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Muslims urged to boycott White House Iftar Dinner

by Zahid Jadwat

US President Joe Biden hosted a White House Iftar Dinner on the eve of Eid al-Fitr in May 2022. [Picture: Susan Walsh / AP Photo]


Dining with US President Joe Biden for the annual Iftar Dinner at the White House is not a good look for anyone opposed to the Gaza Genocide. That is why the administration is looking at a scaled-down reception, according to reports.

As the War of Extermination presses on, even during Ramadan, the Biden administration is said to be grappling with the fallout with the Afro-Arab electorate. Scores have indicated they will boycott the Democratic Party for its enabling genocide in Gaza.

“We need to keep the pressure,” said Abder Rahman El-Ghouleh, vice-president of the US Palestinian Council. Speaking in an interview on Salaamedia, he was referring to an electrical wave of support for the Palestinian cause breaking out in many parts of the US.

“We do not need to show weakness [by] going to this iftar or associating, supporting or dialoguing with these politicians who support the genocide that’s happening to the Palestinian people and other peoples across the world.”


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Scaled-down White House Iftar Dinner

On Friday, Politico reported that the White House was considering a trimmed-down Iftar dinner. Aides were warned invitees would decline in protest of Biden’s handling of the Gaza Genocide.

But even a smaller affair might not spare them from embarrassment. There is increasing pressure for the handful of administration officials and ambassadors of Muslim-majority countries to stay away.

Said El-Ghouleh: “We have to start laying down the line in the sand. They are shaking behind the scenes and they’re trying to play these games, trying to figure out how they could offset the loss of our votes. They’re going to try all these games.”

The annual reception was initiated by former President Bill Clinton and continued under George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Concurring with his fellow panellist’s views, Muhammad ibn Bashir said it was important to keep up the momentum. He linked the oppression in Palestine to the marginalisation of Blacks in America.

“What’s going on right now in Palestine, we can all see … when George Floyd had a knee on his neck. The question is when it begins to die, if you don’t understand the necessity for moving it forward; to bring it together and to move it forward,” he said.

This meant people had to “speak truth to power”, he implored. “Make it an international movement so that nobody can ever do it again without it echoing in France, and in and in Morocco, and in Sweden, and in Norway, and in Ukraine, and in Chicago and in Detroit.”

“When we speak, we speak with one voice,” he implored. When we stop, we stop loud.”

Plans for this year’s White House Iftar Dinner come at a key moment for fasting Muslims around the globe. Many have attributed an emotional connection between their abstention from food and the starvation endured by people in Palestine.

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