Yesterday, President Barack Obama extended best wishes to Muslims around the world as Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, starts.
"On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I want to extend our best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world, " Obama said in a statement Wednesday.
"Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality. And here in the US, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country," Obama said.
He also said he will host a dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House later this week.
The complete text from the White House is here.
Frankly I don't get it, first we can't say "Merry Christmas" because it might offend someone, but its ok for the President to say "On behalf of the American people"? Second, what the hell is up with the statement "Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America"?
I don't know maybe I have it wrong but I don't remember the Pilgrims being too worried about which way Mecca was during Thanksgiving.
Correction: Cedar Posts did a little research and discovered that Muslims have indeed been in this country since forever, well not really but if you look hard enough there are records showing Muslims in America mainly as slaves, since at least the days of the Mayflower and maybe before that.
As far as "American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country" well I'm surprised to learn that "Hajji Ali" was a camel trainer hired (or forced) to train camels for the US Calvary in Arizona. The list is here.
I don't have a problem with Islam as a religion, in fact I think it would do us all good to fast for a month or more. We need a reminder of what its like to be hungry, even if its just between sunrise and sunset.
But I'll be damned if I want my president offering a happy Ramadan to all Muslims. The statement should as least be directed to the non-extremist groups. And while I guess its fine for us to say Have yourself a Happy Ramadan, I don't think I'll hold my breath waiting for a Merry Christmas from Tehran on Christmas Eve.