Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec at the inauguration of the mosque building

November 14, 2023, 2.30pm

As prepared for delivery

Good afternoon,

Prime Minister Ciolacu,

Presidential Advisor Nistor,

Your Eminence, Mufti Iusuf,

Ambassador Altan,

illustrious guests,

Thank you for inviting me to join you today for the inauguration of this beautiful mosque. This is an important event not only for the Muslim community, but for all those who share respect for religious diversity and celebrate the living traditions of the faith.

I would like to pay tribute to the Romanian government for supporting the Muslim community by helping with the construction of this place of worship.

Today we also celebrate Dobrogea Day, which reminds me of the many wonderful visits I made to Constanta County during my first tour of Romania.

This is a great day to celebrate the history and diversity of Dobrogea, including the unique culture born from the contribution of Tatar, Turkish and Islamic traditions, as well as its successful model of multi-ethnic cooperation and interreligious understanding.

I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring relationship between the United States and the Muslim communities of Romania and to extend my best wishes to all Muslims in Romania at today’s inauguration.

The promotion of religious freedom is a pillar of American foreign policy, and the United States is strongly committed to respecting religious diversity.

Indeed, Muslim communities have also been part of American history since our founding. American Muslims have strengthened the diverse fabric of our nation generation after generation.

As Secretary Blinken said: “When each person is respected for their beliefs, they are more empowered to reach their full potential, which in turn elevates entire communities and societies.”

This commitment is even more fundamental in difficult times like these. We believe in the universal human right to practice, pray and preach our faith peacefully and openly. In the United States, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and people of other faiths enjoy equal rights to practice their faith and build their places of worship.

All of this depends on continued interfaith dialogue, dialogue between cultures and a commitment to understanding, respecting and honoring the differences between us.

Thank you again for including me in today’s celebration. May this place of worship serve the Muslim community well and be a testament to Romania’s deep commitment to freedom of religion and belief.

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