President Barack Obama on Monday invited American Muslims to an annual Ramazan dinner at the White House to mark the holy month.
The dinner was hosted by Obama to honour Muslims. The US president said Americans stood together in their resolve against the targetting of any religious and ethnic groups.
“We affirm that whatever our faith, we’re all one family,” Obama said at the East Room dinner attended by about 150 guests including some members of congress.
Referring to the Chapel Hill shootings in which three Muslim students were killed, Obama said that “as Americans, we insist that nobody should be targetted because of who they are, or what they look like, who they love, how they worship.”
The Iftar dinner, which continues a tradition started by President Clinton and continued by President George W Bush, featured nearly the entire diplomatic corps representing the Islamic world as well as a few young Muslim Americans Obama held up as examples of what could be achieved in the United States.
Among those invited was Samantha Elauf, who went to Supreme Court to defend her right to wear a hijab when she was just 17 years old.
Elauf was rejected by an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2008 after she appeared wearing a headscarf to the interview.
“She was determined to defend the right to wear a hijab — to have the same opportunities as everybody else,” Obama said. “She went all the way to the Supreme Court — which I didn’t do at her age — and she won.”
Despite Obama’s message of peace, much of the Muslim world remains torn by conflict from the Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq to Saudi Arabia’s air attacks on factions fighting for control of Yemen to the recent Taliban attack on Afghanistan’s parliament building.
Concluding the dinner, the president assured that ”We stand united against these hateful acts.”