It has been a busy month for some Muslim Americans. According to Muslim tradition, the holy month of Ramadan is marked by fasting from dawn to dusk, ending each day with a festive meal known as Iftar. According to an emerging American tradition, Iftar is a great opportunity to show respect to the Muslim community. The result: an increasing number of official Iftar dinners held by government agencies, local communities, universities and interfaith groups.
Ziad Asali, who heads the American Task Force on Palestine, has been to three such events already — at the White House, the State Department and the Department of the Treasury. Last year he had to choose between two government Iftar events taking place at the same time.
"It's become a tradition," Asali said, "but why not? This country accepts Christmas, it accepts Hanukkah, so why not add Iftar?"