On June 14, the Hungarian Islamic Community awarded their Gul Baba award to the U.S. Embassy for its many years of support. Given annually to non-Muslim individuals who demonstrate outstanding support of Hungary’s Muslim community, this year for the first time the award was given to a non-Hungarian and to an institution, rather than an individual. Chargé d’Affaires Kostelancik was honored to accept the award on behalf of our Embassy at an Iftar dinner and ceremony at the Gulya Germanus Islamic Cultural Center.
Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. David J. Kostelancik at the Gul Baba award acceptance
Hungarian Islamic Community
June 14, 2017
Thank you, President Bolek, and Salaam Alaikum to you and the Hungarian Islamic Community. I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the United States Embassy in Hungary and to celebrate with you during Ramadan, and to join in the iftar celebration this evening.
We are pleased that we have been able to develop a relationship of trust, understanding, and honest communication with you over the last several years.
On some occasions, our meetings are joyful and celebratory, like tonight, or when I participated in the dedication of this very cultural center in March. On other occasions, our meetings are more serious, as we learn from you about some of the challenges of practicing your faith and maintaining your traditions in a country where the vast majority of citizens do not worship as you do.
It’s clear from the headlines and the news stories that we see almost every day: the challenge of fighting extremism and building trust and understanding between people of different faiths is a challenge that grips the world, and it is more important than ever. The United States Government remains committed to the principles of religious freedom and tolerance among people of all faiths, and we hope that our relationship will grow and deepen as we work together to understand each other and live together peacefully. As President Trump said during the historic Arab Islamic American summit in Saudi Arabia last month, “our vision is one of peace, security, and prosperity,” in the Middle East and the world.
Thank you again for your commitment to peace and to interfaith understanding. We are always grateful for the opportunity to learn from you as Muslim Hungarians and to better understand your role and your experiences in the rich tapestry that is Hungarian culture and history, and we look forward to many more conversations.