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Trump Declines To Hold Annual Ramadan Dinner

Breaking with a tradition established during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, President Donald Trump did not host a White House dinner to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

Instead, the president wished Muslims a happy Ramadan in a statement, Inquisitr reports.

Eid al-Fitr is a holiday marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, before feasting at night, according to NBC News. Some Muslims also donate to charities and feed the needy during the month.

The Eid al-Fitr meal, known as iftar, has been said to have been celebrated at the White House as early as 1805 by President Thomas Jefferson, who held a dinner with a Tunisian ambassador, reports The Guardian.

Instead of beginning at 3:30 p.m. like many of Jefferson's White House dinners, this dinner began at sunset. Ambassador Sidi Soliman Mellimelli was there to speak with Jefferson about piracy and conflict in the Barbary states. The dinner's status as an official iftar had been debated by historians.

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During Bill Clinton's presidency, in 1996, first lady Hillary Clinton organized a White House celebration for the end of Ramadan, a tradition that has continued up through George W. Bush's and Barack Obama's presidencies, but will reportedly end with the Trump administration.

The president's Ramadan message also touched on recent terror attacks.

"On behalf of the American people, I would like to wish all Muslims a joyful Ramadan," read Trump's statement. "During this month of fasting from dawn to dusk, many Muslims in America and around the world will find meaning and inspiration in acts of charity and meditation that strengthen our communities."

"At its core, the spirit of Ramadan strengthens awareness of our shared obligation to reject violence, to pursue peace, and to give to those in need who are suffering from poverty or conflict," the statement continued.

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"This year, the holiday begins as the world mourns the innocent victims of barbaric terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and Egypt, acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan," wrote the president. "Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology."

He concluded by wishing Muslims a happy holiday.

"I extend my best wishes to Muslims everywhere for a blessed month as you observe the Ramadan traditions of charity, fasting, and prayer," read the message. "May God bless you and your families."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also broke with tradition, rejecting a request from the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an event for Eid al-Fitr. Tillerson put out a statement for the State Department wishing Muslims a happy eid.

"On behalf of the U.S. Department of State, best wishes to all Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr," read Tillerson's statement. "This holiday marks the culmination of Ramadan, a month in which many experience meaning and inspiration in acts of fasting, prayer, and charity. This day offers an opportunity to reflect on our shared commitment to building peaceful and prosperous communities. Eid Mubarak."

Sources: Inquisitr, The Guardian, NBC News, The White House / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, Faris Algosaibi/Flickr, William Munoz/Flickr

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