Courtesy / Source: Examiner.com
By Shahina Bashir, Germantown Islam Examiner
On August 10, 2011 President Obama hosted his third Ramadan Iftar dinner at the White House. Ramadan is the Muslim holy month in which the adherents fast from dawn to dusk. Iftar is the meal with which the Muslims break their fast at sunset amidst their families and communities. The President was simply following the tradition that has been maintained for quite a few years. Among his predecessors who hosted such dinners were, presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. It is noteworthy that the first ever White House Iftar dinner was hosted by one of the founding fathers, President Thomas Jefferson in 1805. He had invited Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, the envoy from Tunisia. Mellimelli was visiting the United States because of a tense dispute over piracy on American vessels by the Barbary states. He arrived during the month of Ramadan. At the time when Jefferson invited Mellimelli to the president’s house, he had the meal time changed to 3:30 p.m. which was the sunset time and time to break his fast. This gesture shows Jefferson’s respect towards the religious obligations of a person of another faith.
This year’s White House Iftar dinner was attended by prominent members from the political arena as well as the local religious communities. Among those from the political arena included two Muslim members of the Congress, Keith Ellison and Andre Carson. The guest list also included several members of the diplomatic corp. There were not only ambassadors from prominent Muslim countries but also from Israel and Russia.
This picture is from a previous Iftar party.
Categories: United States