The Department of Defense ‘celebrated’ a break-the-fast Iftar meal, July 12th, at the Pentagon. Attending the event were senior defense leaders, White House and congressional staffers, foreign dignitaries, defense attachés, imams, Gold Star families (Oh, really? Gold Star families of U.S. soldiers killed by Muslims?), and Muslims who work in the defense community. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim, was the guest speaker at this year’s dinner.
ARMY.mil During the month of Ramadan, which this year runs from July 8 through Aug. 7, Muslims are required to fast during daylight hours. The Iftar meal, following sundown, is when Muslims break their fast for the day. In 1999, the Pentagon Chaplain’s office first hosted such a dinner to show solidarity with and support for the Islamic community. They have been doing so each year since.
The significance of celebrating Iftar at the Pentagon is two-fold, said Air Force Col. Shakir Kahn. First, it informs Muslim Pentagon employees that the Department of Defense supports them. Second, it also allows the senior leadership at the Pentagon a view into the Muslim community.
Command Sgt. Maj. Sultan Mohammed said he believes that the yearly Iftar meals at the Pentagon show that the Department of Defense continues to feel solidarity with the Muslim community, and that healing has happened since 9/11.
“It just shows that America is recovering from its wounds and overcoming its fear of the image that’s been portrayed of Muslims,” Mohammed said. “We are all in one Army, and that when we were attacked [on 9/11], not only was America attacked, but Muslims were attacked (Ah yes, ever the victim, even in the worst attack on American soil carried out by Muslims). For us to be able to sit down at an Iftar like this shows [we are] healing. We understand and we appreciate each other and it’s time to heal. It’s actually taken too long.”
Ellison spoke about serving humanity. Serving others by tutoring, visiting shut-ins, volunteering time to feed the homeless and building relationships with people less fortunate will help change America (into an Islamic-ruled country?), Ellison said. “I would challenge you to think creatively about what you can do on an individual basis to reorient our society one (cultural-jihad) engagement at a time,” Ellison said.
Those in attendance at the Pentagon Iftar were not all Muslim. Steven Redmann, executive
director dhimmi of U.S. Army Headquarters Services, said, “We need to respect Muslims fasting during Ramadan and understand why they do that,” Redman said. “If we could all just be more accepting, I think we’d all be better off.”
At the Pentagon, approximately 30-40 Department of Defense personnel make up a core group of Muslim worshipers, Waynick said.