Interfaith Panel Explores Blessed Mary’s Example of Patience

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JWF’s Intercultural Dialogue Platform (IDP), the Tevere Institute, and the Izmir Intercultural Dialogue Center organized an international panel event in Izmir, Turkey, on May 13-14, 2014. The panel was titled “The Blessed Mary’s Patience in the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible.”

With no doubt, the Blessed Mary shows the reference point for people who cannot defend themselves when they sometimes face defamation and baseless accusations.

Excerpt from the panel’s concluding statement

The panel featured 20 speakers, and about 400 people from 20 countries attended the event. The organizers’ main objective was to bring Christians and Muslims together through their shared recognition of the Blessed Mary and to highlight her significance within these two religions.

During his opening speech at the event, JWF President Mustafa Yesil said, “Just as the Blessed Mary did, believers should endure severe divine ordeals until God’s help comes.” He noted that this course of action is especially important when believers are under pressure, even in the face of groundless libel or defamation.

Additional welcoming remarks were given by IDP President Professor Muhit Mert. “Sometimes, it may not be possible for people to defend themselves in the face of unfounded charges or slanderous accusations hurled at them. In such cases, the best policy may be to keep silent than to speak out,” Mert said, adding that the Blessed Mary’s life offers lessons for everyone in this context.

Following the speeches, the Izmir Intercultural Dialogue Center’s chorus gave a mini concert consisting of hymns and compositions from diverse religions and cultures. After the concert, the panel’s sessions began.

The panel speakers noted that the Holy Qur’an and the New Testament frequently referred to the noble origins of the Blessed Mary and her virtues. It was underlined that she was the only woman whose name was mentioned 34 times in the Holy Qur’an and 19 times in the New Testament. The speakers suggested that her life could be taken as a model in overcoming numerous spiritual and material problems of modern day life.

A concluding statement was released at the end of the panel. Chaired by Professor Emine Eroglu, the Concluding Statement Committee consisted of Prof. Dr. Catherine Joseph Droste, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David and Prof. Dr. Ali Ihsan Yitik.

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