It is my distinct honor and privilege on behalf of my wife Debbie and myself to welcome all of you – my fellow Muslims, elected officials, and other guests – to this Ramadan Iftar to celebrate the civic activities of the Muslim community here in Montgomery County and around the world. I want to extend best wishes to all Muslims a joyful Ramadan Kareem.
I want to share a few thoughts with you regarding the civic activities of our Muslim community members. Before doing so, however, let me say something about Ramadan – this holy month – and what it means to us as Muslims.
Ramadan is a month of fasting devoted to remembering the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan is frequently referred to as the “best of times”. That’s not because we Muslims enjoy fasting but because of the central importance of the Quran to our religion.
Ramadan is a month of deeply spiritual time of reflection and recommitment and a special time for giving. This is our chance not only be grateful for all the blessings we have been allotted, but an opportunity to give to those who are poor, who are Hungary, who are less fortunate and who have no means to break the fast.
During the entire month of Ramadan, we engage in fasting from sunrise to sunset to renew our faith and to redirect our thoughts from focusing only on daily activities in order to reflect upon and do things to benefit society and most importantly to help others who are in need. We break the fast in the evening with a meal called the Iftar.
Tonight we become together as members and friends of the Muslim Community for that Iftar. Not so long ago in the United States, the participants in Iftars were only Muslims.
That is not so true today. In 1996, when Bill Clinton was President, Hillary Clinton hosted an Iftar dinner at the Old Executive Office Building. President Clinton held Iftar dinners at the White House, as have President Bush and President Obama after that. So, even though we are not at the White House, I guess you could say we are dining in good company.
And, we are – because we have so many of you leaders here tonight to celebrate and recognize the civic engagement of our Muslim Community members in this great county.
In my opinion, civic engagement takes five primary forms:
- Individual – being the best one can be and personally responsible for one’s actions
- Organizational – contributing to the success of the groups (e.g., business, religion, associations) to which one belongs
- Political – participating in those processes that shape the structure and nature of government
- Community – collaborating to make the locale and the world in which we live a better place
- Social – advocating for justice and equality of treatment and opportunity for all
The members of our Muslim community here are heavily engaged and involved in activities in each of these areas. I will not name names because I am certain that I would miss someone or some cause that I shouldn’t.
What I will say is that we Muslims are fortunate to be residing in a place with a populous as diverse. And, this country is fortunate to have the members of our community not only working here as doctors, lawyers, business people, teachers – you name it – but also giving back and doing things to make this Country a better place for all regardless of their color, creed, background , belief or economic circumstance.
We Muslims should use this Ramadan period to renew our commitment and increase our involvement in civic activities.
It’s time to break the fast. It’s time to break bread together. It’s time for our Iftar dinner. Enjoy! Thank you again for joining us this evening.
May God’s peace be upon you?