Obama at WH Dinner: Koran Teaches Us We Are One family

AP/Carolyn Kaster
AP/Carolyn Kaster

On Monday, Barack Obama, speaking at an Iftar dinner (the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset), he hosted at the White House, intoned to his audience, “The Koran teaches us that God’s children tread gently on the earth … We affirm that whatever our faith, we are one family.”

Praising two Muslim young women he invited to sit at his table, Obama lauded Samantha Elauf, who sued Abercombie and Fitch and won in the Supreme Court after she claimed she was not hired because she wore a hijab, saying he had not spoken before the Supreme Court at her age.

Obama has never spoken before the Supreme Court.

Abercrombie and Fitch has hired other women wearing hijabs; Elauf, a Palestinian-American who boasts #free Palestine on her Twitter feed, was initially awarded $20,000 by a federal court in Tulsa, but the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver threw out that decision because Elauf had not asked Abercrombie to accommodate her head scarf.

Obama also praised Munira Khalif, who has spoken in front of the United Nations regarding women being counted in a census. Khalif recently graduated high school in Minnesota and was accepted by every Ivy League school, choosing Harvard. Obama said when he was 18 he had not spoken before the UN.

The Iftar dinner breaks the daily fast Muslims observe during the month of Ramadan, which lasts from June 17 to July 17 in 2015. Obama entered at roughly 9 p.m., quipping, “You don’t have to all be this serious. You know these are the longest days of the year which is why I’m glad they put down the first course right away.”

Of course, Obama got serious soon enough, bringing up Charleston, South Carolina, the site of the massacre of nine black worshippers, asserting, “Our prayers remain in Charlestown … We insist that no one should be targeted for who they are … how they worship.” He called Congressman John Lewis one of his heroes, quoting Lewis’ statement that a person needed to “use your feet” in the fight against prejudice.


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