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Zunaid
August 7, 2011, 09:25 PM
Thomas Jefferson hosted what some consider the first iftar at the White House. The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan, making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.

Source (http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/inbrief/2011/07/20110729153019kram0.3508199.html)

Thomas Jefferson’s Iftar

http://photos.state.gov/libraries/amgov/3234/2011_Week_4/0729011_Jefferson-Quran_600.jpg

“Ramadan,” said President Obama at a White House iftar dinner in 2010, “is a reminder that Islam has always been a part of America. The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan — making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago."

The dinner to which the president referred took place on December 9, 1805, and Jefferson’s guest was Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, an envoy from the bey (chieftain) of Tunis who spent six months in Washington. The context of Mellimelli’s visit to the United States was a tense dispute over piracy on American merchant vessels by the Barbary states and the capture of Tunisian vessels trying to run an American blockade of Tripoli.

Mellimelli arrived during Ramadan, and Jefferson, when he invited the envoy to the president’s house, changed the meal time from the usual hour of 3:30 p.m. to “precisely at sunset” in deference to the man’s religious obligation.

Jefferson’s knowledge of Islam likely came from his legal studies of natural law. In 1765, Jefferson purchased a two-volume English translation of the Quran for his personal library, a collection that became, in 1815, the basis of the modern Library of Congress.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)


Read more: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/inbrief/2011/07/20110729153019kram0.3508199.html#ixzz1UOsJ53dY

Zeeshan
August 7, 2011, 10:13 PM
Excellent dig.

Edit: Lol, even though I am familiar with the thread, I STILL keep reading Free Iftar at the White House....

Rifat
August 8, 2011, 02:32 AM
thank you Zunaid bhai(Boss) for opening this thread :) a lot of things make sense now from what i remember when i took US history back in high school.

Navo
August 13, 2011, 11:31 PM
I am sure Obama had his fair share of Iftars when he was in school as a child in Indonesia :-D

On a serious note, it is fascinating how enlightened and broad minded the founding fathers of the United States were and it is sad to see how their work is now being twisted by groups in the US to fit their own agenda.

It's also interesting to note the US's historical interaction with North Africa/the Maghreb. Along with what you have mentioned about Tunisia, the Kingdom of Morocco was apparently the first nation to recognize the United States as an independent country and the two nations have an unbroken Treaty of Peace and Friendship since 1836! Would never have guessed given current events!

Going back to Iftars though, many US Embassies in Muslim countries are in the habit of hosting Iftars for Muslim diplomats and certain citizens, no matter which administration is in power. I think that's the case in Bangladesh as well.

BanCricFan
August 15, 2011, 11:29 AM
On a serious note, it is fascinating how enlightened and broad minded the founding fathers of the United States were and it is sad to see how their work is now being twisted by groups in the US to fit their own agenda.



Most of the Founding Fathers were, indeed, enlightened, broad minded and ahead of their time. George Washington being the notable exception here as his involvement with freemasonry and secret societies are well documented. In my not so humble opinion, he certainly belongs to those "groups in the US to fit their own agenda".

I'm thoroughly impressed by the persona of Thomas Jefferson. Despite some criticism labelled against him I consider him to be a truly enlightened statesman beside being a man of science.

bujhee kom
August 17, 2011, 11:46 AM
Thomas Jefferson was a great Philosopher, scientist, a great leader and a great man indeed!