On Thursday, July 24th the US Embassy hosted its final iftar of the holy month of Ramadan as fifty religious leaders, government officials, and members of civil society broke the Ramadan fast at the Ambassador’s Residence in Fajara. This year charge d’dffaires Richard Yonoeka continued the tradition of holding iftars, the breaking of the Ramadan fast, outside of the capital of Banjul. Over the course of the holy month, six iftars were hosted by Charge d’Affaires Yoneoka or Deputy Chief of Mission Tom Hull in Basse, Brikama, Janjangbureh, Kerewan, Mansakonko, and Fajara. The iftar in each of the provinces was hosted in partnership with the regional governor and was attended by 30 to 50 community leaders.
Addressing the guests, Charge d’Affaires Yoneoka stated:
“Muslims throughout The Gambia, like Muslims in United States, and around the world are gathering with their family, friends, and neighbors to partake in this tradition that has existed since the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Ramadan is a time for peaceful reflection and prayer, a time for acts of compassion and charity – universal values and aspirations ingrained in every human heart.
“Gambians have been exemplary in embracing the diversity among their communities and engaging in the universal values we all share. The Gambia’s commitment to religious tolerance demonstrates the valuable traits of compassion and understanding evident in this society. Religion permeates all sectors of society, and we would be amiss if we were to deny the need for religious tolerance in promoting a healthy, thriving community that is working towards a common goal.
“Embracing inclusivity has been key in the Gambia’s stability and growth. The founders of the United States recognized from the beginning that religious freedom was integral to our survival and prosperity as a nation. Since then, the United States has been committed to strengthening our practice of religious tolerance and inclusiveness, and we are glad to know that our Gambian brothers and sisters share this goal.
“On behalf of the United States Embassy and people of all faiths of the United States, I wish you, your families, and your community a peaceful and joyful Ramadan.”]]>