U.S. Pentagon Observes Islamic Ramadan Holiday By Hosting Annual Iftar Dinner

U.S. Pentagon Observes Islamic Ramadan Holiday By Hosting Annual Iftar Dinner

WASHINGTON – The United States Department of Defense recently observed its 15th annual Iftar dinner at the Pentagon in celebration of the Islamic holiday Ramadan.

According to a report from the U.S. Army, the event was attended by senior defense leaders, White House and Congressional staffers, imams, Muslim employees and other supporters of the Muslim religion.

“The month of Ramadan focuses on a lot of things,” Colonel Thomas Waynick, the Pentagon chaplain, told reporters. “Among them, focusing one’s heart away from worldly activities, the cleansing of one’s soul to free it from harmful impurities, and the practices of self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice and empathy, especially with the less fortunate, and thus encouraging generosity and charity. These things are common to many of the world’s religions.”

The keynote speaker was Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, who is the first Muslim member of Congress. He spoke about the need to be charitable as a nation, and also discussed his thoughts about Muslims in the military.

“I worry about [my son] and I want him to be around people who care about him,” Ellison told the crowd. “He’s Muslim, like his father is. I want him to be in a good environment. I feel like coming here [to the Pentagon Iftar] is very special.”

Steve Redman, the executive director of the U.S. Amy Headquarters Services, told reporters that he attended the event even though he is Catholic because he believes it is important to be tolerant of other religions.

“We need to respect [Muslims fasting during Ramadan] and understand why they do that,” Redman stated. “If we could all just be more accepting, I think we’d all be better off.”
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