At the Common Word conference held at Yale University, United States, 150 Muslim and Christian leaders from more than 35 countries, among them Kosovo, and highly respected American and international political figures involved in religious affairs, met to promote dialogue between the two faiths.
At the Conference, Kosovo was represented by Grand Mufti Naim Tërnava. Among many meetings by Mufti Tërnava, it is distinguished the meeting with US Senator John Kerry who was a former candidate for US president in 2004 and also gave the opening speech at the conference.
During the meeting with US Senator Kerry, Mufti Tërnava after thanking him for the continuous American assistance and generous support to Kosovo, Tërnava spoke about the long tradition of interfaith tolerance cultivated and preserved by the Kosovar people. Mufti Tërnava informed Senator Kerry about the traditional commitment of the Kosovar religious communities to continue contributing to a closer and healthy relationship between faiths and ethnic groups in the independent Kosovo.
During the conference, Mufti Tërnava lectured on the perspective of religion in Kosovo, in the context of the role of religion in the modern democratic societies.
“By taking into consideration the fact that at this Conference there are many scholars and researchers of different fields with different social and religious backgrounds who are very familiar with the current global issues, during my speech I would like to focus on the religious development in the social life of individuals and society, in this case of Kosovo. Religion today is an inevitable discussion in all social and political mainstreams. A great number of acute issues in the world, their genesis stems from irrelevant religious disagreements or misinterpretations of religion and or exploitation for political, economic and other reasons. Hence, the analysis of these issues in the religious aspect as well could help in the elimination of some misinterpretations, which frequently are circulating in the Balkan region and in the world due to misunderstanding of the role and mission that religions should play in society,” said Tërnava.
Furthermore, speaking of necessity of cultivation and understanding of interfaith, intercultural and interethnic tolerance, Mufti Tërnava said:
“We all are familiar with the difficulties, sufferings and inhuman genocidal terror that Kosovo and its people experienced throughout the decades of the 20th century. Therefore, taking into account the past experiences, I must emphasize with genuine conviction the main assignment of faith leaders should be the devotion to follow the teachings of the loving God as a guidance to show love and care for one another regardless of one’s religion or faith, country, race, language, ethnicity, or disagreements and animosities. These teachings should be the sermons which I preach and ask others to as the only way to cultivate the feeling of love, respect and well-being for the humankind which assertively are the values of faiths.
Faith, love, responsibility and sincerity before God obliges human beings to show love and respect for their neighbors and enemy, which are very important teachings found within Islam as well. Greetings, visits, cooperation, open discussions with good intentions, and helping one another are the paths that genuinely drive human beings to show respect and love for their neighbors, regardless of religious conviction,” ended his lecture Tërnava.