Obama's iftar: Islamists secretly invited, moderates outThe Obama White House published an incomplete list of the invitees to the President's iftar dinner last Wednesday night, omitting representatives of Islamist groups who were invited. The White House also did not invite any representatives of moderate Muslim groups (Hat Tip: Atlas Shrugs).
“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.Read the whole thing.
“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.
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.
Someone please tell me that whoever is the Republican nominee in 2012 will go after Obama for this kind of behavior, and not give him a free pass like John McCain did.