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Published: Saturday, 8/20/2011

Interfaith observance set to mark Ramadan

St. John's to be site for fourth 'fast-a-thon'

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

Muslim and Christian students will join a dawn-to-dusk "fast-a-thon" Thursday at St. John's Jesuit High School, a one-day interfaith observance of Islam's requirement to fast during the holy month of Ramadan. After sunset, the students along with teachers and parents will gather for a meal.

This will be the fourth annual Break-the-Fast event at the Catholic high school for Ramadan, the month in which Muslims believe the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

Ehab Nazzal, 17, a St. John's senior and an event organizer, said more than 50 students have signed up so far. "We've been reaching out through Facebook, phone, and other means," he said. "The event allows people to gain insight into the month of Ramadan and what it means to Muslims."

Most of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims observe Ramadan by abstaining from food, drink, and sensual pleasures from before dawn until dusk. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with a testimony of faith, praying five times a day, giving to charity, and making a pilgrimage at least once to Mecca.

Many begin fasting two hours before sunrise, or around 5:15 a.m., and break their fast at 8:30 p.m. during the current Ramadan, which began Aug. 1 and ends Aug. 30.

Going more than 15 hours without food and water during the heat of summer can be challenging for students who play sports, such as Moustafa Afifi, a 17-year-old senior at Maumee Valley Country Day School. Moustafa is a center midfielder on the soccer team that has been practicing twice a day.

"Some days it's pretty hard, and some days I guess it's not," he said. "The actual soccer games are a lot harder than practices."

He said he drinks about six cups of water before starting the day's fast and then drinks a lot afterward.

St. John's Break-the-Fast event is open to the public and will feature a catered meal and talks on Ramadan and fasting by Muslim and Catholic speakers. A donation of $3 or more is suggested, with proceeds helping anti-famine efforts in Africa. Information: Ehab.Nazzal12@sjjtitans.org or search Facebook for St. John's Break the Fast.



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