Ambassadors and Muslim community leaders gathered with Congress members, White House staff, and President Obama to celebrate the sacred month of Ramadan and honor the achievements of young Muslims who are positively impacting their communities. These young Muslim leaders were recognized for their academic accomplishments and social activism.

UntitledIslamic Relief USA CEO Anwar Khan and Public Affairs Director Christina Tobias-Nahi were honored to be amongst the guests to applaud these young people.

The President also took this time to express remorse for the shooting of three Muslim college students in North Carolina earlier this spring and the recent gunning down of African American worshipers in South Carolina. After speaking of such tragedies, the message turned hopeful about how we can and must learn to co-exist.

Islamic Relief USA was especially pleased to hear reference in the President’s remarks about the plight of vulnerable peoples around the world suffering during Ramadan, including those families in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Gaza and families fleeing Myanmar. These are all communities being helped through Islamic Relief programs.

Islamic Relief USA is also increasing its programming in the United States through disaster relief response and Ramadan food distributions.

Through positive programming and involvement like this, President Obama challenged each of us to be more active and visible.

“Here in America, many people personally don’t know someone who is Muslim,” he said. “They mostly hear about Muslims in the news — and that can obviously lead to a very distorted impression.” Through the work Islamic Relief USA and others like it are doing to involve young people in their communities, we hope to continue to be instrumental in changing and improving those perceptions both during Ramadan and beyond.