US President Barack Obama on Wednesday wished all Muslims in the US and around the world a happy Ramadan, which Muslims spend in extra prayer and fasting.

“We all must remember that the world we want to build, and the changes that we want to make, must begin in our hearts, and our own communities,” Obama said in a statement issued by the White House. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued the traditional greeting used at the onset of the month, Ramadan Kareem. “Ramadan is a time for self reflection and sharing. American Muslims make a valuable contribution to our country every day and millions of people will respect this month, with the act of serving and doing for their community,” she said. Both Clinton and Obama hosted an iftar (fast-breaking dinner). Clinton hosted an iftar with dozens of guests from embassies in Washington, while Obama received a guest for dinner at the White House. Obama said: “Rituals of Ramadan remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and the role of Islam in improving justice, progress, tolerance and dignity of all human beings. Here, in the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been a part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country.” “And today, I would like to express my hopes for the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world -- and to your family and friends -- when you welcome the beginning of Ramadan,” he said. “Peace be with you.”

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