(RNS) In a message marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, President Obama lamented the spate of vicious terror attacks around the world in recent weeks and warned against anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S.
“No one should ever feel afraid or unsafe in their place of worship,” Obama said in a message for the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan’s monthlong observance of daytime fasting and abstinence.
“This past month, our country and the world endured challenges and senseless violence that broke our hearts and tried our souls,” the president said in the statement, issued Wednesday (July 6).
Obama said the country’s prayers “are with the hundreds of innocent lives, many of them Muslim, taken during the month of Ramadan in places like Orlando, Istanbul, Dhaka, Baghdad, and Medina.”
Terrorists inspired by or affiliated with the Islamic State have used Ramadan as a reason to carry out a series of bloody attacks. Some Muslims were upset at the relative lack of outrage in the West over those deaths compared with the reaction to attacks in Paris and Brussels and the gun massacre at a gay nightclub in Florida.
Obama noted and condemned the spike in anti-Islamic rhetoric and incidents in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting by a Muslim-American who apparently pledged fealty to ISIS.
“In the face of hate, it’s our American values and strength that bring us together to stand in solidarity and protect one another — thereby, making our Nation stronger and safer,” he said.
He said that Muslim-Americans “have been part of our American family since its founding” and said that at Eid “we recommit to protecting Muslim Americans against bigotry and xenophobia, while celebrating the contributions of Muslim Americans around the country.”
The Obamas will host an Eid celebration at the White House later this month.