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Obama Urges Protection of US Muslims Against Bigotry, Xenophobia

FILE - President Barack Obama greets children from Al-Rahmah school and guests during his visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, Feb. 3, 2016. In his Eid-al-Fitr message issued Wednesday he called on fellow citizens to "stand in solidarity and protect one another."

U.S. President Barack Obama called on Americans to "recommit" to protecting Muslim Americans against bigotry and xenophobia in a message marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

"Muslim Americans are as diverse as our nation itself - black, white, Latino, Asian, and Arab. Eid celebrations around the country remind us of our proud history as a nation built by people of all backgrounds; our history of religious freedom and civil liberties, and our history of innovation and strength, Obama said in his Eid al-Fitr message issued Wednesday.

He noted that that this past month the U.S. and the world endured heart breaking “challenges and senseless violence,” when “hundreds of innocent lives, many of them Muslim” were taken in places like Orlando, Istanbul, Dhaka, Baghdad, and Medina.

"Here at home, we’ve also seen a rise in attacks against Muslim Americans. No one should ever feel afraid or unsafe in their place of worship," Obama said. "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."

Obama praised the contribution of Muslim Americans around the country, including the late boxing legend Muhammed Ali, "to whom we bade farewell this Ramadan."

Eid al-Fitr celebrates the purification achieved by a month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting, one of the five pillars of Islam that ends with several days of festivities in many countries around the world.