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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

ODI celebrates Ramadan with Iftar Night

In the glow of paper bag lanterns, aromatic foods filled tables in the Rhatigan Student Center for students to break their fasts at sunset. Students were also able to learn and share the experience of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.

Iftar Night was hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). Anyone was welcome to join, talk, learn and eat halal foods, including vegetable spring rolls, halal tandoori kebab, baklava, tea and more. 

Although many people may find fasting difficult, Talha Khan, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering and member of the Muslim Student Association, said fasting and praying bring beauty to Ramadan.

“Usually what the perception is that … it kind of impedes your daily activities to do stuff,” Khan said. “But on the opposite side, if you look at it, it actually doesn’t.” 

Khan said fasting helps Muslims to focus on their work and pray to Allah, which in turn, makes the day go by faster.

“It has actually helped me to kind of concentrate more on my work and not think about the fact that I’m fasting,” he said.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, and it is known as the holy month of fasting in which Muslims abstain from eating or drinking water from sunrise to sunset (if they are able to). 

Overall, the month is dedicated to “introspection, communal prayer in the mosque and reading of the Quran,” according to the event’s flyers. 

According to Khan, Ramadan is also about caring for everyone.

“It’s not just about fasting and eating,” he said. “It’s just how we spend our time worshiping as well … When we pray for everyone around us that’s more important. The well-being of every human on this planet, that’s what matters.”

He also said this generous spirit goes beyond Islam and religion, but it is also about being culturally aware.

“We give to the idea of giving to people who cannot afford food and stuff. So that’s the more, not what I would call the religious thing, but more (of) a cultural thing,” Khan said.

Khan said geopolitical situations may make misunderstandings more common, but, to him, it’s all about spreading love. 

“Join us; get to know us,” he said. “We are peace-loving people, and we just love to spread love.”

This is the first Iftar Night that ODI has hosted, according to Dhristy Hossain, a student program coordinator for ODI and communications graduate student. 

“Being someone who grew up Muslim, it was something that was important to me to incorporate within our programming,” Hossain said. “For the future, I could say my hope is to kind of leave that legacy of bringing in that awareness (and) community factor for our Muslim students.”

Dion Samuel, who is a third-year computer science major, said Iftar Night and raising awareness about Ramadan and customs falls in within the goals ODI typically tries to reach.

“I can see like a lot of people taking part right now,” Samuel said. “It’s really nice seeing all these people take part. It’s wonderful, really, to see how everybody’s come together. People from different backgrounds, they’ll come together.”

Hossain, Khan and Samuel said they would like to see more events about Islam from ODI to foster a community of learning and understanding.

“I would like to see more awareness,” Khan said. “WSU is doing its bit for all parts of the community, not just the Muslims but all the other community as well. So that’s the idea is to get all of the communities (to) come together (to) make awareness.”

Houssain said ODI plans to host Shocker Eida celebration to commemorate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan — on April 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Santa Fe room in the RSC. Hossain said they are planning on having snacks and a photo booth.

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About the Contributors
Genesis Merriett, Reporter
Genesis Merriett is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. She is a sophomore majoring in mathematics, however, Merriett enjoys writing as well. She is originally from Missouri, but lived in Colorado for most of her life until moving to Wichita five years ago. Additionally, she enjoys drawing, crochet and exploring new places in her free time.
Muhammed Ghais Saleem, Photographer
Muhammed Ghais Saleem is a first-year photographer for The Sunflower. He is a freshman aerospace engineering major. Ghais Saleem is an international student, flying in from the United Arab Emirates. Photography is a hobby of his but, as an engineer, he finds more pleasure with working on mechanical stuff, such as cars. Ghais Saleem goes by he/him pronouns.

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