Rex Tillerson has denied permission to have a Ramadan dinner sponsored by the State Department. He praised the holiday but has refused to continue a tradition started By Clintonista Madeline Notsobright 18 years ago. At a time when Tillerson is scaling back the budget at the State Department, it would hard to explain why Ramadan dinners should be continued. Does anyone remember a single Muslim country hosting a Christmas or Easter dinner for Christian nations? I’d be willing to bet on that one.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will break a long bipartisan tradition by declining to hold a Ramadan event at the State Department this year, Reuters reported Friday.
Tillerson reportedly turned down a request from the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host a reception at the State Department for Eid-al-Fitr. Secretaries of State from both parties have hosted Ramadan events at the State Department since Madeleine Albright began the tradition in 1999.
The State Department issued a statement saying they were still looking at it.
“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,” the spokesman said.
Muslim leaders in the area noted that they hadn’t been invited to any events.
Members of Congress, Muslim civil society and community leaders, diplomats from Muslim countries and senior U.S. officials usually attend the State Department Ramadan event, a symbol of the U.S. government’s diplomatic efforts with Muslim countries and people.
If Tillerson avoids hosting one this year, that could send a message “that it is not as important to this administration to engage with Muslims,” said former U.S. diplomat Farah Pandith, who served in the Bush and Obama administrations and helped plan Ramadan events at the White House and State Department.
Tillerson called Ramadan “a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection” in a statement.
H/T Young Conservatives