Trump takes a U-turn in his Ramazan message to Muslims

US President Donald Trump wished all Muslims “a joyful Ramazan,” on Friday.

Most of his message focused on terrorism. “America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it. During this month of Ramazan, let us be resolved to spare no measure so that we may ensure that future generations will be free of this scourge and able to worship and commune in peace,” Trump said.

Trump’s statement was in sharp contrast from Ramazan greetings released in previous years by President Barack Obama, who spoke about celebrating and honouring the contributions of Muslims to American society.

“As Muslim Americans celebrate the holy month, I am reminded that we are one American family,” Obama wrote in his 2016 statement for Ramadan. “I stand firmly with Muslim American communities in rejection of the voices that seek to divide us or limit our religious freedoms or civil rights.”

Obama also acknowledged the millions of refugees, many of them Muslim, who were displaced by war and crises around the globe.

In his message, Trump acknowledged some of the key themes of the holy month, including fasting, acts of charity, and community engagement. He also referenced recent attacks in the United Kingdom and Egypt to point out that such “acts of depravity… are directly contrary to the spirit of Ramazan.”

The president, who just over a year ago said “I think Islam hates us,” has distanced himself from earlier negative comments about the faith. In a speech to leaders of 55 Muslim-majority countries Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Trump insisted he had nothing against Islam, itself.

“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilisations,” he told the leaders gathered for an Arab-Islamic-American summit. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil.”

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