Abdul-Qaadir to Dine at White House Iftar Tuesday Night
Sept. 1, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- - University of Memphis freshman basketball player Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir is dining with President Barack Obama and invited American Muslim guests for an iftar dinner Tuesday night. An iftar is a meal that occurs following sunset during the month of Ramadan on the Muslim calendar. Muslims fast from sunup to sundown during Ramadan and break their respective fasts with a meal called iftar (literally `break fast'). Ramadan began on August 22nd and continues through Sept. 19th.
The iftar meal will take place in the State Dining Room and the Tiger freshman guard hopes to present a special copy of the Qur'an to the President as part of the evening's festivities. The evening's feast was scheduled to "highlight the contributions of American Muslims" according to an announcement by the White House Press Office. Abdul-Qaadir was selected to receive the invitation as a female American Muslim who broke the Massachusetts state scoring record (male or female) last fall while a senior at New Leadership Charter School in her native Springfield. She broke the state scoring record previously held by Rebecca Lobo and finished her prep career with 3,070 points.
"It's really an honor for Bilqis to receive this educational opportunity," women's basketball head coach Melissa McFerrin said. "Part of coaching at this level includes providing educational opportunities for our student-athletes, and for Bilqis to receive this invitation is an incredible honor."
The iftar dinner follows a White House tradition that predates Obama's time in office. President Bill Clinton hosted the first iftar meal at the White House, and President George Bush continued the tradition throughout both of his terms. The White House has hosted numerous other ethnic and religious festivities, including the Persian New Year, the annual Easter Egg roll, and a Passover seder.
A live video stream of the President's comments from the event is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live/ starting at 8 p.m. (ET).