Faith

Trump's Ramadan Message: Muslims Add 'Richness' to 'Religious Tapestry of American Life'

President Trump speaks during a meeting with automotive executives at the White House on May 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — President Trump issued a message today sending “best wishes to all Muslims observing Ramadan in the United States and around the world.”

Though in some countries a lack of moon-sighting has bumped the start of Ramadan to Thursday, the U.S. and Europe begin observing the month at sundown tonight. Those observing refrain from food or drink from sun-up to sundown, with exceptions for age or health conditions, and break the day’s fast with the iftar meal.

The White House held an annual iftar dinner during the Clinton, Bush and Obama years, but the Trump administration did not host one last year.

“During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad through fellowship and prayer. Many observe this holy time by fasting, performing acts of charity, reciting prayers, and reading the Quran,” Trump said.

“Ramadan is a time of self-reflection intended to deepen one’s spiritual growth and renew a sense of appreciation for the many blessings God provides. In this spirit of thanksgiving and reflection, those observing Ramadan can strengthen our communities, help those in need, and serve as good examples for how to live a holy life.”

The president added that Ramadan “reminds us of the richness Muslims add to the religious tapestry of American life.”

“In the United States, we are all blessed to live under a Constitution that fosters religious liberty and respects religious practice,” Trump continued. “Our Constitution ensures Muslims can observe Ramadan in accordance with the dictates of conscience and unimpeded by government. By doing so, the Constitution also furnishes varied opportunities for all Americans to deepen their understanding of the human soul.”

“As so many people unite to celebrate Ramadan, Melania and I join in the hope for a blessed month. Ramadan Mubarak.”

The message was markedly different from Trump’s Ramadan statement last year, in which he called on Muslims to “reject violence” and cited recent “barbaric terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and Egypt, acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan.”

“Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology,” he added then.