President, Muslims Share Ramadan Dinner at White House
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2005 President Bush shared a Ramadan dinner with U.S. and overseas Muslim leaders at the White House Oct. 17.
The month-long observance of Ramadan is the holiest time of year for the world's 1 billion Muslims. Ramadan involves fasting, or "Sawm," during daylight hours. Breaking the daily fast after sunset is called the "Iftaar" dinner. This year Ramadan is observed from Oct. 4 through Nov. 3.
Bush told his guests he was "grateful to the Muslim nations that have joined our coalition in the war on terror, including many nations that have been victims of terror themselves."
Terrorists who profess deep religious faith are actually "killers who take the lives of innocent men, women, and children," Bush said. These extremists, he said, practice a "violent ideology very different from the religion of Islam."
The terrorists unjustifiably declare holy war to serve their twisted vision and will murder "anyone who does not share their radical vision," Bush said, "including Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics."
"Their strategy will fail," Bush vowed. Many Muslim scholars have publicly condemned terrorism, he said. Those scholars often cite Chapter 5, Verse 32 of the Koran, "which states that killing an innocent human being is like killing all of humanity and saving the life of one person is like saving all of humanity," Bush said.
Bush applauded his guests, "who have joined these scholars in rejecting violent extremists."
The time has arrived "for all responsible Islamic leaders to denounce" terrorism, Bush said, noting terrorists export "an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends."
Bush praised the charity and public-mindedness of America's Muslim citizens. Current estimates of the number of Muslims living in the United States range from 2 million to 7 million.
"America is fortunate to count such good-hearted men and women among our fellow citizens," Bush said. "We have great respect for the commitment that all Muslims make to faith, family, and education."