Obama addresses Muslims on Ramadan

US president says commitment to 2-state solution, war on terror part of drive to forge new relationship.

obama waves 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
obama waves 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama spoke of his "unyielding" support for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in welcoming in Ramadan on Friday. After beginning the remarks in his Internet video marking the occasion with the traditional "Ramadam kareem," Obama discussed his continuing efforts to reach out to the Muslim world and "commitment to a new beginning between America and Muslims around the world." As part of that commitment he listed policy priorities such as withdrawing from Iraq, ending extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and resolving the Middle East conflict. "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," he said. He noted that these issues built on the principles he laid out in his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in June, saying that his address was followed by a tremendous response from Muslims around the world. "We have listened. We have heard you. 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," he told them Friday. Obama also praised Islam and the various elements of the Ramadan observance: "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." Several Muslim and Arab American groups lauded the president's greetings. "The Muslim Public Affairs Council today welcomed President Barack Obama's Ramadan message to Muslims worldwide, and extended its own wishes for a peaceful and blessed month," the political advocacy group said in a statement. The Washington-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee used the opportunity to back a call for help changing the US Treasury's strictures on donations to Muslim charities, a traditional component of Ramadan observance. The Treasury has imposed certain regulations in what it says is an effort to ensure that Americans don't provide money to terrorist organizations, but some Muslim organizations have charged that the regulations unfairly stigmatize and complicate efforts for honest Muslim Americans to donate money to charity.