Some members of the Muslim-American community will no longer stand with President Barack Obama and his policies regarding the Middle East, and they refuse to believe that the situation can be fixed this time around.
Every year since 1996, the White House has hosted a celebratory iftar dinner to commemorate the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Prominent Muslim-Americans are invited to take part in the celebration with the President and other government officials. This year in particular, Muslim-Americans were not pleased about the celebration.
“Every year the White House has hosted an iftar dinner. Every year it uses this as an opportunity to reach out to the Muslim community and seem like everything is great, but we know that this is not the case,” local Washington, D.C., activist Raman Kudaimi said.
On Monday evening, just as the annual celebratory dinner began, Muslim-Americans and supporters gathered outside the back lawn of the White House to protest the Obama administration’s recent apparent disregard of the Arab world.
Those present believe that the gross oppression that Muslims have received at the hands of the American government, and the Obama administration in particular, is unjust, and they will no longer stand for it.
“We think that it is very problematic tokenizing considering the recent release of names of Arabs that the government has been spying on,” media relations specialist at the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Amani Al-Khatahtbeh said. “We feel it is very tokenizing to be included in a public gesture, to be included in their public perception, but meanwhile they haven’t been recognizing us at all.”
The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which was present at the protest, released a statement on Monday stating that they would not attend that evening’s annual White House iftar dinner, in protest of the U.S. government’s “current slaughter of Palestinians in Palestine and the spying of American Arabs and Muslims domestically.”
The protestors came out against the United States use of taxpayer dollars to support the Israeli government and military. So far, over 100 Palestinians have been killed, 70% of which the United Nations estimated to be women and children.
“This deplorable situation, brought on by Israel’s U.S.-sanctioned illegal occupation of Palestine, has received no direct action from President Obama,” the press release read. “Yet, as this humanitarian crisis continues abroad, we do not believe it is appropriate to attend iftar dinners sponsored by government agencies while lives are being lost.”
Those outside the White House Monday evening also protested the release of the names of members of both the Arab and Muslim communities whom the National Security Agency unlawfully spied on. The protestors asked that the U.S. Muslim community, those at the iftar dinner and the American public in general not stand for the normalization of discrimination of Muslim-American citizens.
“You know what? This is shameful that this continues to happen,” Kudaimi said. “We should not allow the White House to white wash the Muslim community and make it seem like everything is fine.”