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Bush, Congress celebrating Ramadan and Eid

Mohammed Alo
10/14/2007


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Whether it's Burger King advertising campaigns or Congress passing bills, President Bush break fast dinner parties, or the Empire State building, it seems like everyone is sharing in the Ramadan Spirit.

Ohio was the first state to declare October 10th, 2007 as "Muslim Day". This was over 15 years ago. Now congress and the business world have began doing the same trying to capitalize on the Eid spirit.

On the national level, it all started about eight years ago when the United States Post Office began offering US postage stamps with an Eid theme. Since then, various other government and business agencies began doing the same.

Burger King's latest advertisement campaign also indicates how important Ramadan and Eid are from an economical and commercial perspective all over the world, although we haven't seen these advertisements stateside.

For many years, it's been well known that Republican White Houses are far more Muslim-friendly than Democratic White Houses. Muslims have held this long standing belief for many years, and one needs to look no further than how each handles Muslim holidays.

The one time that President Clinton mention the words "Ramadan" and "Eid" on television was in 1998 when he was discussing sending cruise missles into Baghdad and Afghanistan. He said that he didn't want to bomb Muslims on Eid, so he sent them 3 days earlier at the end of Ramadan instead. Very tactful. An early Eid present of cruise missles.

Unlike previous administrations which barely mentioned Eid and Ramadan, the Bush White House has held countless Iftars (break fast dinner parties) for the White House staff as well as Muslim community leaders. Previous Democratic presidents never held Iftars, and Clinton even cancelled the one Iftar which was planned due to some "political pressure" from other Democratic party supporters. The White House and President Bush are celebrating and recognizing Eid, in the latest White House statement:

"I am pleased to send greetings to all of those celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the culmination of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan commemorates the revelation of God's word in the holy Koran to the prophet Mohammed – a word that is read and recited with special attention and reverence during this season. In the past month, Muslims have fasted from food and water during daylight hours, in order to refocus their minds on faith and redirect their hearts toward charity.

Muslims worldwide have stretched out a hand of mercy and help to those most in need. Charity tables, at which the poor can break their fast, line the streets of cities and towns. And gifts of food, clothing, and money are distributed to ensure that all share in God's abundance. Muslims often invite members of other faiths to their festive meal at night, known as the iftar, demonstrating a spirit of tolerance.

During Eid al-Fitr, Muslims celebrate the completion of their fast and the blessings of renewed faith that have come with it. Customs vary between countries, from illuminating lanterns in Egypt, to lighting firecrackers in Pakistan, to inviting elders to traditional feasts in Niger. Around the world, families, neighbors, and friends gather to share traditional foods and congratulate each other on meeting the test of Ramadan.

The spirit behind this holiday reminds us that Islam brings hope and comfort to millions of people in my country, and to more than a billion people worldwide. Ramadan is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind.

Here in the United States, Muslims have made many contributions in business, science, law, medicine, education, and other fields. Muslim members of our Armed Forces, and of my Administration, are serving their fellow Americans with distinction, upholding our Nation's ideals of liberty and justice in a world at peace.  

Laura joins me in sending our best wishes to Muslims across America, and throughout the world, for a joyous holiday. May the blessings you received during this Ramadan be with you in the year ahead. "

For more info: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ramadan/eid_greeting.html

In fact, the White House has an entire section of their website dedicated to Ramadan and Muslims: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ramadan/2007/ Click on the different years to see what this Muslim-friendly White House has been doing to celebrate Ramadan and Eid.

Further, Congress just passed House Resolution 635- 'The Ramadan Bill'- "recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and commending Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith."

Rick Jauert, Rep. Keith Ellison's Communications Director in Washington, D.C., confirmed the unanimous (376-0) vote in favor of the 'Ramadan Bill' took place earlier today before the Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

The resolution, originally submitted by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) (for herself, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), was brought to a vote before the Committee on Foreign Affairs early Tuesday morning and additionally states: 

"Whereas, since the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, threats and incidents of violence have been directed at law-abiding, patriotic Americans of African, Arab, and South Asian descent, particularly members of the Islamic faith;

Whereas, on September 14, 2001, the House of Representatives passed a concurrent resolution condemning bigotry and violence against Arab-Americans, American Muslims, and Americans from South Asia in the wake of the terrorist attacks;

Whereas, it is estimated that there are approximately 1,500,000,000 Muslims worldwide;

Whereas, Ramadan is the holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal for Muslims worldwide, and is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar year; and

Whereas, the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan commences at dusk on September 13, 2007, and continues for one lunar month: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That--

(1) during this time of conflict, in order to demonstrate solidarity with and support for members of the community of Islam in the United States and throughout the world, the House of Representatives recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world; and

(2) in observance of and out of respect for the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, the House of Representatives acknowledges the onset of Ramadan and expresses its deepest respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this significant occasion."

Passage of the Ramadan Bill is something the American Muslim community is really proud of as they enter the 'Last 10 Days of Ramadan' beginning Oct. 3, 2007. The 'Last 10 Days' are marked, in emulation of the practice of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), by continous exertion in devotion and worship- more so than in any other time during the Ramadan season. 

For more information: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc110/hr635_eh.xml

The Empire State building was lit with green lights on Friday October 12th in commemoration of Eid. The Empire State building usually uses various lighting schemes for various holidays or events; red, white, and blue for Independence day, pink for breast cancer awareness, and various other colors.

Officials say the green lighting will become an annual event, following the tradition of colored lights at the tower to mark the Christian holiday Christmas and the Jewish celebration of Hannukah.

Although the color green does not carry and religious significance, many Muslims believe that the the color green symbolizes a happy occasion and is the color of paradise.

Eid Kareem and Ramdan Mubarak to all!


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