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Obama sends Eid greetings to Muslims across world

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TIRANA: Albanians offer Eid prayers at the Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard here on Friday.—AP
TIRANA: Albanians offer Eid prayers at the Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard here on Friday.—AP

WASHINGTON: In an Eid message released by his office, US President Barack Obama emphasised the importance of respecting peoples of all faiths and beliefs.

“As Muslim Americans celebrate Eid across America, the holiday is a reminder to every American of the importance of respecting those of all faiths and beliefs,” he said.

“Michelle and I would like to extend our warmest wishes to Muslims in the US and around the world celebrating Eidul Fitr.”

Mr Obama noted that while Ramazan was a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need, Eid marked a new beginning for each individual — a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.

“The diversity of traditions paint the vibrant images we see from around the world capturing the spirit and excitement of Eid — colourful dresses or white garments decorating the masses of people standing in lines for prayer, lanterns and ornaments lighting up bazaars and neighbourhoods, intricate henna designs painted on hands of young girls and women, and an abundance of delectable foods and aromatic cuisines.”

President Obama praised the New York City Public Schools for adding Eid to their official school calendars alongside Christmas, Hanukkah and other holidays, saying that it was “an acknowledgement of the great diversity and inclusiveness that adds to the richness of our nation”.

He said that during this year’s White House Iftar, he met inspiring young Muslim Americans who were leading efforts for greater understanding and unity across diverse communities. Following the Iftar, one of the young attendees helped spearhead an effort that raised more than $75,000 for the churches burned in the wake of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, earlier this year.

“Americans of all faiths and beliefs must stand together to protect our democracy and strengthen our country as a whole,” Mr Obama said.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2015

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