Thursday, October 04, 2007

A very Chimpy Iftaar: A history of standing with Muslims facing suffering and hardship

Bush held an Iftaar dinner at the White House, celebrating the end of Ramadan fasting. One innovation I spotted in the pictures: women. Usually they’re stuck in a segregated event with Laura. Possibly this is because the event is more international than usual this year, including ambassadors of countries with Muslims in them, some of whom, like the ambassador from Singapore (15% Muslim), are women.

The Congressional Ramadan resolution, which called Islam “one of the great religions of the world,” passed the House 376-0, but 42 voted “present.” Of those 42, 41 were Republicans (the D was Mike McIntyre of NC).

The White House dinner’s prayer was offered by an imam who is also a Navy lt. commander (the entire US military has 10 Muslim chaplains), Abuhena Saifulislam, who said that anyone who helps a Muslim break their Ramadan fast will receive the same reward as the faster. So, he told Bush, “we have got you covered, man.”

Bush gave a speech – it occurs to me that I don’t know if he spoke before or after dinner; it would be a terrible thing to listen to Bush while fasting, but on the other hand it would be a terrible thing to listen to Bush on a full stomach. I guess what I’m saying is that it would be a terrible thing to listen to Bush. “The freedom of worship,” he said, “is central to the American character.” He said that “America is standing with mainstream citizens across the broader Middle East” against radical Muslims. “We say to them, you don’t represent Muslims, you do not represent Islam”. I don’t know whose job it is to determine who represents Islam, but I’m pretty sure it’s not George W. Bush.

He said, “Americans have a history of standing with Muslims facing suffering and hardship”. In fact, Americans have a history of standing quite near to Muslims facing suffering and hardship. Funny that.

Bush, praying.

Cheney, praying. Yes, it does look remarkably like napping.

Earlier in the day, Bush met the majority leader of the Lebanese Parliament. I don’t have anything to say about that, but here are some pictures of Bushies (including Elliott Abrams) standing around awkwardly during it.

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