Breaking a twenty-year tradition of hosting a dinner for Eid al-Fitr – the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, President Trump declined to officially observe the event at the White House. Instead, he went to the wedding of Treasury Secretary Steve Munchin and Louis Linton. The custom began during the Clinton administration in 1996, although the first recorded official White House Eid al-Fitr dates to 1805 when then President Thomas Jefferson extended the invitation to an ambassador from Tunis. For those of you who may not have studied this religion, Al Jazeera will help you understand the importance to Muslims:
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar. Healthy adult Muslims fast in Ramadan from dawn until dusk. This includes abstaining from drinking, eating, immoral acts and anger. Other acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Quran and charity are also encouraged during Ramadan. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. So Muslims fast as an act of worship, a chance to get closer to God and a way to become more compassionate to those in need.
Ramadan began May 27, and it appears that some of our Islamic friends did not get the memo about abstaining from immoral acts, like terrorism and murder:
At the end of Ramadan on Saturday, the total number of casualties across the world for the entire holy month had reached 3,451 (1,627 murders and 1,824 injuries), more than tripling the 1,150 (421 deaths and 729 injuries) that took place in 2016, considered the deadliest holy month in recent memory.
President Trump has called upon Muslim leaders to pressure extremist factions and help tamp down the exploding violence perpetrated in the name of Allah. During a speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the president said this to a gathering of leaders from Muslim strongholds:
“This is a battle between good and evil. Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God. There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it. No accepting it. No excusing it and no ignoring it.”
Perhaps, as his repeated requests have been blatantly ignored, he felt obliged to issue this statement:
“Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity. During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values.”
President Trump and Muslim communities have had a strained relationship which wasn’t made better by the announcement of a travel ban that was held up and then given the go-ahead just yesterday by the Supreme Court. Detractors of the president claim this is yet another sordid example of religious bias and hate spewing from the administration. Regardless, the administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the State Department, have stood their ground and sent a clear message that there are more pressing matters at hand than an Eid al-Fitr celebration in 2017 and that not enough has been done publicly by Muslims to stop the spread of terrorism. Even CNN had to stage a fake Muslim vigil after the recent attack in London, to save face at the blatant indifference the Muslim population showed to terrorism in their neighborhood.
It is understandable that the president would rather have a date night with First Lady Melania at one of his closest friend’s wedding ceremony and reception than a stuffy, formal White House dinner with a group of people who have no intention of building a relationship with the leader of the free world. Or perhaps the president is old enough to understand that sometimes there is nothing you can do to change someone’s opinion of you, so you might as well just go ahead and what you want.
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