“Muslim Americans are the country’s most effective bridge to the Islamic countries across the world.” -- Karen P. Hughes
The tradition of a government-sponsored iftar, started by former president Bill Clinton, continues to thrive. On October 16, President George W. and Laura Bush invited Muslim diplomats and Muslim Americans, especially those connected to his “war on terror,” to the White House’s State Dining Room for the annual iftar dinner.
This event that was also attended by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Dr. Elias Zerhouni (director, National Institutes of Health). Bush remarked: “The United States also appreciates the many Muslim nations who stand with us in the war on terror -- some of whom are represented here tonight ... We are proud to work with you to defeat the terrorists and extremists, and help bring a brighter future to millions of Muslim people throughout the world who yearn for moderation and peace.”
Among the guests was paramedic Farooq Muhammed of the New York City Fire Department who, while treating victims at the World Trade Center on 9/11, narrowly escaped death himself. Recently, he went to Kashmir to help the victims of the October 2005 earthquake.
The State Department held an iftar to honor Muslim women, eulogizing their achievements in various fields. Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen P. Hughes stated her belief that “Muslim Americans are the country’s most effective bridge to the Islamic countries across the world.” (Hughes also spoke at the Eid al-Fitr prayer in Fairfax, VA, Oct. 23.)