Baptists break bread with Turkish Muslims in Dallas Church
Dallas News

Dallas News

A Baptist congregation in northeast Dallas opened their doors, and their arms, to a group of Turkish Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast last week.

As the Iftar feast began at sunset Thursday, the room at Wilshire Baptist Church quickly filled with excited chatter as guests exchanged stories over dinner.

“In both of our religions, we know that it is our duty to love our neighbors,” senior pastor George Mason said, “and this gives us a real opportunity to put that into practice.

One Turkish family in attendance eagerly spoke about Ramadan traditions and recounted the ordeal that led them to the Dallas area from a politically turbulent Turkey.

When the Dalkir family left their homeland 19 months ago, they knew they could never go back.

The family — Alp, Ilkay, and their two children, Furkan and Zeynep — left 15 days after receiving an urgent tip from a friend in the Turkish government: “You are on the list. You have to go.”

“If I were now in Turkey,” Alp said, “I would be in prison.”

The Dalkirs are a part of the Raindrop Foundation, where they were met with hundreds of families in he same situation.

“We all had political problems in Turkey,” Alp said. “We need each other. They became our families.”

At Thursday night’s dinner, hosted by the church and the Dialogue Institute of Dallas, families from the Muslim and Baptist communities mingled in Wilshire Baptist’s basement.

It was one of 20 dinners the Dalkir family will be attending in June at churches, synagogues and other holy places.

“We think this is very important thing, to know each other, to know other cultures and other religions,” Alp said.

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