FW: Pool Report #4

-----Original Message-----
From: Freedman, Dan [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2016 6:01 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO ; Allen, Jessica L. EOP/WHO ; Gabriel, Brian A. EOP/WHO ; Barnes, Desiree N. EOP/WHO
Subject: Pool Report #4

President greeted about 100-150 Muslim-American dignitaries and guests from across the country to mark Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, which is a month for fasting and prayer for Muslims worldwide. The start of the holiday fell on July 6 in the U.S. this year. Some were in military uniforms. Many of the women wore colorful clothes and headscarves. The chairs were taken out of the East Room and guests roamed the floor with refreshments before the ceremony got under way.

Not surprisingly, POTUS used the occasion to plea for tolerance and respect for Muslim-Americans as well as recognition of the Muslim-American communities' achievements and contributions to American society.

Check quotes against transcript:

``You are an essential part of the fabric of our country.''
``We can't deny we're in challenging times right now. This is a difficult time for Muslim-Americans.'' Mentions spike in attacks on Muslim children, mosques, etc. ``That shouldn't be happening in the United States of America.''

View that Muslims must be banned, isolated, surveiled. ``That's not smart national security.''
``Discrimination against Muslim-Americans is also an affront to the very values that make our nation great.''

``Muslim Americans and all Americans have to reject hate. Muslim Americans and all Americans have to reject discrimination. Muslim Americans and all Americans have to answer all those who would pedal hate or suggest somehow that their interpretations of their faith justify violence.''

``All of us have those obligations, whether they are Christian or Jew or Hindu or Muslim or of no faith at all.''

Mentioned the suffering and terrorist violence in Syria, Iraq, Istanbul and he repeated U.S. will engage with those who want peace, go after those who don't and ``encourage dialogue.''

``In the face of terrorism, we will prevail. But we will prevail by working together, not driving each other apart.''

Per the White House, Raahima Siddiqi, 12, opened the program with a reading of the Quran. Raahima, 12, is from Leesburg, VA and will start 7th grade this Fall at AlFatih Academy in Reston, VA. She is also a 1st degree black belt and a Girl Scout from Troop 5711. Raahima recite and translated Surah Fatiha and Surah Nur Verse 35. Her voice was crystal clear, musically spot on.

Aisha Osman, 15, of Beaverton, Oregon introduced the President. Aisha wrote to the President in May about her experiences as a young African-American Muslim. When she grows up, she wants to become a doctor and help people in developing countries get the care they need. At the ceremony, she talked about other children calling her a terrorist and using ``the N-word.'' But, she said, ``I know with President Obama, I don't have to apologize for who I am.''

Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Quran from the Library of Congress was on display.

Dan Freedman

Hearst Newspapers Washington Bureau


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