Saudi Arabian students celebrate Ramadan in Big Rapids

RAMADAN DINNER: Ferris State University students who are members of the Saudi Student Organization prepare their plates with a meal prepared by Nawal’s Mediterranean Eatery of Big Rapids. The Ramadan dinner was held for students to celebrate Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a time of fasting. (Pioneer photos/Miranda Roberts)

Ferris State student organization enjoys Islamic meal at downtown restaurant

BIG RAPIDS – After fasting from sunrise to sunset, about 20 Saudi Arabian students at Ferris State University filled Nawal’s Mediterranean Eatery on Monday night for a Ramadan meal.

Ramadan is a month of fasting practiced in the Islamic faith during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, and is observed by Muslims around the world.

Naser Aldossary, president of the Saudi Student Organization at Ferris State University, said it is a time for gathering.

“What everybody loves about Ramadan is the environment that happens,” Aldossary said. “Everyone gets together with family members. Here in the states, everybody left their families to study, so we have our own community here.”

Small groups of students have gathered every night throughout Ramadan to break the fast together.

“It’s the most special month in the year for us, not just in religion, but in our culture,” Aldossary explained.

Nawal Braden Swart provided the meal at no cost to the students

However, because it is against tradition to accept the gift of a meal, Dan Tuuri, a professor at Ferris who Aldossary refers to as a teacher, mentor and friend, suggested the students raise money for Angels of Action in exchange for the meal. At the end of the meal, $215 was raised for the local organization.

“Something as simple as a box of macaroni and cheese may serve three or four people on the weekend in these houses,” Tuuri said to the students. “These are families who do not have the money and the resources to support themselves.”

Today is the last day of Ramadan in the U.S., and Thursday, Muslims will celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a holiday Aldossary likened to Christmas.

“People of the book, people who have received the book from God, Judaism and Christianity, have their days of fasting, and we have 30 days of fasting,” Aldossary said. “Abrahamic religions all have the fasting ritual.”



Posted by Miranda Roberts

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