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Address on the Observance of Eid al-Fitr

January 19, 1999

On behalf of Muslim Americans and, indeed, all Americans, I would like to send my best wishes to the Islamic world as the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close, and you celebrate the festival of Id al-Fı´tr. The month of fasting you have completed demands sacrifice and discipline. But it delivers a profound reward, the chance to teach people of every faith what is precious about Islam: its charity, its generosity, its essential humanity. All people in the world are moved by the observance of Ramadan, by the devotion and dignity that makes Islam one of the world's great religions.

I fervently hope that the new Moon will stand for a rising tide of peace on Earth, in the Middle East, Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa, every place where devoted people aspire and deserve to lead lives of fulfillment and self-respect. I especially hope we will see the lives of the Iraqi people improve. They have suffered for too long from oppression and war.

One of the central challenges of our time is to build greater understanding among people who practice different forms of worship. As the leader of a nation of many, many faiths, I pledge that we will do all we can to strengthen relations with the Islamic community around the world in the year ahead. In the United States, we deeply respect the Muslim Americans who observe Ramadan. And we look forward to working with Muslims everywhere, everywhere in the world, to build a world where faith and friendship can truly flourish.

As-salaamu alaykum.

NOTE: The address was videotaped at approximately 5:10 p.m. on January 12 in Room 459 of the Old Executive Office Building for later broadcast on the U.S. Information Agency WORLDNET. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on January 19.

William J. Clinton, Address on the Observance of Eid al-Fitr Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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