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No show at President Biden’s iftar party

Many Muslim leaders turn down President’s Iftar invite


No show at President Joe Biden’s iftar party, ‘upset’ over Gaza many Muslim leaders turn down White House invite. In a significant move, a group of six Muslim leaders has opted out of a dinner invitation at the White House during Ramadan. Choosing instead to engage in a policy discussion with President Biden and Vice President Harris regarding U.S. policy in the Gaza Strip. The decision comes amidst continued devastation in the territory and ongoing support for Israel from the Biden administration.

Initially invited for President’s ‘iftar’, the traditional meal marking the end of daily fasting during Ramadan, the leaders expressed a preference for a substantive policy meeting. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the adjustment of plans to accommodate their request.

Sulaiman Ahmed, Investigative Journalist, Geo-Politics, MA Philosophy, PGCE Mathematics, LLB Law, Author wrote on his Twitter/X user wrote “One guest, a doctor, has recently come back from Gaza, gave the US president a letter written by a displaced Palestinian child in Rafah, who lost his entire family. He then left in disgust stating that he could not attend it while people in Gaza were being murdered.”

Salima Suswell, leader of the Black Muslim Leadership Council, articulated the group’s stance, stating that they declined the dinner invitation to focus on addressing pressing issues like the war in Gaza directly with the president and other White House officials. Suswell emphasized the importance of engagement, despite concerns among some activists about the efficacy of such meetings.

This latest development underscores the complex dynamics within Arab American and Muslim communities. While some advocate for direct engagement to influence policy, others remain skeptical and view such meetings as ineffective gestures. The decision to prioritize policy discussions over a ceremonial dinner reflects a concerted effort by Muslim leaders to actively address issues affecting their communities on a substantive level.

Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the deputy director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), shed light on the cancellation of the event, revealing that numerous invitees, including those who initially accepted the invitation, opted out. Mitchell emphasized that the American Muslim community vehemently opposed the notion of dining with an administration complicit in enabling Israeli actions in Gaza.

“The American Muslim community said very early on that it would be completely unacceptable for us to break bread with the very same White House that is enabling the Israeli government to starve and slaughter the Palestinian people in Gaza,” Mitchell stated in an interview with Al Jazeera.

In a surprising turn of events, the White House later announced plans to host a meal exclusively for Muslim government staffers while scheduling a separate meeting with select Muslim American community representatives. The decision reflects the administration’s efforts to navigate the sensitivities surrounding its approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The cancelled iftar event underscores President Biden’s challenge in addressing mounting discontent within US Arab and Muslim communities over his administration’s steadfast support for Israel. Critics warn that failing to address these concerns could have electoral repercussions for Biden in November’s presidential election, highlighting the potential significance of these developments beyond their immediate context.

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