Surprising many, US president Donald Trump hosted his first Iftar dinner at the White House and sought co-operations from Muslims world over.
Wednesday’s Iftar dinner came as a shock to many considering Trump — who frequently engages in anti-Muslim rhetoric — skipped hosting such a party last year.
During the event Trump wished Muslims around the world a “Ramadan Mubarak” and said “only by working together can we achieve a future of security and prosperity for all.”
“For this reason, I was proud to make my first foreign trip as President to the heart of the Muslim world, where I addressed an assembly of more than 50 leaders of Muslim-majority countries. That was something,” he said. “The partnership and solidarity that we established over the past year has only deepened with time. So many friendships. So many meetings, even in the Oval Office. And we’ve made a lot of progress, I think, a lot of tremendous progress,” Trump said.
Envoys from several Muslim countries such as the UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria, Libya, Kuwait, Gambia, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Bosnia were invited.
However, several cultural and advocacy groups that attended the Ramadan event under past administrations were not issued invitations this year. The Islamic Society of North America told Huffington Post that they were not invited for Trump’s Iftar party.
Colin Christopher, the group’s interfaith director, said: “If the White House is interested in inviting foreign government leaders from largely corrupt, Muslim-majority countries that exhibit inequitable and unjust policies upon their own populations, that seems to be in line with the tenor of the current U.S. Administration. We are confident that they will enjoy their time together, ignoring the basic needs and human rights of their respective peoples.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations was also not invited.
Meanwhile, members of several Muslim organisations held their own Iftar outside the White House to protest Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric during his campaign, where he called for a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the US.
Trump had also issued a travel ban on people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen — countries with a majority Muslim population.