The Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) International Benevolence Awards of March 12, 2017 were gifted to their owners. The President of Turkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the ceremony. The Turkiye Diyanet Foundation organization’s third International Benevolence Awards organized in the Halic congress center was attended by a great number of people, among them were: The President of both the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the TDV Board of Trustees Mehmet Görmez, the deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmuş, the minister of culture and tourism Nabi Avcı, president of the court of cassation Rüştü Cirit, Governor of İstanbul Vasip Şahin and the Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş.
The President Recep Tayip Erdoğan thanked the organizers of the event, Turkiye Diyanet Foundation TDV who will celebrate its 42nd anniversary and he thanked all those wo put their efforts and hearts in this event.
The President expressed his gratitude to the founders and the efforts they have given to establish an esteemed foundation in 1975, in times which were much darker and gloomy than now. He cited a saying of the Prophet Mohammed “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end, except for three: A continuous charity, knowledge by which people derive benefit and a righteous child who prays for him.”
Erdoğan supplicated that Allah helps us to live such a honorable life, raise righteous children and leave behind beneficial knowledge for the good of mankind before we make the journey from this world to the next. He continued his speech by saying:
“42 years ago, a handful of people who are conscious of their responsibility to the world planted a sapling and today, all praise belongs to God, this sapling became a tree that does not only give fruit to our country, but gives it fruits to 135 countries in the world. This amazing view, the different colors of the world resembling all the beauty of our world is like a meeting of the United Nations. All of this is the result of 42 years of patient struggle. With more than 1000 branches in Turkey alone, with a wide scope of projects from education to human aid, this foundation is at an exclusive position in the world. Our Foundation ensures that a charity and benevolence becomes a culture on the one hand and gives an helping hand to the oppressed in both Muslim and non-Muslim regions on the other. It is therefore that I value the international Imam Hatip and International Theology program.”
“I see everyone as a soulmate of Turkey”
The President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that he beliefs that the 2.140 students from 70 different countries across the world, now gaining their education in Turkey with moral and material support from the Foundation, will form a living bridge between the different countries.
Erdoğan said “I see everyone who filled this congress center as a soulmate of Turkey”. He further emphasized the importance of these awards for benevolence and all other organizations promoting goodness.
He stated that the “My present is Quran” campaign started in cooperation with the Presidency of Religious affairs is an important project and he also requested that justice, benevolence, mercy, steadfastness and these kind of noble values will always be the prime objective of the Foundation.
Erdoğan drew attention to the fact that regions in Africa, Asia and South America are having difficulties obtaining a copy of the Qur’an “Sometimes there is just one copy of the Qur’an in a whole village. To leave our Muslim brothers without a Qur’an while Missionaries try to convert the people of those regions by all means possible would be unfitting to us. I firmly believe that our charitable and noble-hearted people will not let our foundation alone in this campaign. With the will of God, we as well shall keep supporting you just as we did until this day.”
President Erdoğan stresses the fact that the heart becomes hardened against cruel images as time goes. The cruel images that have been coming from Syria for past 6 years would normally raise the world on its feet against such cruelty, however none but a few oppose it.
Despite images of Innocent people drowning in the Mediterranean sea, children being murdered with chemical weapons filling our screens; hearts that are not affected by such images are heart as described in the Quran, hardened, rusted and even hearts of stone.
He makes clear that we live in a time were hearts are hard and turned into stone “Unfortunately, the voices of mercy are no longer heard. We look for those who strive for the sake of God, those who work day and night, who work free of charge, they are the ones we crave for.”
Erdoğan states that in difficult times as these, it is of utmost importance to find these kind of well-wishing people who work for a better, both in Turkey as abroad, and support them with their activities.
Despite the insensitivity sending us into desperation, the 1.200 stories coming from all corners of the world show us that people with a noble heart are still among us. Erdoğan says that the owners of the benevolence awards do not think of benevolence as a way of gains, they see this as a matter of the heart.
“Their actual award is with our Lord”
Erdoğan quotes Avicenna “No one is as blind as the one who doesn’t want to see” and notes “Our duty is to look after these soldiers of goodness, motivate them and strive to increase the number of these men”.
He continued his speech by stating that this is the third time the International Benevolence Awards are organized and therefore hold an important role:
“This year’s Benevolence awards go to: Mustafa Göçer who gave 40 years of his life earth, to plants and trees, studying books on nature, the Pakistani Muhammed Eyüp, who fought against the darkness of ignorance and devoted his life to the children of the street, Merve Çirişoğlu who started –along with her friends while at university – a bookmarker Project to make Africans children smile, the American Suzanne Barakat who fights against hatred and animosity, two seeds of racisms which is widespread in these times, Yahya Kamçı who calls to forgive and make peace instead of spilling each other’s blood, and who states that “Peace is worlds nicest word”, Janna Cihat who despite the bombs and bullets in Palestine, shows the terrible occupation to the world and finally Cavit and Hafize Etleç who in the past 6 years have become the symbol of helping Syrian refugees.”
And I hope from the depth of my heart that your generosity will spread goodness to all over the world. I find it meaningful that this year’s loyalty award is given to the martyrs of 15 July.
The ceremony was started with the verse “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind’’ and Erdoğan finished his speech with the following words: “I see you, the people in front of me as people amongst the best nation for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil. I know this as well. That is why I want to thank you. Congratulate you. As I conclude my words, I would like to thank the Turkiye Diyanet Foundation and wish them the best. I want to thank the winners of this year’s Benevolence awards once more. May God keep the steadfast amongst us. May God give strength, patience and support to everyone who strives for goodness.”
Deputy Prime Minister Kurtulmuş
Deputy Prime Minister Kurtulmuş narrated the story of Cain and Abel and their struggle between evil and good. He states that this fight still continues.
Unfortunately, evil is more organized, widespread and successful according to Kurtulmuş and this fight will continue until the end of the world.
He says that many countries in our world struggle with internal war, occupation and terrorist organizations “It is very unfortunate to see countries who do not even have food to eat and water to drink facing occupations, oppression, and army interventions. While they operate in the name of evil, terrorizing innocent humans and occupying their lands, we try to give a helping hand to those who are oppressed in order to save them of that inhumane situation”
The President of Religious Affairs Mehmet Görmez
The President of Religious Affairs Mehmet Görmez states that the benevolence awards, along with the heroes of goodness and the rising goodness will remove all evil which has become a breeding ground for islamophobia in the west, particularly in Holland.
Görmez further notes that Holland’s detention of Sayan Kaya, the Minister of Family and Social Policies rude and baseless:
“As a representative of religion, I reject yesterday’s lawlessness and incivility towards our Minister of Family and Social Policies. The same was also done to our religious representatives who have been flagbearers of peace to our people living abroad for more than 40 years. Yet, they were declared spies and slandered on an unthinkable manner, where after their houses were searched. Just a couple of years ago, a prominent politician said: ”if Muhammed were to be alive today and would ask for a visa for Holland, I would not grant it.” The only thing I can do for people that go this far is to wish for them to be cured, just as the Prophet of Islam, Muhammed would promote mercy. From this congress of goodness, I would like to invite all religious officials, particularly Pope Francis, to speak out against islamophobic hate, anger and animosity.”
Görmez states that their main objective is to show that the essence of existence is goodness and goodness is that was is right and beautiful. Goodness is everlasting and eternal, and evil is absence and nothingness. That evil is contingent and temporary.
He notes that the Turkiye Diyanet Foundation stretches a helping hand to all the oppressed around the world. “We as foundation believe that the Islamic world can only be saved from its current ignorance and poverty with conscious and educated people. Therefore does education have our priority. With this aim in our minds does our Foundation provide thousands of students, maintain dorms, and has it already built many education centers in and outside of Turkey. Our Foundation will make sure that Islam is explained and understand correctly by opening schoold in 111 countries and providing education – from primary level till a doctors degree – to students.
The President of the Ministry of Religious Affairs Görmez emphasizes that they have always supported the Syrians from the beginning:
“15 thousand Syrian are gaining education since 3 years at the schools opened by Turkey. In order to rebuilt, bring back to normal so that people may return to cities cleaned of terrorist influences such as El Bab, Çobanbey, Cerablus and Azez, we have initiated the construction of 67 mosques. Furthermore, to help the people who fled Aleppo the campaign “Don’t let Humanity die in Aleppo” was started. In the first phase of this campaign 152 million lira in cash and kind was collected, thereby a total of 812 trucks of supplies were sent to the area. By opening ovens, foodbanks and clothing stores in cooperation with local logistic centers, we manage to locate the needy and provide them their basic life needs.”
He further reminded the campaigns in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Pakistan, all countires where the Muslims of Arakan took shelter. Thanks to this campaign 4 thousand children of Arakan Muslims have restarted school again.
Finally Görmez remarked that they are constructed over 3.600 mosques in 25 countries, from the Middle East to South America, from America to the Crimea and from Rusya to Africa. Another 9 mosques have already been constructed in Gazza.
International Benevolence Awards
In this year’s Turkiye Diyanet Foundation’s International Benevolence Awards, a total of 7 winners were awarded, 4 from Turkey and 3 from other countries.
Janna Jihad “the youngest Journalist of Palestine” received her award from none other than the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself.
Asena Büyükacar came as a substitute for the American Suzanne Barakat received the award from the Governor of Istanbul Vasip Şahin.
The Pakistani Muhammed Eyüp from The Minister of Culture and Tourism Nabi Avcı, Cavit and Hafize Etleç from the deputy Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, Merve Çirişoğlu from the President of the Ministry of Religious Affairs Mehmet Görmez, Yahya Kamçı from the President of the Court of Cassation İsmail Rüştü Cirit and Mustafa Göçer received his award from the Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş.
The 10 year old Janna Jihad is a journalist wanting to inform the world of the occupation and oppression occurring in her country. She decided to became a journalist after the murder of her uncle and her friends and shares her stories from her social Media accounts.