Approximately 80 students, Muslim and non-Muslim, gathered in a “fast-a-thon” iftar event sponsored by the Muslim Students Association in Hamilton on Saturday, April 1.
The day of fasting during the month of Ramadan brought students of several faiths together, offering non-Muslim students the opportunity to experience what Muslims practice for an entire month.
In addition, the event, the first for Muslim Association of Hamilton’s youth society, aimed fundraise for Turkey-Syria earthquake relief.
“In Hamilton there’s a huge Muslim community,” Aida Taha, 22, one of the organizers, told CBC.
“[But] our youth have mentioned that Ramadan is not really recognized in their schools, so they wanted to introduce their peers to that experience.”
Attendants, aged 14-25, observed the Ramadan fasting for a day, breaking their fast together over Pakistani and Arab food.
“We just wanted to help introduce non-Muslims to the culture and the idea of fasting and what it means to us,” said Taha, who said Catholic schools in particular seemed open to fasting with them due to their own experience with Lent.
The event is not the only by Muslim youth in Canada. Later this week, Orchard Park’s Muslim Student Association is also hosting a community iftar Potluck on April 5 at 7 p.m.
Imam Sayed Tora, with the Hamilton Downtown Mosque, said there are also daily meals to break the fast at the mosque, serving an iftar meal for around 250 to 300 people each night.
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint, and good deeds.
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