MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Muslims across the globe are observing the holy month of Ramadan, Including those still in school.
So how do Minnesota classrooms handle students who fast during the holiday?
During the month of Ramadan, things inside Al-Amal School in Fridley are a little different than other months of the year.
“We kind of shifted our schedule because there is no lunch period,” said Omar Ali, director of Islamic students at Al-Amal.
He says it is not required for children to fast during Ramadan. Although elementary students typically do not, middle and high school students petition their parents to participate.
“I don’t have to fast yet, but … it makes me feel happy to do it. My God said to do it,” said sixth grader Muminah Mohammed.
She says Ramadan is more than just fasting from before sunrise to after sunset.
“Ramadan is also a time where you develop your character, and you basically try to stop foul language or bad actions or watching lots of television,” Mohammed said. “[You] develop patience and kindness and generosity.”
Ninth grader Ikram Omar says fasting helps her empathize with the less fortunate.
“The whole point of fasting is for the rich and the poor to be the same, so we kind of feel what the people in Syria or Somalia feel that do not have any food, that are starving the whole time,” Omar said.
Ali believes observing Ramadan helps students focus on what is important.
“They tend to be more positive, more focused on their learning, more, you know, nicer towards each other, so it really effects them towards the good,” Ali said.
For 10th grader Ayub Daud, observing Ramadan is helping him become the best person he can be.
“I want to become a nicer person, better person,” Daud said. “I want to help people out more just overall. It’s just a month for self improvement.”
Minnesota Muslims are fasting, studying, praying and giving to the less fortunate for about 17 hours a day now. Students we talked to say it also builds a strong sense of community.