In the name of Allah, the most merciful, the most compassionate,
We are experiencing the joy and blessing of another Festival of Sacrifice, an auspicious occasion of wisdom and goodness. I wish all pilgrims who are in holy lands to perform hajj complying with Almighty Allah’s call, and the Islamic world a happy Festival of Sacrifice.
The Festival of Sacrifice is a Festival of peace, well-being, praying for unity; equality regardless of status; reaching maturity, contemplation, understanding the power and wisdom  of  Allah, spiritual renewal; patience, self-denial, sensitivity, not hurting or destroying any living creature; eliminating hopelessness, joy of living, blessed walk; witnessing history, understanding the past and becoming closer to the poor, homeless and needy.
The worship of sacrifice that carries many symbols, meanings and values, is an expression of devotion, submission and self-sacrifice. Muslims, who throng Mount Arafat to perform Hajj, renew their pact with Allah and strengthen their obedience. Muslims who wear the ihram clothing in Arafat actually witness the oneness of Allah, that differences are Allah’s mercy and grace, passions and wishes are temporary and what they should exert efforts for is Taqwa - forbearance, fear and abstinence. As Prophet Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Ismail as a sign of the oneness of Allah and submission to him, he gave a gorgeous message to the history of mankind. Prophet Abraham’s message that valued the approval of the Almighty above anything else, has offered countless dimensions, reasons, mysteries and signs since that day as to how relationship between the Almighty and man should be.
Today, the Islamic ummah (community) on the one hand experiences the joy of the Festival and on the other hand experiences sorrow. Blood that is shed in the streets of Islamic cities is not blood that Abraham shed for Ismail; it is neither the blood of animals sacrificed to save Ismail’s life, it is the blood of our children, brothers and beloved.
Today, we, as the inheritors of a civilized basin that has lost its wisdom in the Islamic geography, should consolidate peace and welfare not with arms but by building mutual confidence. Let’s put an end to shedding of our children, brothers and beloved’s blood. Let’s restore hope for mankind that wanders in the valleys of hopelessness. Let’s console Adam’s children who have lost paradise. Let this Festival be a spring for our chapped lips and exhilarate our barren hearts. Let’s make ourselves heard by praying with raised and open hands, let’s gain wisdom from Allah by confiding our shameful acts, faults, regrets and sighs in him. Let’s put our hearts together in a world ruled by grudge, hatred, racism and discrimination for the sake of mankind caught in the mire of negligence and live in brotherly love, set an example and be a source of hope regardless of  color, race, language, culture, geography, rank or status. Let’s be as maven as Cain, as profound as Yusuf, as lenient as Abraham and as patient as Ismail in an age when a brother throws his brother into  a well and a brother raises his hand against his brother.
Let’s not deny the joy of this Festival to our Syrian brothers who were forced to leave their country, lands and have taken refuge in our country. Let’s stand by them at least with a smile. Let’s protect the homeless.
Let’s pray for the terror trouble that aims to destroy unity and solidarity in our country, kills our innocent people, continuously threatens our peace and order and tries to create unrest to end. With these feelings, I extend my sincere felicitations to all our citizens in the country and abroad, our brothers who are trying to reach Allah in Arafat and the Islamic world on the occasion of the Festival of Sacrifice and pray to Allah that this Festival brings peace and happiness to our inner world, homes, country and the world.
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Görmez
President of Religious Affairs