President Joe Biden, left, listens as Talib M. Shareef, President and Imam of Masjid Muhammad in Washington, speaks during a reception to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, May 2, 2022.

American Muslim Groups Plan to Boycott White House Ramadan

By Patsy Widakuswara |

WASHINGTON — American Muslims outraged by President Joe Biden’s support of Israel say they will not take part in White House Ramadan and Eid celebrations this year as they continue to demand that the administration push for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

Should an invitation come, it’s “widely understood” that American Muslim community leaders and organizations will decline, said Robert McCaw, director of the Government Affairs Department at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR.

“This decision is due to the administration’s failure to address Muslim community demands for an immediate and permanent cease-fire,” McCaw told VOA. “And its refusal to stop supplying manufactured weapons to Israel, which are being used in a genocide against our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Gaza.”

Amid media reports that the administration is considering scaling back Ramadan events at the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said no celebration related to the holy month has been announced.

“We understand that it is a painful time for a number of communities,” she told VOA during her press briefing Monday. Senior White House officials have met with members of the Arab, Muslim and Palestinian communities “to talk about their views, to voice their concerns, and we welcome that,” she added.

The suffering of the Palestinian people “will be front of mind for many” Muslims this Ramadan, President Joe Biden said in a statement marking the beginning of the month. “It is front of mind for me.”

Since taking office, Biden has continued the decadeslong White House tradition of hosting Muslim community leaders that began with President Bill Clinton in 1996. Both Republican and Democratic presidents have hosted iftar dinner during Ramadan or an Eid al Fitr reception to mark the end of fasting after the month.

But this year, in addition to potentially facing the embarrassment of a massive boycott, the White House would likely want to avoid scenes where Biden is shouted at and heckled by pro-Palestinian protesters. Several of them have disrupted his campaign events around the country.

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