Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined to host an event that has been considered a “bipartisan” hand of friendship for 20 years. The event is a ramadan dinner hosted by the white house.
Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr, according to two insiders who declined to be named. The dinner usually takes place in the evening, when muslims who have been fasting all day during their holy month of ramadan, finally get to break their fast.
Of course, former President Barack Hussein Obama never bothered to decline the invitation to host an Eid al-Fitr reception.
His rejection of the request suggests there are no plans this year for any high-profile Ramadan function at the State Department. The month of fasting and prayer for Muslims gets under way in many countries on Saturday.
When asked by Reuters to comment on Tillerson declining a request to host an Eid al-Fitr event in July for Ramadan, a State Department spokesperson said:
“We are still exploring possible options for observance of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan. U.S. ambassadors are encouraged to celebrate Ramadan through a variety of activities, which are held annually at missions around the world.”Muslim activists have accused President Donald Trump’s administration of having an unfriendly attitude toward Islam, encapsulated by its attempts to ban citizens of several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
The administration says that while it strongly opposes Islamist militants, it has no quarrel with Islam. Aides point to Trump’s visit this month to Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam where he addressed the leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries, as evidence of that.
Members of Congress, Muslim civil society and community leaders, diplomats from Muslim countries and senior U.S. officials usually attend the State Department Ramadan event, a symbol of the U.S. government’s diplomatic efforts with Muslim countries and people.