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United States President Donald Trump has forgone the tradition of the last three administrations by not hosting an Iftar dinner, the evening meal taken by Muslims to break their Ramadan fast.

The White House has held an annual reception to celebrate the the holy month of Ramadan for the last 21 years, going back to a dinner organised by Hillary Clinton in 1996.

The first Iftar dinner was held in 1805 by President Thomas Jefferson, in welcoming the Muslim ambassador to the United States Sidi Soliman Mellimelli. Jefferson moved the time from a pre-arranged 3.30pm so the ambassador could observe his religious tradition. This was acknowledged by the Houston Chronicle and by later presidents such as Barack Obama as the first instance of an Iftar dinner in the White House, albeit not a regular affair.

The yearly celebration, 21 years running, has typically been attended by members of Congress, diplomats, and prominent members of the Muslim community.

In lieu of hosting a dinner, Trump released a statement sending warm greetings to Muslims.

He said:

On behalf of the American people, Melania and I send our warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill. 

With Muslims around the world, the United States renews our commitment to honor these values.

He also released a statement in at the start of the holy month of Ramadan, wishing Muslims a "joyful" celebration.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly rejected a request by his department’s office of religion and global affairs to host a celebration to mark the holiday in late May.

However, he did release a statement sending “best wishes to all Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr.”

Trump's remarks are a stark contrast to both Obama and Bush.

Obama hosted a dinner and released a lengthy statement for the religious festival last year, where he warned against "rise in attacks against Muslim Americans" adding that "Muslim Americans have been part of our American family since its founding".

George Bush also hosted a dinner every year he was in the White House, including in the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11, at the time he said the fight "was against terrorism, not Islam".

Trump's relationship with the Islamic community has been fraught since he took office.

In January, shortly after becoming President, he proposed to suspend all visas for nationals from seven 'Muslim majority' countries.

Other world leaders have sent messages to those celebrating Eid.

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