Fresh from condemning the release of the convicted Pan Am bomber and his hero's welcome in Libya, fresh from the Muslim upon Muslim violence in Iraq, Gaza, Iran, Pakistan, fresh from the Muslim upon other religion violence in the Philippines, Israel and India, President Barack Obama(D) issued a proclamation to the Muslim world to commemorate Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
American governmental leaders routinely issue these messages on anniversaries of major communal events.
On behalf of the American people - including Muslim communities in all 50 states - I want to extend best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world. Ramadan Kareem.
Ramadan is the month in which Muslims believe the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, beginning with a simple word - iqra. It is therefore a time when Muslims reflect upon the wisdom and guidance that comes with faith, and the responsibility that human beings have to one another, and to God.
Like many people of different faiths who have known Ramadan through our communities and families, I know this to be a festive time - a time when families gather, friends host iftars, and meals are shared. But I....
...also know that Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection - a time when Muslims fast during the day and perform tarawih prayers at night, reciting and listening to the entire Koran over the course of the month.
These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam's role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings. (snip)
the support that Muslims provide to others recalls our responsibility to advance opportunity and prosperity for people everywhere. For all of us must remember that the world we want to build - and the changes that we want to make - must begin in our own hearts, and our own communities.This summer, people across America have served in their communities - educating children, caring for the sick, and extending a hand to those who have fallen on hard times. Faith-based organizations, including many Islamic organizations, have been at the forefront in participating in this summer of service. And in these challenging times, this is a spirit of responsibility that we must sustain in the months and years to come.
He then continues with all he is doing as president for the Muslim world--ending the war in Iraq, "isolating extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan and of course Israeli-Arab peace. He made no mention of the recent electoral violence in Muslim Iran. Obama is doing all of this because
All of these efforts are a part of America's commitment to engage Muslims and Muslim-majority nations on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect. And at this time of renewal, I want to reiterate my commitment to a new beginning between America and Muslims around the world.
As I said in Cairo, this new beginning must be borne out in a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek common ground. I believe an important part of this is listening, and in the last two months, American embassies around the world have reached out not just to governments, but directly to people in Muslim-majority countries.
We have listened. We have heard you. And like you, we are focused on pursuing concrete actions that will make a difference over time - both in terms of the political and security issues that I have discussed, and in the areas that you have told us will make the most difference in peoples' lives.
These consultations are helping us implement the partnerships that I called for in Cairo - to expand education exchange programs; to foster entrepreneurship and create jobs; and to increase collaboration on science and technology, while supporting literacy and vocational learning. (snip)
It will take time and patient effort. We cannot change things over night, but we can honestly resolve to do what must be done, while setting off in a new direction - toward the destination that we seek for ourselves, and for our children. That is the journey that we must travel together.
I look forward to continuing this critically important dialogue and turning it into action. And today, I want to join with the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world - and your families and friends - in welcoming the beginning of Ramadan, and wishing you a blessed month. May God's peace be upon you.