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Clinton Observes Iftar

Secretary Clinton's Iftar dinner.
Secretary Clinton's Iftar dinner.

Ramadan teaches and reinforces values that are honored by hundreds of millions of people from other faiths and beliefs.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted an Iftar, the meal at which Muslims break their daily fast during the month of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan, said Secretary Clinton, "is a time when Muslims around the world fast and pray, and strive to do good deeds. It’s also a time for reflection and introspection, for charity and for compassion."

"Ramadan teaches and reinforces values that are honored by. . .hundreds of millions of people from other faiths and beliefs," said Secretary Clinton:"

"Let us consider how we can build broader and deeper bonds of mutual understanding, mutual respect and cooperation among people of all faiths in the year to come, here at home and abroad. And let us also reflect on how we can improve our efforts to ensure that we create more opportunity for more people in more places to live up to their own God-given potential."

Even as Ramadan is being observed, there are reports that a pastor down in Gainesville, Florida plans to burn the Quran on September 11th.

Religious and political leaders in America overwhelmingly agree that burning the Quran is not an appropriate way to commemorate those who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. As Secretary Clinton said, "I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths, from evangelical Christians to Jewish rabbis, as well as secular U.S. leaders and opinion-makers."

Burning the Quran is not at all consistent with America's history of religious tolerance, said Secretary Clinton:

"Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. Many of you know that in 1790, George Washington wrote to a synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, that this country will give 'to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.'"

The United States, said Secretary Clinton, "will continue to reach out to engage people around the world in a search for common ground, common understanding, and common respect."