July 4, 2014
NEW YORK—On Thursday, Mayor de Blasio delivered remarks at the Ramadan Iftar Dinner 2014 at Gracie Mansion. Below are the Mayor's remarks as prepared for delivery.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Chirlane. Salam—and Ahlan wa Sahlan. As Chirlane said, we are so glad you could join us tonight here tonight at Gracie Mansion. We have so much to celebrate today.
First and foremost: Ramadan Mubarak. Now is the holiest time of year for tens of thousands of New Yorkers. It's a time for our families, Muslim New Yorkers, and millions of Muslims around the world to come together. Let me wish you all good health, happiness and fulfillment. And thank you all for joining us this evening.
Let me especially thank all of the community leaders, including Imam Mohamed Camara and Imam Tahir Kukiqi, who both led prayer this evening. And let me also recognize leaders of my administration: Marco Carrion, CAU; Sherif Soliman, director of state legislative affairs; FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro. And of course, let's thank the generous businesses and organizations supporting this event, including the Azerbaijan Society of America, Ali Baba Restaurants, the Council of Peoples Organization, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A special thanks to City Council members Daniel Dromm for joining us tonight. We're glad you could be here this evening.
Friends, Ramadan is an opportunity for New Yorkers to celebrate our city's thriving Muslim community. Your community is a reflection of the city itself: diverse. Welcoming. And determined to do right by your children. In fact, the history of Muslims in New York stretches back to our city's very beginning. Historians say it was likely there were Muslims among the Africans brought to New York during colonial times—and as early as 1893, the Moslem World Publishing Company was publishing on West 20th Street in Manhattan.
The Muslim experience here is defined by triumph in the face of great adversity and persecution. Today, Muslim New Yorkers are excelling in every field.
But despite how far we've come, Muslim New Yorkers are still fighting for basic human rights. My administration is proactively working with the community to combat anti-Muslim discrimination. Most notably, we recently shut down the Demographics Unit at NYPD, which conducted surveillance on Muslim New Yorkers. Because it's unfair to single out people on the sole basis of their religion. It's also counterproductive. If we're going to reduce crime, we need our cops and our citizens to work together.
Speaking of the NYPD, a real hero was supposed to join us tonight—Police Officer Aml Elsokary, from 90th Precinct in Williamsburg. Unfortunately, she couldn't come this evening because of an illness in her family, but I want to share her story with you anyway. On April 10, Officer Elsokary and her partner, Sergeant Adrian Harris, rushed into a burning building—they heard a baby crying on the second floor. There was smoke everywhere. But duty called. The doorknob was hot, so she used her jacket to open it. She grabbed the baby and her frightened grandmother and rushed them both to safety. Pretty inspiring, right? But that's not the half of it. Officer Elsokary was a hero long before that remarkable day.
Her path to joining the NYPD began on September 11. As both a Muslim and a native New Yorker, she knew she needed to get involved. She sought to show people that the terrible acts of that day contradicted the teachings of Islam. And so she became a police officer. Because she wanted to demonstrate her faith through service. As Prophet Muhammad said, "Kindness is a mark of faith." And if all that isn't impressive enough, Officer Elsokary is also a mother of five children. Officer—we thank you. I know there are many more heroes among us tonight. We appreciate your service—shukran!
Now, I know you must be very hungry, so I'll wrap things up. I hope to speak with many of you tonight and discuss how my administration can help your community. Thank you.