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Biden restores White House Eid celebration

27th May 2022
Biden restores White House Eid celebration

Harun Nasrullah

US President, Joe Biden, hosted Eid al-Fitr celebrations in the White House on May 2, restoring a gathering scrapped by his predecessor.

Addressing hundreds of attendees in the East Room, Biden said he had promised as a presidential candidate to bring back marking Eid al-Fitr at the White House, but was forced to hold a virtual celebration last year because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, around the world, we’ve seen so many Muslims that have been targeted by violence. No one, no one should be discriminated against, be oppressed, or be repressed, for their religious beliefs,” Biden said. “We have to acknowledge that an awful lot of work remains to be done, abroad and here at home. Muslims make our nation stronger every single day, even as they still face real challenges and threats in our society, particularly targeted violence and Islamophobia.”

Presidents have held Eid al-Fitr celebrations since the Clinton administration, until Donald Trump, who didn’t hold formal events. He instead released statements marking the holiday, including one in 2020 when Trump said of Muslims, “We hope they find both comfort and strength in the healing powers of prayer and devotion.”

Biden said that he’d recently nominated the first Muslim woman to the Federal bench as part of a commitment to build an administration that values diversity and “looks like America.” He also jokingly compared fasting for Ramadan to his Catholic faith, which he claims mandates he makes major sacrifices for Lent, including having to “go 40 days” with “no sweets and no ice cream.”

Talib Shareef, Imam of Masjid Muhammad in Washington, known to some as “The Nation’s Mosque,” said of the White House gathering, “Being hosted here is an important statement for our nation and for the world.”

“A statement that Islam is a welcome part of our nation, together with all the other faith traditions,” Shareef added. “And that the highest office in this land is committed to our nation’s foundational values and laws protecting religious freedom.”

Photo: President Joe Biden hosts Eid al-Fitr celebration at the White House on May 3
(Credit: Hakan Çopur /Anadolu Agency)

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