The “Ramadan Initiative” is a facebook event where Muslims are encouraged to reach out to their non-Muslim friends, neighbors, co-workers and others to help spread peace, love, and mercy by sharing food during the holy month of Ramadan. I have had the pleasure of interviewing one of the founders of this incredible initiative.
Muslim Travel Rocks: I’ve been partaking in the Ramadan Initiative for two years now and absolutely love sharing treats with my co-workers during Ramadan. “How did the idea come about?”
Azra Baig: The Ramadan Sharing Initiative was started a few of years ago, a couple of weeks prior to the start to the month of Ramadan in 2015 during a discussion with a group of Muslim women. We were at the end of a class at the Islamic Society of Central Jersey in South Brunswick, NJ and we were having a conversation about world news and how Muslims and Islam are predominantly portrayed negatively by the media and the daily news coverage which has unfortunately helped shape a negative perception of Muslims and the religion of Islam. We discussed how individually, Muslims need to do their part and battle the stereotypes and misconceptions that are portrayed in regards to our faith and practices.
The upcoming month of Ramadan gives Muslims in America and around the world an opportunity to share a little about themselves and their faith and be the true example of who a Muslim is and what are faith is about by sharing kind gestures such as having our non-Muslim friends over to open the fast together or by sharing food with neighbors or co-workers.
Muslim TravelRocks: Who started the Ramadan Initiative?
Azra Baig: Several of the women in the class stated that it has been their tradition to reach out to their non-Muslim friends every year during Ramadan to share food and give gifts. In that moment of discussion, with the support of my friend, Saima Iqbal, it lead to the idea to start an online initiative to encourage all our Muslim friends, near and far across the country and around the world, to have everyone reach out to their non-Muslim friends, neighbors, co-workers, people in the community by sharing some food such as dates, cookies, candy or chocolate and making people aware it is Ramadan or the month of fasting.
Muslim Travel Rocks: Allahumdillila, the Ramadan Initiative has spread over the years. What do you hope to accomplish?
Azra Baig: These acts of kindness are a way to battle the negativity and misconceptions, and a way to help spread peace, love and understanding among one another. There has been a wonderful response to the Ramadan Sharing Initiative. People have been happy to share their experiences on the Ramadan Sharing Initiative Facebook event link. They have posted the many creative ideas, pictures of various foods and gifts shared with others and the many positive thoughts and experiences.
I am grateful to everyone who has supported this initiative and hope to continue to encourage small acts of kindness during the month of Ramadan, one plate full of food at a time, spreading peace, love and understanding.
What are you waiting for! Head on over to “Ramadan Initiative” facebook event and start sharing the love. Use hashtag #RamadanSharing when posting.