In a statement, President Obama commemorated the Muslim holiday of Ramadan — calling it a time to "cherish family, friends, and neighbors, and to help those in need."
"On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world at the start of Ramadan," Obama said.
Obama also took the opportunity to tie in the struggles of people across the Muslim world engaged in ongoing fighting related to the Arab spring uprisings that began in 2011.
"This year, Ramadan holds special meaning for those citizens in the Middle East and North Africa who are courageously achieving democracy and self-determination and for those who are still struggling to achieve their universal rights. The United States continues to stand with those who seek the chance to decide their own destiny, to live free from fear and violence, and to practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, Ramadan reminds us that Islam is part of the fabric of our Nation, and that — from public service to business, from healthcare and science to the arts — Muslim Americans help strengthen our country and enrich our lives," Obama said.
"Even as Ramadan holds profound meaning for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, it is also a reminder to people of all faiths of our common humanity and the commitment to justice, equality, and compassion shared by all great faiths. In that spirit, I wish Muslims across America and around the world a blessed month, and I look forward to again hosting an iftar dinner here at the White House. Ramadan Kareem," Obama said.