ST. JOHN’S – Muslim students in Canada’s eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador invited their non-Muslim colleagues to share Ramadan iftar meal to raise awareness about the holy month and raise funds for the needy.
“I wasn’t sure if I was gonna be able to make it. As an athlete I eat every three hours, but one of my colleagues mentioned that she was partaking and I said, ‘If she can do it, I can,'” Renata Lang, a non-Muslim student at Memorial University in St. John’s, told CBC News on Tuesday, June 28.
Lang was one of the students invited by the Muslim Students’ Association at MUN to an iftar last Monday.
Lang could not make the full fast, drinking some water during the day. She said the experience opened her eyes to the religion.
“It wasn’t until taking part in the event first hand, really getting a sense of where your mind is at, being able to withstand not eating for an entire day … doing that first-hand was more unique than just hearing about something,” she said.
“I give my Muslim brothers and sisters credit. I don’t think I could do it for 30 days, so kudos to them.”
The event proved a huge success, attracting around 100 people.
“I’m very blessed and very thankful that people came and joined us here. We’re not the ones who are gonna finish the food so we need people,” Ahmed Khawer, president of with the Muslim Students’ Association, said.
The feast also raised money for Islamic Relief, an organization that allows people to pledge $60 to pay for a month’s supply for food for a family of five in other countries.
The huge turnout, Khawer said, illustrates how giving and open people in the community can be.
“It makes us feel great because kind of experiencing what the Muslims are feeling and how open this community … is that people aren’t scared to try new things, they’re really open in what their beliefs are,” he said.
“Not to keep things isolated or have this misconception of what it is that people do. You kind of see all the vibrant cultures here showing up, people in traditional clothes, so it’s very nice to have everyone here.”