Fastathon raises $500 for AMS foodbank

Students learn about Ramadan during QUMSA event

Students across the Queen’s campus got a taste of what it’s like to go without food on Tuesday, when they participated in a Fastathon from dawn to dusk to raise money for the AMS Foodbank.

The event was organized by the Queen’s University Muslim Students’ Association (QUMSA).

Samaa Khan, QUMSA vice-president, said this 12-hour fast served a double purpose: to raise money for the AMS Foodbank while also giving non-Muslims the opportunity to experience what the Muslim fast during the month of Ramadan. This year Ramadan occurs from Sept. 24 to Oct. 23.

“They’re learning a little bit about Islam and sharing in that experience with us so that we can come into more of an understanding of each other,” she said. “And there’s the charitable aspect of it and they’re helping the Queen’s community.” During the fast, participating students abstained from food and drink as well as negative thoughts and actions.

AMS Social Issues Commissioner Allison Williams said the charitable aspect of the event is part of the reason why she participated.

“I think it’s really great to have initiatives like this where they reach out to the greater student body,” she said. “It’s really important for non-Muslim students to show support to the Muslim students, show respect for their religion, and to learn more about it.”

On Tuesday night, after fasting for an entire day, 140 students gathered in the JDUC’s McLaughlin Room for an evening of eating and socializing.

The evening began with a talk by Yasin Dwyer, Muslim chaplain at the federal penitentiary, who said Ramadan is a time to empathize with those who starve everyday.

“It’s a social dimension,” he said to the assembled students. “During this time, you feel what many feel on a daily basis.” Over the course of their campaign, the student association raised more than $500. All proceeds will go to the AMS Foodbank.

The event had a larger turnout than expected, with 140 people.

“We had to improvise,” Khan said,. “But it’s a good thing. Everyone really seems to be enjoying themselves and the food.”

Haseeb Khan, ArtSci ’07 and QUMSA president, said the Fastathon was not just about abstaining from food, but educating non-Muslim students about Ramadan and QUMSA.

“Every Queen’s student is welcome, and should feel no hesitation to ask questions. We’re always open to constructive criticism.” Scanning the room, Khan said he was pleased the amount of diversity at the event.

“Look around,--there’s a great mix.”

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