Obama hosts annual Iftar at White House for eminent Muslim Americans, lawmakers

Obama hosts annual Iftar at White House for eminent Muslim Americans, lawmakersUS President Barack Obama spoke out against religious prejudice Monday at a White House dinner celebrating the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Traditional Iftar dinner follows daily fasting from dawn to dusk. Ramzan ends with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Several members of the diplomatic community, lawmakers and Muslim Americans were on hand for a traditional Iftar dinner, which follows daily fasting from dawn to sunset.

The annual Iftar was attended by eminent Muslim Americans and member of the diplomatic corps from Islamic countries including those from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

“When our values are threatened, we come together as one nation. When three young Muslim Americans were brutally murdered in Chapel Hill earlier this year, Americans of all faiths rallied around that community,” Obama said in his address to the guests.

“As Americans, we insist that nobody should be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, who they love, how they worship. We stand united against these hateful acts,” he said.

“Our annual White House Iftar recognises the sacredness of Ramzan to more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world. It is a time when Muslims recommit themselves to their faith, following days of discipline with nights of gratitude for the gifts that God bestows,” Obama said.

“Challenges around the world and here at home demand the very qualities you summon every day during Ramzan – sacrifice, discipline, patience. A resilience that says we don’t simply endure, but we overcome,” Obama said.

Obama said Iftar is also a reminder of the freedoms that bind together as Americans, including the freedom of religion – that inviolable right to practice faiths freely.