In light of Turkey terror attack, Kansas City Methodists and Muslims join for Ramdan meals, prayers

LENEXA, Kan. - While these ornate tables aren't for a wedding, they are for a marriage of sorts between Kansas City's interfaith community.

"We have to keep working harder and harder otherwise hearts will not get softer," said Eyyup Esen.

Photo: Eyyup Esen

While he's Muslim, each night for the past month Esen has surrounded himself with Christians, Jews and Atheists. He breaks bread and his Ramadan fast with them in order to create a greater understanding of his faith and others'.

"We worship the same God," said Pat Cooper, a member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Lenexa, Kansas. "He wants us to get along and talk with each other and have peace and understanding."

Photo: Eyyup Esen

Esen helps run the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest-Kansas City, a primarily Turkish organization that promotes mutual understanding, respect and cooperation among people of diverse faiths and cultures in Kansas City , Wichita and Lawrence. Friday night's dinner will be at St. Paul's. The focus and prayer goes to Turkey, which is still wounded after a terror attack.

"At a time when the world is getting more polarized, we want to show people that we can live together in peace," said Esen.

And what better way to do that, this group of Methodists and Muslims say, than sharing ideas, meals and prayers.

 

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a time of fasting for the Islamic people. Each day during this month, Muslims all over the world abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, as well as participating in anything that is ill-natured or excessive; from dawn until the sun sets. Fasting is intended to educate the Muslim in spirituality, humility and patience. It is a time to cleanse the soul, focus attention on God, and put into practice selflessness. Ramadan is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God and to put forward more prayer than is customary.

-- www.WhatIsRamadan.com

Why is the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest-Kansas City going to churches and other organizations this Ramadan?

"You can kill terrorists with guns but you must defeat terrorism with education. I think that's true and this is about education and learning more about our neighbors."
 
-- David Livingston, St. Paul's United Methodist Church Pastor
 
"Ears are tired of listening, eyes want to see. At a time when the world is getting more polarized we want to show people that we can live together in peace. Coexistence peacefully is the whole goal."
 
-- Eyyup Esen, Dialogue Institute of the Southwest-Kansas City
 
How can I participate in a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner with area Muslims?
 
Contact the Dialogue Institute, or go to the organization's website to learn where future dinners will take place. Ramadan ends July 5.
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Terra Hall can be reached at terra.hall@kshb.com.

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