WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, May 2, President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden hosted a reception to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at the White House.
The reception welcomed Muslim community members from across the country, including from Michigan, like U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Wayne County Commissioner Sam Baydoun.
“Happy Eid and may this year be filled with God’s peace, joy and love,” Dr. Biden said to start of the program, which included a reading by vocalist and musical composer and producer Arooj Aftab, who read “The Promise” by Rumi, a 13th century Sufi mystic and poet, and remarks by D.C. area Masjid Muhammad Imam Talib Shareef.
President Biden and the first lady gave remarks to the packed room in recognition of the celebration of the end of Ramadan and of the contributions of Muslim Americans to the U.S., like the “brilliant Muslim scientists who helped pioneer the technology for COVID-19 vaccine — don’t forget that either.”
“At the same time, we know that that it’s a bittersweet day for many — too many families,” Biden said. “You know, even as we celebrate Eid and mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, we also, in our hearts, have those families who lost a loved one to the pandemic.”
Biden also spoke to the significance of Ramadan.
Biden dedicated the celebration to the “incredible stories of the indispensable contributions of Muslims all across this great nation.”
“It helps communities stick together,” he said. “Communities are — is essential — essential to the celebration of Ramadan and Eid.”
Biden dedicated the celebration to the “incredible stories of the indispensable contributions of Muslims all across this great nation” and said Muslims were a vibrant part of the United States, “making invaluable cultural and economic contributions to communities all across the nation.”
He noted the real threats of Islamophobia and discrimination Muslims face in the country.
A recent report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says Islamophobia has reached a record high across the nation, with more than 6,700 civil rights complaints made in the past year.
Biden acknowledged the Muslim Americans in his administration and the ones serving in the U.S. government, like Tlaib and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who was not present at the event.
Biden’s presidency has been marked by moves looked at favorably by Muslim American political groups like Emgage. This includes the first Muslim to serve as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom and the first Muslim American ever to be confirmed to the federal bench.
“Monday represented recognition for the years we have worked with and worked for our community,” said Emgage organizers Mohamed Gula and Aysha Ahmed in a release. “It represented those ‘firsts’ which paved the way for us have the platform we do today and the progress we’ve made over the last five years in supporting Muslim Americans to run for office, serve in the administration, serve on capitol hill, march, rally and invest in our mission.”