Obama Wishes 'Ramadan Kareem' to Muslims
By Garance Franke-Ruta
President Obama released videotaped Ramadan wishes Friday, sending "best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world" and wishing them "Ramadan Kareem" on "behalf of the American people, including Muslim communities in all 50 states."
The remainder of his remarks in the five-minute YouTube clip seemingly provide a tutorial on the meaning of Ramadan for non-Muslim viewers tuning in to watch, and outline the basics of his views on issues of importance to the Muslim world. The president makes sure to mention "my own Christian faith" and the values shared by Islam and Christianity when it comes to service, even as he speaks of Muslim ceremonies he knows well.
He also recapitulates his basic foreign policy positions involving Muslim nations. "We're also committed to keeping our responsibility to build a world that is more peaceful and secure. That's why we're responsibly ending the war in Iraq," he says, adding, "That is why we strongly and actively support a two-state solution that recognizes the rights of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security. That is also why America will always stand for the universal rights of all people."
"I want to reiterate my commitment to a new beginning between America and Muslims around the world," he continues, emphasizing his Cairo message of seeking common ground and that "an important part of this is listening."
"In last two months, American embassies around the world have reached out not just to governments but directly to people in Muslim-majority countries," he says, adding, "We have listened, and, like you, we are focused on pursuing concrete actions that will make a difference over time. ... These consultations are helping us implement the partnerships that I called for in Cairo."
The president lays out collaborations with international health authorities to eradicate polio in Muslim-majority nations, and to mitigate H1N1 flu transmission risks during the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca by devout Muslims which this year will fall at the end of November.
"May God's peace be upon you," he concludes.
Translations of his Ramadan message are provided on the White House Web site in Arabic, Bengali, Dari, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu.
No English transcript is provided.
Posted at 12:16 PM ET on Aug 21, 2009
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