Austin Mayor Adler will attend Iftar dinner after keynote speaker controversy

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Steve Adler confirmed Wednesday he will attend this weekend’s Austin Citywide Iftar Dinner despite Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller calling on the mayor to decline because of the keynote speaker.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., will speak at Saturday night’s ceremonial dinner to break the fast of Ramadan. Rep. Omar is one of the first Muslims elected to Congress and has been criticized in recent months over comments perceived to be anti-Semitic and insensitive toward Jewish people.

Mayor Adler is Jewish and is the guest of honor for the Iftar dinner.

“I hope that Mayor Adler will heed my call and be a no show for this dinner as long as Congresswoman Omar remains on the program,” Miller said in a release on Tuesday. “I pray that he will encourage event organizers to cancel Congresswoman Omar’s participation, and, instead, reach out to leaders of the Jewish Community in Austin and ask them to participate, thus making the event a true showcase for diversity and inclusiveness.”

Adler responded to Miller’s statement Wednesday maintaining he will attend.

“It’s a time for the community to get together and get closer to God. As the mayor of this city, it is my honor, privilege, responsibility and duty to lean into these kinds of learning opportunities rather than walking away from them,” Adler said.

The organization in charge of the event, Emgage, responded to Miller’s comments, calling them immoral and racist.

“Hate has no home here. Sid Miller’s immoral and racist comments do not reflect the views of everyday Texans. The holy month of Ramadan is a time when Muslim friends and neighbors gather in harmony to reflect on the importance of sacrifice and recommit to helping others. We are excited to hear from Congresswoman Omar, a trailblazer in her own right, and we’re incredibly grateful for Mayor Adler continued unwavering support for the Muslim community,” the organization said in its release.

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