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Obama continues Ramadan dinner tradition

September 20th · No Comments · Obama, Ramadan

“So tonight, we celebrate a great religion, and its commitment to justice and progress. We honor the contributions of America’s Muslims, and the positive example that so many of them set through their own lives. And we rededicate ourselves to the work of building a better and more hopeful world.”

So stated President Barack Obama during the annual Ramadan dinner at the White House, a tradition since 1996 credited to Chelsea Clinton.

“So thanks to all of you for taking the time to be here this evening. I wish you all a very blessed Ramadan. And with that, I think we can start a feast. I don’t know what’s on the menu, but I’m sure it will be good. Thank you very much, everybody.”

Once again the guest list included some of my fellow students of the esteemed late Imam W.D. Mohammed, who himself attended the traditional Ramadan dinners during previous administrations:


Secretary Robert Gates, Department of Defense

Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Justice

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services


Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower, Department of Commerce

Deputy Secretary Adam Miller, Department of Education


Congressman Andre Carson (Indiana 7th)

Congressman John Conyers (Michigan 14th)

Congressman Keith Ellison (Minnesota 5th)

Congressman Rush Holt (New Jersey 12th)

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)


Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, Jordan

Ambassador Adel A.M. Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia

Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Pakistan

Ambassador Erlan A. Idrissov, Kazakhstan

Ambassador His Excellency Said Tayeb Jawad, Afghanistan

Ambassador Aziz Mekouar, Morocco

Ambassador Peter N.R.O. Ogego, Kenya

Ambassador Roble Olhaye, D’jibouti

Ambassador Michael Oren, Israel

Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, Indonesia

Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, Germany

Ambassador Meera Shankar, India

Ambassador Nabi Sensoy, Turkey

Ambassador Sir Nigel Elton Sheinwald, United Kingdom

Ambassador Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Egypt

Ambassador Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaida’ie, Iraq

Ambassador Pierre Nicolas Vimont, France

Chargé d’Affaires Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Bangladesh

Chargé d’Affaires Ilango Karuppanan, Malaysia

Chargé d’Affaires Mohamed O Maiga,

Chargé d’Affaires Angela Oi Foong Shim, Brunei

Chargé d’Affaires Baba Gana Wakil, Nigeria

Mr. Maen Areikat, Chief of Mission, PLO


Ms. Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir, University of Memphis

Professor Azizah Al-Hibri, University of Richmond School of Law

Ms. Reema Ali, Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights

Mr. Hasan Chandoo, Oppenheimer & Co.

Rabbi Nathan Diament, Director, Institute for Public Affairs, Orthodox Union*

*Imam Plemon El-Amin, Atlanta Masjid al-Islam*

Mr. Wahid Hamid, PepsiCo

Ms. Dina Hammad

Mr. Lutfi Hassan

Ms. Nashala Hearn

Ms. Rosalind Hearn

Imam Yahya Hendi, Chaplain, Georgetown University

Pastor Joel Hunter, Northland Church*

Mr. Nooman Husain

Mr. Imad Hussain

Mr. Sanford Ibrahim, CEO, Radian Group

Mr. Jameel Jaffer, Staff Attorney, ACLU

Mrs. Elsheba Khan

Dr. Mansur Khan, UMMA Community Clinic

Ms. Farhana Khera, Muslim Advocates

Lt. Commander Abuhena Saifulislam, U.S. Marine Corps

Mr. Kareem Salama

*Imam Yusuf Saleem, Masjid Muhammad (Washington, D.C.)*

Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President, Islamic Society of North America

Mr. Farooq Mitha

Ms. Dalia Mogahed, Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies*

Ms. Hutham Olayan, Olayan America Corp.

Mr. Eboo Patel, Interfaith Youth Corps*

Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism*

Ms. Mina Trudeau, Executive Director, El Fatiha Foundation

Mr. J. Saleh Williams, Congressional Muslim Staffers Association

Mr. Mohamed Zakariya, Zakariya Calligraphy

*denotes members of the President’s Council on Faith-based and
Neighborhood Partnerships


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