As Muslims observe Ramadan, President Obama on Wednesday evening hosted an Iftar -- a meal after sundown to break the fast of the daylight hours -- at the White House. Following are his remarks, as released by the White House Press Office.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Everyone, please have a seat, have a seat.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the White House. Tonight is part of a rich tradition here at the White House of celebrating the holy days of many faiths and the diversity that define us as a nation. So these are quintessentially American celebrations -- people of different faiths coming together, with humility before our maker, to reaffirm our obligations to one another, because no matter who we are, or how we pray, we’re all children of a loving God.
Now, this year, Ramadan is entirely in August. That means the days are long, the weather is hot, and you are hungry. (Laughter.) So I will be brief.
I want to welcome the members of the diplomatic corps who are here; the members of Congress, including two Muslim American members of Congress -- Keith Ellison and Andre Carson; and leaders and officials from across my administration. Thank you all for being here. Please give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)
To the millions of Muslim Americans across the United States and more -- the more than one billion Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a time of reflection and a time of devotion. It’s an occasion to join with family and friends in celebration of a faith known for its diversity and a commitment to justice and the dignity of all human beings. So to you and your families, Ramadan Kareem.
This evening reminds us of both the timeless teachings of a great religion and the enduring strengths of a great nation. Like so many faiths, Islam has always been part of our American family, and Muslim Americans have long contributed to the strength and character of our country, in all walks of life. This has been especially true over the past 10 years.
In one month, we will mark the 10th anniversary of those awful attacks that brought so much pain to our hearts. It will be a time to honor all those that we’ve lost, the families who carry on their legacy, the heroes who rushed to help that day and all who have served to keep us safe during a difficult decade. And tonight, it’s worth remembering that these Americans were of many faiths and backgrounds, including proud and patriotic Muslim Americans.
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