Iftar Dinners at the White House and the State Department

July 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last night I attended the White House’s annual Iftar in celebration of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Although this yearly tradition began during President Clinton’s term in office, Thomas Jefferson actually hosted the first White House Iftar in 1805.

The White House Iftar provides a great opportunity to bring the American Muslim community together with a broad cross-section of American political, religious, and cultural leaders.

This year, it was a particular pleasure to join a number of my friends from the Washington Diplomatic Corps and several members of Congress whom I have gotten to know throughout my time here.

President Obama made a short speech as well, which I felt was a great tribute to the Holy Month and to the role Muslims have played in American history. I have embedded the speech below.

Earlier this week, I also had the occasion to join Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department’s annual Iftar. If you’re interested, I have embedded a video of his remarks below.

Condemning last night’s bombing in West Riffa

July 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last night, I was dismayed to read reports of a car bombing outside a Sunni mosque in West Riffa. A heinous crime at any time, this attack took place as people were attending evening prayers during the Holy Month of Ramadan. I join all Bahrainis of conscience in condemning this crime in the most certain terms.
This incident is only the latest in a disturbing trend of political violence perpetrated by members of the opposition. In Bahrain, as in most countries around the world, we appreciate that not all of our citizens may be content with the current state of affairs. Politics of the street, violence against police officers, and cowardly terrorist acts, will not bring about meaningful change.

A crime of this magnitude has no place in a tolerant, multi-ethnic, multi-religious country like Bahrain.

I would also like to share the statement of His Royal Highness, Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who said:

His Royal Highness stressed that violence and terrorism should not be faced with silence. He stated that community leaders who remain silent in the face of acts should bear a responsibility and such silence can only be viewed as tacit support.  Expressing strong dissatisfaction with the provocative acts of leaders who were not showing serious intent to reaching a consensus on political development, His Royal Highness also called on all leaders in question to clearly and unequivocally condemn, shun and prevent acts of violence.
His Royal Highness made clear that any attempt to undermine national security will not discourage the ongoing efforts to maintain security and stability under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, which served the interests of national unity and occurred with the unstinting support of Bahrain’s neighbours in the GCC.

Commemorating July 4th

July 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Every year on July 4th, I have the pleasure of joining millions of Americans in celebration of their country’s independence day. After nearly 240 years, the United States remains a shining example of the endurance of progressive values that the entire world can follow.

The friendship between Bahrain and the United States began over a hundred years ago when American missionaries came to Bahrain and established the American Mission Hospital and founded the first church in the Arabian Gulf. Today, we are proud to host the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and to serve as the United State’s closest commercial, political, and military ally in the Arabian Gulf.

On behalf of all Bahrainis, I would like to congratulate the United States and the American people on this important occasion. At a time of great uncertainty around the world, we are proud to stand side by side in service of our common interests and ideals.

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