Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Shawn Crowley
The Hague, June 19, 2017
Ladies and gentleman, it is a true honor for Sabine and me to host this special Iftar dinner. Over the years we have had the pleasure of celebrating the breaking of the fast with friends in Tripoli, Kuwait City, Jerusalem, Benghazi, and Pristina, but also in Vienna, Berlin, and Washington. We are glad to add The Hague to that list.
I want to extend a special welcome to Imam Azzedine Karrat from the Essalam Mosque in Rotterdam, who will be leading prayers tonight. I would also like to give thanks to a great partner, The Hague Peace Project, for helping to make this event possible. I know you all have been hard at work today at the conference discussing the future of Syria. I wish you all success in that difficult endeavor.
Secretary Tillerson recently noted that Ramadan is a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection. It is a cherished time for family and friends to gather and give charity to those who are less fortunate. It reminds us all of the common values of harmony and empathy we hold dear.
I hope that events such as this dinner tonight will help us to embrace new people and new influences. Despite what you hear in the news, the United States prides itself on being a nation of immigrants. E pluribus unum – out of many one – has been the U.S. national motto for over 200 years. My country is home to 3.3 million people of the Islamic faith. Here in the Netherlands, I understand that more than 800,000 people of the Islamic faith.
Both the United States and the Netherlands are diverse countries with room for different cultures and religions to flourish. Neither country has room for intolerance and violence. Attacks against innocent people like the one yesterday in London–or previous ones in Kabul, Manchester, Teheran, Paris, Brussels, and New York–are unacceptable assaults on our shared values of tolerance, freedom, and respect.
Now, before Imam Karrat leads the prayer in the adjoining room, I would like to invite everyone to wash if they wish to do so. Dates and water to break the fast are being served in the dining room as well.
Again, thank you very much for being here with us tonight. I wish all those celebrating a happy Ramadan Kareem!