Building Bridges of Understanding
U.S. Ambassador Hosts Iftar Dinner
U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro Roderick W. Moore hosted a private Iftar dinner on the occasion of the Islamic religious holiday Ramadan at his residence in Mareza in Podgorica on September 28. Guests included 50 religious, cultural, business, and civic leaders of the Muslim community, and members of other religious groups which are present in Montenegro.
This is the fourth Iftar dinner organized by U.S. Mission in Montenegro, and the first held at the Ambassador's residence in Mareza. Similar events were organized in 2005 and 2006 in Podgorica and in 2007 in Pljevlja.
Ambassador Moore's welcome remarks from the event are below.
This is the fourth year the U.S. Mission in Montenegro has held an Iftar dinner, and I am delighted to host Iftar for the first time in this new official residence. I am honored by the presence here tonight of so many good friends of the Embassy.
Never before has the work of building bridges of understanding been more critical than today. We all know that our world can be made to seem divided and in turmoil along cultural or religious or ethnic lines.
But for every story we hear about conflicts and clashes, there are thousand of stories of people of different faiths and backgrounds sitting down with each other as we are tonight to break bread and to learn more about their fellow man. Often those stories do not get told, but I believe that they represent the true human spirit.
The divine imperative to build understanding between different groups is clearly expressed in the Qur'an. Chapter 49, verse 13:
"Oh, mankind! We have created you all from a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes that you may come to know one another"
Humanity has been created to form tribes, races and nations, whose differences in physical characteristics, languages and modes of thought are not barriers that keep us apart, but rather the means for us to come to know one another and become richer in knowledge. Our differences are what make us human, and in exploring our differences we discover our common humanity.
All of us are challenged to move beyond stereotypes, historic grievances, and religious differences to recognize our shared values and our shared interests. We hope that in breaking bread together we may continue to learn more about each other. This understanding will give us the basis for action to build a better common future.
I am especially grateful to the Reis for joining me tonight, and I now ask him to deliver a blessing before we begin our dinner.