Tales from the Trail

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.

American Muslims are fierce patriots, Obama says

President Barack Obama can duck a question with the best of them, but when he was asked about the arrest in Pakistan of five allegedly home-grown U.S. jihadists, he seized the opportunity to damp down a potential backlash against American Muslims and praised the community for its “fierce patriotism.”

“What has been remarkable over the course of the last eight, nine years since 9/11 is the degree to which America has reaffirmed the extraordinary contributions of the Muslim American community,” he told a brief press conference during his Nobel Peace Prize visit to Oslo.

Pakistani officials said the five young men, students in their 20′s from northern Virginia who were detained in a city called Sargodha to the southeast of the capital Islamabad, appear to have been intent on “jihad.”