Democratic Representative Dan Kildee and his staff fast for a full day during Ramadan in a gesture of solidarity with American Muslims.
“When I was running for Congress in 2012, one of my campaign staff, Ghada Alkiek — she’s Muslim and she was celebrating Ramadan and we sort of noticed that, you know, when we were eating, she wasn’t eating,” he explained. “We felt like it would be a nice gesture to sort of, stand with her at least for one day. I was sort of for fun but also to show some solidarity with Ghada.”
Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day during Ramadan, and end the day’s fast with an Iftar dinner.
“The first year I thought it was hilarious,” said Alkiek. “I was like, you guys aren’t gonna last. And everyone’s like, can we cheat? Can we drink water? I was like GIFs all day, and it was like I’m starving, I don’t know if I’m gonna make it. And now it was like like, ok, it’s 5:00, we know we got three hours left and it’s gonna happen.”
Kildee said that fasting caused him to be very much aware of his own humanity and mortality — it also insights self reflection.
“We have seen a lot of bigotry and a lot of hatred,” he said. “During those tough times when being a Muslim, and particularly being a Muslim woman who’s pretty easily identified, in a place and in a time, when there’s not the kind of welcoming that there should be. I hope she [Alkiek] takes it as a gesture of solidarity.”