White House Iftar Is Reminder of Work Ahead
By Haris Tarin
Washington, 26 July: Last night I had the distinct honor of attending President Barack Obama’s annual Ramadan Iftar at the White House , which celebrates this blessed month by honoring American Muslims’ contributions to our nation.
In his remarks, the President stressed the special role the American Muslims experience has had in shaping the US from its founding days and decried the myth that Islam and American Muslims are a foreign element in our country’s diverse mosaic:
“Throughout our history, Islam has contributed to the character of our country and Muslim Americans, and their good works, have helped to build our nation -- and we’ve seen the results. We’ve seen those results in generations of Muslim immigrants -- farmers and factory workers -- helping to lay the railroads and build our cities. Muslim innovators who helped build some of our highest skyscrapers and who helped to unlock the secrets of our universe.”
When I first arrived in Washington, DC, a few years ago, the White House Iftar was a private event reserved for ambassadors of Muslim-majority countries and included little acknowledgement of American Muslims. Now, with the help of God, your support and consistent engagement by American Muslims at all levels in our nation’s capital, almost every single government agency hosts an iftar and celebrates the contributions of our community. This is an important milestone that we should all celebrate.
Of course, there still remain many daunting policy challenges for us to continue to address head-on, from national security to civil liberties to immigration reform to the war in Afghanistan to the use of drones abroad and at home to the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center to peace in the Middle East to unemployment and economic disparity in our communities.
This is what drives us at MPAC to continue our work to empower, engage and enlighten in all we do on a daily basis. During this blessed month, I ask you to please support MPAC in continuing our work to make American Muslims’ voices continue to be heard at the highest levels of decision-making.
Just in the first half of this year, we have:
- Launched a successful national campaign to have community members urge Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act. Passed this spring, VAWA will help millions of women have access to the resources to address violence at home and by strangers. And we were honored to be there to watch when President Obama signed it into law.
- Helped American Muslim community and student leaders engage media outlets and government officials in the wake of the Boston Marathon attack, trained community leaders and facilitated conversations with state and government agencies, hosted events around the country to address real community challenges of preventing violent extremism, and helped government agencies respond effectively and with sensitivity.
- Met with President Obama and Arab American leaders to share our recommendations on the plight of the Palestinian people and encourage him to understand their suffering and promote a just peace process.
- Hired Policy Fellows to study the use of drones at home and abroad, who will provide informed recommendations for Congress and the administration that challenge their unfettered use and ask for better oversight and transparency, and also submitted a statement for the record at the first congressional hearing on “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing.”
- Crafted a major campaign on the immigration reform bill that will have an impact on our community. We are pushing back against Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) “terrorism” amendment to that Senate bill that would require background checks for countries that pose a threat to our national security, which will adversely impact Muslim-majority countries and needlessly delay high-skilled workers and brilliant minds from coming to America.
This is just a small snapshot of just some of the work that we are doing at MPAC on a daily basis to represent you and all American Muslims. All of this requires your engagement and support.
During this blessed month, I ask you to please support MPAC in continuing our work to make American Muslims’ voices continue to be heard and make a positive impact for the future of all Americans. We are here to amplify your voice, your concerns and your dreams for the future. Please contribute to MPAC this Ramadan, both with your time and your financial support.
Donations to MPAC Foundation are tax-deductible and zakat-eligible . Tax ID 95-4675391. Extend your support and vote of confidence today.
May God bless you and your family.
Back to Pakistanlink Homepage