Wednesday, July 16, 2014

President Hosts Annual White House Iftar Dinner

On Monday night, President Obama hosted the annual White House Iftar dinner in honor of Ramadan.  In his remarks (full text) he said in part:
Tonight we reaffirm a simple truth.  Fundamental to the character of our country is our freedom of religion -- the right to practice our faith as we choose, to change our faith if we choose, or to practice no faith at all and to do all this free from fear of.  All of us are deserving of an equal opportunity to thrive -- no matter who we are, what we look like, what we believe, or how we pray.  And all of us have an obligation to do our part -- to help others overcome barriers, to reverse the injustice of inequality and to help more of our fellow citizens share in the promise of America. 
The President then made specific mention of three guests at the dinner who began projects to help young people succeed.

The White House also released a list of members of Congress, local officials and members of the diplomatic corps who would be attending the dinner.

UPDATE: According to July 17 Haaretz, this year's White House Iftar dinner was unusually controversial. The presence of Israel's ambassador along with those from other countries with large Muslim populations, his Tweet from the dinner, and President Obama's remarks about Israel rankled some Muslims.