By Vincent DiFonzo, Content Manager
Ramadan is an annual month-long Islamic holiday that involves fasting and intensive prayer among Muslim communities across the globe. During Ramadan, Muslims are called to fast from sunrise to sunset. This year, Ramadan began on March 22. For Muslim students at Gettysburg, this has presented an issue because most dining options close before sunset, leading to a lack of food options after a long day of fasting.
Associate Director of Dining Services Debra Hydock explained that dining services makes accommodations for various religious holidays every year, including for Ramadan.
“Dining Services obtains the names of students participating [in Ramadan], and those students are added to a special meal plan that allows them to obtain two meals at the Bullet Hole, one for their evening meal and one to eat prior to sunrise,” Hydock said.
Hydock added that dining services “has offered accommodations for many years,” and they make changes depending on what month Ramadan falls on.
Muslim student and member of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) Sohail Hajri ’24 described the accommodations as flawed because they only allow Muslim students to eat at the Bullet Hole.
“The accommodation for us Muslim students is not ideal, to be honest,” said Hajri, adding that the plan “completely disallowed [Muslim students] to get food from Servo.”
Because of Servo’s weekday opening time of 7 a.m. and closing time of 7:30 p.m., Muslim students are essentially unable to access Servo throughout the entirety of Ramadan.
Additionally, some dining options at the Bullet Hole are already closed by sunset, leaving only a few food options left.
Hajri explained that last year, Muslim students could access Servo through a to-go option. Even with this accommodation, he recalled a time when a worker in Servo confronted him for taking too much food.
“This really upset me since I was essentially depleting myself of food and water for the whole day, and we Muslims will eat through the night to sustain ourselves for the following day,” said Hajri.
He added, “Nobody would even glance at me or dare to say anything if I were to dine in and eat 10 plates of food. I guess [Muslim students] are an easy target since we are by far the minority religion on this campus.”
April 20, 2023
Some of us do intermittent fasting and eat only one meal a day. Who needs to gorge on food for all those hours at night? We don’t count on others to provide our food; we prepare ahead what we may need. My friend is a Muslim, and he never complains he cannot find food. If there are any inconveniences, he offers that up to Allah. But then, he is a real man who has been through real rough times and has the wisdom to know how to survive on his own. Plus, he never considered himself to be a minority; he is his own person and does not need others to put a label on him.