U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today honored Muslim athletes at a reception marking Eid ul-Fitr.
At the reception, Ms. Clinton said she was delighted that she will be honoring some young people who truly are athletes and who are carving their own futures in the history of United States.
“We celebrate that history, and particularly today we wanted to celebrate sports and athletic competition. Whether it be the Olympics or the World Cup, the human drive to run faster and climb higher is universal, and universally celebrated. And it’s also a way by which talent rises to the top, ability is what matters, and people are treated equally.” -Ms. Clinton
She highlighted that the State Department sponsors sports exchange programs and sends sports ambassadors around the world.
“And for all the athletes joining us this evening, you may never have thought of yourself exactly as a role model, but you are. And you are not only to the students that some of you visited earlier today, but to so many beyond. And all Americans take pride in your achievements.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton acknowledged the presence of world champion boxer Amir Khan who flew all the way from London to be part of the celebration. She also recognized the presence of a number of women athletes who are there in the reception like fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
“And I hope everybody gets a chance to meet our athletes here tonight, but that film highlighted the exceptional circumstances that the team faced, that they wanted to train hard and stay healthy while keeping the requirements of Ramadan. And so like every other high school team, they geared up for football practice in August this year with two-a-day practices, except they took the field at 11:00 p.m. and finished around 4:00. And that takes special dedication, special dedication to both your sport and your faith.” -Ms. Clinton
She stressed that this weekend, the United States will mark the 10th anniversary of September 11th. She said the United States has lost something that day. She added that in the ashes and the aftermaths, the world knew that U.S. had lost Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, men, women, young, old.
“And a decade later, that unity that we felt must continue to inspire and guide us.” -Ms. Clinton
She stated that at this time of celebration and reflection, and as they mark the end of Ramadan and the beginning of a new year of renewal and possibility, she hoped that they can recommit themselve to the common cause of spreading peace, prosperity, understanding to all the people of the earth.