramadan was an opportunity to gather together at meals, foster unity and expand solidarity with the community, neighbors and friends.
“This is how we see iftar meals. At the same time, sharing these meals with our friends and brothers from different faiths increases the value and importance of Ramadan and especially iftar meals,” said Hazinedar.
Assyrian Catholic Deputy Patriarch Yusuf Sağ also wished the Islamic community a happy Ramadan while extending his hopes for peace and brotherhood during the month of fasting.
Noting that fasting was a holy and valuable practice common to all religions, Sağ said: “Fasting is a test period. It is a test, a stair between humans’ conscience and God who creates them. The basis of fasting is solidarity and helping each other.”
“God presented a great gift to the Islamic community [with Ramadan],” Chief Turkish Rabbi İshak Haleva said, noting that the month “brings people close to each other with love and helps them steer clear of grudges and hate.”
In addition to Yaran, Sağ, Haznedar and Haleva, the iftar meal also drew Beşiktaş Mufti Hızır Hilmi Yılmaz, Turkish Jewish Community Head İshak İbrahimzadeh, Bishop Sahak Maşalyan, High Priest Apraham Fırat, Assyrian Old Church Deputy Patriarch Metropolitan Yusuf Çetin, RUMVADER head Andon Parizyanos, Assyrian Orthodox Virgin Mary Church head Sait Susin, Chaldean Catholic Church Foundation head Yusuf Basmacıoğlu and Surp Agop Foundation head Bernard Sarıbay.