Remarks by Ambassador Atul Keshap at Ifthar Event in Malé, Maldives

Ladies and gentlemen, assalaamu alaykum and Ramadan Mubarak.

On behalf of the women and men of the U.S. Embassy, including the many members of the Embassy who are here today, it is an honor to join so many friends and distinguished guests in Malé to celebrate tonight’s breaking of the fast.  I extend my warmest and most respectful greetings and welcome to all of you.

Ramadan is a time to remember and honor traditions as well as to celebrate the shared values of family, charity, and community.  Coming together, we are reminded of the common values that bind all of us, regardless of our nationality.

The United States has a long tradition of celebrating Ifthar, going back two centuries when President Thomas Jefferson held the first recorded Ifthar in the White House in 1805 with the Ambassador from Tunisia‎.  And today, millions of Muslim Americans celebrate Ramadan in homes all across the United States.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection and self-discipline.  This holy month reminds us that freedom, peace and happiness are the undeniable rights of all mankind.

The United States is proud to support Maldivian efforts to strengthen civil society, basic freedoms, and the right of all Maldivians to transparency, democracy, and liberty in a way that will benefit and inspire future generations.

We are also working in partnership with the people of Maldives to address rising radicalization and reduce the threat of terrorism and violent acts of intolerance.  As President Obama stated recently during his visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, “Islam is rooted in a commitment to compassion, mercy, justice, and charity.”

Friends, I would like to close these brief remarks with the sincere hope that the many ties that bind the United States and Maldives will grow ever stronger.  The United States is committed to helping all Maldivians achieve a vision of a peaceful, harmonious, prosperous, and democratic Maldives with equal opportunity and fundamental freedoms for all – a Maldives that is a pillar of stability, democracy, and prosperity for the Indian Ocean region.

Friends, I thank you once again for joining with us.  I wish everyone here all the blessings and joy of family, peace, and understanding during this holy month of Ramadan.  Shukuriya

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