RELIGION
07/16/2015 05:46 pm ET

Obama Extends 'Warmest Wishes' To Muslims Celebrating Eid

He reminds Americans to respect all faiths and beliefs.
US President Barack Obama waves as he finishes a press conference at the end of the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D
AFP/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama waves as he finishes a press conference at the end of the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, on August 6, 2014. Obama said African leaders had agreed to make the summit a recurring event. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, also known as Eid ul-Fitr, or Eid, celebrates the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. The observance traditionally begins with the sighting of the new moon of the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This year, Eid falls on July 17.

President Barack Obama released a statement on Thursday honoring the holiday and offering warm wishes to Muslims in the U.S. and across the world as they break their final Ramadan fast of the year. The president's message also celebrates the diversity within Muslim communities and reminds Americans the importance of respecting all faiths.

Obama referred to New York City's decision to add Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha as official public school holidays. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, responded to the decision in March, saying, “When these holidays are recognized, it’s a sign that Muslims have a role in the political and social fabric of America."

Read Obama's full Eid message below:

Michelle and I would like to extend our warmest wishes to Muslims in the United States and around the world celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr. As Muslims mark the end of the month, they are reminded that Ramadan is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need. While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual – a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.

For millions of Muslims, the morning of Eid is marked with the call to prayer echoing through cities and towns across the globe. Millions of people head to local mosques for special Eid prayers followed by festive gatherings, gift exchanges, and feasts among friends, neighbors and families. The diversity of traditions paint the vibrant images we see from around the world capturing the spirit and excitement of Eid – colorful dresses or white garments decorating the masses of people standing in lines for prayer, lanterns and ornaments lighting up bazaars and neighborhoods, intricate henna designs painted on hands of young girls and women, and an abundance of delectable foods and aromatic cuisines.

As Muslim Americans celebrate Eid across America, the holiday is a reminder to every American of the importance of respecting those of all faiths and beliefs. This past year New York City Public Schools announced adding Eid to their official school calendars alongside Christmas, Hanukkah and other holidays – an acknowledgement of the great diversity and inclusiveness that adds to the richness of our nation. During this year’s White House Iftar, I had the opportunity to meet inspiring young Muslim Americans who are leading efforts for greater understanding and unity across diverse communities. Following the Iftar, one of the young attendees helped spearhead an effort that raised more than $75,000 for the churches burned in the wake of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Americans of all faiths and beliefs must stand together to protect our democracy and strengthen our country as a whole.

Michelle and I hope today brings joy to all of your homes, both here in the U.S. and around the world. From my family to yours, Eid Mubarak!

 

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