And the reason for the dinner's later-than-usual start was Mellimelli's observance of Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims in which observers fast between dawn and dusk.
Unlike Eid al-Adha (which focuses on meat delicacies), Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated with traditional desserts and is also called Meethi Eid.
Ramadan is a month-long fast, which marks the month Muslims believe their Holy Book, the Quran, was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. Ramadan is marked by fasting that occurs from sunrise to sunset. Fasting in Ramadan, also known as "Roza", is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam.
The second meritorious aspect of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is that it has been chosen by Allah Almighty for the celebration of Eid el-Fitr, one of the only two annual festivals recognized by the Shari'a. Now it is time for Eid. I extend my best wishes to Muslims everywhere for a blessed month as you observe the Ramadan traditions of charity, fasting, and prayer.
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With this, Trump has broken the annual tradition upheld by the past three administrations that began under President Bill Clinton and was continued by George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Of curious note is that the White House did host the Annual Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn of the White House at 6 p.m. on June 22, 2017.
In late May, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly said the State Department would break with recent tradition and not host a Ramadan reception, as it had done almost annually for two decades.
Last year, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump told ABC News' Jonathan Karl in an interview that he would be open to continuing the tradition of hosting an Iftar dinner if he were in the White House. "During this holiday, we are reminded of the importance of mercy, compassion, and goodwill". This day offers an opportunity to reflect on our shared commitment to building peaceful and prosperous communities.
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