I extend best wishes to you during this holy month of Ramadan from the American people, from all my colleagues at the United States Embassy, from my family here with me today, and from myself. For many, this month is a time of reflection on the highest values of your faith, on spiritual growth, forgiveness, patience and resilience, compassion for those less fortunate, and unity across communities. It’s also a time of sharing Iftar meals with families, friends, and neighbors, just as we are doing this evening.
In the United States, we are blessed with Muslim communities as diverse as our nation itself. There are Muslim Americans whose ancestors were present at the birth of our nation over two centuries ago. Other Muslim Americans immigrated to our country recently. Doctors, lawyers, artists, teachers, scientists, public servants, civil society leaders, farmers and military officers each night will break their fasts across America.
As Muslim Americans, including Mauritanian Americans, celebrate the holy month, I am reminded of the special significance during Ramadan of service to the poor. Millions of lives have been tragically shortened and grievously harmed by conflict and extreme poverty across the world. We greatly respect how the Mauritanian people and their government have welcomed and assisted Malian refugees. The American people have accompanied the Mauritanian people in aiding Malians who have lost so much due to conflict. This sacred time reminds us of our common obligations to uphold the dignity of every human being. It is a time of year to help those who are less fortunate. This year I am happy to be able to break the fast with you here in Nouakchott. It is also a pleasure to be joined by a religious leader and scholar of the American Muslim community, Imam Talal Eid. Imam Eid is the Imam and Director of Religious Affairs of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, Ohio since June 2015. He was also the founder of the Islamic Institute of Boston. He is here this week in Mauritania to discuss Islam in the United States and how we all can come together from differing backgrounds to create a world of peace and harmony. He has traveled and spoken on these issues in nearly 30 countries. We are happy to have him here in Mauritania. I invite our respected Imam to share some words with you as we await the call to break the fast and to prayer.