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Muslim Members of Congress Host Historic Ramadan Iftar

Muslim Members of Congress Host Historic Ramadan Iftar
Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, at the iftar ceremony on Monday night at the Capitol.CreditCreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

Muslim members of the Congress hosted Monday a first-ever Ramadan iftar at the US Capitol, one week after Donald Trump held one at the White House without any Muslim Americans, HuffPost reported.

“It’s important to take a moment to recognize how historic this iftar is,” Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said in a statement.

“This event lifts an entire community that has felt unseen for far too long. We have been unjustly targeted to ignite fear and promote an agenda of hate. Tonight, we recommit to being rooted in justice, inclusivity, and a sense of belonging.”

Tlaib, along with Reps. André Carson (D-Ind.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), hosted the historic iftar in the US Capitol to recognize the holy month of Ramadan and honor the contributions of the Muslim American community.

The event was co-hosted by the national civil rights organization Muslim Advocates, was also set to be the first congressional iftar to be addressed by any speaker of the House.

Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan. She, Ms. Omar and Representative André Carson, Democrat of Indiana, all Muslims, hosted the event.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

Along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) were also set to attend.

The event was described as significant for celebrating the unprecedented number of Muslims in Congress as well as coming at a time when anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes are at an all-time high.

“This is particularly meaningful now given the increasing public role that Muslims are having in civic life,” Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, told HuffPost.

“To have this opportunity to have members of Congress recognize our community, and to say that they see us and they support us, is just absolutely crucial, especially in the holiest month on the calendar for Muslims.”

Traditional Iftar

Last week, President Donald Trump hosted his own iftar at the White House, but without the presence of American Muslims.

Last year, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) hosted a “NOT Trump’s Iftar” fast-breaking meal (iftar) outside the White House in partnership with other civil rights organizations.

The event came on the same day Trump scheduled the White House iftar dinner, which was dumped by American Muslims.

The White House iftar is a tradition that began annually under President Clinton and was continued by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

The tradition can be traced to over two centuries ago as the first documented White House Iftar occurred more than 200 years ago, when President Thomas Jefferson hosted the Tunisian envoy Sidi Slimane Mhlmyla on Dec. 9, 1805, to discuss the issue of piracy in the Mediterranean Sea.


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