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Students receive warm welcome at Ramadan feast

A dozen Eastern students chose to spend their Saturday evening on Sept. 12 at a different type of celebration.

As part of his Heritage of Islam class, Dr. Andrew Bush takes some students to Villanova’s Foundation for Islamic Education each year to experience Ramadan firsthand.

The feast began immediately after the fourth of five prayer cycles, which occurs daily at sunset. The fourth prayer cycle also marks the end of fasting each day during Ramadan.
Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the 30-day celebration. Nothing can enter their mouths, which means no water or chewing gum.

After breaking their fasting by eating dates and drinking milk or juice, the group entered into prayer.

Junior Alexander Kautardze, an international student from Georgia, chose to participate in the prayer session.

“It’s actually a really great experience because it helps one connect with the people,” Kautardze said.

After the prayer, the group moved to a neighboring gymnasium for the Ramadan feast that included lamb, chicken, rice and baklava.

While eating, the students mingled with the Muslims, who eagerly answered questions about their faith and practices.

Cindy Elayoubi, a graduate student at Temple, said her family moved to the United States from Egypt before she was born.

The main difference, Elayoubi said, is that when it is Ramadan in the Middle East, everything adjusts. Schools do not begin until after Ramadan and work shifts are shortened.

Many Muslims begin partaking in Ramadan before they reach puberty, with many eager to share that they can fast for an entire day.

“The youth are very proud of their, faith, which is surprising,” senior Chris Hamilton said. “Christian youth aren’t always as proud and devoted to it. As a youth ministries major, it was cool to see.”

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