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News Code: 981


US Muslim Students Fast to Feed Hungry

A group of Muslim students at the University of Pittsburgh have organized an event to fast a day, championing an initiative to raise money to feed the hungry and donate clothes to Syrian refugees.

"What is hunger? How many times do you say, ‘I’m hungry’ during the day?” asked the questions placed at the participants' tables during the event, The Pitt News reported on Sunday, February 9.

"What is a refugee?”

The ‘Fast-A-Thon’ event, co-organized by the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and the University's Facilitating Opportunities for Refugee Growth and Empowerment group (FORGE), as held last Friday.

It has attracted more than 200 students who were eager to learn about fasting through the 'ready to fast' event.

After a day-long fasting, in which students abstained from food and water, students gathered by the sunset at O’Hara Student Center ballroom where they found meals to end fasting.

“I immediately woke up this morning and thought ‘I’m hungry’,” said Sandhya Subramanian, a sophomore majoring in biology, who participated in the event.

Feeling exhausted at the end of the day, Subramanian found it not easy to abstain from eating and much harder without water.

Fasting meals included rice, chicken curry, vegetable curry, pizza and cookies that were served to the participants.

After breaking their fast with water, dates and chocolate, attendees have witnessed a congregational Maghrib prayer lead by Adam Daud, president of the MSA.

Organizers asserted that the event aims to raise awareness about hunger and needy people who are forgotten.

“One of our problems as a society is that we only care about ourselves, and we have forgotten about a lot of people who are starving to death even here in America,” said Imam Atef Mahgoub, a keynote speaker from the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh.

Mahgoub added that fasting is a way to thank Allah for His blessing, reminding audience that fasting affects their soul, not their stomach.

Clothing Drive

Participants and contributors in the event were praised for taking action to donate clothes to Syrian refugees.
Highlighting the plague of Syrian, Laila Al-Soulaiman, a Syrian-American undergraduate at Pittsburg, said that every 10 hours a Syrian dies from hunger.

Al-Soulaiman urged colleagues to educate themselves on the implication of the Syrian conflict.
“Why should we care about Syria as a collective of young people, students, Pittsburghers and Americans?” she said.

“Because we should,” she relied.

“My message to you is to attempt to live a purposeful life always in remembrance of others, always in remembrance of your identity, or your education and of service,” Al-Soulaiman added, giving a lecture about the history of the  Syrian conflict.

Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.
The Fast-A-Thon was first started by a girl at a Tennessee University following the 9/11 attacks to help her local community.

Now, over 200 universities participate every year.

Source: ABNA