Numerous institutions throughout the world work to introduce and share Turkish culture abroad. One important example is the Mangfoldhuset Foundation, located in Norway’s capital of Oslo. On October 11, 2014, they hosted an interfaith and intercultural event to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
You [members of the Mangfoldhuset Foundation] are working toward a brighter future. This deserves special appreciation.
Olemic Thommessen, President of the Norwegian Parliament
During Eid al-Adha, one of the most important Muslim holidays, the Mangfoldhuset Foundation opened their doors to all and hosted an especially important guest: Olemic Thommessen, president of the Norwegian Parliament.
During his speech at the event, Thommessen noted that he had cut his busy schedule in half in order to come to the celebration. He praised the Foundation for taking on the important role of working alongside members of different communities. He said that their efforts toward establishing a better future merited special appreciation, adding that Norwegian society should follow their example.
Thommessen also emphasized that learning about Islam and Muslims allowed him to look at Christianity from different perspectives.
Gunnar Johan Stålsett, former bishop in the Church of Norway and member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, also offered remarks at the event. He said that people with different beliefs and values need to come together face-to-face and engage in dialogue with each other. Referring to the importance of religion in people’s lives, Stalsett said, “Religion is a phenomenon directly related to people’s daily lives. It is an important source of inspiration for values and freedoms, and it should be put into practice as a regular part of life.”
Another speaker was JWF Vice President Huseyin Hurmali, who briefly introduced the Foundation. At the end of the program, Hurmali presented Thommessen with an honorary plaque on behalf of the Foundation.
Other attendees at the Eid celebration included Erling Kittelsen, Norwegian poet and author; Diouf Birame, coordinator of the Norway International Conference; Ann Midttun, director of the MF Norwegian School of Theology; Rolf Martin Synnes, clergy member; Kemalettin Suslu, chairman of the Turkish-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce; Ramazan Ay, coordinator of the Mangfoldhuset Foundation; and representatives of Semitic and Bosnian organizations.
Note: All quotes in this article have been translated into English.