A number of Muslims have held a demonstration outside the Trump Tower in Manhattan in New York City to protest against US President Donald Trump's rhetoric against Islam.
Around 100 Muslims who were invited by two advocacy groups, MPower Change and the New York State Immigrant Action Fund, showed up for the “Iftar” event on Thursday. The event turned into a protest rally against the president's anti-Muslim policies.
Iftar is the first meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fast and prayer.
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.
“Everyday American Muslims are confronted with bigotry and hate while commuting to work and school, applying for jobs, practicing their faith and simply living their lives,” said Anu Joshi, deputy director of the New York State Immigrant Action Fund.
Fatoumata Waggeh, a 26 year-old Muslim-American woman with Gambian roots, said she had taken part in event as a means to denounce the negative “rhetoric they are spreading around Muslims.”
Maggie Glass, a 31 year-old New Yorker active with a Jewish refugee association, said she was there “to support all our Muslim neighbors and friends.”
“I just thought it was an opportunity for us to come together as a community, to show that we are united.”
The event comes several days after Trump also issued a statement, wishing “all Muslims a joyful Ramadan.”
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 has also been criticized for using an Islamophobic rethoric during his presidential campaign.
Last week, it became public that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson turned down a request to hold a Ramadan event at his department, breaking with a 20-year-old tradition observed by both Democrats and Republicans.
On Friday, Tillerson marked the beginning of Ramadan in a statement, describing it as "a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection."
All US state secretaries have hosted Ramadan events at the department since 1999, the year then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright held the first event.
“To be honest with you, even if they did, I would ask Muslims not to endorse an administration that is acting so divisively,” event organizer Linda Sarsour said.
“So they are not inviting us, but we don't want to go anyway.”