The Annual Ramadan Friendship Dinner took place at Chart House on April 13th.2023. At the dinner this year, an earthquake relief campaign for recent earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria was announced and the participants made donations. Community organizations from various cultural backgrounds including BAPS Charities, Korean Community Center, Highland Park Reformed Church, Grace Church in Newark, Christ Church in NJ,Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, Northeast Islamic Community Center, Garfield School District and Strangers helping Strangers were recognized for organizing aid campaigns for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria.
Local elected officials participating in the program congratulated Muslims on Ramadan, Christians on Easter and Jews on Passover all of which overlapped this year. Andre Sayegh, Mayor of Paterson, who is Syrian American, gave information about the wide effects of the earthquake and talked about the relief efforts.
In his speech introducing Ramadan, Fountain magazine Editor Hakan Yeşilova talked about the unique generosity of our Prophet (pbuh). On behalf of the Embrace Relief aid organization headquartered in the United States, Savas Metin informed the participants about the aid campaign for earthquake victims, which collected nearly 2 million dollars, and the aid activities in Turkey and Syria. Speaking on behalf of the Buddhist Tzu Chi foundation, Chi-Kai King also mentioned that times of disaster bring people together and remind us that we are members of the human family. Rev. Jeff Markay of Methodist Church in Chatham emphasized the importance of inter-religious dialogue by referring to Mevlana’s saying, “Beyond right and wrong, there is a garden, we will meet there”.
Many community leaders from different religious and cultural backgrounds as well as local elected officials attended the traditional Ramadan Friendship Iftar Dinner organized by the Turkish Cultural Center of New Jersey and the Peace Islands Institute.