Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is also honorrary president of the GYV, delivered a message for the iftar dinner:
June 2, 2014, Pennsylvania
The message for the Iftar Dinner of The Journalists and Writers Foundation-2014
Valuable president, his colleagues at the Foundation, distinguished representatives of intellectual, political, art and business worlds…dear guests, the pioneers of philanthropy and altruism.
If you allow me I will address the audience as “we” counting myself in: We, while embracing our faith most sincerely on the one hand, accepted and respected the presence of other religious traditions and philosophies as the reality of life and started our journey saying “accept everyone for who they are and show respect”. Following this principle, we never looked down or offended anyone on the basis of racial, religious, secterian or ideological orientation and always looked for ways of peaceful coexistence and getting together on beautiful humanitarian grounds.
We had begun our journey with most heartfelt feelings saying “haul, in the name of Allah” and keeping the basin of love all the way open. We had dreams in which we saw the humble efforts of love and compassion were growing and spreading all around, inspite of the fact that the times were stained with antagonisms. From the very outset we realized that the overwheming majority of the society was with us on that. Society was responding very positively and we were sharing the same dreams. In the first years delicacy came together with grace once again and once again our hearts were in anticipation of a happy dawn being tired of blood and tears. Under the dome of heavens, people from different walks of life were telling stories of the heart and grudge and hate were being replaced by melodies of love and peaceful relations.
How sad it is that after all these that we have been through, once again we have become the slaves of our desires and primitive selves. Evil feelings enshrined the hearts of many of us which normally are the pavilions of love. Our souls were smothered in hate and antagonism. We can’t embrace, tolerate and love one another anymore. We almost enjoy destruction and settle ourselves in ruins like owls. We attack everything and everyone and go after devastation with an unlimited greed. We disrespect The Creator, our country and its people and commit unforgivable sins. We even go further and expect all these negativities be appreciated as if they were services to society.
Nowadays the sun rises to days full of injustice, violation and insanity and the nights are darker than one another. Human values are dysfunctional and fall under the primitive selves, sentiments are far ahead of logic and reasoning and love and tolerance are victimized and broken into pieces by antagonisms.
We condemned countless people with our prejiduces. It is unforeseeable whom we will insult or damn and when. The overall situtaion makes us think that we are going through a collective schidzophrenia and extensive madness. We are never satisfied with the oppression we make, never ashamed of violations we do and keep comitting sin on a continuous basis.
The sin of disrespecting the Truth, the sin of grudge and hate against people, the sin of disrespecting different ideas, the sin of planting conflict and divisions in the society, the sin of seeing and thinking evil and dark, the sin of seeing ourselves innocent and the others guilty and sinner, the sin of comdemning people to hell, the sin of sabotaging the good done by others and many other sins… The time must be the time to repent now.
Trying to avoid being didactic, I would like to call out and express my feelings: Let’s seize the opportunity as the days of light wrap our souls and start a purification repenting for the sins that I have just mentioned. Let’s be respectful to humans and protect human values. Let’s bury the past with all its negative memories and avoid reincarnating the fights of the past. Let’s emphasize the solidarity and unity and stop dividing the society into different camps and groups. If our hearts are still beating with the last remaining human feelings and we still have some strenght left in our arms, let’s not waste them and embrace one another. Let’s look for ways to bring together the pieces of our own that we had shattered and make an indivisible one out of them. Let’s get away from hatred and wrath, which are like highwaymen and monsters on our way and try to understand the ways and language of the heart which would make us loved and enable us reach the Creator.
Frankly the reason for my silence for all that time despite all the lies, smear campaings, slanders and other evil plans is that I still hope and believe we can do the much needed repentance altogether. The reason for my perseverance at times that one wants to speak up and say everyting outloud is that I still hope and believe that all the bridges that we burned can be rebuilt.
Yes, I still believe that the river of love dialogue will flow stronger as a result of your continuous efforts, since you are the heroes of virtues with a vast span of conscience. I still believe that mutual encounters and get togethers which used to happen in their own delicate ways, will continue to bigger horizons. I hope we will soon be hearing the melodies of love in every corner of the country and continuous exchange of love and respect will spread everywhere creating a whole different atmosphere.
With these feelings I wish you a plentiful iftar which is entitled “Towards Universal Peace, 20th Anniversary” and salute the volunteers of the Journalists and Writers Foundation alongside with the honorable audience who has always maintained a perspective of peaceful coexistence.
With heartfelt love and respect.
M. Fethullah Gülen