When President Obama welcomed Muslims to the White House June 22 for iftar, he was following in the footsteps of one of the United States’ Founding Fathers.

Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president, hosted Tunisian envoy Sidi Soliman Mellimelli during Ramadan on December 9, 1805. In deference to Mellimelli’s beliefs, Jefferson changed the meal time from the usual hour of 3:30 p.m. to “precisely at sunset.”

The Quran from Thomas Jefferson’s book collection (Library of Congress)

In 1765, Jefferson purchased an English translation of the Quran for his personal library, a collection that became, in 1815, the basis of the modern Library of Congress.

The Clinton administration made annual iftar dinners a regular White House tradition. Since then, presidents have continued to host iftars where they honor the contributions of Muslims to civil society.

“Our annual White House Iftar recognizes the sacredness of Ramadan to more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world,” Obama said at the 2015 celebration. “Our Iftar is also a reminder of the freedoms that bind us together as Americans, including the freedom of religion — that inviolable right to practice our faiths freely.”