Continuing President Obama’s outreach to Muslims, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett spoke at the Islamic Society of North America's 46th Annual Convention. The Convention, themed "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," brought together thousands of Muslim Americans to our nation’s capital over the July 4th weekend.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) maintains that it is the largest Muslim American organization in the United States. It was founded more than forty years ago and aims to serve as a meeting place for people and ideas, while building bridges of understanding and cooperation.
In her remarks, Jarrett spoke of the importance of President Obama’s Cairo speech, where he emphasized that the United States and Muslim communities share fundamental values, such as justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of human beings.
She quoted the President in emphasizing the many contributions of Muslim Americans to the United States:
Since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic torch.
She continued by emphasizing that:
I will tell you, it is not always easy to identify American "Muslim" business leaders, scientists, artists, athletes, and so on. Not because there aren’t any, but because there are too many, and they are known for their talents and character – not simply their religion. This is a great thing. It is a reflection of the American dream, which is ultimately rooted in these values that we all share – values that are common to all of humanity. And just as we share common values, we also share common dreams – for security, progress, and opportunity.
After acknowledging the diligent work and great contribution of Muslim Americans to American society, Jarrett encouraged Muslim Americans to respond to President Obama’s call to service. She asked that they participate in United We Serve this summer, and utilize www.serve.gov to post service projects and find other opportunities.