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Biden To Host White House Fast-Breaking Meal As Muslim Groups Stage 'People's Cease-Fire Now Iftar'

02.04.2024 23:12

US president to sit down with Muslim community leaders at their request to discuss 'issues of importance to the community,' says White House.

US President Joe Biden will host a previously-undisclosed iftar, or fast-breaking, meal with Muslim community members Tuesday at the White House as some leaders plan to stage a boycott outside the executive mansion.

Biden will be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, senior Muslim Biden administration officials and members of his national security team for the scaled-down event, which was not listed on the president's daily schedule sent to reporters.

Prior to the fast-breaking, Biden will sit down with Muslim community leaders at their request to discuss what spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre described as "issues of importance to the community."

"They thought it would be important to do that," she said. "We listened, we heard and we adjusted the format to be responsive, and so that we can get feedback from them. And this is a request. This was actually a request from members of the community."

While some have opted to accept Biden's invitation, a parallel iftar is being staged outside of the White House by Muslim American groups and partners to stage what they are calling the "People's Ceasefire Now Iftar."

Organizers with American Muslims for Palestine, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Circle of North America, Muslim American Society, Palestinian Youth Movement and Code Pink are seeking to put pressure on Biden for a permanent and immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

"In light of the White House secretly approving a new military aid package including 2,000-pound bombs and aircraft to Israel the need for solidarity and collective action has never been more apparent," the groups said in a statement.

Biden has long rejected calls for a permanent and immediate cease-fire in the besieged encalve, instead focusing ongoing negotiations on a halt to the hostilities that would be measured in weeks if and when it is implemented with the option for a further extension.

The president's campaign events have been repeatedly roiled by demonstrators demanding that he demand a cease-fire to end the bloodshed.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by Hamas which killed around 1,200 people. More than 32,800 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, and over 75,000 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation. That has dramatically heightened the need for international assistance in the coastal enclave amid stringent Israeli restrictions on its entry.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which last week asked Tel Aviv to do more to prevent famine in Gaza. -

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