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U.S. Ambassador hosts first Iftaar for Eastern Caribbean Muslims
http://www.caribbeanmuslims.com/articles/1129/1/US-Ambassador-hosts-first-Iftaar-for-Eastern-Caribbean-Muslims/Page1.html
Barbados US Embassy

 
By Barbados US Embassy
Published on 10/15/2007
 
The United States Embassy and the regional Islamic Community took a historic step in cementing ties of friendship when Ambassador Mary Ourisman hosted an Iftaar banquet for Muslim leaders at her official residence.

An Iftaar (dinner) is a traditional Islamic breaking of the fast performed every evening during the holy month of Ramadan.



Iftaar

The event, the first ever hosted by a U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, was attended by Muslim leaders from Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and Nevis.

In her welcome remarks to her guests, Ambassador Ourisman noted that it was an honor to host the Iftaar and expressed the hope that it becomes a yearly event.

“One of our country’s greatest strengths is the diversity and richness of our many religious traditions: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, people of many faiths, and even some of no religious affiliation at all live together peacefully and in a climate of mutual respect,” the Ambassador said.

Ambassador Ourisman added: “On this special evening we recognize our Muslim friends in the Eastern Caribbean. We celebrate the millions of Muslims we are proud to call American citizens. We honor the many Islamic nations that America is proud to call friends. And we renew the ties of friendship that should bind all who trace their faith back to God’s call on Abraham.”

Secretary of the Barbados Muslim Association Sulieman Bulbulia noted that the event was a “special and significant gesture” and marked a “defining moment in the establishment of what we hope will be a mutually beneficial relationship between your embassy and us.”

Mr. Bulbulia said events like the Iftaar “goes a long way in building a climate of trust, cordial relations and correcting feelings of antagonism and mistrust.”  He added: “While we may not agree with all the policies and programs of the American Government and while there are some who will use these disagreements to promote a theory of a clash of civilizations, cultures and faiths, tonight by our gathering we promote instead a dialogue among civilizations, cultures and faiths based upon mutual respect and tolerance.”
 
 Ambassador Ourisman addressing her guests at the Iftaar.
 
Guests at the Iftaar listen to the speeches of the night.
 
Secretary of the Barbados Muslim Association Sulieman Bulbulia addressing the guests of the Iftaar while US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Mary Ourisman listens.