Obama’s Iftar Guest List Omits Controversial Attendees

The Daily Caller, August 11, 2011

The White House’s published guest list for this year’s Ramadan Iftar dinner was much shorter than previous years’ roster. It excluded the names of several controversial advocates who have attended the event in the past, including some who The Daily Caller can confirm did attend on Wednesday night.

“It was a squeaky clean list,” said Durriya Badani, director of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, an annual event organized by the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center and the Qatari government. The guests on the published list are “not controversial at all,” said Badani, whose name is on the list the White House provided to reporters.

“It was a lot more low-key … It was a more intimate event this year,” said Haris Tarin, the Washington director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, whose invitation was kept off the published list. “I have no idea why they didn’t publish [MPAC’s invite] … I’m going to learn about that a little bit more,” he told The Daily Caller.

Mohamed Magid also attended but did not appear on the White House’s publish list. Magid is imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Northern Virginia and the current president of the Islamic Society of North America. Along with MPAC, Magid’s two organizations have drawn criticism from a loose network of online critics who claim they are sympathetic to Islamist groups.

Whether intentional or not, the shorter list limited the risk of a political embarrassment for the White House because it downplayed the attendance of several ideological Islamist groups, including MPAC, said Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a pro-Western Muslim group. But the White House also failed to invite any of the 25 pro-liberty American Muslim groups and individuals in Jasser’s American Islamic Leadership Coalition, he said.

Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the month of Ramadan.

At last year’s event, President Obama publicly endorsed the planned construction of a mosque at the Ground Zero site in New York City. But Obama avoided controversial topics in his short speech Wednesday night.

The president lauded American Muslims who reacted to the 9/11 attack. “How do we honor these patriots, those who died and those who served? … The answer is the same as it was ten Septembers ago. We must be the America they lived for, … An America that doesn’t simply tolerate people of different backgrounds and beliefs, but an America where we are enriched by our diversity.”

The public guest list did include ambassadors from Muslim-majority democratic countries, such as Iraq and Bangladesh, as well as the ambassador of Israel, roughly 20 percent of whose population is Muslim. Also included were numerous ambassadors from Islamic countries that do not accept democracy or welcome non-Islamic religions. These included Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and both Yemen and Bahrain, whose governments have violently suppressed public demonstrations this year.

Obama, Jasser complained, “has not been clear on what America stands for, on the freedom agenda in the Middle East, [so] he ends up at an Iftar dinner that panders to ambassadors” who oppose American’s vision of freedom, Jasser said.

The list also excluded a few controversial attendees, such as Tarin from MPAC and Mohamed Magid, who is the imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Northern Virginia and the current president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

Critics of Tarin’s and Magid’s organizations–including the Investigative Project on Terrorism–use the Internet to publish court records, translate Arab-language media reports, and record information released by Muslim advocacy groups in the United States and overseas. For example, court records now available online show that the federal government designated ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator during the 2008 trial of Texas Muslims who smuggled money to the Hamas terror group.

Hamas is the branch of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, and has stated that its goal is to violently destroy the Jewish state of Israel. Tarin denies any ties to the Islamist groups and the brotherhood. “We’re critical of the Muslim Brotherhood ourselves,” he told TheDC.

Asked about MPAC’s welcome for the 2010 U.S. tour of Tariq Ramadan, who is one of Europe’s foremost Muslim Brotherhood advocates, Tarin said MPAC supports “robust discourse and discussion.”

Tarin says the White House’s omission of his name from the Iftar invitation list remains unexplained. He told TheDC that he received a personal phone call from Obama several weeks ago. That would not have happened, he added, “if they wanted to stay away politically, and avoid criticism.”

While White House officials excluded MPAC’s leader from its published invitation list, Jasser believes the Obama administration continues to engage with the group in its political outreach because “they don’t have the political will to hold MPAC accountable for their ideology.”

According to a recent Gallup study of American voters, just 3.5 percent of U.S. Muslims said the MPAC most represented their interests. Almost half, or 48.5 percent, of Muslim respondents declined to name a Muslim advocacy group that most represented their interests.

White House officials, Jasser offered, should reach out to the Muslim groups in his coalition and invite them to the 2012 Iftar. With this approach, he said, the White House would “empower the liberty-minded, Western-minded anti-Islamists.”

This year’s White House Iftar was more sparsely attended than last’s year’s. Officials working for President George W. Bush also pruned their invite list following several embarrassing episodes, including a September 2001 appearance that placed Bush alongside Abdul Alamoudi and Nihad Awad.

Alamoudi founded the American Muslim Council, was a prominent Islamist advocate in D.C., and raised funds for both Democrats and Republicans until 2004. That’s when he pled guilty to several terror offenses and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Awad is the founding director of the Council on American Islamic Relations. CAIR and ISNA were both named as unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 Hamas trial.

As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack approaches, Badani said, White House officials “need to be very careful.”

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  • Bill R

    If Obama would invite them, then have the Secret Service arrest them and deport them all to Guantanamo, I might even vote for him again. But if he was of THAT sort of mind, I’d not have the real problem I have with this in-house White House traitor to our Constitutional Republic. So we all know what he’s doing. Trying to appear like he cares whether his Muslim brothers are terrorists or terrorist sponsor, or not. He doesn’t.

    It’s just for 2012. Ishtar 2012 will have the old list restored. Obama has done numerous things worthy of impeachment. So why hasn’t somebody with a spine suggested it? Because even the Tea Party has jello as some of their vertebrae. If for nothing else, how about continuing to run an illegal war? Or how about instructing his AG that only white folks can commit hate crimes, and the mahogany mobs are NOT committing hate crimes – thereby ensuring MORE mobs form. He is endorsing black insurrection against Whites, and endorsing the downfall of moderate Muslim or secular nations through direct force, thereby allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to take over governments. Those are impeachable offenses, all. So we should care that he dropped a terrorist off his guest list, or two? Bah.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder what this country would have done if FDR had invited an all Japanese guestlist to celebrate the Obon in July of 1942?

    So, what has happened to us in just 3 generations? The communists have almost won their major victory over the West, that is what. We can thank all of those responsible perhaps one day, the democrats, the unions, the education establishment, the media, the clergy, and the list goes on. I can tell you this, that “Greatest Generation” must be sad, angry and disappointed that we laid down so easily. When I think of what to do I am reminded of Thomas Paine’s words in the difficult times, “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country…” I have served my country once and am willing to do so this time, that oath to me has no expiration date. This time I wonder if we defeat the enemy.

  • William Hendershot

    His name is Barack Hussein Obama, he celebrates every Muslim holiday, yet they go ballistic when we call him the obvious- a Muslim.

  • Steven Broiles

    I’d like to argue this from the other side. There are some neo-cons out there who call themselves conservative. They are not true conservatives in the tradition of Burke, Hazlitt, von Mises, et al., but real neo-cons, in the ideological mold of Leo Strauss. The current crop of Republican Presidential Candidates comes to mind. So does George Bush the Elder and George Bush the Younger.

    Now this is my point. These neo-cons keep crowing about how Bush-43 “Kept us Safe.” Yeah, he kept us safe, all right. He picked a fight in Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11—at least directly, as far as we know. Then he lied about how the war would be paid for: We have not gotten one free barrel of oil out of the deal yet.

    He kept us safe, all right. As in getting us into a war in Afghanistan with no comprehensive strategy and exit plan—let alone a plan for victory. At least he told us this war on terror “could last many years.” MY GOD ALMIGHTY, BUSH, WHO WAS PULLING YOUR STRINGS???

    He allowed 70,000 Somalians to immigrate to this country. People who have utterly no intention of assimilating to our way of life.

    He showed tolerance to the religion of Islam. Excuse me? Didn’t he open the lid of a Pandorra’s Box here?

    Yes he did—with every decision he made.

    Now we have a President who, in his autobiography “Dreams Of My Father” (said to have been ghost-written by Bill Ayers) said, that in a fight between us and them, that he would “Stand with the Muslims.”

    Obama has not become honest. He has not become “transparent.” He has not changed in any way, except to say that he has become more truculent and more surreptitious. Do you really believe the WH guest list which every visitor supposedly signs is not edited or censored?

    And again, let’s put this is a wider, broader context. I see this man as filling Bush the Elder’s sixth term, for we are being rolled into a New World Order. Marx and Lenin were at that dinner IN SPIRIT. Bush the Elder was there IN SPIRIT. The Communist Part was there IN SPIRIT. Cloward and Piven and Antonio Gramsci—THE WHOLE DAMNED COMMIE LOT—were there IN SPIRIT. So what I am saying is this: The whole three-ring cycle of this Wagnerian Opera is PLANNED!

  • Anonymous

    Anybody who doesn’t realize obama is a muslim with strong ties (if not membership) to the muslim brotherhood is not smart enough to vote.

    as another pointed out — the only holidays he celebrates are muslim ones. Notice how he goes to Hawaii every year for Christmas, and the puppy-dog reporters never even ask a simple question like “What did you get the girls and Michelle” when he returns?

    Never has there been a more dangerous president. Wikileakes papers described the plan between obama’s people and certain social media companies…the one to begin with the riots and misdescribe them as for “democracy”…and then help them spread around the Mid-East and then to Europe…and then America…

    I wouldn’t have believed that this was done so blatantly if I hadn’t read the papers. AND the meetings to plan all this were done before the election, while he was still campaigning.

    Probably wouldn’t have made a difference. The story about him going to Iraq and trying to influence the war there while he was still campaigning got out, but nobody seemed to care.