“In honoring these familiar values together — of peace and charity and forgiveness — we affirm that, whatever our faith, we’re all one family,” President Obama said at the 2015 White House iftar.
“To all of you, and to Muslim Americans across the country — Ramadan Kareem,” the president said. Around 150 guests attended the June 22 iftar, including about 40 members of the diplomatic community and several members of Congress.
The president honored the civil society efforts of several American Muslim youth in attendance:
- Ziad Ahmed: Launched a website that combats harmful stereotypes by encouraging teenagers to share their stories. Ahmed says, “Ignorance can be defeated through education.”
- Munira Khalif: Started an organization to support girls’ education in East Africa and lobbied Congress to pass the Girls Count Act, which would support girls in developing countries being documented at birth.
- Batoul Abuharb: Began a health program to improve vaccine distribution via text messages. Palestinian refugees in Jordan have benefited from the program and the U.N. is looking to expand her work to more countries in the Middle East.
Obama also praised Samantha Elauf, who recently won a Supreme Court case on the right to wear the hijab: “Samantha, we’re very proud of you.”
“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,” Obama said.
The White House iftar is a tradition started during the Clinton administration in the 1990s. During the event, U.S. presidents have honored the contributions of Muslims in America and around the world.