Obama: 'Throughout Our History, Islam Has Contributed to the Character of Our Country'
President Obama welcomed dozens of ambassadors and a handful of lawmakers to last night's iftar dinner at the White House to break the day's Ramadan fast by saying "throughout our history, Islam has contributed to the character of our country."
"For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of reflection, a chance to demonstrate one's devotion to God through prayer and through fasting. But it's also a time for family and friends to come together -- as we do tonight -- in a spirit of love and respect, to renew our obligations to one another, as well as to renew our commitment to our neighbors and helping the most needy among us. For as the Koran teaches, whoever does an atom's weight of good, will see its results," said Obama.
"Muslim Americans, and their good works, have helped to build our nation -- and we've seen the results... Every day, Muslim Americans are helping to shape the way that we think and the way that we work and the way that we do business. And that's the spirit that we celebrate tonight -- the dreamers, the creators whose ideas are pioneering new industries, creating new jobs and unleashing new opportunities for all of us."
Members of Congress invited included Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Reps. André Carson (D-Ind.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Dan Kildee (D-Mich.). Carson and Ellison are the two Muslims in Congress.
Obama mentioned entrepreneurs invited to the dinner as well.
"Even as we support citizens seeking to determine their own destiny, a key part of our engagement with Muslim communities around the world has to be supporting economic opportunity and entrepreneurship. So we launched our annual entrepreneurship summit to spur innovation and business growth in Muslim communities," he said.
"When I look around the room tonight, beyond the communities you represent, I see all the profound good that's been accomplished. So all of us are seeing the results of your good work -- the opportunities to create for your colleagues and your communities and for our country. So I want to thank you for what you do, and for reminding us that our nation is stronger and more successful when we harness the talents of all Americans -- no matter where we come from, or what we look like, what our last names are, or how we pray."