Below is the text of Maryland's Governor O'Malley on the occasion of the Governor's 2013 Ramadan Iftar. Emre Celik, Rumi Forum's President was present. The Governor acknowledged Rumi Forum during his speech.
Asalaam Alaikum! This is our 7th year celebrating Iftar at Government House. It is great to see the Muslim community of Maryland celebrate here each year, and to witness the blossoming of this community. With us tonight is our trail-blazing Secretary of Juvenile Services, Sam Abed—the first Muslim of Arab descent appointed to a cabinet-level position,…in any state. Also with us is Judge Hassan El-Amin, thank you for being here. And Imam El Amin, Imam Hendi, and Imam Amin, thank you for coming back tonight to lead us.
We also have Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed Tawfik and Bahraini Ambassador Houda Nonoo with us,… as well as representatives from the Embassy of Jordan, the Embassy of Pakistan, the Embassy of Turkey and the General Delegation of the PLO. The National US Arab Chamber of Commerce is represented, as well as the Rumi Forum.
Earlier this year we had the chance to travel to Amman, to Bethlehem, and to Ramallah, to strengthen our ties with the Middle East. Collaboration is the new competition. And we know that in order to succeed in the global economy, we have to build and strengthen our relationships with our neighbors around the globe.
In Maryland, our diversity is our greatest strength. We see that in the group assembled here today. Some of you are among the 40 Muslim Marylanders who are serving on boards and commissions—leaders in education, in medicine, in law, in business, and in their communities. Your work illustrates the better choices we can make when we come together as One Maryland. Because, as the Arab proverb says, “Unity is power.”
We must recognize the unity that is, and strive for ways to act that are consistent with that unity. There’s a tremendous amount of unity even in this diverse State. And in the center of that unity is love, it is understanding, it is acceptance, it’s recognition of our common humanity. And that is the place toward which all of our actions must be pointed.
With the help of Muslim Marylanders, our State has recovered more than 99 percent of the jobs lost in the national recession. That means jobs for moms and dads of every religion, expanding opportunity and strengthening our middle class.
Ramadan is a time of fasting, but also very much about self-reflection. An entire month to get to know oneself better. To reflect on the good that one can bring to the world. As Marylanders, as Muslims and Catholics, we are united by our belief in children growing healthy, growing educated, growing strong. We believe in grandparents growing old with dignity and love. We believe in growing trees, and a Bay that grows healthier every year. We believe in growing prosperity for every generation.
Thank you all for being here, and for helping our State grow strong. Ramadan Kareem.