But the president received criticism — just as Trump did last year when he skipped a two-decade tradition of hosting a Ramadan reception.
Most of the dinner guests were from Washington’s diplomatic community and not Muslim Americans.
Leading Muslim American Advocates Snubbed
Among those who weren’t invited: Representatives from Muslim advocacy groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
Also snubbed, according to CBC, were “prominent spiritual leaders Mohamed Magid, the imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center, and Talib Shareef, president of the historic Nation’s Mosque, the oldest mosque in the capital, both of whom have been fixtures at the annual Ramadan celebration.”
Trump’s highest-profile Muslim ally felt slighted, CBC reported.
“It’s not the right way of doing things,” said Sajid Tarar, the founder of American Muslims for Trump. “Frankly speaking, I was very disappointed.”
Congressional Muslims Not Invited
Even Democratic House representatives Keith Ellison and Andre Carson, the only two Muslim members of Congress, didn’t receive invitations.
Politico reported that about 50 people were at the White House dinner, including Vice President Mike Pence, several Cabinet secretaries, and ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, attended.
“In gathering together this evening we honor a sacred tradition of one of the world’s great religions,” Trump said. He added that Ramadan is a celebration of a “timeless message of peace, clarity and love. There is great love.”
“It’s a great month,” Trump said at one point, grinning. “A lot of friends, a lot of great friends.”
Travel Ban Ruling Expected Soon
The dinner came while the Supreme Court considers legal challenges to Trump’s travel ban. Critics say it unfairly targets some Muslim-majority countries. A ruling is expected as early as this month.
Trump released a statement last month that included “Ramadan reminds us of the richness Muslims add to the religious tapestry of American life.”