Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec at the Inauguration of Mosque Building

November 14, 2023, 14:30

As prepared for delivery

Good afternoon,

Prime Minister Ciolacu,

Presidential Advisor Nistor,

Your Eminence, Mufti Iusuf,

Ambassador Altan,

Distinguished 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 living traditions of faith.

I would like to salute 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 in Romania.

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

I would like to take this opportunity to re-affirm the deep and lasting relationship between the United States and the Muslim communities of Romania and to extend my best wishes to all Muslims in Romania on the occasion of today’s inauguration.

Promoting religious freedom is a pillar of American foreign policy and the United States has a strong commitment to respecting religious diversity.

Indeed, Muslim communities have also been part of the American story since our founding. Muslim Americans have strengthened our nation’s diverse tapestry generation after generation.

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

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

All of this depends on continued inter-faith dialogue, conversations among cultures, and a commitment to understand, respect and honor differences among us.

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