President Barack Obama has made a significant overture to Muslims with a statement recognizing the start of Ramadan.
The holiday is a month-long celebration of fasting and reflection celebrated by Muslims worldwide.
The president noted that this Ramadan has special meaning because it follows the ‘Arab Spring' that swept the Middle East and North Africa over the past year, toppling numerous governments.
“The United States continues to stand with those who seek the chance to decide their own destiny, to live free from fear and violence, and to practice their faith freely,” the president said in a statement on the start of the holy month.
Stateside, Obama noted that “Muslim-Americans help to strengthen our country and enrich our lives.”
Obama has had a positive relationship with Muslims. A post-election poll from 2008 by the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections found that nearly 90% of American Muslims voted for Obama.
Maintaining a good relationship with Muslims is crucial for Obama this election year. Although they are a relatively small group, only representing 1% of the US population, Muslim-Americans are concentrated in swing states like Michigan, Ohio, and Florida.