Mr Trump Ends Traditional White House Dinner To Mark "Eid", The Conclusion Of Ramadan

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Scepticalscribe, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #1
    Given the plethora of threads on Islam, Mr Trump, and related matters, such as travel bans, I thought it might be of interest to some who post here to note that, regrettably, Mr Trump has just put an end to a tradition of hosting a dinner for Muslim dignatories, diplomats, legislators, and others at the White House to celebrate Eid (the feast that marks the close of Ramadan).

    Inexplicably, this decision does not seem to have been covered or reported in the US media, although it has been widely reported abroad.

    In recent times, this tradition had been started - or resurrected - by Hillary Clinton, in 1996, when she was First Lady and Bill Clinton served as President, although, it may be worth noting that the first such 'iftar' meal had been hosted by Thomas Jefferson in December 1805.

    To his credit, this tradition was continued by George W Bush each year he served as president, most famously shortly after 9/11 (the fact that the beginning and end of Ramadan are defined by the phases of the moon - the new moon - means that the actual time when Ramadan falls changes each year), when he remarked at the dinner that the fight was against terrorism, not Islam.

    Needless to say, Mr Obama continued with this tradition, and it had been an annual part of the calendar of the White House until this year.
     
  2. pdqgp macrumors 68020

    pdqgp

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    #2
    In the grand scheme this is the least of the worlds concerns. Let's be real, they probably don't give a flying expletive about eating dinner with Trump anyway, so let's stop the petty games around that.
     
  3. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #3
    This has been an important and meaningful event for many American Muslims. For this administration to discard it is just another piece of evidence of their contempt.
     
  4. Scepticalscribe, Jun 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017

    Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #4
    "In the grand scheme of things" hate crimes against Muslims in the US have increased in recent times, and the current administration is perceived to be rather antagonistic to cultures and perspectives that do not reflect the mindset of what may be considered as "mainstream America".

    "Let's be real": Sending signals that any and all faiths are welcome at the White House - a point that Thomas Jefferson - a passionate advocate of religious freedom - was keen to stress with such invitations - would be tactful, diplomatic and in terms of political optics, exactly the right, and courteous and respectful thing to do.

    I was struck by a number of things.

    Firstly, this dinner is an ancient tradition - albeit intermittently practiced - in the history of the United States, and it seems clear that Mr Trump, as disdainful and contemptuous as ever of traditions and diplomatic niceties that suggest and are designed to signal respect - above all, the sort of traditions rooted in showing respect to your interlocutors - holds it in little regard.

    Signalling and showing respect to others is never a waste of time, - especially at a time of deep political divisions. But, it would seem to me that Mr trump prefers insult conveyed by Twitter to a formal, decorous dinner conducted in a courteous and dignified manner.

    Besides, it is a gesture that would cost little in terms of time, diplomacy and courtesy and could reap quite a significant amount of goodwill. Not least in signalling to American Muslims that they, too, are considered to be a part of this country's traditions and that this dinner is a way of marking that fact.

    As usual, Mr Trump shows little class, dignity, or grace, but rather, is keen to signal contempt and a lack of respect for other traditions, not just those of Islam, but those of the United States itself.

    Secondly, I am stunned that this story has not been covered to a greater extent in the United States.

    And, much though I deplored many of the polices of George W Bush, the dignity of the office was not tarnished by his shortcomings, for, in his person, and as President, he proved himself to be a dignified and thoughtful host when he hosted this dinner, welcoming Muslims - including American Muslims - and drawing a clear distinction between Islam and terror.
     
  5. samcraig macrumors P6

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    #5
    If I was going to conjecture - Trump couldn't remotely bring himself to look like he might have ANY positive connection to the muslim community in the midst of his travel ban push. I mean - invite terrorists to the white house to celebrate? I mean - can you imagine?!
     
  6. The-Real-Deal82 macrumors 601

    The-Real-Deal82

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    #6
    Not exactly a welcoming message but Trump has made this his agenda for quite some time. No wonder so many Americans are under the false impression Islam is terrorism when the President makes an antagonistic gesture like this.
     
  7. alex2792 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I'm pretty sure that almost daily terror attacks motivated by Islamic teachings, and not Trump are the reason why Islam isn't met with great fanfare in the west.
     
  8. samcraig macrumors P6

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    #8
    White males and toddlers should be shunned too - they kill more people per year than terrorism :)
     
  9. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #9
    he just sold the terrorist billions worth or arms, what do they need dinner for?
     
  10. alex2792 macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    White people are a race, Islam is an ideology so your comparison makes no sense. Now, white people who want to blow us up in the name of Allah should definitely be shunned.
     
  11. Scepticalscribe, Jun 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017

    Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #11
    That is not the point of the thread.

    Mr Trump has decided to dispense with a tradition that signals goodwill, inclusion, welcome and respect - one that would cost him little while signalling to Muslim Americans that their faith and culture are also respected in the United States.

    It does not surprise me, for Mr Trump strikes me as a crass individual, someone lacking class, dignity and grace, but it does sadden me that a genuinely positive tradition that was rooted - initially - in the early years of modern American history can be disposed of, dispensed with and discarded so easily.
     
  12. samcraig macrumors P6

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    #12
    Lighten up. Clearly my sarcasm went over your head.
     
  13. macintoshmac, Jun 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017

    macintoshmac macrumors 68000

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    #13
    The grand scheme of things is useless if it is lacking grandiosity, grand gestures, welcoming and open arms. This is not to say give visas to terrorists. This is to say do not let terrorists terrorise your mind even without causing an actual physical infrastructural attack. They have attacked the mind and rule it, when you do stupid things like travel bans. It only shows how fearful the nation has become of "an impending attack".

    Measures should be taken to safeguard the citizens and protect the sovereignty of a country, but was a curfew really needed? :p

    I am not happy to say this, but your reply sounds almost as crass, as lacking in dignity and grace as Trump himself. Petty games? That's not the point. You clearly do not understand the larger ramifications, just like Trump. The point was that such gestures are diplomatic and are essential in creating a mood, within the nation and for outsiders. Any religious sect in the country feels at home when the representative leader of the country celebrates with them. This is both an honour for them, as well as a matter of pride and joy. They feel at home, at ease.

    Muslims have gained a bad name because of a disproportionately large number of Muslims who just want to wreck havoc in the world. Because of those people, the entire community gets a bad name.

    I am saying the following here because this is PRSI: if you call Muslims terrorists and support Trump in this regard and context, please tell us here your views on christians trying to convert every Tom, Dick and Harry to christianity? Please tell us your views on the monstrosities that happen and are a part of history of Christianity around the world? Is that to say christianity as a faith is wrong, and all christians must be travel banned and made to feel like societal aliens in a country of immigrants? And then, when they are disillusioned because you have caused it, you will shout that hey look, weren't we right!
     
  14. The-Real-Deal82 macrumors 601

    The-Real-Deal82

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    #14
    Having witnessed terrorism in my own country recently at the hands of Islamist extremists, I am happy to admit I am vastly more intelligent than the average bigot who can't tell the difference between a Muslim and a terrorist.

    We've also had 2 terrorist attacks by white non-Muslim people here in the UK in the last 12 days, one in London and one in Newcastle.
     
  15. mgguy macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Good. Government is too involved in religion.
     
  16. darksithpro macrumors regular

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    #16

    He already did that when he went to SA with 37 Muslim leaders and formed the GCCEI. Forming partnerships against terrorism and mutual respect abroad is far more important than some traditional dinner.
     
  17. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Shouldn't all the atheists on the forum (including our coffee loving OP ;) ) ask to exclude ALL religious dinners and events from the White House?
     
  18. darksithpro macrumors regular

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    #18
    Yea, good point, very good point. If this was a Christian dinner the Democrats would be causing a hissy fit over this.
     
  19. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #19
    No, @yaxomoxay.

    Now, I do see the icon suggesting a sly wink, but, will make the argument that this falls into the category of basic courtesy and diplomacy.

    Above all, it serves to signal to US citizens who happen to be Muslim that their culture is respected in the wider US, that they are welcome within the state, and no clearer signal of such respect can be given than by hosting a formal dinner in the White House which salutes a cultural signifier of the culture and tradition that you come from.

    Is the dinner - bear in mind the dinner is an old and respected tradition in the United States - a sign of recognition of and signal of respect to a culture, or a religion, or both?

    If that is the case, I daresay you would approve of abandoning the St Patrick's Day celebrations at the White House (though from reports I read, Mr Trump was his usual graceless self at that function, too).

    However, I would argue that it is a low cost - but courteous - way of signalling respect, and such signals acquire an eve greater importance at times of international tension when we know that zealots exist on both sids who seek to undermine traditions of tolerance and mutual respect.
     
  20. uknowimright macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    then who will provide the comedy?
     
  21. The-Real-Deal82 macrumors 601

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    #21
    I'm an atheist but respect that religions exist around the world and its good for everybody to get along. In a world where wars are money and religion driven I think now more than ever is a time to show solidarity, not cut ties and get macho on Twitter.
     
  22. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

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    #22
    I don't see how you can say that.
    First of all, it's not an old and respected tradition. In your own first post you mention that this "tradition" is "intermittently practiced." If anything, intermittance is as much as a tradition as the dinner.
    Second, I don't approve abandoning St. Patrick's Day simply because I am catholic. If you want to abolish from the WH anything else that is not catholic? Be my guest. I won't force it, or ask for it, but removing a Baptist, Methodist, Amish, Muslim, Scientologist tradition/dinner would leave me totally indifferent. I won't go into the hypocrital "for me it's all the same" charade. I am Catholic, I identify with Catholic identity, and I aspire to things by Catholicism. Everything else? I respect it, and I will defend their legal rights, but I won't put them on the same plane of my catholicism. Of course I also don't care if the POTUS is having an Islamic feast; my religion, and my faith, are totally untouched by whatever ritual the POTUS follows. As I am sure all Islamics don't care if Trump attends a dinner or not.
    However, I have to hear that religion has to be kept separate from politics, or even more from government, yet here you ask the POTUS to attend a religious dinner (which, again, you call tradition even if it was resurrected just in 1996) in the name of "respect". Then respect me, and allow my kids or me to say a prayer to Mary in a classroom without incurring into a shitfest.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 26, 2017 ---
    Skipping a dinner is machoism? I doubt so. I ask from Trump solidarity with facts and policy, not with a dinner and a speech written by a speechwriter in which he talks about the "important friendship of our Muslim community."
     
  23. giantfan1224 macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Muslims only make up 1% of the entire U.S. population. Very much a minority religion, seemingly getting undue attention by POTUS' past. Mormons make up almost twice the Muslim population, where is the demand for Mormon holidays to be recognized in the White House??
     
  24. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #24
    You introduced the 'religious' angle with your suggestion that all diners hosted by the White House that may be perceived to have a religious component be discontinued. I merely argued that if you are to be consistent with such a position that you include the St Patrick's Day dinner.

    Now, as it happens, I think both dinners should continue; not least because Catholics - historically - and Muslims (more recently) may have felt excluded from believing that US culture included them when defining what it considered American.

    When Hillary Clinton resurrected the intermittent tradition of hosting this dinner, signalling that Muslims were 'welcome at the table' and their culture respected had not acquired the powerful political symbolism such a gesture carries today.

    And on this matter, - as on so many others - I would argue that Thomas Jefferson had the right instincts.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 26, 2017 ---
    It has been recognised for the past twenty years; Mr Trump is discontinuing this tradition, which I would regard as an admirable one.
     
  25. zin macrumors 6502

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