At an event officials say was planned before the attacks in Libya that killed four Americans on Sept. 11, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Libyan Ambassador to the U.S., Ali Aujali, celebrated the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the State Department on Thursday.
The Eid ul-Fitr reception was held almost a month after the official end of the month on Aug. 19, delayed, officials say, because of Clinton’s travel schedule.
“The date [of the reception] was set purely because of scheduling considerations, especially given lengthy travel abroad recently,” a State Department spokesman said via email.
The spokesman provided a copy of the Secretary’s schedule, showing that Thursday’s event was scheduled about 24 hours ahead of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
“Although I am many weeks overdue in saying it: Eid Mubarak,” Clinton said. “No matter how belated we are honoring Eid and the end of Ramadan, this is a cherished tradition here at the State Department.”
Clinton spoke about faith and tolerance at the event, including about the Obama administration’s “2012 Hours Against Hate” initiative to encourage young people to “put themselves in another person’s shoes through service projects.”