Obama Indulges In ‘Iftar’ Diplomacy
Over an Iftar dinner of spiced lavash and thyme-roasted chicken, President Barack Obama courted the Muslims in America by praising a top Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, as an “American patriot.” His remarks make a difference because Abedin is the Muslim wife of Representative Anthony Weiner and has earlier been accused of being connected to an Islamist political organization called Muslim Brotherhood.
Words of Praise
Obama told the gathering at a White House Iftar dinner, “She (Abedin) has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear. The American people owe her a debt of gratitude because Huma is an American patriot and an example of what we need in this country – more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit.”
The President’s words must have been soothing for Abedin and others of her ilk, especially since two months ago, five lawmakers, including Representative Michele Bachmann, had accused Huma of having close ties with the Brotherhood. The group of lawmakers had even questioned the security clearance granted to Abedin and they also wrote to the State Department in this regard. At that time, Bachmann had told a talk show host, “If my family members were associated with Hamas, a terrorist organization, that alone could be sufficient to disqualify me from getting a security clearance.” After the Prez had his say at the Iftar party, Abedin looked visibly moved by his words.
President Obama’s Friday dinner, which was to mark the near culmination of the holy month of fasting called Ramadan for the Muslims of the world, was one in the long line of Iftar dinners, which began to be held in the White House when Thomas Jefferson was its occupant.
The food served at the White House Iftar was an in-house affair with the White House kitchen garden, the First Lady Michelle Obama’s prized possession, featuring prominently - but first something about the setting. The 12 tables were decorated in cream color with a gold border, obviously in homage to the Clinton State Service because it was President Bill Clinton who, in the true manner, started to host annual Iftar Dinners at the White House. Before him, the Iftar dinners were an off and on affair at the White Hosue. Coming back to the menu, it was a typical affair, which Muslims worldwide eat to break their day-long fast during the month of Ramadan.
The Iftar Menu
The 2012 Iftar Dinner Menu began with the “Kitchen Garden Chopped Summer Salad”, served with Terragon dressing and spiced Lavash. The main course comprised of Thyme-roasted Natural Chicken, Sunchoke Puree, and Farmstand Vegetable Ratatouille. For dessert, the guests ate Vanilla Peach, Sesame Halvah Crunch, and enjoyed it with Green Apple Lime Granita.
President Obama, just like his predecessors in the White House, is known to court various communities through well-organized dinners and other events. Be it the Hanukkah party, the Thanksgiving dinner, or now the Iftar party, it is all a well-thought out plan to woo back the minorities as well as the different sections of the American society. With the presidential elections looming large, is it any surprise?
Image Courtesy: obamafoodorama