Mr. Mohammad El-Sanousi of ISNA explained that â€œthe important thing… was that there was a private meeting before the prayer, with all the religious leaders, President Obama and Vice President Joe Bidden, and the first lady and the wife of the Vice President met with all the religious leaders, including Dr. Ingrid Mattson–her message to Obama was that his speech was liberating and empowering to the Muslim community.â€
Mr. El-Sanousi elaborated that â€œfor the first time in history he said â€˜we are a nation of Christians and Muslimsâ€™–there was a great recognition there.â€
He also explained that â€œthere were so many positive messages to Muslims and Islamâ€ in the inaugural speech. â€œHe mentioned his father in the speech, he mentioned his village in Kenya–and he mentioned to the Muslim world that he wanted a relationship built on respect.â€
Dr. Mattson, as the president of ISNA, offered a prayer at the inaugural National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral. Dr. Mattson is the first woman president of ISNA.
â€œI am honored to join distinguished colleagues from the diversity of American religious communities in celebrating this historic inauguration,â€ commented Dr. Mattson. â€œMuslim Americans join their fellow citizens in praying that our country will continue to realize, ever more fully, the American dream of freedom, justice and equality for all people.â€
Dr. Mattson is part of the interfaith leadership of the National Prayer Service that includes prayers from Rabbis, Christian clergy and Hindu leadership alike.
Dr. Ingrid Mattson is a Professor of Islamic Studies and Director of the Macdonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, CT. In 2006, the Islamic Society of North America (www.isna.net), the largest religious organization representing Muslims in North America, elected Dr. Ingrid Mattson as its President.