WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has issued his annual Ramadan greeting as Muslims around the world are preparing to observe the holy month, which  began on Sunday.

"As Muslim Americans celebrate the holy month," he said in a statement issued by the White House, "I am reminded that we are one American family. 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 urged Americans to remember the millions of people whose lives have been displaced by conflict and struggle across the world.

Jibril Hough, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte, North Carolina, says Ramadan is different in the United States than in countries with larger Muslim populations.

Hough says because there are fewer Muslims in the United States, Ramadan is a time to gather at the mosque with fellow believers, rather than at home, as the faithful might do elsewhere.

Like most Muslims, Hough continues to work during Ramadan, which is challenging when one's job is physically demanding and the North Carolina summer is in full swing.