By iuna dones · Daily Trojan
Posted November 1, 2010 (2 weeks ago)
The Muslim Student Union and the Ansar Service Partnership will hold a charity event called the Hassan Hathout Fastathon on Wednesday and invite all students from any background to participate.
The FastaThon is a one-day event when Muslim students find non-Muslim volunteers to abstain from food, drink and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset, according to Ansar Service Partnership Interfaith Coordinator Sarrah Shahawy.
For each non-Muslim who agrees to participate in the event, several businesses and donors have decided to either donate a certain amount of money per volunteer or make a flat donation. The proceeds go to a non-profit organization that helps homeless communities on Skid Row.
This year, the charities receiving the Fastathon donations will be the ILM Foundation and the Coalition to Preserve Human Dignity, organizations that sponsor a yearly event called Humanitarian Day.
During this day, several organizations representing different faiths will collaborate to provide items such as clothes, food and hygiene kits to Skid Row residents, Director of Muslim Student Life Ali Mir said.
“By fasting, we are putting ourselves in the position of those who are starving and thirsty. The ILM Foundation aims to help exactly these people and show that all people deserve the same dignity and respect no matter where their path in life might have led them,” said Taha Syed, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast to practice self-control and learn spirituality, humility and empathy for those who go hungry every day, Shahawy said.
By holding the Fastathon, the Muslim Student Union and Ansar Service Partnership encourage other USC students to share this tradition and to help raise awareness about the hunger and poverty present not only around Los Angeles but also surrounding the USC campus, Shahawy said.
“We feel that being aware of the suffering of our community and working to alleviate it is at the heart of what it means to be Muslim and what it means to be a USC Trojan,” Shahawy said. Students said they believe the Fastathon is a way to encourage community and individual awareness.
“To me, fasting is a great way to reflect upon my potential to be in control of my actions,” said Raza Baqai, an undeclared sophomore. Usually, there are anywhere from 200 to 500 students across the university who participate, and all students are encouraged to pledge, no matter their background, said Sahawy.
“Based on what I saw at last year’s Fastathon, and knowing how fast the club is expanding this year, I fully expect it to be a huge event for USC students, one that encourages growth of the community and also awareness of what actions are the basis of Islam,” Syed said.
To sign up for the Fastathon, students can visit the Muslim Student Union website at uscmuslims.com and fill out the RSVP form.