Donald Trump breaks tradition, skips Eid celebrations at White House
US President Barack Obama at an Iftar party. (Representative image) Photograph: (Twitter)
In a break from tradition, US President Donald Trump did not host Eid celebrations at the White House this year.
The White House has traditionally hosted an Eid al-Fitr feast every year since Bill Clinton's presidency.
President Trump said in a statement, "On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr. Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramzan to focus on acts of faith and charity. During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values. Eid Mubarak."
In a brief statement, Rex Tillerson sent his "best wishes to all Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr".
In May, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr reception, Reuters reported quoting two US officials.
An April 6 memo seen by Reuters, the state department recommended that Tillerson hold an Eid al-Fitr reception.
Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have almost always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day's fast during Ramzan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month, at the State Department. The event is usually attended by members of Congress, Muslim civil society and community leaders, diplomats from Muslim countries and senior US officials usually attend the State Department Ramzan event.
The first presidential Iftar dinner was hosted by Thomas Jefferson in 1805 for a Tunisian envoy.
It became an annual tradition ever since then first lady Hillary Clinton revived the idea of hosting the dinner in 1996.
President Donald Trump's administration is accused of having an unfriendly attitude toward Islam, especially after his travel ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority countries forbidding Muslim citizens from entering the country. The ban has been stayed by US courts.
The Trump administration maintains that while it strongly opposes Islamist militants, it has no quarrel with Islam. As evidence, his aides have drawn attention to Trump's May visit to Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam where he addressed the leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries.