An interesting development, as reported by The Washington Post:
Offering warm greetings on Ramadan and hosting an iftar meal have been standard White House behavior for decades during the major Muslim holiday — but not during the Trump presidency. That appears to be changing.
Ramadan last year featured a White House holiday statement focusing on terrorism, including President Trump’s comment that the sacred holiday tens of millions observe “strengthens awareness of our shared obligation to reject violence.” The White House and the State Department broke with tradition and didn’t hold a celebratory iftar (the ceremonial break-fast meal each sunset during Ramadan).
But Tuesday, the White House released a statement with a markedly different tone, saying Ramadan “reminds us of the richness Muslims add to the religious tapestry of American life.” The month-long holiday begins this week.
The White House is also exploring working with the State Department to host an iftar in early June, said Ray Mahmood, a prominent Muslim real estate developer who has long been involved in interfaith diplomacy in the D.C. area.
“I think they are doing one, from what we’ve heard,” Mahmood said. Asked about the weight of such a ritual event at a time when the country is experiencing a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions, and as the White House continues in court to press what candidate Trump called the “Muslim ban,” Mahmood said these steps are significant.
“I think they are very important to the Muslim community. At least they feel the president at the White House is doing this, which shows some tolerance and acceptance,” he said Wednesday.
The complete statement from President Trump:
With the rising of tonight’s moon, I send my greetings and best wishes to all Muslims observing Ramadan in the United States and around the world.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad through fellowship and prayer. Many observe this holy time by fasting, performing acts of charity, reciting prayers, and reading the Quran.
Ramadan is a time of self-reflection intended to deepen one’s spiritual growth and renew a sense of appreciation for the many blessings God provides. In this spirit of thanksgiving and reflection, those observing Ramadan can strengthen our communities, help those in need, and serve as good examples for how to live a holy life.
Ramadan reminds us of the richness Muslims add to the religious tapestry of American life. In the United States, we are all blessed to live under a Constitution that fosters religious liberty and respects religious practice. Our Constitution ensures Muslims can observe Ramadan in accordance with the dictates of conscience and unimpeded by government. By doing so, the Constitution also furnishes varied opportunities for all Americans to deepen their understanding of the human soul.
As so many people unite to celebrate Ramadan, Melania and I join in the hope for a blessed month. Ramadan Mubarak.