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Offbeat Trump hosts first Iftar dinner

05:30  07 june  2018
05:30  07 june  2018 Source:   thehill.com

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President Trump on Wednesday hosted his first Iftar dinner to celebrate Ramadan, where he extolled the virtues of the Muslim holy month and called for cooperation in the Middle East.

"Tonight as we enjoy a magnificent dinner at the White House, let us strive to embody the grace and goodwill that mark the Ramadan season," Trump told attendees.

"Let us pray for peace and justice and let us resolve that these values will guide us as we work together to build a bright and prosperous future that does honor and glory to God," he continued.

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Iftars represent the end of daily fasts that Muslims observe during Ramadan. Trump referred to the dinner as "a sacred tradition of one of the world's great religions."

Attendees included Vice President Pence and a few other Cabinet members, as well as ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Kuwait, Indonesia, Jordan and other Muslim-majority countries.

Trump reflected fondly on his trip last year to Saudi Arabia, and said the administration has "made a lot of progress" on relations in the Middle East in the past year.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill

"Only by working together can we achieve a future of prosperity and security for all," he said.

Trump broke with nearly two decades of presidential tradition last year when he did not host an Iftar dinner.

The president has faced criticism at various times since the 2016 campaign for his rhetoric about Islam and Muslims.

While on the campaign trail, Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the country to combat terrorist attacks, and told CNN that "Islam hates us."

His administration has since issued multiple versions of a travel ban that restricts citizens of multiple Middle East countries from entering the U.S. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling soon on the legality of the ban.

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