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Fast-a-thon unites a diverse crowd

By Jennifer Case

November 6, 2003 9:00 pm

As the sun set at 4:56 p.m. on Thursday, over 100 students
joined fasting Muslims in breaking their all-day fasts in Kerckhoff
Grand Salon.

The students participated in the Muslim Student
Association’s Fast-a-thon. The event was designed to teach
other students about the fasting that takes place during the month
of Ramadan.

Ramadan, a religious holiday that calls for fasting, inner
reflection and religious devotion, began last week and will last a
month.

More than 13 businesses sponsored the event, and pledged to
donate $1 for each individual who participates in the event. The
money raised will be donated to Health Fair for the Homeless, which
will take place Nov. 16.

Students participating in the breaking of the fast ate dates and
drank water while they patiently waited for their meals to arrive,
which were over 45 minutes late.

Over 165 non-Muslim students fasted from sunrise until sunset in
an attempt to raise money to feed the homeless and gain a better
understanding of Ramadan.

“I chose to fast because I’m good friends with a
member of MSA. He’s exposed me over the years to the Muslim
culture, and I felt that today would be a really good chance to
step into his shoes and experience what he goes through for a
month,” said Jonathan Huynh, a third-year business economics
student.

Some non-Muslim students who participated said the event helped
them better understand the feeling that some homeless people feel
on a daily basis.

“If you remember the people who are experiencing this
hunger and don’t have a choice, it helps you to get through
the day,” said Tina Park, a first-year political science
student who fasted.

MSA believes sharing the experience of fasting with other
students will allow people of multiple backgrounds to come together
for a single cause.

“This has been a really great community effort because
people really wanted to join ““ it has been such a good
experience uniting people of all different religions to help the
homeless,” said Bennish Pervez, a member of MSA and a
third-year electrical engineering student.

“Fasting during Ramadan teaches Muslims the beauty of
restraint, and anyone who participated in this event will better
understand self-control,” said Hassan Siddiqi, an event
sponsor.

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Jennifer Case
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