ONTARIO – Canadian Liberal MP Mark Holland (Ajax, ON) announced earlier this week that he will fast Ramadan with Muslims, adding that he donates the money he saves during the holy month to support a charity called Give 30.
“Mr. Speaker, next week there will be hundreds of thousands of Canadians who will be celebrating Ramadan. In my own riding, there will be many thousands, and of course across the world, hundreds of millions. I want to take this opportunity to wish all those who are celebrating Ramadan, Ramadan Mubarak,” Holland said in a statement to the Parliament last June 3.
“Last year, I had the opportunity to fast for the entire period of Ramadan. It is something I am going to do again in support of a charity called Give 30. People take the money that they save from fasting every day and give it to those who are more needy, particularly food banks,” he added.
Launched in 2012, the Give 30 is designed to motivate people fasting in Ramadan to donate a portion of the money they save by skipping meals over the month.
The campaign asks Muslims and non-Muslims to give up $1 a day —$30 for the month — to help those in Toronto who are hungry.
Give 30 founder Ziyaad Mia, a Toronto lawyer and social activist, said that donations over the past years have come from people of all faiths and backgrounds.
“When I fasted, it was an incredible experience to feel what it was like to be hungry. Of course, I got relief at the end of the day, but for many children, unfortunately, in Canada and around the world, that relief never comes. They have to make it through a day and try to learn and prepare for their future without the aid of food,” Holland said.
“This charity gives an opportunity to reflect upon that and use the power of Ramadan to help others.”
Ramadan started on Monday, June 6 in Canada.
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 be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.
It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur’an.
Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.
Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011.
Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.