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President Obama's Ramadan slap at Muslims
President Barack Obama speaks as he hosts an Iftar dinner in the at the White House on July 14, 2014.
July 28th, 2014
09:38 AM ET

President Obama's Ramadan slap at Muslims

Opinion by Salam Al-Marayati, special to CNN

(CNN) - Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all met with American Muslims, as they did with most other religious groups.

President Barack Obama, under advice from his aides that association with Muslims is politically damaging, has yet to invite American Muslim organizations and leaders into the Oval Office for substantive discussions on domestic and international policies.

Yes, Muslims from all over the country accepted a White House invitation to attend the Iftar dinner earlier this month with the President to break our fast, to break bread, and to build bridges of understanding.

In Ramadan, a month for spiritual replenishment in the Islamic calendar, an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims around the world perform an obligatory fast from predawn to sunset for the purpose of purifying one’s soul through prayer and self-sacrifice.

But instead of feeling spiritually uplifted and civically engaged by attending an Islamic celebration in the White House, the Muslim guests were shocked and dismayed when they heard the President say, “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

For Muslims, that talking point is code for whitewashing decades of atrocities committed against the people of Gaza: the kids killed on the Gaza Beach, the civilians bombed in the most densely populated cage in the world, and the attacking of civilians who resort to donkey carts for transportation.

Obama began his presidency conveying aspirations of bridging the divide between the United States and the Muslim world. He needs American Muslims to be a part of that mission. Instead he has continued the unfortunate legacy of excluding of anyone who supports Palestine.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Foreign policy • Islam • Israel • Middle East • Muslim • Opinion • Politics • Prejudice

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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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