REPORT: Trump State Department Stands Up to Islam With Historic “Ramadan” Decision

May 31, 2017

REPORT: Trump State Department Stands Up to Islam With Historic “Ramadan” Decision Image via YouTube.

Efforts by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to save taxpayers money on superfluous spending have been interpreted by the left as anti-Muslim persecution. The bold decision by Tillerson to refrain from hosting a traditional Ramadan dinner is conspiratorial fodder for liberals who are obsessed with portraying President Donald Trump as a “bigoted tyrant” ever-responsive to the will of his “alleged Russian masters.”

What passes for a poorly composed movie script is actively embraced by the mainstream media, democratic lawmakers, and Hollywood elites alike, fueling the perpetual protests and fraudulent outrage which have been hallmarks of Trump’s opposition.

Unlike a Hollywood thriller, though, Tillerson’s decision is based upon the rather pedestrian, yawn-producing desire to save Americans a buck or two.

Ramadan Acknowledged, But No Pricey Dinner

Since 1999, the State Department’s Office of Religious and Global Affairs has hosted a fast-breaking Eid al-Fitr dinner to mark the end of Ramadan for the nation’s estimated 1.6 million Muslims. Although the elaborate dinner celebration has been called off, a State Department official told Reuters that the holiday would still be acknowledged, saying:

U.S. ambassadors are encouraged to celebrate Ramadan through a variety of activities, which are held annually at missions around the world.

Tillerson also took to Twitter to wish a “peaceful and blessed Ramadan” to Muslims everywhere:

Outrage Brigade On Call

Still, the outrage from the left could not be contained. Former U.S. diplomat under the Barack Obama administration Farah Pandith believes that the refusal to host a Ramadan feast demonstrates “that it is not as important to this administration to engage with Muslims.”

Critics of Trump see Tillerson’s cost-cutting measures as another offense in a long train of aggressions against Muslims and other minorities.

Ever since Trump reacted to the 2015 San Bernardino massacre by stating that America needs a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” Muslim rights advocates have branded him an Islamophobe. 

In spite of these accusations and the left’s undying quest to see Trump branded as a hateful bigot, Trump has exercised fairness and impartiality towards Muslims at home and abroad, spending every available opportunity since making the vague “complete shutdown” statement assuring Americans that his executive order would not specifically target Muslim travellers. Yet the press has been relentless in calling the order a “Muslim ban.”

Tillerson’s Smaller, More Efficient Government

There is no reason to suspect that anything unseemly or discriminatory is occurring in the State Department. Tillerson’s decision to cut the elaborate Eid al-Fitr feast, which is even more established than some Jewish and Christian celebrations at the State Department, is motivated purely by cost-cutting concerns.

In an effort to streamline the agency, the secretary of state has already determined that some 2,000 jobs will need to be cut. These labor cuts come as Tillerson seeks to eliminate “duplicative, overly tedious and/or unnecessarily complicated processes.”

If this includes laying off 2,000 federal employees, certainly a dinner that celebrates a religion practiced by less than one percent of the U.S. population could be included in the cuts.

Tillerson’s decision to forego the Ramadan dinner within his own department is not indicative of a larger, anti-Muslim conspiracy within the White House. After all, the Pentagon plans to move forward with their own Ramadan celebration.

Additionally, during a recent trip to Saudi Arabia, a fundamentalist Islamic society, Trump was careful to distinguish between moderate Muslims and their extremist co-religionists. But some Muslims like Islamic Relief spokesman Saleh Williams remain unconvinced: 

What do you get out of engaging with a president who has yet to take any type of ownership of cultivating an environment of xenophobia and racism?

Self Serving Motive

Williams’ reference to a transactional process at the Ramadan dinner acknowledges the heart of the issue. Prominent Muslim groups use the Eid al-Fitr dinner to lobby the government for an aggregate of issues, such as seeking federal recognition of Muslim holidays.

Tillerson’s reluctance to provide such a venue at a cost to taxpayers is uniquely admirable.

Absent from this discussion are any Jewish voices demanding to know why Trump skipped the White House’s Passover seder celebration. Also ironically absent is any press condemnation for statements made during previous Ramadan celebrations, where Muslim guests admitted to being insulted by the mere presence of Jewish attendees.


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Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is a regular contributor at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Jewish News Syndicate.