The Embassy of the United States of America in Brunei Darussalam recently hosted an iftar reception for its exchange alumni, and civil society leaders of different faiths at the US Chief of Mission residence.
This is the first time the embassy has hosted an interfaith breaking of fast reception, including religious leaders of different faiths and indigenous representatives.
The reception provided a unique opportunity for Muslim guests and other faith communities to build relationships, understand their diversity and engage inclusively on shared values.
US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Caryn McClelland in her welcoming remarks said the holy month of Ramadan provided an opportunity to reflect and honour Islamic values such as sacrifice, compassion for others, and a focus on our shared humanity – values that are common across different religions.
“Our hope is that in celebrating our universal values, we will build friendships that will strengthen Bruneian society while bringing our two nations even closer together,” she said.
She also said that in the United States and across the world, Ramadhan allows Muslims and non-Mulism to join in celebrations of faith and community as well as in partnerships to deliver solutions for shared global challenges.
“One of those challenges – perhaps the largest of all – is fostering peace between people and nations who do not share the same faith. That is one reason promoting international religious freedom is a key US foreign policy priority,” said the ambassador.
She added: “Here, in the “Abode of Peace,” violent religious conflicts can seem far away indeed. However, not all communities are as fortunate as we are in Brunei. This evening, I want to recognise Muslims around the world who must observe Ramadhan under oppression, detention, and grave humanitarian crises. The United States continues to call for all governments to respect freedom of religion and to align their laws with international human rights law.”
The foreign mission hoped that in celebrating our universal values, friendships will be built thus strengthening Bruneian society while bringing the two nations even closer.
Leading the prayer prior to the breaking of fast was 2019 Fulbright US-ASEAN Visiting Scholar alumni Dr. Hilmy Baihaqy Yussof.
During the course of the evening, guests engaged in lively discussions about Brunei’s local culture, the significance of Ramadan, and common practices for American Muslims.
Guests also learned about US Embassy exchange programs such as the Fulbright Program, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) and other study abroad opportunities in the United States.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN