WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday extended his best wishes to Muslims around the world as Ramadan, the month of Islamic fasting, starts.
"On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I want to extend our best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world, " Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
"Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality. And here in the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country," Obama said.
He also said he will host a dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House later this week.
Since he took office, Obama has been reaching out to the Muslims, in an effort to improve America's negative image in the Muslim world.
Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual activities from dawn until sunset.
The first day of Ramadan this year was determined to be on Wednesday.