As the concluding event of UT’s Islamic Awareness Week, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at UT hosted its annual Fastathon event in the Student Union on Thursday evening.

Fastathon began at UT in 2001 by a group of Muslim students. In reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, the students wanted to raise awareness about fasting and Islamic culture in general.

The event included a brief introduction of fasting by MSA members and an Iftar celebration with free dinner for those who had pledged to fast throughout the day.

In Islam, an Iftar celebration, also known as fatoor, is the meal that Muslims eat to signify the end of their daily fast during Ramadan. The meal is eaten at sunset, around the time of the evening prayer.

For the event, MSA partnered with a non-profit organization, Save The Children, to raise funds to provide food for orphans in Syria.

According to Irfan Ibrahim, the president of MSA and a nuclear engineering major, members of MSA sold baklava on Pedestrian Walkway throughout the previous week to promote the fundraiser.

Ibrahim stated that all proceeds earned during the event and Islamic Awareness Week will be donated to Save The Children. MSA raised about $1,000 during last year’s fundraiser and $4,000 this year.

Ibrahim explained that he was touched to see the generous response towards the fundraiser from the UT community.

“It’s so heartwarming to see so many people being willing to be of help for our cause,” Ibrahim said.

He discussed his thoughts on the legacy and importance of Fastathon.

“It’s something that we started here at UT, and it’s something that we really want to continue the legacy on,” Ibrahim said.

During a brief presentation given by members of MSA, MSA Board member Yahyaa Jahangir explained that Fastathon is spreading to colleges all over the United States; the University of Florida in particular raised $10,000 during its annual Fastathon this year.

Jahangir further discussed his appreciation for donors and contributors of the event.

“It’s amazing to see that much money being raised in so many different parts of the U.S., and it’s great to know that it all started here,” Jahangir said.

Sydney Anderson, a contributor at Fastathon, stated that it is great to see multicultural events and fundraisers for good causes on UT’s campus.

“It’s really cool to be a part of it, and I’m really glad that I was around people who told me about the event. I feel like I’d have missed out if I didn’t get to come,” Anderson said.

Another contributor, Lauren Grace Winnett, discussed her thoughts on Islamic Awareness Week.

“I think the UT community can come together through these kind of events that can bring a difference on campus,” Winnett said.

More information about MSA is available on VOLink.

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