President Donald Trump on Tuesday sent his “greetings and best wishes to all Muslims observing Ramadan in the United States and around the world,” part of a statement marking the holiday that was notably different from last year’s.
Trump last year became the first President in decades not to mark Ramadan with an Iftar meal or Eid Al-Fitr celebration at the White House. And his statement on the holiday was, several outlets noted at the time, fixated on terrorism.
After referencing two recent terrorism incidents last year — the suicide bomber who attacked an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, United Kingdom, four days earlier and the gunmen who ambushed a bus of Coptic Christians in Egypt earlier that morning — Trump wrote in his statement that “such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology” and “America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it.”
By contrast, former President George W. Bush made no mention of terrorism in a statement marking Ramadan just weeks after the September 11th, 2001 attacks.
TPM asked the White House in an email Tuesday whether the Trump administration would hold a Ramadan celebration this year. The White House did not immediately respond.
Compare Trump’s two Ramadan messages below:
May 26, 2017:
On behalf of the American people, I would like to wish all Muslims a joyful Ramadan.
During this month of fasting from dawn to dusk, many Muslims in America and around the world will find meaning and inspiration in acts of charity and meditation that strengthen our communities. At its core, the spirit of Ramadan strengthens awareness of our shared obligation to reject violence, to pursue peace, and to give to those in need who are suffering from poverty or conflict.
This year, the holiday begins as the world mourns the innocent victims of barbaric terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom and Egypt, acts of depravity that are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan. Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology.
On my recent visit to Saudi Arabia, I had the honor of meeting with the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations. There, in the land of the two holiest sites in the Muslim world, we gathered to deliver together an emphatic message of partnership for the sake of peace, security, and prosperity for our countries and for the world.
I reiterate my message delivered in Riyadh: America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it. During this month of Ramadan, let us be resolved to spare no measure so that we may ensure that future generations will be free of this scourge and able to worship and commune in peace.
I extend my best wishes to Muslims everywhere for a blessed month as you observe the Ramadan traditions of charity, fasting, and prayer. May God bless you and your families.
May 15, 2018:
With the rising of tonight’s moon, I send my greetings and best wishes to all Muslims observing Ramadan in the United States and around the world.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad through fellowship and prayer. Many observe this holy time by fasting, performing acts of charity, reciting prayers, and reading the Quran.
Ramadan is a time of self-reflection intended to deepen one’s spiritual growth and renew a sense of appreciation for the many blessings God provides. In this spirit of thanksgiving and reflection, those observing Ramadan can strengthen our communities, help those in need, and serve as good examples for how to live a holy life.
Ramadan reminds us of the richness Muslims add to the religious tapestry of American life. In the United States, we are all blessed to live under a Constitution that fosters religious liberty and respects religious practice. Our Constitution ensures Muslims can observe Ramadan in accordance with the dictates of conscience and unimpeded by government. By doing so, the Constitution also furnishes varied opportunities for all Americans to deepen their understanding of the human soul.
As so many people unite to celebrate Ramadan, Melania and I join in the hope for a blessed month. Ramadan Mubarak.