CAIR Furious After Trump Trolls Muslim Groups With Ramadan Dinner Bait and Switch


Activist American Islamic cultural groups — including the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations — have protested the White House’s decision to host an iftar dinner without inviting them.

Iftar is the traditional Ramadan dinner held after sunset when observant Muslims are allowed to break the daily fast required during the holy month. The Trump White House broke with tradition by not holding one in 2017, but surprised many by hosting one this year — albeit with what The Associated Press described as “an intimate audience that included Cabinet members and ambassadors from many Muslim-majority nations including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.”

Trump wished the attendees a “Ramadan Mubarak” — a blessed holiday — and gave the assembled 30 to 40 individuals a “message of unity,” the AP reported.

“In gathering together this evening, we honor a sacred tradition of one of the world’s great religions,” Trump said. “Only by working together can we achieve a future of security and prosperity for all.”

However, several domestic Muslim groups — who have frequently clashed with the president — hosted a protest across the street from the White House called “NOT Trump’s Iftar.”

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The event was sponsored by CAIR, a group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in America’s largest terrorism-funding trial and has been controversial for its ties to terrorist groups and other religious extremists.

“Wednesday’s event is designed as a counterpoint to the iftar that will take place at that same time in the White House,” CAIR stated in a news release.

“President Trump has attacked Muslims since the beginning of his campaign and codified his Islamophobia with the Muslim Bans,” a Facebook post by CAIR on the matter reads.

“Now he wants to make nice and host an iftar dinner after skipping the tradition last year. Join us this for a counter iftar held simultaneously outside the White House to say not in our name.

Do you think this was a good move by the president?

“Listen to people in the vanguard of the fight against Islamophobia, then join Muslims and allies as we break our fast and make sure the administration knows we support our Muslim siblings and neighbors.”

CAIR is pretty much a liberal advocacy organization at this point, and that’s not even mentioning its extremely dubious contacts with extremist groups across the globe.

The expectation that the Trump administration was going to “make nice” with CAIR and give their language about “Islamophobia” and “Muslim Bans” a venue for airing — at a White House iftar, no less — is prima facie absurd.

Yet, this seemed to be what liberals were upset about. The Huffington Post (of course) ran a piece on Wednesday’s iftar dinner titled “Trump’s White House Iftar Is Missing Major American Muslim Groups.” No, not really. It was just short a few liberal advocacy and/or extremist groups posing as Muslim organizations. And for that matter, it’s not like other groups aside from CAIR that were protesting were much better. In fact, former FBI counter-terrorism Special Agent John Guandolo argued in to Breitbart News in 2015 that the majority of Islamic organizations in America had ties to terrorism. That may be a bit of an overestimation, but if it is, it’s probably not as much of one as we might have hoped.

Is Trump trolling them a bit by hosting an iftar dinner without them — a “bait and switch” of sorts? Probably. Just by announcing an iftar dinner — which under the Obama administration included American Muslim activist groups — Trump baited the hook. Leaving out loudmouthed groups came across as a switch, a deliberate snub to exactly the kinds of activist groups that command the most fawning media attention.

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The activists and the media didn’t like it, of course. But nettling Islamic activists is not an infrequent theme in the Trump administration — and not one I, or many other conservatives, particularly mind.

CAIR has long been able to pass itself off as something analogous to the NAACP, something that should have elicited laughs from a media establishment that knew better. The administration managed to highlight that and yet again send CAIR into a tizzy.

And for most people who aren’t politically active, they’ll merely see that Trump hosted an iftar dinner and stop there, not particularly interested in whether or not domestic groups like CAIR were invited (or even who CAIR actually is). So, Trump gets credit for the dinner among those with only a passing interest in politics, all the while throwing liberals into a fit and thus making his supporters happy.

In other words, he wins on all three counts. Stephen Covey would be proud.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture