close
Thursday June 13, 2024

Pakistani-Americans hail restoration of White House Eid celebrations by US President Joe Biden

Eid reception at White House were halted after former president Donald Trump scrapped them

By Nasim Haider
May 02, 2023
United States President Joe Biden speaks during the Eid reception held at the White House on May 1, 2023. — Twitter/@POTUS
United States President Joe Biden speaks during the Eid reception held at the White House on May 1, 2023. — Twitter/@POTUS

Influential Pakistani-Americans, who attended the Eid reception hosted by United States President Joe Biden, welcomed the restoration of the celebrations at the White House which were stopped during former president Donald Trump's tenure.

Pakistani guests at the reception included Pakistani-American Democrats Dr Asif Mehmood, Tahir Javed, American-Pakistani Public Affairs Committee Chairman Dr Ijaz Ahmad, Gold Star Father Khizr Khan and US federal judge Zahid Qureshi.

The event was also graced by US Vice President Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and around 400 attendees comprising Muslim members of the Congress, diplomatic, political and religious personalities.

During the reception Dr Asif and Dr Ijaz met with US VP Harris and thanked the Biden administration for organising the Eid reception.

The Pakistani community, who were guests at the reception, termed organising the event a positive message in the age of Islamophobia.

Gold Star Father Khizr Khan with American-Pakistani Public Affairs Committee Chairman Dr Ijaz Ahmad (left) and Pakistani-American Democrat Dr Asif Mehmood poses with US Vice President Kamala Harris. — Photos by author
 Gold Star Father Khizr Khan with American-Pakistani Public Affairs Committee Chairman Dr Ijaz Ahmad (left) and Pakistani-American Democrat Dr Asif Mehmood poses with US Vice President Kamala Harris. — Photos by author

Speaking to Geo News after the reception, Dr Asif said he had constructive discussions in a short meeting with President Biden and VP Harris.

"It has been a tradition in the White House that the president invites the Muslim community on Eid and Iftar," Dr Ijaz told Geo News.

He lamented that former president Trump had abandoned this tradition and banned citizens from six Muslim countries from coming to the US, causing concern among the community.

"Unlike Donald Trump, President Biden has invited 400 people from all over the US to the White House and participated in the festivities. At the same time, Joe Biden has lifted Trump's ban on citizens of Muslim countries, which proves that he wants to engage the Muslim community for which the community is grateful to the Biden administration," he added.

Javed said that the reception was a very good symbolic message from President Biden. He said that the president spoke well about Ramadan and Eid, and also praised the efforts of Muslim and Pakistani Americans.

Dr Ijaz Ahmad (left) with first Muslim Pakistani-American Federal Judge Zahid Qureshi. — Photo by author
Dr Ijaz Ahmad (left) with first Muslim Pakistani-American Federal Judge Zahid Qureshi. — Photo by author

Addressing his guests at the reception, President Biden spoke about his promise to bring back the tradition of marking the Muslim holiday at the president’s abode. The event was held virtually last year due to COVID-19.

“We have to acknowledge that an awful lot of work remains to be done, abroad and here at home. Muslims make our nation stronger every single day, even as they still face real challenges and threats in our society, including targeted violence and Islamophobia,” the US president said.

President Biden said no one should face discrimination, oppression and repression for their religious beliefs.

“Today, around the world, we’ve seen so many Muslims that have been targeted by violence. No one, no one should discriminate against or be oppressed, or be repressed, for their religious beliefs,” Biden said, while hosting an Eid reception for the Muslim community, PBS reported.

On his official Twitter account, the US President thanked Muslims for their community spirit and contributions to America.

"It was great to host a reception celebrating Eid al-Fitr at the White House today. Folks, I hope you had a blessed Ramadan and happy Eid. And thank you for your community spirit, contributions to our nation, and commitment to the shared values that make America great," he wrote in his tweet.

Later, while taking to his Twitter, Biden wrote about the significance of Muslim culture in the US and preached standing against anti-Muslim hate to fellow American.

"Muslim culture has been woven throughout American culture from the very start. We must always stand against anti-Muslim hate. And stand up for the rights and dignity of all people. It's essential to who we are: a nation founded on the idea of freedom and justice for all," he wrote in his tweet.