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No show at Joe Biden’s iftar party, ‘upset’ over Gaza many Muslim leaders turn down White House invite

In a big embarrassment for the White House, President Joe Biden’s iftar dinner invite was turned down by many Muslim community leaders, according to an NY Times report.

Protesters pray during a demonstration in support of Palestinians, Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington,. AP/PTI(AP04_03_2024_000011B)(AP)

Many of the invitees, reportedly unhappy with President Biden’s support for Israel’s actions in Gaza, opted not to attend the iftar meal on Tuesday evening. The report claims they cited concerns over the ongoing siege affecting Palestinians.

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Dr. Thaer Ahmad, a Palestinian American doctor who was in Gaza in January, told the media outlet, “How can we talk to you about famine and starvation over bread and steak?”

Also Read: Joe Biden addresses deaths of 7 World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza

White House’s Iftar party had to be reorganised

Recognizing the controversy surrounding the Ramadan event, the White House cancelled the annual Iftar extravaganza and organized a smaller meal for staff and a separate meeting with Muslim community leaders. The meeting, which lasted over an hour, was attended by President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and other senior officials.

During the meeting, attendees discussed their experiences in Gaza, with one doctor showing photos of children from the region. Both President Biden and Vice President Harris expressed their desire to end the war as soon as possible. When questioned about calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, President Biden expressed concerns that Israel would resist due to hostage concerns.

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After speaking for about six minutes, Dr. Ahmad claims he left the meeting, stating, “Out of respect for my community, and for the many people who are grieving and in pain, I have to walk out of this meeting.” President Biden indicated he understood Dr. Ahmad’s feelings, the report stated.

This event contrasted sharply with last year’s White House celebration marking the end of Ramadan, which was a festive occasion with hundreds of attendees.

In recent months, the Biden administration has held several meetings with Muslim leaders to address widespread discontent over the Gaza conflict. The president’s stance has upset key groups in his base, including young people, Black voters, and progressives.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre acknowledged the sensitivity of Tuesday night’s meeting, describing it as a “deeply painful moment for many in the Arab and Muslim communities.” She stated that President Biden remains committed to securing an immediate ceasefire and increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Biden losing support in US over his Israel policy

This situation highlights the challenges President Biden faces over his stance on the Gaza conflict in the upcoming events. He is losing support of his majority vote bank that constitutes Muslims and Black community. After months of support he is now condemning Israel’s offensive in Gaza, despite that, he has not acceded to demands within his party to impose conditions on arms sales to Israel.

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