White House Iftar Dinner Attended by Haris Tarin, MPAC’s Director of the DC Office

August 11, 2011

MPAC announced earlier tonight that Haris Tarin, Director of MPAC’s Washington, DC, Office, attended the White House Iftar Dinner along with the only two Muslim members of Congress, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and André Carson (D-IN), and other guests.

SEE: “Celebrating Ramadan at the White House” (whitehouse.gov)

Attended by elected and government officials and faith-based and community leaders, President Barack Obama recognized the contributions that Muslim American have made to every aspect of life in America.

“Muslim Americans have helped to protect our communities as police and firefighters, including some who join us tonight,” said President Obama. “Across our federal government, they keep our homeland secure, they guide our intelligence and counterterrorism efforts and they uphold the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans. So make no mistake, Muslim Americans help to keep us safe.”

"President Obama's reference to Muslim American first responders goes to show how Muslim Americans are truly part of the American fabric,” said Tarin. “The negative discourse surrounding the integration of Muslim Americans is being countered in so many ways, and the President voiced his recognition of this tonight."

Knowing President Obama is a basketball fan, Tarin, on behalf of MPAC, presented the President with a Ramadan and belated birthday gift -- a personally autographed basketball from NBA Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon, who wished the President Ramadan greetings and a happy birthday.

The White House iftars, the dinner that breaks the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan, became an annual tradition during the Clinton Administration, and continued through the Bush and Obama Administrations. Tonight’s iftar will be the third held by President Barack Obama since taking office.

The first recorded iftar at the White House was during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency in 1805, in which he hosted Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, Tunisia’s Muslim envoy to the United States.

Prior to the iftar, Tarin and other Muslim American leaders met with senior administration officials to discuss the issues of concern to both Muslim Americans and the nation at large including the budget crises, health care, national security and civil rights and foreign policy.

Less than a month ago, President Obama called Tarin to thank him for his work with the Muslim American community, as well as MPAC’s commitment to public service, civic engagement and empowering the Muslim American community. In turn, Tarin thanked the President for his continued engagement with the community to be part of our nation’s solutions.

Your continued support allows MPAC to continue to be a voice for the Muslim American community. During this blessed month of Ramadan we ask you to invest your zakat and sadaqa to ensure that MPAC can continue to empower our community to stand for justice, mercy and compassion and empower young Muslim Americans.

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