How Towson University is Making Accommodations for Muslim Student’s during Ramadan

By: Anoosha Mirza

After swiping her one card, Towson University senior Maya Larbi takes her to-go container and begins walking around the dining hall to take advantage of the university’s Ramadan meal accommodation. 

“I live on campus, so the program allows me to bring food to my dorm to break and open my fast,” says Larbi. “I normally pick up food for Suhoor, since nothing is open on campus then.” 

Towson University dining will be offering take-home meals to Muslim students to start and break their fast during the month of Ramadan. These meals will be available until Friday, April 21. 

This year’s Ramadan started on March 22 and will end April 20. Ramadan is the holy month in Islam, in which Muslim’s fast by abstaining from food and drink from sunup to sundown. 

“I was consulted and so were the Muslim Student Association” on the contents of the boxes, Atika Syed, Towson’s Center for Student Diversity Asian American coordinator, said. 

Students had to pre-register for the meals before March 23.

Students must use meal swipes for this program. For the Iftar portion at sundown, students are given to-go containers and are able to pick up what they please from West Village Dining Hall.

The meals must be picked up at Dining Hall from 4:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 4:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m., Friday-Sunday.

The Suhoor meals can be picked up the night before as a grab-and-go option. The meal includes breakfast items, such as fried egg, yogurt cups, fruit salads, oatmeal, etc. with each meal having the option of orange juice, apple juice, or bottled water. 

Although they appreciate the program, many students said it can be improved. 

“I believe that it would have been better to open the suhoor boxes for all students for free instead of using the meal swipes,” MSA’s Secretary, Jemal Beshir said. “I also would have liked if Towson had a program or helped MSA have Iftars every night so that students are not struggling to find what to eat after 7:30 p.m. since a lot of food options are limited.”

For the month of Ramadan, Towson’s Muslim Student Association has also planned weekly Iftar dinners for fasting students and staff. Iftar is the meal that Muslim’s eat to break their fast at sunset. 

“There are four Iftar dinners on campus organized by the MSA and the one on April 11th is the biggest,” Syed said. It will be “a collaboration between MSA, SAS, PSA, SGA and CSD.”

The iftar dinners take place in the Union ballrooms and require students to register. 

During the month of Ramadan, Towson has started to offer study rooms in the library as prayer rooms. 

Students can pray in Union room 335B and Cook Library room 401. There are also weekly Friday prayers in Union room 322. 

“If students find it locked, they can always ask someone at the Information Desk to unlock it for them,” Syed said. “For Ramadan, Room 349, which is next to the CSD office, is also available except when it is being used by another religious group for their prayers.”

Students also believe Towson can do a better job in increasing access to prayer rooms. 

“I would appreciate the implementation of having an accessible prayer room in each academic building,” Towson junior Sofia Johnson said. “If I’m in the union or the library I definitely make use of the accommodations but if I’m in the science complex I find myself having to find an empty classroom.” 

Along with the weekly Friday prayer, MSA also hosts Isha and Taraweeh prayers every night at 9 p.m., in Union room 335B.  

MSA is planning an Eid Gala for students on May 12th, which will include activities, entertainment, and henna. More information will be posted soon. 

“I haven’t gone to the iftaar events because they don’t align with my schedule, but I’ve seen a lot of posters and Instagram posts about it,” says Towson freshman Mehfuza Mustari. “I live off campus, so I don’t get to attend much but I’d say Towson does well in informing people as well as hosting the events.” 

Editors note: This story was written as part of an assignment for the Towson University feature writing class within the Mass Communication Department but was given to The Towerlight for publication.


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