While the liberal media expressed outrage and disappointment upon learning that President Donald Trump will not host a “White House Iftar Dinner,” claiming that this is a long-standing tradition started by Thomas Jefferson, Breitbart was researching the facts and found out that no such tradition exists.
Calling out “fake news” that reaches back through history, Breitbart revealed that not only did Thomas Jefferson not hold an Iftar dinner at any time during his presidency, only three out of 45 presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, ever hosted one.
Washington Post Writer Amy B. Wang started the rumor, disguised as a news report, that Thomas Jefferson held the “first Iftar dinner” with a June 24 piece entitled, “Trump just ended a long tradition of celebrating Ramadan at the White House.” Other news outlets followed her lead, claiming that Jefferson once changed the time of a White House dinner to suit the needs of a Muslim diplomat who couldn’t eat until sunset during Ramadan.
“In fact, all Jefferson did was change the time of his meal. He had no intention of honoring Islam,” according to Breitbart, which noted that Jefferson used to refer to Muslims as “the Musselmen” and made no further concessions; dietary or otherwise, for the dignitary’s religious preferences.
“Further, Jefferson sent no letters containing proclamations about the meal being an Iftar dinner nor mentioning Islam, he never mentioned such honors in his private papers, and there is no record that he spoke to anyone about his intentions to honor the Muslim practice of an Iftar dinner.”
The more recent practice of holding Iftar dinners in the White House began with Bill Clinton, who was seeking to win Muslim voters who were leaning to the right away from the GOP.
George W. Bush used Iftar dinners as a form of diplomacy towards Muslim Americans in the wake of the War on Terror, having included the Muslim-majority countries of Iraq and Iran in the “Axis of Evil” (along with North Korea) after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Having grown up in Muslim-majority Indonesia and raised as a Muslim, Barack Obama held Iftar dinners because of his personal connections to Islam.
So, White House Iftar Dinners have indeed been a tradition, but only for the past 20 years.
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