Once the sun went down behind the Sun Dome, the feast was on.
Hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim students flocked to The Corral inside the Sun Dome on Tuesday to participate in the Muslim Student Association’s (MSA) annual Fast-A-Thon event to commemorate the end of Ramadan, a monthlong Muslim observance in which followers don’t eat between sunrise and sundown.
“We want to develop an understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims,” said Jassim Al-Deen, president of the MSA. “We’re all members of the same community.”
The MSA – along with Sisters United Muslim Association – sponsored the event, serving dates (a traditional fast-breaking food) and Chinese food to students.
Students were urged to fast Tuesday before attending the event.
Freshman Alyssa Bean, a non-Muslim, attended the event and said she didn’t eat or drink all day Tuesday.
“I just wanted to come to try something new, to experience for a day a different religion,” she said.
The event began at around 6:30 p.m. with a prayer. When the sun set, a long line of students formed, waiting for free food and soft drinks. The dozens of candlelit tables spread across the Corral floor were mostly filled.
“We just want to raise Islamic awareness and connect with the community,” said senior Sabreena Khan, who organized the event.
She also said donations from sponsors of the event will go to charities in Tampa as well as the Middle East.
In light of recent happenings, such as the tension between Israel and Lebanon, as well as USF’s Sami Al-Arian terrorism saga, Al-Deen said events such as these have never been more important.
“Due to all the circumstances, it’s more critical than ever,” he said.