June 30, 2014
I wish Ramadan Kareem the people of Pakistan – from Gilgit to Baluchistan, from Sindh to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The teachings of Islam place the utmost importance on religious freedom, harmony, and universal human values, and Ramadan is a period for demonstrating the virtues of tolerance and respect. In addition to prayer and spiritual reflection, the Holy Month offers an opportunity to celebrate the principles that bind together people of all religious faiths – a commitment to peace, justice, equality, and compassion towards one another.
In the United States, the nearly three million Muslims who call America their home enrich our country by sharing Islam’s teachings of self-discipline, tolerance, and dignity of all human beings. For American Muslims Ramadan is a time when families gather, friends host iftars, and meals are shared, as it is here in Pakistan. Ramadan is also a time for intense devotion and reflection – a time when Muslims fast during the day and perform tarawih prayers at night, reciting and listening to the entire Quran over the course of the month.
Today, we join with the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world – and your families and friends – in welcoming the beginning of Ramadan, and wishing you a blessed month.
May peace be upon you.