Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Photo: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Report: Tillerson declines request to hold event marking Ramadan

According to two U.S. officials, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam's holy month of Ramadan, Reuters reported.

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Since 1999, secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day's fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month.

Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr reception as part of Ramadan celebrations, Reuters reported, citing two U.S. officials who asked for anonymity.

According to an April 6 memo seen by Reuters, the office recommended that Tillerson hold an Eid al-Fitr reception. The month of fasting and prayer for Muslims begins in many countries on Saturday.

A State Department spokesperson told Reuters that the department is “still exploring possible options for observance of Eid al-Fitr."

Tillerson issued a statement on Friday to mark the start of Ramadan, which he called "a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection."

"Most importantly, it is a cherished time for family and friends to gather and give charity to those who are less fortunate," he said.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright started the tradition 18 years ago of America's top diplomat hosting a public event for Ramadan.

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