Obama hosts Ramadan dinner

President and Mrs. Obama will host a distinguished group of lawmakers, diplomats, scholars and community leaders for the dinner. Ramadan began on August 21 and runs through September 19.

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Observant Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset during the month. At the close of each day an evening meal of special dishes, called an iftar, is prepared and traditionally enjoyed with loved ones.

The White House has held annual Ramadan dinners since November 2001, when President George W. Bush began the tradition.

According to a White House press release, the celebratory meal will begin at 8:00 p.m., slightly later than usual for a White House dinner. Among the anticipated guests are three Cabinet members, five Members of Congress and nearly twenty ambassadors, including those of non-Muslim countries such as Israel, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Here’s the White House guest list for the dinner:

GUEST LIST FOR SEPTEMBER 1, 2009:

CABINET
Secretary Robert Gates, Department of Defense
Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Justice
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services

DEPUTY CABINET SECRETARIES
Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower, Department of Commerce
Deputy Secretary Adam Miller, Department of Education

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Congressman Andre Carson (Indiana 7th)
Congressman John Conyers (Michigan 14th)
Congressman Keith Ellison (Minnesota 5th)
Congressman Rush Holt (New Jersey 12th)
Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)

DIPLOMATIC CORPS
Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein, Jordan
Ambassador Adel A.M. Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia
Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Pakistan
Ambassador Erlan A. Idrissov, Kazakhstan
Ambassador His Excellency Said Tayeb Jawad, Afghanistan
Ambassador Aziz Mekouar, Morocco
Ambassador Peter N.R.O. Ogego, Kenya
Ambassador Roble Olhaye, D’jibouti
Ambassador Michael Oren, Israel
Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, Indonesia
Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, Germany
Ambassador Meera Shankar, India
Ambassador Nabi Sensoy, Turkey
Ambassador Sir Nigel Elton Sheinwald, United Kingdom
Ambassador Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Egypt
Ambassador Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaida’ie, Iraq
Ambassador Pierre Nicolas Vimont, France
Chargé d'Affaires Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Bangladesh
Chargé d'Affaires Ilango Karuppanan, Malaysia
Chargé d'Affaires Mohamed O Maiga,
Chargé d'Affaires Angela Oi Foong Shim, Brunei
Chargé d'Affaires Baba Gana Wakil, Nigeria
Mr. Maen Areikat, Chief of Mission, PLO

COMMUNITY MEMBERS
Ms. Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir, University of Memphis
Professor Azizah Al-Hibri, University of Richmond School of Law
Ms. Reema Ali, Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights
Mr. Hasan Chandoo, Oppenheimer & Co.
Rabbi Nathan Diament, Director, Institute for Public Affairs, Orthodox Union*
Imam Plemon El-Amin, Atlanta Masjid al-Islam
Mr. Wahid Hamid, PepsiCo
Ms. Dina Hammad
Mr. Lutfi Hassan
Ms. Nashala Hearn
Ms. Rosalind Hearn
Imam Yahya Hendi, Chaplain, Georgetown University
Pastor Joel Hunter, Northland Church*
Mr. Nooman Husain
Mr. Imad Hussain
Mr. Sanford Ibrahim, CEO, Radian Group
Mr. Jameel Jaffer, Staff Attorney, ACLU
Mrs. Elsheba Khan
Dr. Mansur Khan, UMMA Community Clinic
Ms. Farhana Khera, Muslim Advocates
Lt. Commander Abuhena Saifulislam, U.S. Marine Corps
Mr. Kareem Salama
Imam Yusuf Saleem, Masjid Muhammad
Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President, Islamic Society of North America
Mr. Farooq Mitha
Ms. Dalia Mogahed, Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies*
Ms. Hutham Olayan, Olayan America Corp.
Mr. Eboo Patel, Interfaith Youth Corps*
Imam Yusuf Saleem, Masjid Muhammad
Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism*
Ms. Mina Trudeau, Executive Director, El Fatiha Foundation
Mr. J. Saleh Williams, Congressional Muslim Staffers Association
Mr. Mohamed Zakariya, Zakariya Calligraphy

*denotes members of the President’s Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships