Interfaith Work

The major commitment of Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro throughout his life had been to interfaith understanding and cooperation in pursuit of peace, even at times when this commitment was not widely understood or appreciated.

In 1954, he was a member of the Syrian delegation to a Muslim-Christian conference held in Lebanon.

Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro lectured widely on interfaith cooperation as the framework and engine of peace throughout the world, including a speech at Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in 1966 and a number of lectures at the University of Vienna and other places at the invitation of Cardinal Koening of Austria in 1979.."

On April 17, 1980, by invitation of the Vice President of East Germany, he met with a delegation from the Theology Department of the University of Berlin and issued with them an official Protestant statement that God is One and that Jesus and Muhammad (peace be on them) were both Messengers of God.

In 1981, he addressed the Academy of Sciences in Moscow on "Islam and Peace". At the Inter-Religious Conference in May 1982, in Moscow, he delivered an address on "The Principles of Peace in the World's Religions." held to increase the awareness among professional clergy of their unique responsibilities to help prevent the development of events that can bring on nuclear war.

In 1983 and 1986, he represented the Association of Syrian Scholars at a similar conference in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and in 1984, again in Moscow.

His eminence also worked with officials of the Roman Catholic Church to develop rapprochement in the pursuit of justice and peace. In December, 1985, he lectured at a number of its universities throughout Italy, including a lecture in Milan on "Islam and Religious Tolerance", and visited His Holiness Pope John Paul II prior to giving an address at the Vatican on "The International Prospects of Islam and Christianity".

He also gave an address in Khartoum, on religious cooperation as the only effective strategy to assure that minorities have equal rights with the majority and that freedom of religion includes the right and duty of Christians to serve in high governmental posts in a majority-Muslim government, based entirely on a single standard of competence. He visited Sudan again on similar matters in 1994 and 1995.

In March, 1993, he was named Chairman of the Religious Delegation of the Arab League to the "Peace for Humanity Conference" in Vienna, Austria, where he gave a lecture entitled "Brothers Under the Banner of Faith, The Banner of Jesus and Muhammad."