Bush hosts dinner for American Muslims
The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 17, 2008; 8:52 PM
WASHINGTON -- President Bush told a dinner honoring American Muslims
that his administration has partnered with those practicing Islam
around the world to promote tolerance and spread freedom to millions.
"We reject bigotry in all its forms," the president said before
sitting down for dinner Wednesday with about 110 guests in the White
House State Dining Room.
During the past eight years, the Bush administration has held an
Iftaar dinner, a meal served at the end of the day during the holy
month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.
Bush sat next to Kuwait's prime minister, Sheik Nasser Al Mohammed Al
Sabah, who will return to the White House on Friday for a meeting in
the Oval Office.
This year's event highlighted American Muslims who have made
technological, artistic or innovative contributions to society. Bush
singled out Maysam Ghovanloo, an immigrant from Iran who is a
biomedical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is
working on an invention to help people with disabilities operate a
wheelchair or surf the Internet by moving their tongues.
"Stories like the professor's remind us that one of the great
strengths of our nation is its religious diversity," Bush said.
"Americans practice many different faiths. But we all share a belief
in the right to worship freely."
The guests, including members of Congress, military personnel and
members of the U.S. diplomatic corps, sat at nearly a dozen tables,
each adorned with four burning tapers and a bowl of flowers. The
guests dined on eggplant soup and halibut with a pistachio crust.