A Sufi to Santiago
It had to come. The first Muslim who, with the blessing of a Roman Catholic bishop, would make the Way of St. James Earlier Sufi's checked out what was going on at the tomb of the apostle in Santiago de Compostela. What was the reason of the sudden popularity of this almost-forgotten medieval Christian pilgrimage. During the Third International Mevlana Congress in Konya, the Camino to Santiago was raised. What people thought of the idea to tear the historic Sufipaths too from oblivion? Until 1925 these Sufipaths draw pilgrims, even from distant parts in Europe, to the tomb of Mevlana. Still the most visited Sufishrine on earth. As a way to express the tolerance of Mevlana towards other religions and to offer Europe and the world a historical cultural alternative for the pilgrimage to a saint that was honoured with the name "Moorslayer".
It was therefore remarkable that Sufi Sedat Çakir for the first time in history was granted the special Santiago-blessing by the Amsterdam Bishop Punt. This blessing took place on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 and was done in the framework of the UNESCO Year of Sufigodfather Mevlana Rumi, who celebrated his 800th anniversary.
The agency in Santiago that keeps the pilgrim registration record, had to laugh heartily at the question of whether there was a Muslim known that made the Santiago pilgrimage before with the official Special Bless?
Sedat Çakir, director of publishing Webisrehberi in Amsterdam, calls Rumi "the opposite of the caricature that Catholics in Spain made out of of St. James. In the Middle Ages Santiago was after Rome and Jerusalem the most important pilgrimage of the Christian world.
Çakir: St. Jacob has never seen a Muslim, let alone massacred. He lived in the first century AD, and was sentenced to death by the sword by Herod Agrippa, in the year 43 or 44.
Around 570, his tomb was, according to Antoninus of Piacenza on the Mount of Olives, and the early 8th century text from the northern Italian monastery Nonantola cites this also as the location of the grave of James.
But in Spain, the holy apostle lead an independent afterlife, as Beatus of Liebana mentions Saint James as the tutor, protector, and patronus vernulus of king Mauregatus of Asturias (783-788). After a hermit named Pelagius had a dream that the remains of the apostle were not in Palestine, but in Spain, it didn't lasted long before Theodomirus bishop of Iria Flavia (813-818) discovered in Compostela an ancient Roman cemetery with "the body of the apostle."
Around 840 Saint James appears on a white horse in the sky during the battle of Clavijo. To deliver the Christian army victory over the Muslims. That day
Precisely because the saint in Santiago was made and honored as the Moorsslayer, Mevlana is what they need there", believes Çakir. He wants to express the tolerance of Mevlana against other religions during his pilgrimage.
Although no more dolls are to be beheaded at the annual celebrations, in the night before July 25 a board paper mosque is placed in front of the Cathedral of Santiago. Çakir can take it easy. The victory of the Catholics over the Moslems is no longer celebrated by putting this "mosque" on fire at midnight . For years nothing is heard about the traditional Moorhunting and the famous statue of the saint as el Matamoros in replaced to a sidechapel in the dark. Only on flash pictures you see the Moors trampled under the hooves of the horse of James the Conqueror of Spain.
Mgr. Punt: A very convincing initiative
Çakir received from the bishop of Amsterdam a letter to the bishop of Santiago. Mgr. Punt recalls his participation in a Ramadan meal, a few years ago at the Amsterdam Turkevi. He stressed the importance of reciprocity in dialogue: "We share the view that respect and tolerance is something quite different than giving up or even perspective your own beliefs".
Mgr. Punt explains in his letter (see below) that in Christian symbolism the pilgrimage to the far West, the place of death and the end of the world, is to reflect on and be aware of errors.
The bishop called the pilgrimage of Mr Çakir a "particular convincing initiative", well worth his prayer.
Thanks to the Persdienst Bisdom Haarlem / Wim Peeters
By Murat Kirbaçoglu - editor Türkevi
Konya - At the Third International Mevlânâ Congress of the Selçuk University of Konya, the writers Mohamed el-Fers and Veyis Güngör suggested that the 800ste anniversary of Mevlânâ should be celebrated as an European Day of Tolerance, reason and access to knowledge, in accordance with the principle, thoughts and love of Mevlânâ. Four Turkish ministers that were present agreed, but why limit the most eminent philosopher and mystical writer of Islam only to Europe? The whole world needs Mevlânâ!
On January 14, 2005, the Turkish Permanent Delegation to UNESCO requested in a letter to the Director-General of UNESCO that the year 2007 would associate with the 800th Birthday of Mevlânâ. This request was also supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, since Mevlânâ was born in Balkh in the north eastern Afghanistan.
Mr Güngör Veyis of Türkevi Amsterdam was very pleased with the support of UNESCO, as this' guarantee that the whole world now has access to the mystical knowledge of the masterpieces that Mevlânâ produced. '
In that respect the Sufipath is really "together on the road."
Irz - chastity monitoring
As the (Roman Catholic) priests guard the chastity of the Christian pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, the chastity surveillance along the Sufipath in Turkey is one of the tasks of the Turkish gendarme (jandarma). So behave yourself according the traditions in the areas you walk.
More information about the chastity control in general ("ırz ve malının korunması" in Turkish) by the gendarme in Kırklari you find under the heading MÜLKİ GÖREVLERİon the site of this unit.
The E8 is an initiative of the European Association for Long-distance footpaths.