From: Sherry, Allison [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2015 9:33 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N.; Gabriel, Brian
Subject: FW: Pool report 2 -- Iftar dinner remarks
The president entered the mostly quiet room just a few minutes before 9 p.m. Salads were already served and being eaten by the 150 or so invited guests, members of Congress. Ramadan requires fasting until sunset and lasts from June 17 to July 17 this year, according to Google.
"You don't have to all be this serious," he said. "You know these are the longest days of the year which is why I'm glad they put down the first course right away."
He said he wanted to recoginze inspiring young people, "many of whom I put at my table." He called Ramadan a time when Muslims recommit themselves to their faith.
"The Koran teaches us that God's children tread gently on the earth ... We affirm that whatever our faith, we are one family."
He mentioned Samantha Elauf, who was sitting at his table, who recently won a Supreme Court case against Abercrombie & Fitch because the company initially wouldn't let her wear a hijab to work. Obama mentioned he had not spoken before the high court at her age. He also feted (Minnesotan) Munira Khalif, a teenager who just graduated high school, who has spoken in front of the United Nations about women being counted in a census and was accepted to all Ivy League schools. She chose Harvard. Obama said at 18 he also had not spoken in front of a UN panel.
He mentioned Charleston: "Our prayers remain in Charlestown ... We insist that no one should be targeted for who they are ... how they worship."
He said we need to "stop yelling and start listening." He mentioned the youngest guest at the dinner is a 16-year-old from New Jersey who started an advocacy organization there.
He noted Ramadan required challenge "sacrifice, discipline, patience." He noted, "together we can overcome ignorance and prejudice."
He said one of his heros in the civil rights movement, John Lewis, always said you need to "use your feet" in these struggles.
Pool was escorted out at about 9:10 p.m.
They hadn't gotten to the second course.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
DC Chief Political Correspondent