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UAE Embassy in Washington, DC Hosts Interfaith Iftar

May 22, 2018


WASHINGTON, DC (23 May 2018) – United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba hosted an interfaith iftar last night at the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC. Over 100 religious, community and government leaders attended the event.

The program featured remarks by prominent interfaith religious leaders, including Zaytuna College Founder Imam Hamza Yusuf, Georgetown University Senior Research Fellow Father Raymond Kemp and Interfaith Alliance President Rabbi Jack Moline.

The speakers underscored the importance of dialogue and inclusion to enhance mutual understanding and create more tolerant societies.

Ambassador Al Otaiba echoed this message, and highlighted how the UAE seeks to lead by example. 

“Joining us for iftar tonight are friends from all corners of this country and the world. In many ways, this gathering reflects my own country, where 200 nationalities and people of all different religious faiths live and worship,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “The UAE is committed to promoting values of inclusion and tolerance.”

The Ambassador also spoke about the importance of bringing people together during Ramadan. He noted that this year’s celebration was particularly important as the UAE celebrates 2018 as the “Year of Zayed,” which honors the legacy of UAE Founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

“Sheikh Zayed embodied the values that we celebrate during Ramadan: compassion, philanthropy, and community building,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “During Ramadan in particular, I hope we can draw inspiration from his leadership – to show compassion to our fellow men and women, to give a little bit more, to reach out to our friends and neighbors.”

“Sheikh Zayed was somebody who recognized the essential humanity that binds all of us,” said Imam Yusuf. "One of the benefits of coming together [at an iftar] like this is to get to know one another.”

In attendance were community leaders, senior members of US Government and elected officials, including Indiana Representative André Carson and Representative John Delaney of Maryland.

Attendees participated in the traditional breaking of the fast, and learned more about the values that are cherished and shared during the sacred month of Ramadan.