President Barack Obama highlighted the contributions made by Muslims to American culture and the “dynamism and diversity” of the Islamic community.
“Islam, as we know, is part of America,” Obama said at a White House dinner celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. “Together we have a responsibility to foster engagement grounded in mutual interest and mutual respect.”
“That’s one of my fundamental commitments as president both at home and abroad,” Obama said. “That is central to the new beginning that I’ve sought between the United States and Muslims around the world and that is a commitment that we can renew once again during this holy season.”
The dinner, held in the State Dining Room, brought together members of Congress, Cabinet members, diplomatic officials and community leaders from a spectrum of countries and religions. Representatives of Saudi Arabia, Israel, France, Germany and the Palestine Liberation Organization dined on dates, a traditional feature at the Iftar dinner, as well as salad with spiced almonds and chicken with a potato and leek puree.
Seated next to Obama was Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir, a devout Muslim who, as a high-school basketball player in Massachusetts, scored more than 3,000 points, breaking the state record.
Thanks again, President Obama.