Washington, DC – On Wednesday evening (June 6), President Donald Trump hosted dozens of guests in the White House. Meanwhile outside the White House in Lafayette Square, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in partnership with other civil rights organizations, gathered a “NOT Trump’s Iftar” fast-breaking meal (Iftar).
Trump Iftar Party
Journalists were ushered into the State Dining Room where guests were already seated, 7 tables hosted 8 on each. One or two tables had an empty chair. Tables were decorated with white flowers and white plates. The food hadn’t arrived by the time the journalists were escorted out. Each table had a member of the Trump administration.
The President sat at the head table with Saudi Ambassador Prince Khalid Ben Salman, and Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar.
At another table, President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was seated between Wafa Bugaighis, Libya’s ambassador to the US and the Kuwaiti ambassador.
President Trump started with thanking the audience for “joining us — this Iftar dinner — as we celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. It’s a great month. A lot of friends, a lot of great friends,” adding, “To each of you and to the Muslims around the world: Ramadan Mubarak.”
A statement from the White House announced, “Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Today at 8 p.m., President Trump will host an Iftar dinner in the State Dining Room at the White House for the Washington Diplomatic Community.”
The name of the Imam, who lead the call to prayer in the East Room tonight, was also provided in the White House statement: Dawud Abdul-Aziz Agbere, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army from Chaplain Corps.
Some of the Arab Ambassadors identified by country in attendance were from: UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria and Libya. The PLO Representative was conspicuous by the absence as he was recalled back after the US embassy was moved to Jerusalem. The White House didn’t provide a list of attendees.
NOT Trump’s Iftar
Meanwhile on a parallel time slot, there was a “NOT Trump’s Iftar,” gathering outside the White House, where people of all faiths and backgrounds were welcomed to take part.
“Wednesday’s event is designed as a counterpoint to the Iftar that will take place at that same time in the White House,” CAIR said in a statement. Other sponsoring organizations included CWS Immigration and Refugee Program, the ICNA Council for Social Justice and the Justice for Muslims Collective.