No show at Biden’s iftar party, ‘upset’ over Gaza: Muslim leaders


Several American Muslim community leaders on Tuesday, April 2, rejected United States (US) President Joe Biden’s invitation to attend an Iftar party at the White House, in protest against the US administration’s continued support for Israel in the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

The leaders have expressed shame over attending the Iftar event, citing the ongoing hunger crisis among hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza due to the Israeli army’s actions.

“It’s inappropriate to do such a celebration while there’s a famine going on in Gaza”, Wa’el Alzayat, who leads Emgage, a Muslim advocacy organization, was quoted by the Associated Press.

He added, “We’re just in a different world. It’s completely surreal. And it’s sad”.

Following a boycott by Muslim leaders and Arab diplomats, the White House held a scaled-down version of the annual dinner for a select group of Muslim staff members.

Two sources informed Al Jazeera that the event was cancelled due to warnings from Muslim community members to leaders against attending the event.

“The American Muslim community said very early on that it would be completely unacceptable for us to break bread with the very same White House that is enabling the Israeli government to starve and slaughter the Palestinian people in Gaza,” Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Deputy Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told Al Jazeera.

Dr. Thaer Ahmad, an emergency room physician who had volunteered at Al-Nasser Hospital in Gaza earlier this year, walked out of a meeting before it ended.

The only Palestinian American who attended the meeting told CNN, “Out of respect for my community, and out of respect for all the people who suffered and were killed in this operation, I had to withdraw from the meeting.”

Before leaving, he gave Biden a letter from an eight-year-old orphaned girl, Hadeel, living in Rafah, begging Biden to stop Israel from invading Rafah.

Meanwhile, activists from Arab and American backgrounds gathered in front of the White House to support the Palestinian cause during President Biden’s Ramzan Iftar party.

They also raised slogans demanding the siege on Gaza be lifted.

Muslims worldwide fast from dawn to dusk during Ramzan, with Iftar being the special meal served.

The first Iftar in the White House was hosted by Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of the United States, on December 9, 1805.

However, the Iftar ceremony was not regularly held annually until the Clinton era, and Trump did not organize one in his first term.

The US is the primary supporter of Israel in its ongoing six-month war on the Gaza Strip, supplying it with numerous weapons and ammunition through an air and sea bridge.

Since October 7, Israeli forces have killed 32,975 Palestinians, while 1.8 million people are starving due to the zionists’ blockade of Gaza.

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