“Thank all of you for joining us in the White House. It is the People’s House, for real. It’s your house. It’s your house,” Biden told the American Muslim community, members of Congress, public officials, and community organizers in the White House’s East Room. Imam Zia, an Afghan American Iman who was a refugee, introduced the President at the event.
The White House Eid party has become an important symbol of inclusion and diversity in the United States, particularly in light of rising anti-Muslim sentiment in recent years. It is seen as an opportunity for the President to show support for Muslim Americans and to emphasize the importance of religious freedom and tolerance.
The first White House Eid party was hosted by President Bill Clinton in 1996, and the tradition has continued under subsequent Presidents. The party typically includes guests from a wide range of backgrounds, including government officials, community leaders, and members of the general public.
Happening Now: President Biden delivers remarks celebrating Eid al-Fitr. https://t.co/GbGRD2UXeG
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 1, 2023
In his remarks, Biden recognized the contribution of 3.5 million American Muslims. “It represents an incredibly diverse contributions of — that Muslims have made to our nation as teachers, as engineers, as doctors, lawyers, business owners, congresswomen, congressmen,” he said. He said Muslim culture is woven throughout the American culture in music, film, literature, fashion, and the arts.
He said the highest number of Muslims in US history were serving in the current US Congress. “You know, I’ve appointed Muslim Americans to positions all across the government, including reinstating the Muslim Liaison position in the Office of Public Engagement here in the White House,” Biden added.
Tonight, President Biden hosted a celebration of Eid al-Fitr at the White House. Eid Mubarak! pic.twitter.com/evWc3aTnKU
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 2, 2023
Several Muslim community organizations, including American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (Ammwec) leaders attended the party. Among them were AMMWEC co-founder Anila Ali, and Khizer Khan. Both Anila and Khizr are of Pakistan origin.
“This has been the most inclusive Eid party for Muslims in the history of the United States. Hundreds of Muslims were invited, and every effort was made to ensure they feel welcomed and included. What I was thrilled about was the men and women in uniform who greeted us so warmly. My daughter is married to US marine and as a Muslim faith leader, I would like to see more Muslims join the military to protect and defend our great nation.”
The decoration the food and the music all reflected the diversity that exists in the Muslim community. “The food, the décor, the music, all reflected the diversity of the Muslim Americans in attendance. Muslims are diverse; the majority of them live in Asia and then North Africa, and the Middle East so it was heartwarming to see that so much thought went into making us all feel like we belong,” added Ali.
Thank you Alex Wong- photo credit @ABC yes, I have never seen more Muslims at the @WhiteHouse than this time- it was the most inclusive Eid/Iftar ever! Thomas Jefferson will be proud. @POTUS thank you from Muslim 🇺🇸women of @ammwecofficial pic.twitter.com/Foco8HK9w7
— Anila Ali (@anilaali) May 2, 2023
After his welcome speech, President Biden took Ali’s phone and snapped a memorable selfie with her. Ali introduced AMMWEC’s DC chapter and thanked him for his warm welcome.
“Let me close with this,” Biden said, adding “Muslims have been part of the United States from the very start. Muslims fought along the patriots during the War for Independence. One of the first countries to recognize the United States as an independent nation was a Muslim country, Morocco.”