Freedom of Religion

For more than a quarter century, Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro's life was filled with his battle for freedom of religion under Communism before its demise. In 1969, he met in Moscow with the chairman of the ministerial Department of Religion and arranged to have many mosques opened in Central Asia and helped finance the opening of the Supreme Islamic Institute in Tashkent. He lectured often in the Soviet Union at such events as the "Islamic Conference" at Pako in October, 1986.

In 1989, he lectured widely in the Soviet Union as part of the spiritual renaissance that led a year later to its demise. One top official, after meeting with His Eminence Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro, declared to him, "I am now a believer."

Since the end of Communism, Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro continued to be very active in reviving Islam throughout the Former Soviet Union. In 1992, he started the first ten-week Imams Summer School to train imams from the Caucasus and Central Asia at his Abu Nour Foundation in Damascus. In 1995, this "crash course" had 150 participants.

In 1993, he expanded his efforts in the former Yugoslavia by heading the Syrian Islamic Delegation to the "Muslim Conference for Bosnia" held in Istanbul, Turkey.

In 1994, Sheikh Ahmad headed a Meeting of Muslim University Professors in Delhi and met India's President, Foreign Minister, and Speaker of the Parliament to express his support for religious freedom in Kashmir.

His concerns for freedom of religion in Muslim countries led His Eminence Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro to speak out at an International Religious Conference in Khartoum, Sudan, in November 1991, where he met the leaders of many faiths and delivered his address "Meeting for Peace."