State Department Does Not Hold Ramadan Event For First Time Since 1999

State Department Does Not Hold Ramadan Event For First Time Since 1999

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson rejected a request to hold a Ramadan event at the State Department this year, breaking a precedent that began in 1999, according to a new report.

Reuters reported Friday that Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host a reception at the State Department. The Muslim month of fasting begins Saturday.

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright held the first Ramadan event in 1999, Reuters reported.

The State Department noted there was still time for an official observance.

“We are still exploring possible options for observance of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan. U.S. ambassadors are encouraged to celebrate Ramadan through a variety of activities, which are held annually at missions around the world,” a State Department spokesman said.

Muslim groups say that as far as they know, no events are planned.

“If they’re having one, we haven’t been invited,” said Rabiah Ahmed, spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington.

A former diplomat who helped plan Ramadan events for the Bush and Obama administrations said eliminating a Ramadan event was a mistake.

It showed “it is not as important to this administration to engage with Muslims,” said Farah Pandith.

Tillerson on Friday issued a statement calling Ramadan “a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection.”

“Most importantly, it is a cherished time for family and friends to gather and give charity to those who are less fortunate,” Tillerson said.

President Donald Trump on Friday also issued a statement about the start of Ramadan.

“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,” Trump said. “Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology.”

Trump said the holy month is a time to build a peaceful future without terrorism.

“I reiterate my message delivered in Riyadh: America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it. During this month of Ramadan, let us be resolved to spare no measure so that we may ensure that future generations will be free of this scourge and able to worship and commune in peace,” he said.

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