Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan

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. For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection; a time of joy and celebration. It’s a time to cherish family, friends, and neighbors, and to help those in need.

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.

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.

Click through the photos to see scenes from Ramadan:
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  • Iraqis shop for food at a market as they

    Iraqis shop for food at a market as they prepare for the upcoming holy fasting month of Ramadan in Baghdad's Sadr City on July 16, 2012. During Ramadan, observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and strive to be more pious and charitable. Families traditionally share generous evening meals to break their fast. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Iraqis shop for food at a market as they

    Iraqis shop for food at a market as they prepare for the upcoming holy fasting month of Ramadan in Baghdad's Sadr City on July 16, 2012. During Ramadan, observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and strive to be more pious and charitable. Families traditionally share generous evening meals to break their fast. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Lebanese orphans play traditional drums

    Lebanese orphans play traditional drums during a ceremony to celebrate the upcoming Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in Beirut on July 11, 2012. Muslims around the world celebrate Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calender, in which they abstain from eating, drinking and conducting sexual relations from sunrise to sunset. AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo credit should read ANWAR AMRO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • RAMADAN

  • People watch a dance perform by a man celebrates Eid al-Fitr in Karachi, Pakistan on Thursday, Sept 1, 2011. Eid, the ending of Muslims fasting month of Ramadan is one of the most important holidays in the Muslim world, is marked with prayers, family reunions and other festivities. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

  • A girl looks on as she sits with her family at Tripoli's main square, during the celebrations of the first day of Eid al-Fitr in Tripoli, Libya, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011. Muslims are celebrating the festival of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

  • Muslims offer prayers in front of the historic Taj Mahal on Eid al-Fitr in Agra, India, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011. Eid al-Fitr is a holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, which is observed by millions of Muslims around the world. (AP Photo/Pawan Sharma)

  • Libyan muslims pray in Green Square, renamed Martyr's Square, during the morning Eid prayer, marking the end of Ramadan and to celebrate victory over embattled Moammar Gadhafi, inTripoli, Libya, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)