The Corner

National Security & Defense

Why the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta Celebrated Independence Day on June 4

I see some folks are quite irked that the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta celebrated Independence Day a month early:

The United States Embassy enjoyed its annual 4th of July celebration on Thursday, June 4, one month early, in order to respect the upcoming Ramadhan month, which will begin on June 17 and last for one month.

Thomas Lifson calls it “a mind-boggling gesture of official US Government dhimmitude. . . . There is no need to accommodate local sensibilities in celebrating our most sacred national holiday.”

First, Independence Day is a big deal in American embassies. In diplomatic communities, almost every embassy hosts a party on its biggest national holiday. The embassy usually invites a lot of guests from the host country’s government and quite a few guests from other embassies.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sun-up to sundown. It would be a little awkward to invite guests from the host country to a barbeque or other party and not have any of the guests able to eat. It would be a bit like inviting Vatican officials for a chili cook-off on a Friday during Lent, or inviting Israelis who keep kosher to Lobster-Fest — except Muslims aren’t supposed to eat anything during the daylight hours.

Theoretically, the embassy could have hosted an evening party and served its guests after sundown — but in Jakarta, the sun is rising around 6 a.m. and sets around 5:50 p.m., meaning many of the guests would have not eaten for twelve hours. (You can imagine the irritation levels in a city when no one has eaten all day; traffic accidents increase dramatically in those final few hours of sunlight.)

For everybody who objects to the embassy celebrating Independence Day a month early . . . what was the best move? A late-night party? A pre-dawn brunch? Not inviting any Muslim guests?

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