Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tonight: President Obama Celebrates Ramadan With White House Iftar Dinner

Guests from across the US invited; First Lady will not attend...

UPDATE: The post about the dinner is here

To mark Ramadan, the holiest month on the Islamic calendar, President Obama will host an Iftar dinner this evening at 8:35 PM in the State Dining Room, timed to begin after Washington, DC's official sunset at 8:09 PM. Invited guests include elected officials, religious and grassroots leaders in the Muslim American community, and leaders of diverse faiths, according to the White House. Tonight's Iftar is the third the President has hosted; First Lady Michelle Obama will not attend, because she is on a private family vacation in Oregon, visiting her brother Craig Robinson. (Above: President Obama speaking at the 2010 Iftar)

"I look forward to again hosting an Iftar dinner here at the White House," President Obama said in his Ramadan greeting to the 1.6 billion Muslims across the globe, noting that "Ramadan is a festive time that is anticipated for months by Muslims everywhere."

89 guests attended last year's Presidential Iftar in the State Dining Room, where Mr. Obama created a massive media stir when during his formal remarks he weighed in on whether or not a Mosque should be built at Ground Zero. The Mosque has yet to be built.

Hosting White House Iftars is a tradition that began annually under President Bill Clinton, and the practice was continued by President George W. Bush. The very first White House Iftar was hosted by President Thomas Jefferson.

*Photo by Pete Souza/White House

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