Hello and good afternoon. I would like to wish all of you a heartfelt Ramzan Kareem. I am honored to host this special online gathering. This is my third Ramzan in India. While the current global pandemic prevents us from meeting in person, I am pleased that we can connect virtually to celebrate this occasion together.
Ramzan is a time of reflection, prayer, and community. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently noted, this season is a reminder for people of all faiths to strive for compassion, reflect on our own actions, and ensure that all individuals are safe in times of hardship.
We have seen extraordinary acts of compassion not only in this holy month, but over the last several months, as people of faith around the world have come together to help their communities in the face of this global health crisis.
For example, in the United States, the Zakat Foundation of America, named for the Islamic pillar of almsgiving, delivered thousands of examination gloves to hospitals in Chicago and pledged to distribute at least 100,000 more to hospitals across America. This example reflects the spirit of Ramzan and underscores the universal traditions of service and inclusion that are important in both the United States and India.
While you may not be able to celebrate this year under the same roof with your extended family, friends, and neighbors, I am reminded of the words of India’s great poet Kabir, who said: “The home is the abiding place; in the home is reality; the home helps to attain Him who is real. So stay where you are, and all things shall come to you in time.”
As Muslims across India gather together in their homes and online this Ramzan, they are joined by millions around the world. In the United States, there are more than three and one-half million Muslim-Americans – a community as diverse as the country itself. As I have also seen in my travels across India, multiculturalism is a strength that both of our countries share.
During President Trump’s first official visit to India just over two months ago, he experienced the rich heritage and diversity that we see every day – from the welcoming crowds in Gujarat, to the majesty of the Taj Mahal in Agra, to his interactions here in New Delhi.
As the President said during his speech at the Namaste Trump event: “[India] has always been admired around the Earth as the place where millions upon millions of Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and Jews worship side-by-side in harmony; where you speak more than 100 languages and come from more than two dozen States, yet you have always stood strong as one great nation. Your unity is an inspiration to the world.”
In this season of Ramzan, let us draw on the strength of our communities and our faiths, and remember the common values that unite us.
On behalf of everyone at the U.S. Mission in India, I again extend my best wishes to all of you and your families, and to communities of faith across this country.