Hundreds of Muslims break fast near Trump Tower in New York

NEW YORk, June 3 (APP): Hundreds of Muslims and their allies gathered outside Trump Tower Thursday night to celebrate an interfaith iftar, an event that later turned into a protest against US President Donald Trump’s rhetoric against Islam.
Organized by the New York State Immigrant Action Fund and Muslim advocacy group MPower Change, the event brought together Muslims and people of diverse faiths in peaceful rally against the Trump administration’s policies.
“In the spirit of Ramzan and following the tradition of Muslim communities around the world, we came together tonight as New Yorkers to break bread and build community with people from all faiths and backgrounds”, Mohammad Khan, Campaign Director of MPower Change, said in a statement.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently declined a request to host an iftar at the White House to mark Ramzan, breaking with a bipartisan tradition that has been in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years.
But Tillerson did mark the beginning of Ramzan in a statement, describing it as “a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection.”
All US state secretaries have hosted Ramzan events at the department since 1999, the year then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright held the first one.
“To be honest with you, even if they did, I would ask Muslims not to endorse an administration that is acting so divisively,” Thursday’s event organizer Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American, said.
Anu Joshi, deputy director of the New York State Immigrant Action Fund, said Thursday’s iftar aimed to demonstrate that “New Yorkers of all stripes and faiths… reject President Trump’s many attempts to sow fear and division among our communities.”
“We stand resolute in our opposition to the policies, rhetoric, and actions by this Administration that seek to vilify and otherize the Muslim community, whether in the United States or abroad,” he said in a statement.
Maggie Glass, a 31 year-old New Yorker active with a Jewish refugee association, said she was there to support all our Muslim neighbours and friends.
“I just thought it was an opportunity for us to come together as a community, to show that we are united.”
Participants prayed and shared meals as the police officers stood on Fifth Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the country, closely monitoring the area near the building.
The event came several days after Trump also issued a statement, wishing “all Muslims a joyful Ramzan”.
However his message was laced with warnings against terror and violence, even mentioning the recent bombing at a concert in the British city of Manchester.
He called out the “perverted ideology” of the ISIL-linked attackers deemed responsible for the bombing.
The Republican president had also been criticized for using an Islamophobic rethoric during his 2016 presidential campaign.