June 22, 2016, Washington, D.C. –The Turkic American Alliance (TAA) welcomed guests to the third annual Congressional Iftar Dinner held in the Kennedy Caucus Room located in the Russell Senate Office Building.
TAA welcomed about 90 guests that included U.S. Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO), Congressional staffers, and H.E. Sheikh Omar Faye, Gambian Ambassador to the United States.
The Doors opened at 7:30p.m. and guests were able to mingle until before being officially welcomed by Lamija Silajdzic, Program Director of TAA. Following her remarks, Dr. Faruk Taban, President of President gave the opening speech. “Ramadan is sharing,” says Dr. Taban. “I feel that people from all walks of life should get together in an environment [and]share a meal.”
Dr. Taban went on to talk about his experiences of going to Ramadan Tents in Istanbul, Turkey as a college student and how they play an important role in the community. He also shared TAA’s mission in advancing education and dialogue. Dr. Taban mentioned how at the funeral of late civil rights and boxing icon, Muhammad Ali there was a lot of talk about unity and changing the perception of Islam, but all of that positivity disappeared in the wake of the shooting in Orlando.
Later in the evening, the keynote speaker, Ambassador Faye commanded the room, as he argued that the
“Islamic faith is truly a faith of peace” and that those who claim otherwise “aren’t reading the Quran.” H.E. Faye also discussed on the “essence of being together” as a community during this time of year.
“The world is one family and we have to be in peace,” says Ambassador Faye.
The program continued with attendees watching an informative video about Ramadan and later, a recording of “Adhan” (call to prayer) was played to signal the breaking of the fast. The attendees enjoyed entertaining conversation, traditional Turkish music and food throughout the evening.