vrijdag 17 juli 2015

A Blessed and Happy Idul Fitr

This morning some streets were crowded with people in traditional dress: men in long white jalaba some smoking with pleasure, because the month of Ramadan, the yearly spiritual and bodily exercise had been accomplished. Congratulations to all who joined this ritual.
For us in Utrecht it was the first time the Ulu Mosque at the West end of Kanaalstraat, close to the largest railway station of the country and one of the major business districts, could be used for the Salat Id. Allahu Akbar sounded over the streets and the many Muslim of the Lombok district of Utrecht (indeed East of the Central Station and the city, just the island of Lombok in Indonesia, East of Bali and Java), could celebrate in a proper mosque. The old mosque (a bath house, in use in the first half of the 20th century) still has the sign that it is for sale. Now we can compare the two buildings: one used since the mid 1970s, the other one since 2015:n what a difference!

For me, personally, this month of Ramadan also has become a mark in a change of life. After many years partly working on the history of Christianity and especially Catholicism in Indonesia, now the third volume has been published: Catholics in Independent Indonesia 1945-2010 (Leiden: Brill and KITLV). Now I have turned towards Islam in Turkey for some time. The book Gülen-inspired Hizmet in Europe. The Western Journey of a Turkish Muslim Movement is now finished and will be published in August by Peter Lang, Brussels. I was one of the editors, together with Dr. Gürkan Celik (Rotterdam INHolland University of Applies Sciences, Intercultural Business) and Prof. Johan Leman, antrhopology of the Catholic University in Louvain. We wanted to put a picture on the front page of the book: Fethullah Gülen sending his sympathizers to Europe (symbolized in a Dutch windmill, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben of London and the Brandenburger Gapura/Tor of Berlin), with ideas of integration, solidarity, modernity and good education. That is the image of Islam that is important for modern Europe and even the whole world. Amen, so-be-it.

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