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President Obama welcomed Muslim American leaders to the White House Wednesday night for an iftar dinner, a nightly breaking of the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
“No matter who we are or how we pray, we’re all children of a loving God,” Obama said to a crowd which included diplomats, military service members, administration officials, congressmen, Muslim 9/11 families and first responders.
Obama used the upcoming tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to emphasize how Muslim Americans have contributed to anti-terrorism efforts: “Make no mistake, Muslim Americans help to keep us safe.”
More from the president’s address:
“Like so many faiths, Islam has always been part of our American family and Muslim Americans have long contributed to the strength and character of our country in all walks of life. This has been especially true over the past ten years.
“In one month we will mark the tenth anniversary of those awful attacks that brought so much pain to our hearts. It will be a time to honor all those that we’ve lost, the families who carry on their legacy, the heroes who rushed to help that day and all who served to keep us safe during a difficult decade.
“Tonight it’s worth remembering that these Americans were of many faiths and backgrounds including proud and patriotic Muslim Americans. Muslim Americans were innocent passengers on those planes, including a young married couple looking forward to the birth of their first child. They were workers in the Twin Towers: Americans by birth and Americans by choice, immigrants who crossed the oceans to give their children a better life. They were cooks and waiters but also analysts and executives. There in the towers where they worked they came together for daily meals and prayers and iftar. They were looking to the future: getting married, sending their kids to college, enjoying a well-deserved retirement. And they were taken from us much too soon.”
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