Apr 18, 2013, 9:27 AM
Ramadan is the month in which Muslims believe the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, beginning with a simple word - iqra. It is therefore a time when Muslims reflect upon the wisdom and guidance that comes with faith, and the responsibility that human beings have to one another, and to God.
Like many people of different faiths who have seen Ramadan through our communities and families, I know this to be a festive time - a time when families gather and meals are shared. But I also know that Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection - a time when Muslims fast during the day and perform tarawih prayers at night, reciting and listening to the entire Koran over the course of the month.
These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam's role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.
For instance, fasting is a concept shared by many faiths - including my own Christian faith - as a way to bring people closer to God, and to those among us who cannot take their next meal for granted. And the support that Muslims provide to others recalls our responsibility to advance opportunity and prosperity for people everywhere. For all of us must remember that the world we want to build - and the changes that we want to make - must begin in our own hearts, and our own communities.
This summer, people across
always stand for the universal rights of all people to speak their mind, practice their religion, contribute fully to society and have confidence in the rule of law.
All of these efforts are a part of
As I said in
We have listened. And like you, we are focused on pursuing concrete actions that will make a difference over time - both in terms of the political and security issues that I have discussed, and in the areas that you have told us will make the most difference in peoples' lives.
These consultations are helping us implement the
partnerships that I called for in
All of these efforts are aimed at advancing our common aspirations - to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our faith. It will take time and patient effort. We cannot change things over night, but we can honestly resolve to do what must be done, while setting off in a new direction - toward the destination that we seek for ourselves, and for our children. That is the journey that we must travel together.
I look forward to continuing this critically important
dialogue and turning it into action. And today, I want to wish Muslims across