As announced earlier, the US White House under President donald Trump has decided to skip the dinner hosted on the occasion for Muslims in the country and instead sent out ‘Eid Mubarak’ greetings in a statement, ending a two-decade-old tradition.
First time the Iftar party in the White House was hosted on December 9, 1805 by the then US President Thomas Jefferson coinciding with the presence of Tunisian envoy to the United States, Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, who had just arrived in the country and even the timing of usual dinners at White House was changed to evening as Muslims fast during the day.
Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and Muslims around the world will mark the end of the holy month by celebrating the holiday Eid al-Fitr, which falls on Saturday or Monday this year depending on moon-sighting in several regions of the world.
But breaking with the tradition of holding an evening Iftaar Party that was religiously followed by his predecessors Clinton, Bush and Obama, President Donald Trump has decided to give it a miss though citing lack of time to plan for it well in advance.
Instead a White House release from Trump and the first lady said:
“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 neighbors 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 honor these values. Eid Mubarak.”
Rumana Ahmed, who had organised White House Iftar dinners during the Obama administration, told the Washington Post that the break from tradition was unfortunate. She recalled how the dinner changed over the years and included honoring Muslim American youth and recognizing their economic contributions.
“If you look at when it started and how it’s evolved, in a way it’s kind of been in response to conversations happening on a national level and in our society,” said Rumana Ahmed.