President Obama late Thursday celebrated Ramadan with a traditional dinner in the State Dining Room, saying that throughout the nation’s history, “Islam has contributed to the character of our country.”
In remarks before the Iftar dinner, eaten by Muslims after sunset to end the day of fasting, Obama quoted from the Koran, according to a White House pool report. “As the Koran teaches, whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see its results.”
“Muslim-Americans and their good works have helped to build our nation, and we’ve seen the results,” he added.
Obama, who has hosted five Iftar dinners, focused on entrepreneurship during much of his speech.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Obama recognized three entrepreneurs, including Shazi Visram, the founder and chief executive of Happy Family Organic Superfoods; Aunim Hossain, chief executive of Tista Games; and Iya Khalil, who co-founded GNS Healthcare, a biotech research company.
“So Shazi, Aunim, Iya and so many of you who have traveled here tonight — each of you have traveled your own path, but each of you have also lived out an American story.
“And of course, this isn’t just the American Dream; it’s the aspiration of people around the world. It’s the basic human desire for progress, to find dignity that comes from work, to give our children something better.”
Members of Congress, local elected officials and dozens of ambassadors were on the White House guest list.
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