President Hosts Iftaar Dinner
Remarks by the President at Iftaar Dinner
State Dining Room
Halkan ka daawo khudbadda Bush
Halkan ka dhegeyso khudbadaa Bush
6:05 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Thank you all for coming.
I'm honored to welcome such a distinguished group of ambassadors
and American citizens to the White House to help usher in the
holy month of Ramadan.
Islam is a religion that brings hope and comfort
to more than a billion people around the world. It has made
brothers and sisters of every race. It has given birth to a
rich culture of learning and literature and science. Tonight
we honor the traditions of a great faith by hosting this Iftaar
at the White House.
I'm honored that our great Secretary of State is
with us today. Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here. I appreciate
Your Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates,
for coming. I want to thank members of my administration who
are here -- in particular, Dr. Elias Zerhouni, who's the Director
of the National Institute of Health. I want to thank all the
ambassadors who are here -- it's good to see you all again.
And the other representatives from the Organization of Islamic
Conference. I appreciate so very much my fellow Americans here,
many from the Muslim community.
Ramadan is a special time of prayer and fasting,
contemplation of God's greatness, and service to those in need.
According to Muslim teachings, this season commemorates the
revelation of God's word in the holy Koran to the prophet Muhammad.
Today this word inspires faithful Muslims to lead lives of honesty
and integrity and compassion.
In hosting tonight's Iftaar, I send a message to
all the nations represented by their ambassadors here tonight:
America treasures your friendship. America honors your faith.
We see in Islam a religion that traces its origins
back to God's call on Abraham. We share your belief in God's
justice, and your insistence on man's moral responsibility.
We thank the many Muslim nations who stand with us against terror.
Nations that are often victims of terror, themselves.
Tonight's Iftaar also sends a message to all Americans:
our nation is waging a war on a radical network of terrorists,
not on a religion and not on a civilization. If we wage this
war to defend our principles, we must live up to those principles,
ourselves. And one of the deepest commitments of America is
tolerance. No one should be treated unkindly because of the
color of their skin or the content of their creed. No one should
be unfairly judged by appearance or ethnic background, or religious
faith. We must uphold these values of progress and pluralism
George Washington said that America gives to bigotry
no sanction, to persecution no assistance. This was our policy
at our nation's founding; this is our policy today. America
rejects all forms of religious intolerance. America grieves
with all the victims of religious bigotry. And America opposes
all who commit evil in God's name.
Ramadan and the upcoming holiday seasons are a good
time to remember the ties of friendship and respect that bind
us together. Learning from each other we can build bridges of
mutual trust and understanding. Working together we can create
a better future for people of all faiths.
I thank you for coming to the White House this evening.
I wish you all a blessed Ramadan. God bless. (Applause.)
END 6:09 P.M. EST