Karen Hughes Addresses Muslims on Eid ul-Fitr

On October 23, 2006, Under Secretary Karen P. Hughes attended the Eid ul-Fitr prayer service at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Fairfax, VA, where she had the opportunity to speak with Muslims.
Below is her Eid ul-Fitr greetings and her remarks at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society prayer service, and information about the US Department of State Iftaar. In addition, live footage of Eid ul-Fitr prayers is featured on the US Department of State website (www.state.gov).
Assalamu alaikum.
I am delighted to be here to share this greatly awaited and joyous holiday. I wish all of you Eid Mubarak!
Today is an important day – a joyful celebration for Muslims across the world that marks not only the end of Ramadan, but also the opportunity to look forward with hope and gratitude, renewed by the past month of self-denial, self-control, fasting, and prayer.
As I join you this morning, I notice many of you are wearing a colorful and wonderful array of traditional dress, from so many countries, and I am reminded that people from Muslim communities are an important part of what makes America a vibrant mosaic of cultures. Islam is a part of America. As a government official, I represent an estimated six to seven million American Muslims who live, work and worship freely in our country, and are both American and Muslim. Our country is strengthened by the diversity of our people’s faiths and traditions.
I am honored to be with you today and grateful for the warm expressions of hospitality and community that I have experienced the last few weeks in sharing Iftar celebrations, breaking bread together, listening and learning more about Islam, during the month of Ramadan.
Many of our government agencies have hosted Iftar dinners. Last Monday the President celebrated an Iftar at the White House and I had the honor of meeting accomplished Muslim women and men from all over the world at our own Department of State Iftar. American Embassies throughout the world also opened their doors to welcome Muslims and to publicly celebrate the holy month of Ramadan together. I see friends here today that I made at an Iftar that brought together people of different faiths at a private home and I am grateful for the partnership of individual Muslim Americans who are leaders in fostering understanding and peace.
For me, this holy day is a reminder of the values that Americans share with people across the world: the importance of family and community, and a profound gratitude for the precious gift of life.
Looking around this morning I am delighted to see so many families – it highlights our shared appreciation of the family values that bind and sustain us, individually and as a nation.
Strong families and communities are built on a foundation of trust and respect, and are only strengthened as we connect and learn to rely on one another.
In celebrating Eid, we also celebrate community, coming together, just as we are today, from many backgrounds, heritages and walks of life. At this time of conflict, war and uncertainty, as we come together today, I hope each of us with make a new commitment to do everything each of us can to foster greater respect and understanding – as the Imam said, to reach out to others in a spirit of kindness and mercy that is so needed in today’s world.
I am here today to affirm America’s respect, partnership and connection with Muslim communities here in the US and across the world. Our goal as Americans is to reach out to other nations and peoples in a spirit of partnership, to be partners for peace and progress.
Today is also a day of gratitude, a day to thank our Creator for the blessings we have received: the freedoms and opportunity we enjoy in this country – freedom to worship as our conscience dictates, the opportunity to live in a country where every person is equal, and equally deserving of dignity and respect. Today is a day for all of us to be reminded of the abundance in which we live.
It is inspiring to see so many beautiful children here, and I was delighted to learn about their acts of kindness in preparing food for the homeless. Now if the children here are anything like mine were, I’m sure they are eager to celebrate the festivities by receiving money, gifts and sweets over the next three days, but as we look into their precious faces, we are also reminded of how important it is to continue to build bridges of understanding and respect across differences of faith or ethnicity, and between countries around the world. By doing so, we help ensure that our children grow up in a safer and better world, not a more divided and dangerous one.
I commend the All Dulles Area Muslim Society today, for leading by example in sharing the rich traditions and significance of Islam with guests. Thank you so much for welcoming me to join you this morning. Eid Mubarak!

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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