Washington, Jun 6: Greeting Muslims on the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan, US President Barack Obama affirmed his commitment to safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of their religion or appearance.
"As Muslim Americans celebrate the holy month, I am reminded that we are one American family. I stand firmly with Muslim American communities in rejection of the voices that seek to divide us or limit our religious freedoms or civil rights," Obama said yesterday in a statement.
"I stand committed to safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans no matter their religion or appearance. I stand in celebration of our common humanity and dedication to peace and justice for all," he said.
In this month of reflection, Obama said, one cannot forget the millions of lives that have been displaced by conflict and struggle, across the world and in the US.
"Far too many Muslims may not be able to observe Ramadan from the comfort of their own homes this year or afford to celebrate Eid with their children. We must continue working together to alleviate the suffering of these individuals," he said.
Obama said the US would continue to welcome immigrants and refugees, including Muslims. "This sacred time reminds us of our common obligations to uphold the dignity of every human being," he said.
Extending his wishes to Muslims across the United States and around the world, he said the month is an opportunity to focus on reflection and spiritual growth, forgiveness, patience and resilience, compassion for those less fortunate, and unity across communities.
He said the US was blessed with Muslim communities as diverse as the nation. "There are those whose heritage can be traced back to the very beginning of our nation, as well as those who have only just arrived," he said.
"It's also a time of year that brings some of the best dishes to the table across the world as families and neighbours gather for iftar," he said. US Secretary of State John Kerry also greeted Muslims in the US and around the world on the occasion.
"Ramadan is a cherished month in Islam. It is a sacred period of prayer and fasting, offering hospitality, and remembering those who are less fortunate," he said in a statement.
"Through our embassies and consulates around the world, we recognise these important values through Ramadan events, which demonstrate our commitment to promoting social cohesion, diversity, and welcome within our communities. During this month of peace and renewal, we wish the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world a joyful Ramadan Kareem," Kerry said.