For the first time in twenty years, the White House did not hold a celebration to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended at sunset on Saturday.
The iftar dinner occurs at sunset at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islam lunar calendar and a time of prayer, reflection and fasting
White House officials reportedly spend months planning the event, which has been held every year under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, but 2017 took a different path.
Donald Trump’s government didn’t hold the iftar dinner and instead, the White House issued a statement on late Saturday evening.
“Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity.
Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbours and breaking bread with people from all walks of life.
“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 honour these values. Eid Mubarak.
The brief statements provide a stark contrast to the holiday message issued by former President Barack Obama, who warned against the “rise in attacks against Muslim Americans”.
There are reports also that earlier this year Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the government would not host the dinner.
Hosting an Eid celebration or an Iftar dinner – the nightly meal when Muslims break their fast during Ramadan — had been a White House tradition since 1996, when then-first lady Hillary Clinton hosted the first Eid dinner there.
Iftar dinners inviting prominent members of the Muslim community to break their fast at the White House were continued each year during the administrations of both President Bush and President Obama till Donald Trump stepped in 2017 and brought change.