By: Margaret Nardi
Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the United States
Ramadan in Bahrain is always a joyous time when this country’s culture of peaceful coexistence and friendship among all communities is on display through festive gatherings and important rituals. The spirit of reflection and generosity is shared by Muslims and their neighbors throughout the world, including among the 3.5 million Muslims in the United States.
I congratulate the leadership and people of the Kingdom of Bahrain on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan.
Of course, due to the necessary precautions we must all uphold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this Ramadan, like last year’s, will look different. For Bahraini and American Muslims alike, this will mean abiding by public health measures that place limits on congregational activities to safeguard our especially vulnerable friends, colleagues, family members, and compatriots. While this will mean that we may need to scale back our communal festivities, such as the majalis and ghabqas and Gergaoun evenings we recall so fondly participating in prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Ramadan observance is still an opportunity to embody the most cherished values the holy month represents.
Last Ramadan, this spirit of communal gathering was not possible due to the need to practice physical distancing as required by the public health experts. The spirit of Ramadan was no less powerful, however, as people prayed at home or joined online gatherings to break the daily fast. In the Embassy, we convened a virtual iftar bringing the community together with Bahraini youth from our cultural and educational exchange programs, some of whom were on the frontlines of the nationwide campaign to combat COVID-19. We intend to hold the same kinds of virtual gatherings this Ramadan.
This Ramadan, millions of Muslims in America also look forward to renewing their commitment to the holy month’s principles of practicing gratitude, self-reflection, and service above self. Local religious and community leaders in the over 2,000 mosques throughout the United States will gather virtually to demonstrate the generosity and love of their neighbors that Ramadan evokes. Over the course of the pandemic, American Muslims played a vital role in giving back to the community. For instance, Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic Corporation, led the charge to speed up the production of thousands of desperately needed ventilators, while the Zakat Foundation of Chicago distributed thousands of examination gloves to local hospitals as COVID-19 cases spiked in the United States.
As we enter this Ramadan, I would like to thank our Bahraini friends for your generosity, friendship, and partnership as we mark the holy month together. On behalf of the entire Embassy community, I wish you and your families a peaceful and blessed Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak.