US President Barack Obama has extended "warmest wishes" to Muslims in America and around the world at the start of the holy month of Ramzan.
In a message to Muslims on the occasion of the starting of the month of fasting, Obama said that this year's holy month holds special meaning for those 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," Obama said.
In the US, Ramadan reminds that Islam is part of the fabric of the Nation, and that - from public service to business, from healthcare and science to the arts - Muslim Americans help strengthen the country and enrich its people lives, he 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," Obama said.
"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," the President said.