Thursday night is Eid, when followers of Islam gather together with friends and neighbors to celebrate the end of Ramadan, a month of daily fasting.
Since 1996, when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton began the tradition, the White House has hosted an “iftar” — the daily fast-breaking dinner — during Ramadan. It has been a staple of both Republican and Democratic administrations, an opportunity to celebrate Ramadan with the American Muslim community, the leaders of its civic groups, its imams, its writers, artists and entertainers.
But not in the Trump administration. President Trump, whose animosity towards Islam and the Muslim community is well documented, didn’t host an iftar at all last year. This year, he honored the tradition with a dinner on June 6. But the representatives of American Muslim groups were not invited to the White House. Instead of community and religious leaders from across the United States, the guests included foreign ambassadors and dignitaries from Muslim-majority countries. It was as if the president hosted a White House Seder but with no American Jews invited.
In his remarks at the dinner, Trump avoided Ramadan’s devotional message of reflection and sacrifice. He used the occasion to reminisce about his visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he received a hero’s welcome and made deals that have fomented more enmity in the region, particularly between Iran and the Saudis.