In a statement wishing Muslims a joyful Ramadan holiday, President Donald Trump expressly referenced this week’s terrorist attack in Manchester, calling the bombing at a concert “directly contrary to the spirit of Ramadan.”
The decision to invoke the act of terrorism that took 22 lives and injured dozens more was a break from the Obama administration, which did not bring terrorism into its statements on the Muslim holiday.
“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,” Trump’s prepared statement Friday said. “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.”
Specifically addressing the terrorist attack that largely targeted children at an Ariana Grande concert in the United Kingdom, Trump’s statement called out the “perverted ideology” of the ISIS-linked attackers deemed responsible for the bombing.
“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,” Trump’s remarks said. “Such acts only steel our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology.”
Trump also referenced his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, the first stop on his multinational foreign trip, saying of his meeting with the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations, “America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it.”
The statement contrasts with those previously given by President Barack Obama to commemorate the annual holiday.
In Obama’s 2016 remarks, he heralded the Islamic faith and specifically gave best wishes to Muslims living in the United States.
“Here in the United States, we are blessed with Muslim communities as diverse as our nation itself,” Obama’s statement said. “There are those whose heritage can be traced back to the very beginning of our nation, as well as those who have only just arrived.”
With no mention of terrorism, Obama instead reiterated the country’s devotion to welcoming immigrants and refugees.
“We must continue working together to alleviate the suffering of these individuals,” the statement said. “This sacred time reminds us of our common obligations to uphold the dignity of every human being. We will continue to welcome immigrants and refugees into our nation, including those who are Muslim.”