Obama hosts Iftar dinner marking Ramadan
Three dozen foreign diplomats, two Muslim American members of Congress and some 9/11 families were among the guests invited to join President Barack Obama for what has become a White House tradition — an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan.
“Tonight is part of a rich tradition here at the White House of celebrating the holy days of many faiths and the diversity that define us as a nation,” Obama said in his welcome remarks.
“Like so many faiths, Islam has always been part of our American family, and Muslim Americans have long contributed to the strength and character of our country, in all walks of life. This has been especially true over the past 10 years,” Obama said.
The president said Ramadan was a time for reflection for Muslims and noted that this year it fell near the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Obama recognized Muslim Americans who died in the attacks, others who responded in the aftermath and members of the military fighting in the wars that followed.
“In one month, we will mark the 10th anniversary of those awful attacks that brought so much pain to our hearts,” Obama said. “It will be a time to honor all those that we’ve lost. And tonight, it’s worth remembering that these Americans were of many faiths and backgrounds, including proud and patriotic Muslim Americans,” Obama said.
This was Obama’s third Iftar dinner at the White House. Former President Bill Clinton started the tradition of hosting an Iftar dinner which was continued under President George W. Bush.
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (Obama and guests acknowledge U.S. military members at Iftar dinner)