MSU educates students on Islam through annual Fast-a-thon

Muslim+Student+Union+%28MSU%29+members+relax+after+breaking+fast+at+the+Fast-a-thon+Jan.+28.+Photo+by+Will+Cover

Muslim Student Union (MSU) members relax after breaking fast at the Fast-a-thon Jan. 28. Photo by Will Cover

Will Cover

The RBHS Muslim Student Union (MSU) held their annual Fast-a-thon after school Jan. 28. Although not required, the club encouraged students to fast from dawn to dusk the day of and break the fast at the event. 

Fast-a-thon began with guest speaker Iman Eldeib, who educated the audience about Islam and its core tenets, as well as common misconceptions of the religion. Eldeib commended the students for wanting to learn more about Islam and said she “hope[s] the more you learn and dig into the original sources” the more any negative perceptions of the religion would be dispelled. 

Eldeib first gave a brief explanation of Islam’s history and beliefs, then went into the purpose of fasting specifically. After that, Eldeib opened the floor up to the audience for any questions they had. Sophomore Haeam Lee said he asked a question regarding the “headgear” some Islamic women wear, such as the hijab, and why they wear it. 

“I thought it was like a mandatory thing, but apparently it’s your choice and your relationship between God that actually depends with the headgear,” Lee said, “and that was pretty surprising.”

Senior Zain Syed, co-president of MSU along with senior Sadia Moumita, said they chose Eldeib to be the featured speaker for the event because she is a “prominent figure” at the Columbia Mosque and is very involved in teaching Islam and many community events. The planning process took only a few weeks in total, which Syed credits to the help of the other club members and RBHS staff. 

“We usually try to book the cafeteria about two weeks in advance so that there is no miscommunication or overlapping events on the day of the Fast-a-thon,” Syed said. “Mrs. [Ramona] Kroenke in activities and the janitorial staff played a huge role in making sure everything ran smoothly. As far as food and advertising, club members helped with spreading the word by making posters around the school and on social media, and they were generous enough [to] cook and bring food for the dinner.

Junior Ellie Carver-Horner had not planned to attend Fast-a-thon, but heard about it the day of in her French class and thought it sounded enjoyable. Carver-Horner found Fast-a-thon not only interesting, as she didn’t know much about fasting before, but she also said it was an important event to hold.

“I think there’s a lot of, especially in America right now, there’s a lot of negative feelings towards Islam and Muslims, and especially at Rock Bridge,” Carver-Horner said. “And so I think this is a really cool opportunity to educate people [on Islam].”

Lee decided to attend Fast-a-thon because he wanted to learn more about Islam and also saw the food as an added benefit. After Eldeib finished speaking, the MSU members served the attendees traditional Islamic food by the MSU members, including biryani and baklava. Lee said he thought the event was informative and wanted to go especially because he had Muslim friends. 

“Not only does [Fast-a-thon] expose [Islamic] culture, it also helps diffuse the culture within Rock Bridge since a lot [of non-]Muslim people showed up,” Lee said, “so I thought this was really cool.”

What was your favorite part of Fast-a-thon? Let us know in the comments below.