Ambassador Chung’s Remarks at Iftar Dinner

April 22, 2022

Sheik Arshad, Members of Parliament, fellow chiefs of mission, distinguished guests, friends, Assalaamu Alekhum.  I wish all of you Ramadan Mubarak and am honored to welcome you to this Iftar.

Shortly after arriving in Sri Lanka, I had the privilege of visiting the Red Mosque in Pettah, a stunning building and wonderfully welcoming community.  Over the coming years and through my travels, I look forward to learning more about the history of Islam in Sri Lanka and the important role Muslims play across the spectrum of Sri Lanka’s diverse society.

Ramadan is a holy month of reflection and devotion, forgiveness and compassion, peace and charity.  As we reflect on these core values, we are reminded of the suffering caused by the pandemic and economic crisis over the past two years, including its disruptions of cherished traditions.  Even as the pandemic subsides, we are all facing the uncertainty of the current political and economic situation.  Many of those most deeply affected by the pandemic are also the most-hard hit by the ongoing economic crisis.

While the suffering and tribulations of the past two years have been sobering, we have also seen hope and resilience.  Around the world and across Sri Lanka, Muslims have been on the frontline united in service, faith, and shared humanity to care for the ill, provide essential services, and relieve suffering.  For all those who have sacrificed so much and continue to do so, we are in your debt, including many of you in this room who have been leaders of service to your community and your country.

Around the world Ramadan is a time for selflessness, peace, and tolerance.  Here in Sri Lanka, it is an opportunity not only for Muslims but for members of all communities to rededicate themselves to working together to find solutions to the challenges facing the country.

The United States is committed to working with all Sri Lankans to realize this vision and stands ready to support the Muslim community, as we have in the past.  To quote President Biden in his remarks this Ramadan: “During this holy month, as Muslims everywhere honor God’s great mercy let us also renew our shared commitment to show kindness, mercy, and understanding to one another.”

I want to conclude by wishing everyone a very blessed month and to truly thank each of you for joining us this evening.