US Politics

Donald Trump ends iftar dinner tradition

Donald Trump has become the first US President not to host an iftar dinner in 21 years. Source: AP

The lack of a White House iftar dinner ends a bipartisan annual custom upheld by the previous three administrations.

Donald Trump has broken with tradition dating back two decades, becoming the first US President not to host an iftar dinner during Ramadan.

The custom initially dates back to 1805, when President Thomas Jefferson hosted a dinner for a Tunisian ambassador during the Islamic month of fasting.

Former First Lady Hillary Clinton made it an annual custom in 1996, and had been upheld by the past three administrations. Politicians, prominent Muslim diplomats and community leaders generally attended the dinner.

This year, the White House instead released a statement on behalf of the president and First Lady Melania Trump.

"Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity," it said.

"Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbours and breaking bread with people from all walks of life."

The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, also followed the President’s suit in breaking with the tradition.

Since 1999, Secretary of States have hosted dinners to either break the fast during Ramadan, or mark Eid al-Fitr.

This year, Mr Tillerson rejected a request by the US State Department to host such a reception.

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