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Trump breaks almost 20-year tradition of celebrating Ramadan at White House

28 June 2017

The White House did not host a traditional Iftar dinner to commemorate Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, for the first time in almost two decades, a media report said on Monday.

Sangma said Eid-ul-Fitr "enables each one of us to reaffirm our commitment to spread the spirit of love, compassion and empathy and further strengthen the elements of understanding, tolerance and solidarity". Most of the Muslim world kicked off celebrations that day, but because the holiday is set by Islam's lunar calendar and depends on the sighting of the new moon, some countries celebrate it a day later.

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.

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Also breaking with the tradition is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It had been reinitiated in 1996 by then First Lady Hillary Clinton (now, what are the odds of that!).

Ramadan is a month of fasting for about 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide and Eid-al-Fatr is a celebration that began Sunday.

Eid-ul-Fitr, which is being celebrated today (June 26) by Muslims around the country, is the festival of the "breaking of the fast".

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The Eid al-Fitr feast ends Ramadan, a period when Muslims fast and focus on charitable giving. The event is usually attended by members of Congress, Muslim civil society and community leaders, diplomats from Muslim countries and senior USA officials usually attend the State Department Ramzan event. Another President, John Quincy Adams, had noted in his personal diaries that dinner was served a little late in the evening due to Ramadan.

The first presidential Iftar dinner was hosted by Thomas Jefferson in 1805 for a Tunisian envoy. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Trump's travel ban can be upheld in part against foreign nationals who lack any "bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States".

Since he has assumed office, President Donald Trump has been anything but traditional in doing things.

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Trump breaks almost 20-year tradition of celebrating Ramadan at White House