President Jacob Zuma has extended good wishes to all the members of the Muslim community in South Africa as they begin fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
“We wish our Muslim compatriots a blessed and successful Ramadan, as they spend time deepening their spirituality and reflecting on what can make our country a better place,” said President Zuma.
The President has also congratulated the new President of the Muslim Judicial Council, Shaykh Irafaan Abraham.
“We look forward to working with Shaykh Irafaan Abrahams and to deepening the working relations between government and the MJC,” said President Zuma.
Meanwhile, in Cape Town, Mayor Patricia De Lille paid tribute to the important role that the Muslim community plays in the city, where generosity and compassion for others makes a great impact.
“I am truly grateful for all the efforts of the Muslim community and for their kindness in our quest to build this caring city. By being united through our diverse cultures, religions and beliefs and remembering the values of humanity, we are able to make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable residents and give them hope for a brighter future. Together, our efforts help to make this great city even greater,” she said.
De Lille said she was encouraged by the beauty of Ramadan, a period of “high-intensity spiritual devotion”.
“As you observe this period of fasting, reflection, sacrifice, worship and giving, I wish you strength and fulfilment. On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I wish you a blessed Ramadaan.”
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane praised Muslims for their self-sacrifice.
“It is a time of community, family, sharing food and breaking fast together. A time that evokes a real feeling of Ubuntu across the country,” he said.
“On behalf of the DA, I wish all Muslims a spiritually fulfilling month. Our prayers, support and best wishes are with all of you.”
In his Ramadan message, President Obama took a swipe at presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump without mentioning the real estate mogul by name.
“Here in the United States, we are blessed with Muslim communities as diverse as our nation itself. There are those whose heritage can be traced back to the very beginning of our nation, as well as those who have only just arrived,” Obama said, adding that many Muslims are “doctors, lawyers, artists, teachers, scientists, community organizers, public servants, and military members.”
“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,” Obama said, apparently referencing Trump’s call to stop Muslims from entering the United States until there’s a more rigorous vetting process. “We will continue to welcome immigrants and refugees into our nation, including those who are Muslim.”
London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan said would be using Ramadan to “get out there and build bridges” between the capital’s different communities.
The Mayor, a practising Muslim, said he hoped that the holy month would help “break down the mystique and suspicion” that existed around his religion.
In a message to mark the start of Ramadan, he said it was a time for all Londoners to come together to reflect on values of charity, peace, justice and tolerance.
He added: “It is a great opportunity to unite our many diverse communities and faith groups at charitable events and iftars [the post-sunset meal at which Ramadan observers break their fast] across the city.”