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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Muslim students fast for holy month

Since Monday, University Muslim students have gathered every day at sunset to break their fast.

Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, began Monday. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and lasts about 30 days, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset – also abstaining from drinking and sex – to spiritually re-energize and show reverence for Allah, their god.

Second-year law student S. Mardy Amine participated in a celebration at 1701 University Ave S.E.

“If your fast is accepted by God, your sins of the previous year will be forgiven,” he said.

After praying, Amine, other Muslim students and several non-Muslim visitors gathered in small groups to chat and socialize over “iftaar” – the Arabic word for food.

Amine said because this year’s theme is spirituality, sacrifice and charity, his friends and he invited non-Muslims to join them.

“We would also like to build bridges during this holy month,” he said.

Megan Thomas, executive director of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, said GAPSA gave a $2,600 grant – $1,400 to the Pakistani Student Association and $1,200 to the Muslim Student Association – to help organizers pay for the celebration.

Alawi Al Jafri, a mechanical engineering student from the United Arab Emirates, said Ramadan in the United States is a far cry from the celebration in his native country.

“After breaking fast in the (United Arab Emirates), we socialize with our families,” he said. “You enjoy the celebration because the entire country is part of the festivities.”

Here, he said, the Ramadan celebration is almost muted. After breaking the fast, Al Jafri said, he usually returns home.

Minnesota International Student Association President Sulieman Nader said the group supports Ramadan to improve relations between Americans and international students.

Nader said he hopes the celebration will debunk negative stereotypes about Islam.

“There are lots of potential in student groups,” he said. “One way to promote diversity at the University is to support these groups.”

More than 1 billion Muslims around the world celebrate Ramadan annually.

University Muslim students will end the celebration around Nov. 25, based on the moon’s orbit.

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