US State Department Eid-ul-Fitr reception speeches- September 2011/1432AH





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Published on Feb 6, 2014

More information at the State Department website about the event and speeches:

My speech starts at about 15:40

More at my website about my experience in attending the event and speaking:

The video is no longer on the original link at the State website. I have not been able to find it, so in the meantime, I have uploaded it here on my YouTube channel and Facebook page (link to be posted) and https://vimeo.com/86083813

Copied from the description from the State website:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
At a Reception Marking Eid ul-Fitr

September 7, 2011
Ben Franklin Room
Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Farah. Thank you. Well, I am a wannabe athlete -- (laughter) -- and I have absolutely no claim to being anything other than that, but I am delighted that this evening we are going to be honoring some young people who truly are athletes and who are carving their own futures in the history of our country.

So good evening everyone. Eid Mubarak. And thank you, Farah, for your tireless efforts on behalf of the work that brings you not only to this podium but around the world.
As Farah said, you can see through the lobby and the Diplomatic Reception Rooms some of our history of presidents affirming America's respect for Muslims and Islam dating back to Washington, Adams, and Jefferson. And we celebrate that history, and particularly today we wanted to celebrate sports and athletic competition. Whether it be the Olympics or the World Cup, the human drive to run faster and climb higher is universal, and universally celebrated. And it's also a way by which talent rises to the top, ability is what matters, and people are treated equally.
Now, we have some household names as well as some who will be household names. World champion boxer Amir Khan flew all the way from London to be part of this celebration. Where is Mr. Khan? Thank you so much for coming. (Applause.)

We also have a number of women athletes who are here. When Ibtihaj Muhammad fences in her hijab, when she trains 30 hours each week without missing a prayer, she's thinking about winning and she's thinking about the London Olympics next year. Where is Ms. Muhammad? Where is she? Right there. (Applause.) But I think it's fair to say that, as her mother has said, many people feel pride and recognize that she is representing more than just herself in her endeavors.

Now, not everybody will go to the Olympics, but even weekend warriors can get some satisfaction out of this. And I hope many of you were able to watch the new documentary we screened earlier. And we are joined by the coach and four members of the Fordson Tractors from Dearborn, Michigan, as well as the filmmakers. Where are all of them? That was such a great documentary and a great story. (Applause.)

And I hope everybody gets a chance to meet our athletes here tonight, but that film highlighted the exceptional circumstances that the team faced, that they wanted to train hard and stay healthy while keeping the requirements of Ramadan. And so like every other high school team, they geared up for football practice in August this year with two-a-day practices, except they took the field at 11:00 p.m. and finished around 4:00. And that takes special dedication, special dedication to both your sport and your faith.

But what stood out to me is how familiar the team and the players ultimately are. The image of the pregame huddle and prayer could've been filmed at any high school in America. Shoulder pads and helmets crowded the locker room, and big-game nerves were somewhat evident on your faces, I have to confess. But despite the extra burdens they carried, at the end of it, it was Friday night football for a team of champions.

Now, we can't pretend that there have not been difficulties and division. In fact, the Fordson documentary tells the story of the religious tensions in Dearborn, Michigan. But the power of America has always been anchored in our ability to come together and move forward as one nation.


Now I wanted to introduce two of our athletes so that you could hear from them directly. Ephraim Salaam has played in the NFL for over a decade, but some of you may know him best for his memorable Super Bowl commercial last year. (Laughter.) And Kulsoom Abdullah is a weightlifter, forging the way for Muslim women athletes to maintain their freedom of expression and still compete at the highest level. Please join me in welcoming first Ephraim and then Kulsoom.


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