As the Muslim sacred month of Ramadan began on Monday, President Obama extended a statement of greeting to the Muslim community:
With the start of the sacred month of Ramadan, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to Muslim communities here in the United States and around the world.
For the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, Ramadan is a time for thoughtful reflection, fasting and devotion.
It is also an opportunity for family and friends to come together and celebrate the principles that bind people of different faiths–a commitment to peace, justice, equality and compassion towards our fellow human beings. These bonds are far stronger than the differences that too often drive us apart.
This month also reminds us that freedom, dignity and opportunity are the undeniable rights of all mankind. We reflect on these universal values at a time when many citizens across the Middle East and North Africa continue to strive for these basic rights and as millions of refugees mark Ramadan far from their homes.
The United States stands with those who are working to build a world where all people can write their own future and practice their faith freely, without fear of violence.
In the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that millions of Muslim Americans enrich our nation each dayserving in our government, leading scientific breakthroughs, generating jobs and caring for our neighbors in need.
I have been honored to host an iftar dinner at the White House each of the past four years, and this year I look forward to welcoming Muslim Americans who are contributing to our country as entrepreneurs, activists and artists.
I wish Muslims across America and around the world a month blessed with the joys of family, peace and understanding. Ramadan Kareem.
It is noteworthy that, in referring to the “millions of refugees” who “mark Ramadan far from their homes,” Obama is likely referring to the Palestinian cause, particularly the refugee issue, which is the ultimate stumbling block in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The numbers of Palestinian refugees from Israel’s war of independence–which was not launched by Israel, but by Palestinians and neighboring Arab countries–has been inflated for decades in a calculated attempt to deny Israel legitimacy.
As for the president’s statement that Ramadan is “an opportunity for family and friends to come together and celebrate the principles that bind people of different faiths–a commitment to peace, justice, equality and compassion towards our fellow human beings,” the Christians in Egypt who have been scapegoated and attacked in the wake of Morsi’s ouster by the Egyptian military likely are not experiencing much of that tolerance alluded to by Obama.
Similarly, during the month of Ramadan, Arab television channels air “entertaining” programs such as Khaybar, which is the name of the Jewish community in the Arabian Peninsula conquered by the prophet Muhammad in 628 CE. The docudrama concerns relations between Muslims and the Arab tribes of Medina, as well as with the Jews of Medina and Khaybar and their expulsion from that area.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports indicate that, in early 2013, the show “focuses on the social, economic, and religious lives of the Jews, including their politics, their plots, and the way they managed and controlled the [Aws and Khazraj Arab] tribes.” In addition, the show depicts “the [Jews’] hostility and hatred towards others, along with their treacherous nature, their repeated betrayals, and their despicable racism.”
The video clip shows the actors of Khaybar making anti-Semitic remarks, and portraying the Jews as deceitful and corrupt.
Ironically, Muslims are expressing outrage toward President Obama on Twitter following his Ramadan good wishes on Monday.
The Washington Times reports that some Muslims are doubting the sincerity of Obama’s wishes.
“My mom just told me that Barack Obama wished all Muslims a happy Ramadan, I told her that maybe he should stop killing us too,” one user tweeted.
Many Muslim critics of Obama complained about the forced feeding of Guantanamo Bay detainees during Ramadan fasting, as well as drone strikes in the Middle East.
“I am assuming Obama’s greetings to Muslims wrt Ramadan are also directed at Muslims he will be force feeding at #GTMO during that month,” another user tweeted.
Another tweeted, “Obama wishing Muslims a happy Ramadan while he drone bombs them is like Hitler wishing Auschwitz a happy Hanukkah #samedifference #ramadan.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called upon Obama to halt the practice of force feeding.
“We believe it’s wrong to force feed at any time but it is particularly upsetting to do it through Ramadan,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told The Guardian.