Tillerson breaks tradition of holding Ramadan event at State Dept: report

Tillerson breaks tradition of holding Ramadan event at State Dept: report
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will break a long bipartisan tradition by declining to hold a Ramadan event at the State Department this year, Reuters reported Friday.

Tillerson reportedly turned down a request from the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host a reception at the State Department for Eid-al-Fitr. Secretaries of State from both parties have hosted Ramadan events at the State Department since Madeleine Albright began the tradition in 1999.

A State Department spokesman told Reuters that the agency is still looking at the possibility of holding events in the future.

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"We are still exploring possible options for observance of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan. U.S. ambassadors are encouraged to celebrate Ramadan through a variety of activities, which are held annually at missions around the world," the spokesman said.


Muslim groups in Washington told Reuters that they have yet to receive an invitation for any official State Department event marking the holiday.

"If they're having one, we haven't been invited," said a spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Tillerson called Ramadan "a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection" in a statement marking the beginning of Islam's holiest month on Friday.

"Most importantly, it is a cherished time for family and friends to gather and give charity to those who are less fortunate," Tillerson said.