US President Donald Trump marked the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with an iftar dinner held at the White House.
Trump used the Monday, May 13th, dinner as an opportunity to urge people to join forces in "pursuit of hope, tolerance and peace". The iftar dinner was held for ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps who represent Muslim-majority nations.
Iftar is the dinner that breaks the daylong fast that Muslims follow during Ramadan. This is not the first time iftar has been held at the White House; it is a regular event that has been held since the Clinton administration. The dinners are used as a form of outreach to the Muslim world.
During the dinner, Trump said it had been a rough period recently for people of all faiths. He cited the recent attacks on Muslims in New Zealand, Christians in Sri Lanka and Jews in California and Pittsburgh.
"In their blessed memories, we resolve to defeat the evils of terrorism and religious persecution so that all people can worship without fear, pray without danger and live by the faith that flows from their heart," he said.
Just hours earlier, Trump had criticised Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, claiming in a tweet that "she obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?"
Republicans noted Tlaib’s use of the words "calming feeling" when she thinks of the "tragedy of the Holocaust," the suffering of her Palestinian ancestors and the state of Israel.
According to AP, theCongresswomen’s remark instantly ignited an online fight, with some Republicans describing Tlaib's words as being a reflection of her feelings about the genocide that cost millions of lives. In response, Democrats jumped to Tlaib’s defence, saying her words were being twisted and turned into a "right-wing smear campaign".