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Anera’s Hani Almadhoun reflects on celebrating Ramadan, from Gaza to Utah.

I started fasting at the age of seven. As a little boy, it was exciting to see all of my family under one roof, elbowing each other, trying to get more of that popular dish before it ran out. Mom and Dad always made sure we had enough food, and then we would pray and rush to the nearest TV to watch our favorite prank shows or dramas (hey, I have five sisters). We would stuff ourselves with jams, cheeses, dried fruits—anything sweet that was within reach. Some stores and restaurants would even open their doors at crazy hours to cater to our special Ramadan schedules.

Syrian refugees celebrate Ramadan in the informal tented settlements of Lebanon

Syrian refugees celebrate Ramadan in the informal tented settlements of Lebanon.

You can imagine how different it was for me to experience my first Ramadan in the US as a lone student in the Rocky Mountains. It took a lot of adjusting, but it turned out well, thanks to friendly people on campus who made sure to make the few Muslims feel welcome.

I like that most about this holy month: people come together and feel a sense of unity. They look around to lend a helping hand to those who need it. During Ramadan, the poor sometimes find food on their tables thanks to a mysterious neighbor who sent a plate from their own kitchen.

Read more at The Huffington Post…

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