WASHINGTON — Barack Obama issued an annual statement on Monday, greeting Muslims for the Islamic month-long holiday of Ramadan.
The White House posted the statement on its website, which was simply entitled, “Statement By the President on the Occasion of Ramadan.”
“With the start of the sacred month of Ramadan, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to Muslim communities here in the United States and around the world,” Obama began. “For the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, Ramadan is a time for thoughtful reflection, fasting and devotion.”
“It is also an opportunity for family and friends to come together and celebrate the principles that bind people of different faiths – a commitment to peace, justice, equality and compassion towards our fellow human beings,” he continued. “These bonds are far stronger than the differences that too often drive us apart.”
Obama then cited the religious turmoil that is taking place in various parts of the world and his desire for peace.
“This month also reminds us that freedom, dignity and opportunity are the undeniable rights of all mankind,” Obama continued. “We reflect on these universal values at a time when many citizens across the Middle East and North Africa continue to strive for these basic rights and as millions of refugees mark Ramadan far from their homes. The United States stands with those who are working to build a world where all people can write their own future and practice their faith freely, without fear of violence.”
He also praised the Muslims within America’s borders.
“In the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that millions of Muslim Americans enrich our nation each day—serving in our government, leading scientific breakthroughs, generating jobs and caring for our neighbors in need,” he said. “I have been honored to host an Iftar dinner at the White House each of the past four years, and this year I look forward to welcoming Muslim Americans who are contributing to our country as entrepreneurs, activists and artists.”
As previously reported, while Obama has hosted Iftar dinners for all four years of his presidency, the tradition was started by Bill Clinton in 1993. It was continued by George W. Bush for all eight years in office.
“According to Muslim teachings, God first revealed His word in the Holy Qur’an to the prophet, Muhammad, during the month of Ramadan. That word has guided billions of believers across the centuries, and those believers built a culture of learning and literature and science,” Bush remarked at a 2001 Ramadan event, as documented in White House archives. “All the world continues to benefit from this faith and its achievements.”
However, Obama stated during last year’s dinner that he believes the observance was actually initiated by President Thomas Jefferson.
“As I’ve noted before, Thomas Jefferson once held a sunset dinner here with an envoy from Tunisia — perhaps the first Iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago. And some of you, as you arrived tonight, may have seen our special display, courtesy of our friends at the Library of Congress — the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson,” he stated. “And that’s a reminder, along with the generations of patriotic Muslims in America, that Islam — like so many faiths — is part of our national story.”
But, some state that Obama is severely mistaken about the matter.
“Obama is trying to rewrite American history to make us believe that Islam has always been a positive force for good in our society. The truth is that our nation’s first foreign war involved Islamic pirates,” wrote the site Government is Not God. “We’re still fighting the same war, but now the Muslims have an ally in the White House – a man who bows to a Saudi Prince, turns NASA into a Muslim outreach program and rewrites history to portray ruthless Islam as American as apple pie.”