"The attack on Americans of any faith is an attack on the freedom of all Americans. No American should ever have to fear for their safety in their place of worship. Every American has the right to practice their faith both openly and freely, and as they choose," Obama said on the sidelines of the iftar dinner hosted by him at the White House.
Asserting that the perpetrators of such "despicable" acts can never come good over the "compassion, goodness and strength of the united American family," Obama reiterated such acts of violence had "no place" in the US society.
"Tonight our prayers, in particular, are with our friends and fellow Americans in the Sikh community. We mourn those who were senselessly murdered and injured in their place of worship," Obama said, stressing that the US was committed to defend its universal right to freedom of religion.
The US president appreciated the "extraordinary courage" shown by Muslim women during the recent Arab Spring. He also praised Huma Abedin, a former White House employee and presently an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, terming her a "good friend" and an "American patriot".
Prominent among those who attended the fourth iftar dinner hosted by Obama included ambassadors from various countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. However Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao, unlike her predecessor Meera Shankar, was not among the attendees.