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Club celebrates Eid Al-Fitr

Sarah McCarthy | Monday, September 10, 2012

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) celebrated the end of Ramadan, a month-long period when Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset, on Friday evening with the festival of Eid Ul-Fitr, often abbreviated to Eid and Arabic for “the festivity of breaking the fast.”

Members of MSA gathered together to eat traditional Middle Eastern foods and pray in the Coleman-Morse Lounge, while MSA leaders explained the traditions of Eid and discussed the place of Muslims at Notre Dame.

 “The Muslim Student Association strives to increase dialogue and interaction between ethnic groups at Notre Dame,” graduate student and MSA secretary Aamir Ahmed Khan said. “Notre Dame is a place where all faiths are respected, and we all believe in the same God.”

Guests at the festival enjoyed a buffet of traditional Middle Eastern foods such as falafel, hummus and rice with vegetables, while a PowerPoint presentation taught them about the Islamic holiday.

According to the presentation, there is a great diversity of Muslims at Notre Dame. Muslim students hail from various countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, France and Bangladesh. The Eid Ul-Fitr celebrations in these countries typically include giving gifts and sweets to children and coming together to rejoice in the special occasion.

Sophomore MSA vice president Liyana Syahirah said Eid is both sad and joyous, as it is a celebration of the end of a fast, but also an end to Ramadan, which is full of blessings. She said Eid carries the distinctive meaning of victory.

Junior MSA president Saad Khan said although Muslim students sometimes feel excluded among the large number of Catholics at Notre Dame, the MSA gives them a sense of community.

“As long as you have faith, Notre Dame will only strengthen your beliefs,” he said.

Fr. Jim King, director of Campus Ministry, said he is proud Muslims feel welcome to engage in conversation at the University.

“I am glad that Muslim students feel that Notre Dame is a place where they can come together to have conversations we need to have so that people can live together in peace,” King said.

Khan said he is happy as a Muslim with his decision to attend graduate school at Notre Dame.

“I haven’t felt any difficulty in practicing my religion, and there are plenty of resources on campus for students of the Muslim faith,” he said.

Syahirah said she feels Muslim students are welcomed into the Notre Dame community.

“Two people that really helped me were my rector and my [resident assistant],” Syahirah said. “Dorm life was overwhelming at first, but I like Notre Dame a lot.”