Gordon Brown sends his best wishes for Ramadan to Muslims...
The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) has published the Ramadan greetings sent to the Muslims of Kuwait by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
"Ramadan teaches patience and humility, and reminds us of our shared moral universe; our obligation to others," Brown said in a message to mark the beginning of the holy month.
"The message of empathy for the less fortunate is reflected in Ramadan by the daily fast. And Ramadan's message of compassion and social justice spreads beyond Muslim communities; it speaks of shared values that unite us all." He noted that "the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad emphasises the duty of care we owe one another. So during this special month, let us also celebrate the diversity that contributes to Britain's strength." Paying warm tributes to British Muslims, Brown said they "make a huge contribution to Britain's success - to our prosperity, our society and our culture. And of course, Ramadan is an opportune time to consider the contribution of Islam not just to Britain, but to the world: Islamic art, science, and philosophy have enriched our lives over many centuries." Ramadan is also a time to recall the Prophet's message that "the best richness is the richness of the soul." "This speaks to me, as it speaks to so many others." The Prime Minister said he looks forward to continuing positive engagement with British Muslim communities across the UK.
Cranmer is puzzled.
He can find nothing on the No10 website of a greeting to British Muslims. Why not? They are British citizens and taxpayers, and he is their prime minister. Are they less worthy? Or is it only the Muslim terrorists and criminals who are worthy of special treatment at this holy time courtesy of the taxpayer?
But neither can Cranmer find record of any Ramadan greeting to any Commonwealth nation. Moreover, such a greeting has traditionally been reserved for the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Gordon Brown quite appropriately followed Tony Blair’s precedent last year.
So why now mark the beginning of Ramadan as well? And why on earth in Kuwait? And why are British taxpayers forking out for this? Surely Gordon Brown’s greeting for this most holy month is not sullied by any possible link with oil, is it?
Does he send Christmas or Easter greetings to the Christians in Kuwait? Or those poor persecuted believers in Iraq? Or Israel? Or Egypt? Or Iran? Or China? Or (let us not forget) the Christians in the UK?
It might cheer them up a little... you know, persuade them the world has not abandoned them.
If the Prime Minister now sends Muslims a greeting to mark the onset of Ramadan and also one to celebrate the end, then surely he must issue Christians with a greeting at the commencement of their most holy week, and also one to mark the end on the glorious day of resurrection.
Or is Cranmer missing something?