Source: Daily Sabah
Hundreds of non-Muslim students and staff at Maine East High School in the city of Maine, Illinois fasted the whole day for solidarity with their Muslim peers, local U.S. and international media reported.
The students took part in the first Ramadan-inspired event in the school’s history on Wednesday in an effort to display diversity and inclusion, calling the event a “Fast-a-Thon,” according to CBS News Chicago.
The students fasted just before Laylat al-Qadr, or the “Night of Destiny,” which is the most sacred in the holy month of Ramadan that marks the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. It is the night of the 15th day of Shaban in the Islamic calendar.
“I see her doing it every day, and I think it’s really cool how she like – the self-discipline aspect of it,” school senior Haley Good said.
Muslims who are able to, abstain from food, liquids and smoking during the daylight hours of the month of Ramadan.
Waleed Atawneh, the sponsor of the Muslim Students Association of East Maine High School, said, “You get together with all your classmates and family, I think that kind of thing brings out the spirit of Ramadan.”
Julia Jaroslawski, one of the students who fasted in solidarity with her fellow Muslim students, said that fasting is a difficult lesson in self-discipline, and that her Muslim friends motivate her to better understand different cultures and their sacrifices. “I realized how often I think about food and water,” said Jaroslawski. “I realized that instead of thinking about what I’m going to eat in the future, I should focus on what I’m doing right now,” she added.
Monisa Yusra, a Muslim student at the high school, appreciated the show of solidarity telling CBS, “I’m really glad they tried it out.”
Rayhan Khaja, a student and co-president of the school’s Muslim Student Association said, “Talking to somebody just like and having a conversation is really important, you know, and I think that’s a big step towards inclusion,” reported CBS.
“It’s kind of like eye-opening,” said the other co-president and student Haaziya Saiyed. “You get to see life from a different perspective,” he added.
The fast ended in a large feast held at the school.
Over 200 students participated in the solidarity fast on Wednesday with Ramadan set to end on Sunday. The following day, Ramadan Bayram, also known as Eid al-Fitr, is set to be celebrated.
Alumni of East Maine High School, located north of Chicago, include prominent names such as former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was a student between 1961 and 1964, as well as actor Harrison Ford, among others.