Obama invites Afghan-American to Iftaar dinner
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Afghan-American Bassir Caravan on Monday received the rare privilege of being seated with US President Barack Obama at his annual Iftaar dinner at the White House.
Bassir, an Afghan-American student at Hofstra University, wrote to the president in 2013 about his family’s story – from his parents’ early hardships upon immigrating to the United States to realizing their own American Dream and raising five children in New York, a White House official said.
“It is this great country that has accepted me and my family as its own and counted us as equals so that we may freely pursue our dearest passions and dreams,” Bassir wrote.
The Iftaar dinner was attended by elected officials, religious and grassroots leaders in the Muslim American community, leaders of diverse faiths, and members of the diplomatic corps including the Afghan Ambassador to the US, Eklil Hakimi.
“For Muslims, Ramadan is a time to reflect and to remember that discipline and devotion is the essence of a life of faith. And for all of us, whatever our faiths, Ramadan is a reminder of just how much we share,” Obama said.
“The values of peace and charity, the importance of family and community -- these are universal values. The command to love one another, to uphold justice, and to care for the least among us -- these are common threads in our faith traditions,” he said.
Obama in his speech referred to several other Muslim invited to the occasion. “Growing up in Pakistan, Muhammed Chaudhry and his family -- part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community -- were mistreated because of their beliefs,” he said.
“They immigrated to America, and in California, Muhammed saw world-changing technologies being launched in the same neighborhoods where too many students struggled just to stay in school,” he added.
“Today, he runs a foundation that works with schools, parents and local IT startups to better prepare students to embrace science and math. And they’ve started turning the tables -- thanks to Muhammed’s foundation, so many of these students are now taking classes that put them on track for college. So we want to thank Muhammed for being such a great example,” Obama said amidst applause.
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