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Obama Sends Out Message to Muslims for Ramadan

As part of his continuing outreach to the Muslim world, President Obama released a video statement today marking the beginning of Islamic holy month Ramadan, which begins Saturday in much of the world.

"On behalf of the American people – including Muslim communities in all fifty states – I want to extend best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world. Ramadan Kareem," Mr. Obama said to start his message. You can watch the full video from the White House at left.

Like he has in speeches in and Turkey earlier this year, Mr. Obama also talked about a "new beginning" in the relationship between America and the Muslim world. He said the U.S. had a "commitment to engage Muslims and Muslim-majority nations on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect."

The president praised the rituals of the month of Ramadan, such as prayer and daily sunrise-to-sunset fasts, saying that they "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."

He also reiterated his administration's foreign policy goals, highlighting areas of cooperation and defending policy positions regarding many parts of the Muslim world.

"Beyond America's borders, we are also committed to keeping our responsibility to build a world that is more peaceful and secure," he said. "That is why we are responsibly ending the war in Iraq. That is why we are isolating violent extremists while empowering the people in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we are unyielding in our support for a two-state solution that recognizes the rights of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security. And that is why America will 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."

"May God's peace be upon you," Mr. Obama concludes.

In addition to the video, the White House Web site includes translations of the address in 13 languages.