Wednesday, September 02, 2009
President Obama Hosts Iftar at White House
Obama offers iftar to help bridge gap
Steven Stanek, Foreign Correspondent, The National
Last Updated: September 01. 2009 9:05PM UAE / September 1. 2009 5:05PM GMT WASHINGTON // Barack Obama was scheduled to host an iftar dinner at the White House yesterday in honour of Ramadan, the latest gesture by a president who has vowed to improve relations with the Muslim world.
The feast was scheduled to be held in the State Dining Room to “highlight the contributions of American Muslims”, according to an announcement by the White House Press Office. The president was also scheduled to make brief remarks at the dinner.
Before leaving for holiday last month, Mr Obama, the son of a Muslim, delivered a video message on the occasion of the holy month.
“I know this to be a festive time – a time when families gather, friends host iftars and meals are shared,” Mr Obama said.
“I also know that Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection – a time when Muslims fast during the day and perform tarawih prayers at night, reciting and listening to the entire Quran over the course of the month.
“These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” The presidential iftar continues a tradition that dates to the Clinton administration, but which took hold during the Bush years, starting almost immediately after the September 11 attacks in 2001. In November of that year, Mr Bush hosted an iftar with Muslim ambassadors and diplomats from about 50 countries, stressing that the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, which occurred the previous month, was not a war against the Islamic faith.
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