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Iftar Dinner for Ramadan


We couldn't stay very long in the Rotunda after the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month celebration ended, however, because we had to get over to the City Club (about five minutes away) to attend an Iftar Dinner for Ramadan hosted by the Turkish American Society.

Several other people who were at the event in the Rotunda also attended the Iftar Dinner, including Mr. Pierre and Ms. Mary Bejjani, Mr. Joseph Meissner, Ms. Gia Hoa Ryan, and our colleague, Mr. George Koussa.

Our good friend, Mr. Murat Gurer, performed emcee duties during the program before the Iftar dinner was served at sundown, which was about 8:52 pm. Mr. Gurer said he believed what we were attending that night was only the second Iftar Dinner that had been served at the City Club in its 106-year history.

Prior to the start of the program, Mr. Gurer introduced us to the speaker of the evening, Professor Philip Clayton of the Claremont School of Theology, who was visiting from California.

Prof. Clayton told us that the title of his address to us would be "The Art of Living Together," which he termed "a very cool topic."

In his introduction, Mr. Gurer said the month-long observance of Ramadan calls upon Muslims to let go of personal grievances, give up bad habits, and grow closer to friends, family, and God. He went on to say that this gathering was based upon accomplishing that goal: grow closer, break the fast together, and explore our common core values.

During his address, Prof. Clayton upheld the core value of compassion as the "common theme of religion," and offered quotes from religious scholars of the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths that endorsed his contention.


For example, Fethullah Gulen of the Hizmet Movement, said that "everything has come into existence through compassion and by compassion it continues to exist in harmony."

In terms of the value of mutual co-existence, specifically, Prof. Clayton recalled something he once was told by a taxi driver in France: "Difference makes life richer—I would never want to live without it."

Soon it was time for dinner, so we shared a table and had a good conversation with Professor Stephen Cory of Cleveland State University, his wife, Ms. Yvonne Cory, and his daughter, Ms. Chris Cory—all of whom are world travelers.

As for Prof. Clayton, all of us cheered when he was presented with a CAVS cap and t-shirt that certainly could be counted as unifying elements of Cleveland. Prof. Cory promised to wear them the next day on his trip home—before landing in Los Angeles.


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison

Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC