In honor of Ramadan and its message, the White House and U.S. President Barack Obama hosted an Iftar Dinner after sunset at 8 PM last evening. As Bill Clinton and George Bush did in the past, the dinner honored the holiday period and celebrated Muslims in America. The first two openly Muslim members of Congress — Keith Ellison and Andre Carson — were there, as were Senator Richard Lugar Representative John Conyers, and Rushâ€¦ I mean Representative Rush Holt (not the radio one). Secretary of Defense Gate, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius noshed there as well.
Obama highlighted a few of the Muslim’s in attendance. Elsheba Khan was present. His son lost his life in Iraq and is buried under a crescent at Arlington National Cemetery. Nashala Hearn flew in from Oklahoma for the dinner. She was told that she could not wear her hijab at school. She protested and won the right to wear it. Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir was also in attendance. She scored more points than any other high school basketball player in Massachusetts history.
Muhammad Ali was invited but could not attend. But who could attend was Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States. Oren joined the Ambassadors or the Mission Chief from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Morocco, Kenya, D’jibouti, Indonesia, India, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Nigeria, the P.A., .. oh.. and those Eur-Abian countries: France and Germany. Rabbi Saperstein (Reform) was there as well, as was Nathan Diament (Orthodox Union).
There was no grab bag after the dinner or door prize. But the food did meet standards of Halal. Speaking of Halal… Did you hear that Ben&Jerry’s will have a marriage equality flavor called Hubby Hubby, just like its current Chubby Hubby. Maybe they can have a Ramadan flavor? I suggest Ramadan Butter Pecan? As for Rosh Hashana, we need an apple and honey flavor. We can call itâ€¦ Rosh ha Manzana Flanna Shana?