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A Decade To Remember, Decades To Come In Peace
Sep 1, 2011

Who would not prefer to remember the turn of the millennium with a hopeful memory, such as the dream below:

At the turn of the millennium, a delegation from Iraq comes to the World Trade Center in New York to strike a deal with their American partners for an emergency relief organization for the famine in Africa. On the itinerary is paying a courtesy visit to the President in return for his celebrating the new coalition government in Iraq after the recent elections. They will also attend an interfaith gathering to pray with members of different religions for lasting peace and prosperity for the entire world.

It did not happen like that. And we have been doomed to reflect over and over again for a decade on why and how the 9/11 attacks happened. Before the year 2000, Y2K seemed like a would-be doomsday; thankfully it was not, but it was regretfully replaced by terrorism and war.

As many contractions of anger, pain, and revenge as we have suffered, the past decade also laid before us opportunities to learn about the 'other.' No less intense than the destructive plots and crimes breathlessly aspiring for a 'clash of civilizations' have been the efforts for peaceful coexistence in dialogue. Perhaps unprecedented at this scale in the history of humankind, many devotees of dialogue from different cultures and religions have dared to commit themselves to overcome all prejudices and psychological boundaries in order to sit around the same table and respect one another.

This edition brings to your desk special coverage of the decade after 9/11. You will read striking memories and analyses from Branning and Kurucan, whose words help us find our own perspectives. Bishop Chane of America and Bishop Guntar of Norway—the most recent victim of brutal terrorism—are emphasizing the fact that religions were hijacked at 9/11 and in Norway ten years later. Tatari and Wilson explore Islam, the most defamed and misrepresented religion, vis-a-vis terrorism and war, which are often wrongfully attributed to it. Does the Qur'an sanction war, and how should we interpret certain verses that sound as if it does? What is the truth about jihad, is it really holy war?

The Fountain also features in this issue contributions expressing our need to promote dialogue for peaceful coexistence. Dr. Leap shares with us her positive engagement in dialogue with other religions. Bishop Demetrios reminds us of the good example of reconciliation between the Turkish and Greek communities in the U.S. Dr. Carroll is rightfully bringing in questions to ponder over: Can we revive historical incidents of dialogue, and how can we adapt them today? Are religions tolerant enough to respect other religions? Are we personally ready to embrace others as they are? Tosun and Angelone reveal a sincere friendship in poetry that cuts across wide distances and differences. Can America inspire peace and freedom after 9/11? Fatma Yilmaz believes it can, and explains why she is hopeful.

The darkest phase of the night is followed by the dawn.