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Cablegate: Embassy Maputo Hosts Ramadan Events

VZCZCXRO5511
RR RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHJS
RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHMR RUEHPW RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHTO #1186 2761447
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031447Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8040
INFO RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MAPUTO 001186

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AF/S FOR MSHIELDS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KAPO MZ
SUBJECT: EMBASSY MAPUTO HOSTS RAMADAN EVENTS

REF: STATE 112013

1. SUMMARY: In Mozambique, with a near forty percent Muslim
population, post regularly seeks to engage Muslims and this
year programmed a number of events: an Iftar hosted by the
Charge; a film showing and discussion followed by an Iftar at
the Public Affairs building; and the donation of Ramadan gift
baskets to two local Muslim institutions. End Summary.

2. The Charge hosted an Iftar for Mozambican Islamic
community leaders and Muslim staff of the Embassy on
September 26. The 24 invitees expressed appreciation for the
opportunity to interact with the Embassy and to open new
lines of communication with the Embassy staff.

3. After the call to prayer at sunset, the Charge spoke
during the meal of the long-standing, close friendship
between the United States and the Muslim community in
Mozambique. He added that the radicalism of the few should
not be allowed to define our relationship which was based on
friendship and mutual respect.

4. Sheik Aminudin Muhammad, President of the Islamic Council
of Mozambique urged attendees to fight against radicalism,
and noted how the values of the United States and Islam share
much in common. Commending U.S. generosity to Mozambique,
Sheik Muhammad said that there was much 'Islam' in the hearts
of Americans and that the Muslim community on the whole
understood this. Those who did not have this view of the
United States, he concluded, were simply misinformed. He
welcomed the Iftar as an opportunity to further strengthen
the dialog between the USG and the Muslim community, and
invited the Charge to visit his school for training religious
leaders located on the outskirts of Maputo.

5. Post then organized a spirited event October 2 at the
Public Affairs building where more than 40 guests gathered
for the showing of the film "Muslims" by Frontline and
provided by the Department's Overseas Broadcasting Service.
After the PAO's opening remarks about the political and
economic successes of Muslims in the United States, a
prominent Muslim contact and former Mission employee
moderated a sometimes heated discussion on the film's issues
in Portuguese. Although one Sheikh's comments on the
"rigidness" of Islam drew discord, especially amongst the
many women in the audience, the event provided the platform
to debate such issues as to whether a Muslim's allegiance is
first to the religion or to the nation and also women,s
rights within Islam. After the discussion and prayer, guests
enjoyed an Iftar in the courtyard and mingled with a dozen
members of the Mission staff, many of whom had never before
been to an Iftar event.

6. Carrying on with a four-year-old tradition, Post will
next week deliver gift baskets with food and blankets in the
tradition of Zakat during Ramadan to both a Muslim orphanage
and a destitute inner city mosque. Enclosed in the baskets
will be President Bush,s Ramadan message translated into
Portuguese and a personal wish of peace from the Charge.

7. We look forward to building upon the relationships that
we have fostered with the Muslim community here and to
building more.
Chapman

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