Strengthening Family Life Today

Resources and Wisdoms within the Abrahamic Traditions

TMO Special Report

Ilham Mehraliyev, who served as Master of Ceremonies.

Southfield, February 10, 2011–The Niagara Foundation, founded by the Detroit metropolitan Turkish community, organized its first annual dinner “Annual Dinner of Abrahamic Traditions” at the Marriott hotel in Southfield, MI. The theme for the evening was “Strengthening Family Life today,” resources and wisdoms within the Abrahamic traditions.

About 250 people comprising various community leaders, religious leaders of different faiths, community activists and people belonging to the Turkish community, attended the dinner.

A delicious Turkish dinner followed the welcoming remarks by Yasir Bilgin, executive director of Niagara Foundation. In his introductory remark he explained the objective of the organization and its purpose.

A dish especially prepared for the occasion known as Noah’s pudding, a known Ashura tradition of Turkey, was rich and tasteful.  According to Turkish belief, Prophet Noah (PBUH)’s ark after coming to rest on the “Heights” they collected all the remaining nuts, beans, wheat, and dried fruits and cooked a delicious dish as thanksgiving for the blessings of God upon their salvation.

Discussing on the topic for the evening, Prof. Marc Bernstein of the Hebrew & Israeli Cultural Program of Michigan State University spoke first, on the subject of family bonds. He quoted the Biblical story of Joseph saying although he was abandoned in a well he never abandoned his family. This is what we nurture in our offspring. He said even if our children are far away in various universities or working in different cities we continuously think of them and invoke blessings for them by stretching our hands.

Speaking on the same theme Deacon K Godfryd of The Archdiocese of Detroit mentioned his four daughters and how he participates in their activities to strengthen the family bonds.  He described the family bonds between Mary Virgin, John the Evangelist and St. James. He also referred to Mother Teresa of Kolkotta and her work that helped strengthen the family of God.

Imam Mustapha El Turk of the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA), speaking on the topic, expressed his concerns about the breaking down of families values in the western countries, especially in the USA. He elaborated by explaining why strong family bonds are the necessity of the hour. He said that   is because families are the unit and nucleus of the society. If the family breaks down the society breaks down. He stated the best way to strengthen and preserve the society is to abide by the Divine laws that grant men and women special status in the family. Men are the provider of the family while the lady of the house staying at home builds, nurtures, instills and cultivates the high moral values in the offspring.

All the three speakers received recognition plaques. The concise speeches were followed by Turkish Music that enthralled the audience. Ilham Mehraliyev thanked the participants and expressed his gratitude to the invited guests.


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