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President Obama Hosts a Ramadan Iftar Dinner at the White House

Obama was sitting with Sudanese American Muslims during iftar does it make sense?


President Obama hosted an Iftar dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the White House on On June 22, 2015.

The Iftar is the evening meal after sunset that concludes the daily fasting during the month of Ramadan. Observers around the world gather with families, loved ones, and communities to break their fast together. For observers, the Iftar dinner and Ramadan are a time to reflect on humanity and to reaffirm commitments to helping the less fortunate. This year, Ramadan, which follows the lunar calendar, is taking place during the longest days of the year.

Last night's celebration was President Obama's seventh Iftar dinner at the White House. This year, in addition to inviting members of the diplomatic corps, White House staff, and elected officials, there was a special focus on young leaders and women helping communities across the nation.


Speaking at the dinner, President Obama said that the annual Iftar was a reminder that "whatever our faith, we're all one family."

"Our Iftar is also a reminder of the freedoms that bind us together as Americans, including the freedom of religion -- that inviolable right to practice our faiths freely."

— President Obama

President Obama recognized several young Muslim Americans who were making an impact here in the U.S. and around the world. He applauded Samantha Elauf, who was determined to defend her right to wear a hijab on the job. She took her case all the way to the Supreme Court and won. He cheered Zaid Ahmed, a 16-year-old who founded Redefy, a website that pushes back against harmful stereotypes. He recognized 27 year old Wai Wai Nu, a former political prisoner who is working on human rights issues for the Rohingya and equal rights for women. 

The President also spoke of the inherent freedoms in America that bind us together -- including freedom of religion. He reflected on the way Americans of all faiths rallied around the community in Chapel Hill when three young Muslims were murdered earlier this year, and said that all of these stories remind us that our obligation to care for one another extends beyond our immediate communities and borders. The President reminded us that the challenges we face daily as a people demand the same qualities that observers summon every day during Ramadan -- sacrifice, discipline, and patience. 

“… we don’t simply endure, but we overcome. Together, we can overcome ignorance and prejudice. Together, we will overcome conflict and injustice -- not just with words, but with deeds. With what a hero of mine, the civil rights icon John Lewis, calls using our feet -- getting out in the real world to organize and to create the change that we seek. That’s what so many of you do every single day. And that’s what we have to continue to do together, here in America and around the world. As the Quran teaches, let us answer with 'Peace.'"  

President Obama ended his remarks wishing Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world a blessed Ramadan.

"To all of you, and to Muslim Americans across the country -- Ramadan Kareem."

— President Obama





The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate ReleaseJune 05, 2016

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan


As another new moon heralds the start of the holy month of Ramadan, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to Muslims across the United States and around the world.

For many, this month is an opportunity to focus on reflection and spiritual growth, forgiveness, patience and resilience, compassion for those less fortunate, and unity across communities. Each lesson is profound on its own, and taken together forms a harmonious whole. It’s also a time of year that brings some of the best dishes to the table across the world as families and neighbors gather for iftar.

Here in the United States, we are blessed with Muslim communities as diverse as our nation itself. There are those whose heritage can be traced back to the very beginning of our nation, as well as those who have only just arrived. Doctors, lawyers, artists, teachers, scientists, community organizers, public servants, and military members, each night will all break their fasts together in cities across America.

As Muslim Americans celebrate the holy month, I am reminded that we are one American family.  I stand firmly with Muslim American communities in rejection of the voices that seek to divide us or limit our religious freedoms or civil rights. I stand committed to safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans no matter their religion or appearance. I stand in celebration of our common humanity and dedication to peace and justice for all.

And in this month of reflection, we cannot forget the millions of lives that have been displaced by conflict and struggle, across the world and in our own backyards. Far too many Muslims may not be able to observe Ramadan from the comfort of their own homes this year or afford to celebrate Eid with their children. We must continue working together to alleviate the suffering of these individuals. This sacred time reminds us of our common obligations to uphold the dignity of every human being. We will continue to welcome immigrants and refugees into our nation, including those who are Muslim.

As I have done throughout my presidency, I look forward to opening the doors of the White House to Muslim Americans during this special occasion – this year for an Eid celebration marking the end of Ramadan. I can think of no better way to mark my Administration’s last celebration of Ramadan as President than to honor the contributions of Muslims in America and across the world for Eid. Ramadan Kareem.



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