Undelivered remarks, as prepared for delivery –
Educational Youth Center, Constanta
November 18, 2019, 6:00 p.m.
Deputy Chief of Mission Abigail Rupp at the Muslim Community Celebration of the Birth of the Prophet Muhammed
Ambassador Aramaz, State Secretary Opaschi, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank His Eminence, Mufti Iusuf for inviting me here tonight to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammed. His Eminence the Mufti has provided a powerful voice in the area of inter-faith dialogue and religious freedom. I am honored to be here among you, the members of one of the oldest faith communities in Romania, and I want to take this opportunity to re-affirm the deep and lasting relationship between the United States and the Muslim communities of Romania. The United States strongly supports the promotion of religious freedom. Romania’s Muslim community stands as a shining example of a deeply historical yet thoroughly modern and integrated religious community in Europe.
A perfect example of this is when I visited the Kemal Ataturk school in Medgidia in March, where Romanian students, both Muslim and Christian, were studying, working, and playing together.
I relish every opportunity to travel outside of Bucharest, and I especially love experiencing the unique culture and nature of the Dobrogea region. To see the minarets, breathe the seaside air, and taste the wonderful foods – you can feel the history of this place, and the infusion of culture from the Tatar and Turkish communities and the traditions of Islam. The people of this region and this community are truly special – uniquely Romanian and proudly Muslim.
Tonight’s celebration is not only proof of Dobrogea’s living Muslim traditions but also a reminder about the importance of our shared values of hope, trust, tolerance, and peace.
It is in this spirit that the United States stands by the Muslim Tatar and Turkish communities of Romania as a partner and a friend. Above all, we want to deepen our mutual trust, understanding, and collaboration. Your communities play key roles not only domestically within Romania, but on the world stage you are cultural and diplomatic bridges to your brethren communities in other countries, including the United States. Your ties not only serve to spread Romanian culture and identity to these other lands and people, but you also enrich Romania with the valuable diversity of culture and ideas your connections bring back.
Your communities in Romania are the embodiment of the Prophet Muhammed’s vision of a diverse, harmonious, and productive society. You have forged a beautiful life and culture here and truly unique identities as Muslim Tatar and Turkish Romanians. On behalf of Ambassador Klemm, the Embassy, and the American people, I thank you for the opportunity to celebrate that culture and the birth of the Prophet with you here tonight. In the spirit of the Prophet and friendship, good evening.