16 Dec

Pool was ushered into State Dining Room at 8:30 p.m. There are 12 round tables with 10 seats at each table. Tables are set with gold-rimmed chargers, the centerpieces are yellow and pale pink roses with pale blue hydrangea, and the tablecloths are what best can be described as olive gray with gold pattern. President Obama came in at 8:40 p.m. and spoke at a podium set up in front of the fireplace under the portrait of Lincoln. Please check quotes against transcript.

Obama welcomed Muslim-American members of Congress Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.). The president praised the “extraordinary courage” of Muslim women during the Arab Spring.

Obama praised his “good friend” Huma Abedin, who worked at the White House and is now an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He described Abedin as an “American patriot,” and said she is 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 thanked her for her service. “These are the faces of Islam in America,” the president said.

The president said the spirit of diversity and pluralism in America is at times threatened. He said there have been instances of Mosques and Synagogues, Churches and Temples being targeted. “Tonight our prayers in particular are with our friends and fellow Americans in the Sikh community,” he said. “We mourn those who were senselessly murdered and injured in their place of worship. And while we may never fully understand what motivates such hatred, such violence, the perpetrators of such despicable acts must know that your twisted thinking is no match for the compassion, and the goodness, and the strength of our united American family,” he said. Tonight, the president declared with one voice that violence has no place in the United States. “The attack on Americans of any faith is an attack on the freedom of all Americans,” he said to applause. No American should ever have to fear for their safety in their place of worship, and every American has the right to practice their faith openly, freely, and as they choose. “And we will defend the freedom of religion here at home and around the world,” he said.  Obama finished speaking at 8:48 p.m. and pool was ushered out. A travel/photo lid was called at 8:55 p.m.

[ http://www.godinthetemplesofgovernment.com ]


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