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November 21, 2003 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-11-21

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Remembering Together

Turks and Muslims join memorial service for victims.

Special to the Jewish News


inar Acar, a Turkish Muslim stu-
dent living in Farmington Hills,
says she was horrified when she
heard about the car bomb attacks
last Shabbat on synagogues in her home-
town of Istanbul.
"It was unexpected," she said. "Not nor-
mal. It's not something that
Turkish Muslims would do.
We have lots of ethnic groups
in Turkey, and each one of
them is one of us."
Acar and a friend came to a
memorial service for the vic-
tims of the attacks. The serv-
ice was held at the Max M.
Fisher Federation Building in
Bloomfield Township on
Nov. 18. Sponsored by the
American Jewish Committee
(AJC) with support from the
Jewish Community Council,
Elliot Keen
the quickly planned program
attracted 75 people, including
members of the local Turkish and Muslim
The program, held during a break in an
AJC board meeting, was opened by AJC
President Ken Wolf, who recalled that AJC
hosted a local brunch with the Turkish
ambassador to the United States and the
local Turkish community less than a month
"We must speak out against the extrem-
ists," he said. "Our communities will
mourn together and stay together, united."
Nurten Ural, representing the Turkish
American Cultural Association of Michigan,
strongly condemned the attacks.

"We see these as unacceptable acts of
violence and hatred — as well as attacks
on Turkey's stability and security —
against all humanity and against freedom,
equality and the rule of law," she said.
Noting that Turkey was the first Muslim •
country to recognize Israel in 1948, she
observed, "We work closely to fight terror-
ism, as both countries have been victims of
She also celebrated the
social fabric of Turkey. "Jews
have been part of this color-
ful society for centuries, and
will remain so forever. We
will fight to live peacefully
with our brothers and sis-
Elliot Keen of West
Bloomfield shared a conver-
sation he had that morning
with his aunt in Istanbul; she
is a member of the Neve
Shalom Synagogue. Her
family, and his other aunt
and cousins, were all fine.
"My wife is Israeli, so anx-
iety is nothing new to us," he said, adding
his prayers that it won't happen again.
The program concluded with Rabbi
Charles Popky of Congregation Beth Ahm
offering prayers for the dead and wound-
Brenda Rosenberg, chair of interfaith relations for the American Jewish
ed, and AJC board member Brenda
Committee, speaks at the memorial service.
Rosenberg leading a prayer for peace.
Basak Kusdemir,.a Muslim who moved
from Istanbul to Canton in September, was
glad to be able to attend.
"I'm very happy to be present here," he
said. "It was uncomfortable to hear this
news here and not be able to do anything.
It is good to let the Jewish community
know we are supporting them." ❑

Ancient Trust

•s: •- •'•

For Turkish Jews, centuries of history will survive.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency



he Jewish presence in
Turkey usually is dated to
1492, when the Ottoman
emperor Beyazit II wel-
comed Jews fleeing the Spanish

. Inquisition to his territory. In fact,
though, Jewish life in the area has
been traced-back to at least the 4th
century BCE, when a community of
Greek-speaking Jews lived in
Istanbul, then called

TRUST on page 18

Beth Israel sanctuary after the bombs went off




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