Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not be hosting an event for the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, breaking with a “bipartisan tradition” for the past 20 years.
1999 marked the beginning of the tradition wherein Republican and Democrat Secretaries of State would host either an “iftar dinner to break the day’s fast” for Ramadan or a “reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday” at the State Department.
An April 6 memo from the State Department office recommended Tillerson hold a reception. Tillerson rejected the request and a State Department spokesperson commented to Reuters:
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.
“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.”
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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.