Photos Of The Congressional Iftar Show Muslim Lawmakers Breaking Fast With Other Members
Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and André Carson of Indiana marked the end of the Ramadan fast on Monday by wishing colleagues "Ramadan mubarak" over a buffet line feast. They joined some 100 people in the Capitol Visitor Center to take part in the congressional iftar — which photos show doubled as a bit of a "who's who" of the Democrats' freshman class. This was the first such celebration ever hosted on Capitol Hill, The New York Times reported.
"It is wonderful to serve together in one of the greatest, most powerful bodies in the world, to get this opportunity to convene with you all to celebrate and share a tradition," Omar told The Times.
In addition to Omar, Tlaib, and Carson, there were a number of prominent members and leaders of both the House and the Senate at the dinner. Among them were Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, according to NPR.
Muslim Advocates, a nonprofit legal and advocacy organization, sponsored the event, which at times took on a political tenor. "We will stop this white supremacist, white nationalist rhetoric that’s so hateful, so divisive, so deadly, as we’ve seen in Charlottesville," Durbin said, according to The Washington Post. Carson told The Times that no Republicans attended, even though a spokesperson for Muslim Advocates told The Post they were invited.
1. The Buffet Beats A Quick Bite
Omar told The Post that normally during Ramadan, she just has a quick snack when the fast is over and heads back to work, including late-night votes on the floor. Ramadan lasts a month and observers don't eat or drink until sundown.
2. The Voices Of Freshman Reps Were Heard
"We wanted to bring a different lens that hasn’t been at the table," Tlaib told The Times. "And we’ve had to do it courageously, even under attack."
3. Rep. Omar Recognized Someone In The Audience
Omar acknowledged Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father, who was mocked by President Trump because his wife stayed quiet on stage — something Omar addressed. "Little did they know they were going to get the two loudest Muslim women in the country in Congress!" Omar said to Khan, according to NPR.
4. People Of All Faiths Attended
The New York Times reported that there were activists from all faiths in attendance. Ocasio-Cortez referenced that in an interview with The Post afterwards. "When Ilhan prays, when I pray, when Rashida prays, when Ayanna [Pressley] prays, when Jan Schakowsky prays, I believe those prayers all go to the same place — up," Ocasio-Cortez, who is Catholic, told the paper.
5. The Were Moments Of Reflection And Teaching
The imam explained the meaning of the holiday, The Post reported: "It’s about developing understanding for the kind of struggles others go through when they go without. It’s about having deeper empathy."
6. Fans Of The Reps Were In The Room
"I had my fangirl moment because I went to take a selfie with Rashida Tlaib and she said she'd heard about me, and she gave me a hug," Montgomery Township, New Jersey, Mayor Sadaf Jaffer told NPR.
7. The Message Extended Beyond The Capitol
"We are a nation founded on religious liberty, where people seeking opportunity can find it, regardless of their faith," Omar posted on Twitter. "We as Muslims are a vital part of the American fabric, worthy of representation at our highest levels of government!"
8. Carson Had His Moment To Speak, Too
9. Anti-Muslim Hatred Couldn't Be Ignored
As much as the night focused on celebration, Islamophobia wasn't ignored. "It’s important to take a moment to recognize how historic this iftar is,” Tlaib said in a statement obtained by HuffPost. "This event lifts an entire community that has felt unseen for far too long. We have been unjustly targeted to ignite fear and promote an agenda of hate. Tonight, we recommit to being rooted in justice, inclusivity, and a sense of belonging."
President Trump was not in attendance but did hold an iftar earlier in May for diplomats and ambassadors, the AP reported.