AP: Wishing Muslims around the world a “Ramadan Mubarak” — a blessed holiday — President Donald Trump on Wednesday hosted his first White House dinner for Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, an overture that surprised many in the Muslim community after he skipped hosting such a meal last year.
Speaking at an iftar dinner, which breaks the daylong fast, Trump offered a message of unity, recognizing members of the Muslim community at home and abroad.
“In gathering together this evening, we honor a sacred tradition of one of the world’s great religions,” he told an intimate audience that included Cabinet members and ambassadors from many Muslim-majority nations.
It was a dramatic departure from the inflammatory rhetoric Trump used during his campaign, when he called for a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the country, compared Syrian refugees fleeing civil war to a deadly snake and declared, “I think Islam hates us” in an interview with CNN.
Instead, Trump spoke of “the renewed bonds of friendship and cooperation” forged with “valued partners” from across the Middle East and said Iftars “mark the coming together of families and friends to celebrate a timeless message of peace, clarity and love. There is great love.”
He recalled his visit last year to Saudi Arabia — his first foreign trip — as “one of the great two days of my life.”
The White House struck a considerably warm tone last month, when it released a statement from the president declaring “Ramadan Mubarak,” a common greeting in Islam for a blessed holiday. The statement praised the Constitution for ensuring Muslims can observe the holiday “unimpeded by government” and did not mention terrorism.
“Ramadan reminds us of the richness Muslims add to the religious tapestry of American life,” the statement said.