My Experience with Fast-a-Thon

This week, I had the most amazing opportunity to attend a dinner put on by the Muslim Society of America at William and Mary.  The event was called “Fast-a-thon” and was put on in order to raise money for the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.  The Rohingya Muslims are currently experiencing a genocide and population displacement, while receiving very little attention from the media in first world countries.  They are denied citizenship by Myanmar and experiencing a great deal of violence.  I thought it was very impressive of the MSA here to put on an event bringing people together to bring attention and raise money for an incredibly important cause.

Also, as a person of Middle Eastern heritage, living on a college campus means I haven’t had good Middle Eastern food in absolute ages.  I was thrilled (especially after fasting all day) to eat some delicious tabbouleh, falafel, humus, and tzatziki!  

Moreover, though I am religious, I am not Muslim, and found it a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the important practices in Islam, like, for example, fasting during Ramadan.  They brought in New York Times writer and TV personality, Wajarat Ali to discuss the importance of Ramadan to Islam, as well as how to resist in the modern age.

Something that struck me in his speech within Ali’s discussion of resistance was his definition.  Paraphrased, Ali defined resistance along the lines of overcoming your anger at all that is wrong within the world and instead to trying to change what you find to be wrong in the world.  This struck me because I find it incredibly easy to just get angry and complain about how everything is wrong rather than taking a moment to breathe and then pursue active change.  

This dinner exemplified so much of what I love at William and Mary, what Ali called “a multicultural coalition of the willing seeking change.”