Michelle and I would like to send our best wishes to all those performing Hajj this year, and to Muslims in America and around the world who are celebrating Eid-ul-Adha. The rituals of Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha both serve as reminders of the shared Abrahamic roots of three of the world’s major religions.
During Hajj, the world’s largest and most diverse gathering, three million Muslims from all walks of life – including thousands of American Muslims – will stand in prayer on Mount Arafat. The following day, Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid-ul-Adha and distribute food to the less fortunate to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son out of obedience to God.
Compare the comments above to his official statement regarding the National Day of Prayer here in the United States:
No, that is not a typo. There is no text missing in the above quote.
While President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, tried to explain it away as the President’s way of “reverting back to pre-Bush administration practice”, the truth is President Obama didn’t release any statement regarding the National Day of Prayer. Nada. Nothing.
“Prayer is something the president does every day,” he said. “We’re doing a proclamation, which I know that many administrations in the past have done.”
Pressed by reporters as to the lack of a formal ceremony, Mr. Gibbs said the proclamation was Mr. Obama’s choice.
“That’s the way the president will publicly observe National Prayer Day – privately, he’ll pray as he does every day,” Mr. Gibbs said.
In other words, the President prays privately every day but felt compelled to address the nation’s (and the world’s) Muslims about their pilgrimage to the Hajj.
The Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, and a moral obligation that must be carried out by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so, at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to Allah.
So, in summary, a statement regarding the Hajj, which is solely aimed at the Muslim community, warrants more attention (and an official statement), than the National Day of Prayer which would apply to everyone, regardless of their religious affiliation.
Thank you once again, Mr. President, for showing us exactly where your priorities lie.