Biden was forced to scale back Ramadan event after pushback from Muslim leaders

President Joe Biden scaled back a planned Ramadan event after Muslim leaders expressed their dissatisfaction over his stance on the war in Gaza.

Biden met with some Muslim leaders and then held a small dinner with some Muslims in his administration, Reuters reported. While the event was expected to be a larger affair, such as in years past, the White House told the Washington Examiner that it gave community leaders the option to choose the format, and the consensus was a working meeting on policy.

One Muslim advocacy group, Emgage Action, told the news outlet it declined Biden’s invitation, citing “continued unconditional military aid to Israel,” which has led to a “humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.”

The White House confirmed that some individuals, including those from Emgage Action, declined to go to the event but that the number was small.

The Washington Examiner reached out to Emgage Action for further comment.

A person familiar with the meeting told CNN that many Muslim leaders felt a dinner with Biden would be inappropriate given the lack of food for Palestinians in Gaza.

“There was a significant amount of pushback from attendees that it would be inappropriate to raise the humanitarian crisis in Gaza over dinner,” they said. “There’s a famine in Gaza; 23 children have died from starvation in northern Gaza. I don’t think anybody would be comfortable sharing those stories and images over dinner.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the White House pushed back on reports that the dinner would be scaled back, saying that Biden was following the community’s wishes.

“This was actually a request from members of the community. This is what they wanted,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during a Tuesday press briefing. “They wanted a working group meeting. They wanted it to be private.”

The episode reflects Biden’s plummeting favorability among Muslims, who make up a sizable part of his voting base in several key swing states. Many are threatening to withhold their vote from him in November if he doesn’t change course on the war.

Outrage over Israel’s actions in its war against Hamas spiked on Monday when seven international aid workers were killed in Israeli airstrikes. Biden released a statement denouncing the attack, urging a swift investigation into the matter, and saying that Israel hasn’t been doing enough to protect civilians.

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“Incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen,” he said.

Total casualty figures in the Israel-Hamas war are controversial, but the number of deaths in Gaza is believed to be in the tens of thousands. Around 1,200 Israelis were killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that ignited the war.

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