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Entries in Ramadan (2)

Wednesday
Aug102011

At Ramadan Dinner, Obama Honors Muslim Americans Lost On 9/11

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- At an Iftar dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan Wednesday night, President Obama honored the Muslim Americans lost on 9/11 and spoke about the upcoming 10-year anniversary of the attacks, saying, “We must be the America that goes forward as one family.”
 
“This year and every year, we must ask ourselves:  How do we honor these patriots -- those who died and those who served?  In this season of remembrance, the answer is the same as it was 10 Septembers ago.  We must be the America they lived for and the America they died for, the America they sacrificed for,” Obama said.
 
“An America that doesn’t simply tolerate people of different backgrounds and beliefs, but an America where we are enriched by our diversity.  An America where we treat one another with respect and with dignity,” he said. “Put simply, we must be the America that goes forward as one family, like generations before us, pulling together in times of trial, staying true to our core values and emerging even stronger.  This is who we are and this is who we must always be.”
 
The president, who noted that many “proud and patriotic Muslim Americans” were lost in the attacks, told family members of 9/11 victims present at Wednesday's dinner that their loved ones “live on in the love of their families and a nation that will never forget.”
 
“Like so many faiths, Islam has always been part of our American family, and Muslim Americans have long contributed to the strength and character of our country, in all walks of life.  This has been especially true over the past 10 years,” Obama said.
 
The president highlighted the many Muslim Americans that safeguard communities across the country and work to protect the nation. “Make no mistake, Muslim Americans help to keep us safe,” he said.
 
Wednesday's event marked Obama’s third Iftar dinner at the White House, celebrating the break of fasting during the month of Ramadan. The president joked at the top of his remarks that he would be brief because “this year Ramadan is entirely in August. That means the days are long, the weather is hot, and you are hungry.”
 
Also among the roughly 100 guests in the State Dining Room were 32 ambassadors, two professional football players and the first Muslim elected to serve in Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
 
“Ramadan is a time of reflection and a time of devotion.  It’s an occasion to join with family and friends in celebration of a faith known for its diversity and a commitment to justice and the dignity of all human beings.  So to you and your families, Ramadan Kareem,” Obama said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug092011

Whole Foods Controversy: Targeting Ramadan

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- The national grocery chain Whole Foods is in the middle of a whole lot of controversy for directing a marketing campaign at Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan -- and then taking it back.

On July 27, food writer Yvonne Mafei wrote about celebrating Ramadan on the Whole Foods company blog The Whole Story.

"Ramadan is fast approaching, and I'm getting my kitchen ready for a month of celebration with my family and community," Mafei wrote. "In case you're not familiar with Ramadan, it is an incredibly important holy month for Muslims. For us, it is a time of reflection -- a time to develop compassion for those who live with hunger and thirst as a way of life, and to do something to help them."

The post was accompanied by a promotion announcing a gift card giveaway during the Muslim holy month and directed customers to try a new line of halal-certified products called Saffron Road.

For a socially conscious company that calls itself "mission driven," offering up a few menu choices and gift cards for an important Muslim holiday seemed like a no-brainer.

The post -- and an accompanying date recipe -- generated enthusiastic comments such as, "This is great. Finally a major retailer has recognized its Muslim customers," and "Whole Foods your support of Ramadan is very much appreciated."

But within days anti-Muslim bloggers like Debbie Schlussel made it clear that they did not appreciate a major national retail chain embracing the Muslim holy month and accused the company of "Islamo-pandering" and being a "shill for jihadist interests."

It all might have ended there if it weren't for an internal Whole Foods email obtained by the Houston Press that suggested that after the negative reaction from conservatives, some Whole Foods stores would now downplay any mention of Ramadan.

The email read in part, "It is probably best that we don't specifically call out or 'promote' Ramadan...We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered 'Celebrating or promoting' Ramadan."

In a statement to ABC News, Whole Foods indicated that the email may have been misunderstood. "Whole Foods Market is NOT canceling our current halal promotion, which is centered around the timeframe of Ramadan...," but the statement went on to say, "We have 12 different operating regions and one region reacted by sending out directions to promote Halal and not specifically Ramadan after some online negative comments."

But that statement is not likely to stem the tide of negativity being directed at Whole Foods Market, because now comments are pouring in from the other side -- customers angry that the socially conscious grocer seemed to capitulate so quickly to anti-Muslim sentiments.

One commenter named Bunnie Watson wrote on the Whole Foods blog: "Just disappointed to hear that Whole Foods has capitulated to a vocal minority that does not believe in the freedom to observe non-Christian religious practices in America."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio