Local businessman meets with President Bush during annual Ramadan dinner - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Local businessman meets with President Bush during annual Ramadan dinner

What would you do if you got a call from someone claiming to be with the White House, wanting your personal information to send you an invitation?

You'd probably think it was a joke or a scam, which is exactly what one east Texan thought, but he came to find out it was real.

Anwar Khalifa attended the annual Iftar dinner last week hosted by President Bush, a dinner the President has been hosting for Muslims the past 8 years marking the end of Ramadan. Today he shared with KLTV 7's Danielle Capper his experience and the candid remarks made.


"There were so many people that had so many titles. I'm like wow. What am I doing here?"

What he first thought was a joke turned out to be real.

With dignitaries from around the world, local businessman Anwar Khalifa was off to Washington.

"I was expecting a meeting of a 100 business men, Muslim business men. That were invited to the White House. I didn't understand this was the President's Iftar dinner for all the ambassadors and congressman and heads of state. Very few citizens were there," said Khalifa.

They prayed, celebrating the end of Ramadan, then went into the state dining room.

"Table 9 was the table I was sitting at."

A table just a few feet from the podium, and after the speech, a table where the President sat down.

Making the most of things, Anwar asked the President about the treatment of Muslims around the world and the war in Iraq.

"What are we doing there? It looks like at our hands a lot of Muslim people have died in Iraq. He said look, Iraq had invaded two countries Iran and Kwuait, they were sabre-rattling other countries. And they claimed all these weapons. We had to do something, and we got the UN behind us," said Anwar.

He said the President was gracious and cordial in answering his questions.

"When he said something I didn't like I told him and I asked him about it. After I left, if I thought if I would have done this in Egypt, which is my country of origin. If I had done this in Egypt with the president of Egypt I would have been thrown out, put in jail or executed."

Anwar says the unforgettable experience is just a reminder of what a great country we live in.

"This is amazing. No other country in the world you can do that."

Anwar also left a letter from his 10 year old daughter to the President with White House security, and today, she got a handwritten response.

Danielle Capper, reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

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