Karen Hughes Addresses
Muslims on Eid ul-Fitr
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).
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!