Illinois Muslim, Non-Muslim Students Share Unity Iftar

More than 150 Muslim and non-Muslim students gathered for iftar in Parkes Hall in Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, on the first day of Ramadan to break the fast together and share a unity message, Daily Northwestern reported.

“It really gives me the big picture when I look around and I see I still have a different family — these people are my home away from home,” Huma Manjra, McSA’s Associated Student Government senator, said.

“It’ll be different, but different doesn’t mean it’s not going to be as enjoyable or memorable, so I’m hoping and I’m praying that this Ramadan will feel just as any other if not better,” the Weinberg freshman added.

The annual event, organized by the Muslim-cultural Students Association, was open to all community members regardless of their faith.

During the iftar or the breaking of the fast at sunset, community members ate dates after a group prayer outside while recognizing both Sunni and Shia Ramadan traditions. The event was catered by Chicago restaurant Usmania Fine Dining.

For McSA secretary Fizzah Jaffer, this is her first Ramadan away from family.

She said the community iftar is an important chance for people to see the strength and spirituality of the NU Muslim community.

“During Ramadan itself, we get a lot closer, just because you see these people every day in the evening and you’re all talking about the same thing — food, basically,” Weinberg senior Jaafar Zaidi said.

“There’s the spiritual aspect too because you all pray together and you’re guaranteed to see everyone every day.”

Danielle Addo is not Muslim but came to the iftar to support one of her friends who helped out with the event.

“It’s a yearly thing and just having the strength within yourself (to fast), it’s really inspirational to see that,” Addo said.

“If Muslims can fast, there’s pretty much not a limit to anything I can do.”

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Hijri Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad.

During Ramadan fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations) the same phrase.

Muslims in North America started fasting on Monday, May 6, on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.