In a statement, President Obama commemorated the Muslim holiday of Ramadan — calling it a time to “cherish family, friends, and neighbors, and to help those in need.”

“On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world at the start of Ramadan,” Obama said.

Obama also took the opportunity to tie in the struggles of people across the Muslim world engaged in ongoing fighting related to the Arab spring uprisings that began in 2011.