Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tillerson declines to host Ramadan event

Exclusive: Tillerson declines to host Ramadan event at State Department

Sat May 27, 2017 | 11:02 PM EDT

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam's holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years.
Since 1999, Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day's fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month, at the State Department.

Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr reception as part of Ramadan celebrations, said two U.S. officials who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

According to an April 6 memo seen by Reuters, the office - which typically initiates such events - recommended that Tillerson hold an Eid al-Fitr reception.

His rejection of the request suggests there are no plans this year for any high-profile Ramadan function at the State Department. The month of fasting and prayer for Muslims gets under way in many countries on Saturday.

When asked by Reuters to comment on Tillerson declining a request to host an Eid al-Fitr event in July for Ramadan, a State Department spokesperson said:

"We are still exploring possible options for observance of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan. U.S. ambassadors are encouraged to celebrate Ramadan through a variety of activities, which are held annually at missions around the world."

Muslim activists have accused President Donald Trump's administration of having an unfriendly attitude toward Islam, encapsulated by its attempts to ban citizens of several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

The administration says that while it strongly opposes Islamist militants, it has no quarrel with Islam. Aides point to Trump's visit this month to Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam where he addressed the leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries, as evidence of that.

Members of Congress, Muslim civil society and community leaders, diplomats from Muslim countries and senior U.S. officials usually attend the State Department Ramadan event, a symbol of the U.S. government's diplomatic efforts with Muslim countries and people.

If Tillerson avoids hosting one this year, that could send a message "that it is not as important to this administration to engage with Muslims," said former U.S. diplomat Farah Pandith, who served in the Bush and Obama administrations and helped plan Ramadan events at the White House and State Department.

Tillerson issued a statement on Friday to mark the start of Ramadan, which he called "a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection."

"Most importantly, it is a cherished time for family and friends to gather and give charity to those who are less fortunate," he said.


Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright started the tradition 18 years ago of America's top diplomat hosting a public event for Ramadan, a lunar month.

The secretary of state of the time usually gives remarks there on the meaning of Ramadan.

In April, the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs made a request to Tillerson's office that he deliver remarks at an Eid al-Fitr reception this year, and suggested a two-week range of dates in July. The event would serve to "highlight State Department initiatives and the importance of Muslim engagement," the memo said.

It noted that by hosting a reception just after Ramadan, rather than an iftar - an often sumptuous dinner at sunset - a State Department event could be held any time of the day, thus preventing "a very late evening for the Secretary."

Several weeks later, that office and other offices at the State Department were alerted that Tillerson declined the request, the officials said.

Reuters was told of the request being declined but did not see Tillerson's reply. An official with the Office of Religion and Global Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

Several prominent Muslim-American groups in the Washington area who are normally invited to the Ramadan event told Reuters this week that they had yet to receive an invitation from the State Department, which they said was unusual.

"If they're having one, we haven't been invited," said Rabiah Ahmed, spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington. A representative for her group has been invited to the State Department event in the past, she said.


Trump's administration has had a fraught relationship with Muslims. As a presidential candidate, the Republican urged a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, called for more surveillance of mosques and warned that radical Muslims were "trying to take over our children."

Trump has since toned down his rhetoric and courts have halted his temporary travel ban on people from six mostly Muslim countries.

White House officials did not respond to a request for comment on whether they would continue the tradition this year of hosting a Ramadan-related event at the White House.

The State Department celebrates other religious traditions though some of those commemorations are not as well-established as the State Department's Ramadan event. In 2014, then-secretary of state John Kerry hosted the first ever celebration at the State Department marking Diwali, the Hindu festival.

The White House also traditionally hosts annual Christmas and Easter events as well as a Seder dinner to mark the Jewish Passover.

The top U.S. diplomat has personally hosted a Ramadan event every year since 1999, often in the State Department's grand Benjamin Franklin room, apart from three years.

In 2006 and 2015, deputies of the secretary of state at the time hosted either an iftar dinner or an Eid al-Fitr reception. In 2014, Kerry hosted a reception for Eid al-Adha, another important Muslim holiday.

(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Alistair Bell)     


Unknown said...

there are no words to explain just how ignorant this creature Tillerson really is, in future history he will never be remembered in any aspect, only as WHO.

Lovely Critters said...

This appears to be a hit piece to me.. trying to shame Tillerson into doing what he clearly doesn't want too...

Anonymous said...

Good for him. America is not a Muslim country, regardless of what the little black traitor who formerly occupied the White House says. Islam is not a religion and we have no obligation to honor, respect, or include Muslims in any celebration. To wit: Islam is not a religion but a political construct and an Ideology of conquest,, murder and moral depravity that is abhorrent to western sensibilities. Mohammad commands all muslims to murder all infidels (non-believers), to practice Taqiyya (Lie), to take booty (steal) and worship Kaaba (sacred black stone). Islam is Islamic Jihad Apartheid Terrorism against women, children and non-muslim. Liberty and Islam cannot coexist. Women's rights and Islam cannot coexist. Human rights and Islam cannot coexist. Critical Thinking and Islam cannot coexist. Islam cannot coexist with any person, place, thing, idea or quality of man. The future and Islam cannot coexist. It is said, that Islam is Islam, there are no modifiers. In plain language, there is no such thing as RADICAL Islam. Mohammad command ALL Muslim to participate in jihad. Therefore all Muslims are jihadist. They condone jihad, finance jihad, teach jihad, defend jihad or commit violent acts of jihad terrorism. But all Muslims support jihad one way or another. Therefore All Muslims are Islamic Jihadist Muslim Terrorists. Over 1400 years Muslims have murdered 320,000,000 innocent people and destroyed heritage and destroyed heritage and culture in the name of Islam.

American and plan to remain American said...

WHERE do you come up with 'shame' and 'doing what he clearly doesn't want to'? What are you - muslim? Get real. Allot of practices were added to the American way of life via the Nazi cabal criminal make believe 'government' meant to tear down and destroy our American way of life. Ramadan is one of them. What did you want Tillerson to do? Bow down on a muslim rug, put his ass up in the air for all to see, and chop off some heads because he wasn't happy about not having that party? Give us a break. This article clearly says Tillerson 'turned down a request'. What more do you need, and why do you make something out of Tillerson's refusal to observe this day that he CLEARLY IS NOT continuing? If you want to observe this occultic celebration of death, go to a muslim country - in fact stay there.

Anonymous said...

Tillerson 'ignorant'? Then what does your own comment make YOU? What makes you think Tillerson didn't want to cancel the observance? Tillerson is a good patriot American, highly qualified and willingly working with the current administration to undo certain unhealthy and non-patriotic practices and procedures as well as unlawful 'laws' put in place as far back as Carter, Nazi GHW Bush and all since. Islam is diametrically OPPOSED to ALL that America stands for. So Ramadan is important enough to you to continue to encourage muslims in this nation - which is NOT a muslim nation - yet - then you find a mosque and go there. Better yet, make your move to one of their nations in the middle east. Islam is NOT foundational to this nation, and muslims can hold their own observance WITHOUT the leaders supporting it and making it a customary annual 'observance'. Islam is NOT a religion but a false death cult, a political stance, and supporting it in any way opens many doors wide for coming warfare on our soil. If this is so important, then these people need to move back to their country of origin. Look at Europe and the havoc and death that has been taking place there as a result of their 'leaders' purposely bringing in these demon crazed morons as 'immigrants' along with all of their demands and expectations to live off the backs of hard working Americans. Already our nation is beginning to reap the poisons from this political agenda - rooted and firmly established mostly under traitor Obama who appointed muslim 'Czars' to offices that were not official and had not existed prior to this maneuver. Remember, up to now our nation has been subject to rule and reign by NOT OUR TRUE GOVERNMENT but a rogue Nazi cabal crime syndicate coup which operates for its own benefits to further enslave our people and steals and sells off our nation's assets while promoting a corporation 'constitution' that serves only their crime syndicate, leaving Americans without legal representation. Promoting Islam is part of that. Prepare to choose sides because it won't be long and you will find yourself having to decide if you want to keep your head or not - or if you plan to remove the heads of others. Don't be a fool. Major problems grow out of ridiculous uninformed baby step decisions - look at Europe. Your comment about Tillerson is troubling at best, and clearly demonstrates your ignorance of ramifications below and beyond the surface at worst.

Anonymous said...

AMEN! WHY are we allowing this rogue traitorous crime syndicate which PRETENDS to be our 'government' to continue to position the Muslim Brotherhood in 'czar' positions for them to learn about our national security, and to strategize and carry out their plans to take over this nation, bringing in sharia law 'courts', observance of satanic Islamic 'holy'? days and discontinuance of Christianity in OUR nation, punishment by beheading among other horrific methods? Americans deserve what they allow. Until and unless we collectively - united as one - make our objections heard and DEMAND the changes be done that the Trump administration is attempting to carry out - the changes to restore our REAL Constitution and TRUE government to this nation - then we can continue to expect conditions to worsen. It is our choice, and the future is ours to determine. Plan wisely and clean the swamp nationwide - or lose the country.