Trump hosts first iftaar dinner at White House

Muslim groups to hold 'Not Trump's Iftar' outside White House

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US President Donald Trump hosted his first Iftar dinner at the White House during which he sought co-operation from the Muslim world to achieve a future of security and prosperity for all, a move that surprised many in the community after he skipped hosting such a party a year ago.

US President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, US, June 6, 2018.

CAIR "has witnessed an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president", the group said in a statement. At the head table, Trump sat with Saudi Ambassador Prince Khalid Ben Salman, and Jordanian Ambassador Dina Kawar.

Envoys from several Muslim countries including the UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Kuwait, Gambia, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Bosnia were invited.

"At tonight's dinner, we especially are pleased to welcome members of the diplomatic corps, representing our friends and partners across the globe", Trump said.

On the campaign trail, Trump called for a "total and complete" ban on Muslims entering the US. Instead of hosting a dinner, the White House issued a statement on the Islamic holiday that focused heavily on the threat of terrorism, noting that recent attacks "steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology".

"Only by working together can we achieve a future of security and prosperity for all", Trump told a gathering of diplomats and officials at the iftar dinner last evening.

However, some of the nation's largest Muslim organisations said they had not been invited to the dinner.

The iftar was the first of its kind to be held by Trump, with the president having declined to hold one in his first year in office.

In November, Trump drew widespread condemnation for retweeting a series of anti-Muslim videos from the ultranationalist far-right group Britain First.

The groups say Trump's heated rhetoric has contributed to an increase in bullying and discrimination against Muslim Americans.

Millions of devout Muslims observe the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which is slated to end on Jun 14 this year.

In one of his first acts from the Oval Office, Trump imposed a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries and indefinitely suspended the U.S. refugee program.

Former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton all held dinners to mark the breaking of the Ramadaan fast at the White House.

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