On August 3, 2011, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon and Consul General Thomas Kelly invited representatives of Sao Paulo's Muslim and interfaith communities to break the fast of Ramadan at the Consulate's second annual Iftar dinner. This year, the dinner focused on themes of interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance. Ambassador Shannon underscored the value of religious tolerance, highlighting the important role Brazil plays as an international model of positive interfaith relations.
In welcoming the guests to his residence, Consul General Kelly highlighted the cultural and religious diversity of both the United States and Brazil, a diversity which has served as a source of strength for the two societies. He emphasized how the millions of Muslim-Americans in all sectors of society have enriched the culture of the United States. He also underscored President Obama's message that the United States seeks greater dialogue with and among the world's many faiths to further peaceful coexistence between people of all backgrounds.
The Iftar dinner concluded with comments by invitees, who stressed the importance of open dialogue between different faiths and the value of commemorating such an important Islamic tradition along with members of the interfaith community. They expressed gratitude to the U.S. Consulate for facilitating such a spiritual dialogue and bringing together members of the community who may not otherwise have the chance to interact. One of the Sheikhs stated that “we do not come to these events to teach others about our own religion; rather, we come to learn about other religions and open our minds.”