Fasting students raise $5,000 for Darfur - Islamic Relief USA

Pablo Albilal / Contributing Writer

The Daily Targum

Issue date: 10/10/07 Section: Page One

Students break their fast yesterday evening in the Multipurpose Room in the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus. Fast-a-Thon, an event sponsored by the Islamic Society of Rutgers and other groups, aimed to raise money for displaced people in Darfur, Sudan. The event raised $5,000.


A tantalizing aroma floated out of the doors of the Multipurpose Room in the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus yesterday evening – a treat for 500 students who had fasted since dawn.

Fast-a-Thon, an event hosted by the Islamic Society of Rutgers, The Office of the Muslim Chaplaincy and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, was part of the groups’ larger event, Salam. Each year, Fast-a-Thon targets a specific charity to support. This year’s focus is the crisis in Darfur.

For each non-Muslim that pledged to not eat or drink for the day, local businesses and private donors will donate $10 to the group Islamic Relief, which will use the money to benefit displaced people in Darfur, Sudan.

“From dawn to dusk non-Muslims pledged to fast. The purpose of which is to celebrate the community at Rutgers and to give charity – our tagline: Skip a meal save a life,” said Natasha Piracha, co-vice president of ISRU.

Nadia Sheikh, the events coordinator for ISRU, said donor participation would help eradicate Muslim and Ramadan stereotypes while also raising money for Darfur.

Usker Naqvi, public relations sead for Salam, said 250 pledges were gathered from students and an additional 250 from an online pledge form. As a result, $5,000 will be given to Islamic Relief’s Darfur Action Project.

“If there is a place around the world where there is a great need it is Darfur,” said Yousef Abdallah the Northeast operations manager for Islamic Relief.

“We have eight offices in Sudan, one being in Darfur,” Abdallah said. “We manage three schools and a hospital for internally displaced persons.”

Abdallah said the timing of the donations could not be better.

“Ramadan is the month of giving – Muslims love to give during Ramadan,” he said.

Shehnaz Abdeljaber, who works for the Middle Eastern Studies Department, addressed those present on the value of charity.

“Part of Ramadan is charity and giving,” she said.

“In this day and age we need to talk about Islam – this night is meant to break down the misconceptions about Islam. It also shows that Muslims care about global events like Darfur,” said Khadija Daya, a worker at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

“I’m a Christian, and when I fasted today I saw [other students] who were drinking apple juice and wondered if they knew how privileged they are to be drinking,” said School of Arts and Sciences first-year student Alejandra Castano.

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