Colleges are trying to make campus life more Ramadan-friendly : NPR

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Talha Rafique picks up his to-go suhoor field from a campus eating corridor on the College of Southern California. “My associates and I really stay up for Ramadan,” he says.

Roxanne Turpen for NPR

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Talha Rafique picks up his to-go suhoor field from a campus eating corridor on the College of Southern California. “My associates and I really stay up for Ramadan,” he says.

Roxanne Turpen for NPR

This Ramadan is Talha Rafique’s first away from dwelling. He says one of many issues he misses most is his mom’s meals for suhoor, the dawn meal that begins every day’s quick. “I used to be just about going to have eggs each single morning,” says the College of Southern California sophomore. Then USC announced a new Ramadan initiative: College students can now choose up to-go containers from a eating corridor for the morning meal. “That is tremendous helpful, particularly for college students on the meal plan, as a result of we’re already paying regardless,” Rafique says.

See how almost a quarter of humanity ushered in Ramadan, their holiest month

As Muslim college students throughout the nation started fasting for Ramadan, schools have stepped up efforts to make them really feel extra included. USC, Loyola University Chicago, Utah State University, Northeastern University and Emerson College are among the many colleges which have launched new initiatives this 12 months. Shafiqa Ahmadi at USC’s Heart for Schooling, Id and Social Justice research college students’ sense of belonging on faculty campuses and teaches workshops on how schools may be extra inclusive. “We do have directors and school and employees who’re listening now,” she says. “Clearly, there is a push for DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] and belonging and mattering.”

This 12 months additionally marks the first time in over a decade that Ramadan has fallen squarely throughout the conventional faculty 12 months, and that college 12 months hasn’t been disrupted by the pandemic.

Colleges are taking it upon themselves to make Ramadan adjustments

In earlier years, USC college students had been capable of convey further meals from their night meal dwelling to eat for suhoor. This 12 months, with elevated demand, the college started providing suhoor to-go containers filled with a breakfast entree, fruit, yogurt and juice, as an alternative of final evening’s dinner. “Actually, there was by no means actually a debate as as to whether we must always or should not provide one thing,” says Lindsey Pine, a dietitian for USC’s eating halls. “We simply knew that that was one thing that wanted to be finished.”

“I believe when you have a look at it like that is going to be actually exhausting to not eat or drink all day, then will probably be,” Rafique says of fasting for Ramadan. “However when you have a look at it prefer it’s a chance to observe management and self-discipline, then you are going to be OK.” This Ramada, he is been having fun with USC’s suhoor to-go containers filled with a breakfast entree, fruit, yogurt and juice.

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“I believe when you have a look at it like that is going to be actually exhausting to not eat or drink all day, then will probably be,” Rafique says of fasting for Ramadan. “However when you have a look at it prefer it’s a chance to observe management and self-discipline, then you are going to be OK.” This Ramada, he is been having fun with USC’s suhoor to-go containers filled with a breakfast entree, fruit, yogurt and juice.

Roxanne Turpen for NPR

She says USC plans to proceed providing annual Ramadan lodging so long as the eating halls are open and Muslim college students are on the varsity’s meal plan. Northeastern College can also be providing Ramadan breakfast containers, in addition to a shuttle service to a close-by mosque for night prayers, and iftar, or fast-breaking, meals twice weekly. And Utah State College is providing sizzling, halal night meals twice every week free of charge, along with the to-go containers they’ve supplied in earlier years. At Emerson Faculty, a eating corridor has a halal station providing meals for iftar in addition to takeaway luggage for suhoor. This 12 months additionally marks the primary time the varsity has a Muslim chaplain on employees.

Omer Mozaffar, the Muslim chaplain at Loyola College Chicago, a Jesuit Catholic faculty, has been working with the college to make eating preparations for college students in residence halls, and to facilitate iftars, a few of which might be sponsored by the varsity. “We really began doing preparation two years in the past,” says Mozaffar. “Then COVID hit.” This 12 months marks the primary time Loyola college students might be fasting on campus because the pandemic started. Containers of dates, usually eaten to interrupt the quick, are stacked excessive in Mozaffar’s workplace. He says they’re a present from the college for him handy out to Muslim college students.

Omer Mozaffar, Loyola College Chicago’s Muslim chaplain, holds containers of dates in his workplace. Dates are usually eaten to interrupt the quick throughout Ramadan.

Olivia Obineme for NPR

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Omer Mozaffar, Loyola College Chicago’s Muslim chaplain, holds containers of dates in his workplace. Dates are usually eaten to interrupt the quick throughout Ramadan.

Olivia Obineme for NPR

“The college traditionally has been very open and welcoming on issues associated to Islam,” he explains. “The dean of scholars is able to ship out a notice to the school to allow them to know that fasting might be going down and Eid prayers [marking the end of Ramadan] might be going down afterward.”

HBCUs have been doing this for years

Muslim inclusion efforts aren’t utterly new to American faculty campuses – particularly not at HBCUs. “Most of the Muslim college students who attend traditionally Black schools and universities are likely to really feel higher supported and extra engaged than their counterparts at predominately white establishments,” says Darnell Cole of USC’s Heart for Schooling, Id and Social Justice.

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Cole research race and the way it impacts faculty college students’ experiences, together with the experiences of Muslim college students at HBCUs – college students who, Cole says, aren’t at all times Black. Sanaa Haamen leads the Muslim College students’ Affiliation at Howard College, which has supplied suhoor and iftar eating corridor meals since 2017. She has noticed a pattern amongst Palestinian and Bengali college students who’ve transferred to Howard from predominantly white establishments: They’ve advised her they really feel extra included at Howard. “They got here to Howard, and so they’re like, ‘Oh, all people’s simply so welcoming. They need to be your pal, they need to community, they need to simply get out and do stuff,’ ” she says.

At different colleges, college students are main the cost

For years, Muslim pupil associations have been working towards higher inclusion on campus. “MSAs are constructed to help Muslim college students by way of their observe on faculty campuses. And Ramadan is, I believe, a central a part of that,” says Bushra Bangee of Muslim College students Affiliation West, which oversees MSAs on the West Coast. Extra just lately, these efforts have been increasing into Greek life. Zara Khan is chapter vice chairman of the Muslim sorority Mu Delta Alpha on the College of Texas at Austin. Her sorority has been internet hosting spirituality nights throughout Ramadan, a observe they began just about in 2021 to assist foster a communal spirit across the holy month.

Rafique normally takes suhoor, the dawn meal that begins every day’s quick, round 4:50 a.m. “We actually eat when it is darkish. We now have to cease once we see the primary mild come up,” he says.

Roxanne Turpen for NPR

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Roxanne Turpen for NPR

Rafique normally takes suhoor, the dawn meal that begins every day’s quick, round 4:50 a.m. “We actually eat when it is darkish. We now have to cease once we see the primary mild come up,” he says.

Roxanne Turpen for NPR

“We’d get collectively and focus on a related matter associated to Ramadan, one thing about fasting or charity work or core elements of stuff you’re imagined to be bettering upon throughout Ramadan,” she explains. Khan’s sorority can also be partnering with the nation’s first Muslim fraternity, Alpha Lambda Mu, to host an iftar at UT Austin’s student-run mosque.

Why schools are beginning to do that now

Bangee attributes the surge of campus inclusion efforts to the occasions of the previous two years, together with the response to George Floyd’s homicide and the nationwide dialog round racial justice. “Relating to administration supporting college students, you recognize, with the previous 12 months round BLM, I believe that has actually opened the door round conversations round DEI basically,” she says. Sociologist Eman Abdelhadi research the Muslim-American expertise on the College of Chicago. She attributes the uptick in Muslim inclusion efforts to a number of elements, together with Muslim advocacy organizations that fashioned after 9/11 and what she calls the “Trump Impact.” “He made concentrating on Muslims such an necessary a part of his marketing campaign,” she explains. “And it in some methods elevated their place inside a liberal coalition of anti-Trumpers.”

Omer Mozaffar addresses college students at Loyola College Chicago’s campus mosque.

Olivia Obineme for NPR

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Olivia Obineme for NPR

Omer Mozaffar addresses college students at Loyola College Chicago’s campus mosque.

Olivia Obineme for NPR

Shafiqa Ahmadi at USC credit Muslim ladies who put on headscarves with championing change on faculty campuses. “It is a image that mechanically identifies them as Muslim, and so they’re usually confronted with bias and hate,” she explains. Ahmadi says these ladies have taken up the mantle to push for belonging on faculty campuses, and it is made a distinction.

One thing completely different for each suhoor

Again at USC, Talha Rafique has gone via a number of suhoor containers since Ramadan started. The to-go field menu has included frittatas, bagels and cream cheese, and French toast. “I get slightly little bit of a range with what I am consuming,” he says. It is not fairly the identical as his mom’s dwelling cooking, nevertheless it’s higher than the every day eggs he had been planning for. Yusra Farzan is a multimedia journalist, whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue, KCET and Gulf Information. She can also be a graduate pupil on the College of Southern California, the place she serves because the managing editor at Annenberg Media and tradition editor at Ampersand LA.




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