“As the sacred month of Ramadan begins I want to send my very best wishes to Muslim communities in Britain and across the world.
“Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection. Its importance is emphasised in prayer and as a time when families and friends gather to remember those less fortunate. Its values remind us of the principles that we hold in common - tolerance, justice, progress and the dignity of all human beings. The key messages of selflessness, charity, and compassion are values that unite Muslims and non Muslims alike.
“At this time of unprecedented change in the Middle East and North Africa, peoples’ aspirations for greater freedom touches us all. We should take a moment to particularly remember the people of Libya and others across the world who are working for increased rights and freedoms for the benefit of future generations.
“At this special time of year I hope that your prayers are answered, that Ramadan brings you peace, happiness and unity. So I say to you, your relatives and your friends, Ramadan Mubarak.”