U.S. President Barack Obama has praised the courage of activists fighting for democracy in Muslim countries.
In a message marking the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Obama said "this year, Ramadan holds a special meaning for those citizens in the Middle East and North Africa who are courageously achieving democracy and self-determination and for those who are still struggling to achieve their universal rights."
In a likely reference to Syria, the U.S. president vowed that "the United States continues to stand with those who seek the chance to decide their own destiny, to live free from fear and violence and to practice their faith freely."
July 20 marked the start of the holy month of Ramadan in most Middle East countries.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP