Ramadan Controversy – Avoiding The White House (and State Department) Iftaars

By Aaron Vlek

Well, the internet is on fire today about the White House Iftar and why Muslims are or are not going.  Boycotters find it unconscionable to sit down to dinner with people and an administration they feel to be, among other things, guilty of numerous crimes against humanity, lying, perpetuating a foreign policy that endangers not only Muslims but all Americans and peoples of the world and unquestionably supporting Israel and its apartheid state and all that that entails.

Goers talk about their pride at being asked. They insist it will provide an opportunity to ask the “really tough questions” and show the administration what reasonable and rational people Muslims are.

But I don’t see it that way, Goers. I see it as an unrepentant opportunity to sit at the Big Table and hobnob and schmooze with power brokers who can grease the wheels for that next book contract, that amazing new job, that upward swing on the ladder of success in any number of fields and an endorsement of the one’s solid place in the Who’s Who of celebrity Muslimness.

Those really tough questions you’re going to make sure get asked? They won’t get asked except for maybe at your own table. But then, they don’t need to be. These questions have already been answered daily and ad nauseum by the continuation and extension of policies designed to undermine and further destabilize the Muslim world and preclude any possible autonomous self-determination in the region.

What else is there to ask?

That surveillance thing against Muslims in mosques? Well not to worry, because now all Americans are in that boat with you and this President you are so hot to sit down with over bad entrees and limp toasts has already defended broad surveillance, wire taping and email monitoring numerous times in front of the microphone.

What else is there to ask?

This White House is known for its great messages that are completely void of any meaning or intent to fulfill. Please, if you go and Mr. Obama stands up and delivers a well-crafted and rehearsed feel-good line directed towards Muslims, don’t fall for it. Just admit why you are really there. It will be a really stellar networking opportunity and will allow you the get out of guilt free card that most Americans use. The one that says, well, things are bad, but at least I’m doing okay and my presence here will make a difference. In my own bottom line and that of my ego. Is that what the White House Iftar is supposed to do? Provide opportunities for public pride?

Because all the Goers seem to be sharing  with great pride their invitation to the Iftar.

Happy Ramadan.

Aaron Vlek converted to Islam in 1975. After wandering a circuitous and solitary path, she ended up where she began and has authored two novels and a work of nonfiction essays on various topics of Islamic interest.

For an different viewpoint on the White House (and State Department) Iftaars, click here to read what News & Politics blogger Aziz Poonawalla has to say, arguing how attending these Iftaars have benefited the community as as whole.

This piece is part of our ongoing series on Ramadan, featuring reflections, stories, and articles from Muslims and non-Muslims on their Ramadan experiences. Keep checking Altmuslim for new pieces throughout Ramadan.


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