June 3, 2018
(As prepared for delivery)
Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good evening and welcome to Villa Taverna. This is my first Ramadan as the American Ambassador to Italy, and I am honored to continue our Embassy’s tradition of hosting an Iftar for our Muslim friends. Thank you for joining us tonight.
Ramadan is a special month because it embraces solidarity, meditation and self-examination. Ramadan is also a celebration, bringing together Muslims and people of other faiths who are committed to fostering peace, stability, and prosperity.
This reminds us that we all should work together to combat hate and promote tolerance. We should protect human rights and ensure that radicalization is fought and defeated. We should help those who are less fortunate.
It’s important to remember these principles of Ramadan as we’ve seen the rise of xenophobia in Europe and elsewhere, movements that target immigrants, religious, and ethnic minorities. We’ve seen our youth influenced by false narratives on the internet that plant the seeds of intolerance toward religious and ethnic minorities.
The United States strongly supports interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
As President Trump said in his Ramadan message this year, “We are all blessed to live under a Constitution that fosters religious liberty and respects religious practice. Our Constitution ensures Muslims can observe Ramadan in accordance with the dictates of conscience and unimpeded by government. By doing so, the Constitution also furnishes varied opportunities for all Americans to deepen their understanding of the human soul.”
In this welcoming spirit, thank you once again for joining us tonight. I wish you and your families a joyful Ramadan.
Please enjoy this shared meal. Ramadan Kareem.