After 9/11, President George W. Bush held the first official White House Iftar dinner, breaking the daily, sunrise-to-sundown fast integral to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Whereas Barack Obama continued the practice, President Donald Trump decided to celebrate the beginning of the holy holiday by issuing a statement that focused a whole lot on terrorism.
The president issued a statement Friday wishing Muslims a happy holiday and praising practitioners' ability to find "meaning and inspiration in acts of charity and meditation" in communities across the country. But then, his statement takes a turn to harp on "perverted ideology."
"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 in the statement. "Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology."
But, of course, Trump didn't stop there.
"America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it," he continued. "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."
Here's the president's full statement:
There are more than 3 million Muslims living in America, and many of them have been keenly watching Trump as he meets with various Muslim leaders on his first international trip. During the campaign, Trump said he would consider closing Mosques and create a database of Muslim Americans, before issuing a travel ban aimed at Muslim majority countries after becoming president.
It's no surprise then that his statement on Friday echoes the one he gave during his visit to Saudi Arabia last week, where he urged Muslim leaders to "drive out the terrorists from your places of worship," according to the Associated Press. Maybe Trump could use a refresher on how to speak to Muslims during Islam's most important month—or maybe just at all.
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