WASHINGTON, June 6 (APP): Muslims across the United States, including Pakistani Americans, will observe the holy month of Ramazan from Monday.

A large number of people gathered in mosques in the US capital of Washington and in the neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland to offer “tarawih” prayers. A large number of Pakistani Americans live in these three states. Other states with major concentration of Pakistani American Muslims include Chicago, California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

In Virginia, hundreds of Pakistani Americans gathered in Darul-Huda Islamic center, one of the oldest Muslim center in the region, for Tarawih prayers. Worshipers also offered prayers for the well-being, progress and prosperity of their motherland.

In a statement issued by the White House, President Barack Obama and the First Lady extended best wishes to the Muslims across the United States and around the world.

“For many, this month is an opportunity to focus on reflection and spiritual growth, forgiveness, patience and resilience, compassion for those less fortunate, and unity across communities,” the President said in the statement. “As Muslim Americans celebrate the holy month, I am reminded that we are one American family.”

In an apparent reference to statements by some of the Republican presidential candidates which has given rise to Islamophobia in the United States in recent months, President Obama expressed solidarity with the Muslim Americans.

“I stand firmly with Muslim American communities in rejection of the voices that seek to divide us or limit our religious freedoms or civil rights. I stand committed to safeguarding the civil rights of all Americans no matter their religion or appearance. I stand in celebration of our common humanity and dedication to peace and justice for all,” the President said.

The President said that as this is a month of reflection, “we cannot forget millions of lives that have been displaced by conflict and struggle, across the world and in our own backyards”.

“We must continue working together to alleviate the suffering of these individuals,” President Obama said and added that the United States will continue to welcome immigrants and refugees, including those who are Muslim.

President Obama said that he had done throughout his presidency, he looked forward to opening the doors of the White House to Muslim Americans during this special occasion ,this year for an Eid celebration marking the end of Ramadan.