Nathan Buchanan, Vice President of Communications, MSVUSU
Ramadan is celebrated from March 22 to April 20. Mays, the President of the Muslim Student Association shares how people who don't observe Ramadan should be mindful and respectful to those who do.
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. This year – as its dependent on the moon – Ramadan is celebrated from March 23 to April 21. Everyday over Ramadan, Muslims are required – unless extenuating circumstances – to practice fasting. Muslims begin fasting by waking up before dawn to have a light meal, called Suhoor. They don’t eat or drink until sunset. They open a fast called Iftar, which traditionally, begins on the first day of Ramadan with dates and water.
Mays Meknas is from Syria but raised and born in Saudi Arabia. She then relocated to Halifax in 2021 to pursue a Child and Youth Studies degree at the Mount. Mays is the President of the Muslim Student Association and observes Ramadan. “Ramadan is when Muslims try to do physical good deeds, like helping others,” says Meknas. “We always do it, but in Ramadan we do it more.”
Workplaces can be difficult for Muslim if employers or colleagues know little about Ramadan. To help your Muslim co-workers, students, colleagues, faculty, staff during their long hours of fasting, there are some things you should be mindful about:
Avoid hosting breakfast or lunch meetings and classes with Muslims in attendance.
It is important to take into consideration that where they are not consuming food or water throughout the day their energy levels may lower.
When you are with Muslim friends and community members during Ramadan, try your best to choose your words wisely out of respect. No profanity or disrespect language.
Muslims pray five times a day so those practicing may need to take more frequent breaks and have to go somewhere quiet to pray.
Meknas preaches that the MSVU community should be respectful and mindful of all Muslim students. This includes be careful of inappropriate mannerisms when you’re in a classroom or engaging with the Muslim community. “They [MSVU community] should know when Ramadan is and know that Muslim people are fasting during their classes,” says Meknas who is working with Chartwells, the campus food provider, for Halal options in meal hall.
Muslim Student Association
We have a very tight-knit Muslin community on campus, thanks in large part to the Muslim Student Association. Meknas is the President of MSA, and is actively engaging with the Muslim community, as well as, educating non-Muslim about their religion.
“The MSA does excellent work and has been a great addition to our campus community.” says President, Katerina Allan in her March blog. The MSA holds many events and has an active social media presence that I encourage you to check out.
“The Muslim Student Association provides a safe space for Muslim students on campus and serving the larger community through activities,” says Meknas. “The main purpose is to coordinate Islamic worship and holiday services.”
The Muslim Student Association hosts events weekly and monthly.
For more information on the MSA society, visit their Instagram page here.