President Donald Trump celebrated the month of Ramadan Monday evening as a time when people join forces in “pursuit of hope, tolerance and peace.”
Trump held an Iftar dinner for ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps representing Muslim-majority nations.
The dinner breaks the daylong fast that Muslims follow during Ramadan. They have been held regularly at the White House since the Clinton administration as a form of outreach to the Muslim world.
Trump said it’s been a rough period recently for people of all faiths. He cited 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.
Trump had harshly criticized one of two Muslim women in Congress, Democratic Rep. 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 have seized on her 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.
The remark instantly ignited an online fight, with Republicans incorrectly describing Tlaib’s words as reflecting her feelings about the genocide that cost millions of lives.
Democrats defended Tlaib, saying her words have been twisted and turned into a “right-wing smear campaign.”