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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at the Pakistan Independence Day Mela and Festival

August 20, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio: I just want to say –  I want to thank my good friend, Mohammad, for his leadership and all the great leaders in the community who are here. I want to thank everyone who is a part of this great event.

The Mela is an event that celebrates this wonderful Pakistani community. I’ve been coming here for years and years. And this is one of the moments when we take stock of all that the Pakistani-American community contributes to New York City. And this is particularly important in this moment in history because unfortunately there are voices of hatred and division all over this country that are denigrating the contributions of immigrants. And we, here in New York City, make clear regularly, constantly that we honor all people of all backgrounds. 

We honor all faiths. That’s really the American way, isn’t it? To honor all faiths, all people, all backgrounds. That’s what we are as a country – something that we believe in fundamentally especially here in New York City.

So, while immigrants are under attack in Washington D.C., here I remind people how much immigrants have, in so many ways, contributed to New York City.

We are the safest big city in America. Immigrants have contributed to this extraordinary progress, this extraordinary safety. We have the strongest economy we’ve had in years. So many immigrant businesses have been a part of that, employing thousands and thousands of New Yorkers. 

So, it’s something to celebrate. And to me, the Mela is not just a celebration of the Pakistani community, it’s a celebration of what all immigrants bring to New York City. That’s what we’re here to celebrate today, isn’t it?

[Applause] 

And I also want to say, this country was founded on the idea that every faith is equally important. People of all faiths are respected. That is part of the foundational documents of the United States. 

And for our many, many Muslim brothers and sisters, my message is constant – thank you for the great contributions you’ve made to New York City. Thank you to the 900 Muslim New York City Police Officers and all [inaudible] –

[Applause]

Let us be a city for everyone, that respects everyone and embraces everyone. Let’s show the whole world and this whole country the right way to do it which is to be a city for everyone.

Thank you and God bless you all.

[Applause] 

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