Secretary of State Madeleine Albright hosted American Muslim representatives Tuesday at her department's first iftar dinner, the evening meal that breaks the day's fast during Ramadan.
Responding to periodic complaints that Muslims are ignored in the shaping of Middle East policy, Albright said "the legitimate concerns of Muslim Americans are taken into account" by the Clinton administration.
She also pledged to hire more Muslims for the State Department. "We are recruiting hard," she said.
The dinner, held after sunset in accordance with Islamic law, marked the first time the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has been marked by a State Department event.
During Ramadan, which ends Jan. 8, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and other sensual pleasures from dawn to sunset.