May 14, 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: ING Communications Manager Tim Brauhn (720-381-1096) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Jose, CA: Ramadan, which Muslims believe is the month in which the Qur'an was first revealed, begins on Wednesday, May 16th and continues through Thursday, June 14th. It is a communal time of fasting and extra worship, during which people invite family and friends of all faiths to join in breaking the daily fast.
ING Executive Director Maha Elgenaidi noted, "Ramadan’s main purpose is to grow in God consciousness. The fasting from food and water and extra worship are reminders to commit more fully to doing good works, especially caring for those most in need around us. That's what makes this year's hunger awareness campaign so relevant, important, and exciting."
Despite all the advances of modernity, hunger is still widespread in the world. The hunger rate in the United States is actually slightly higher than the global average and a total of 41.5 million of our fellow citizens struggle to access one of the basic necessities for sustaining life.
In Islam, as in all religions, there are numerous scriptural injunctions about the importance of feeding the hungry. Most famous among them is the prophetic saying, “He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while his neighbor goes hungry.”
Because of the great need for public awareness about hunger in the region and the nation, Bay Area Muslim communities will partner with People Acting in Community Together (PACT) and other interfaith allies to address the issue of hunger during Ramadan (May 16th through June 14th) in a number of ways.
ING Content Manager Ameena Jandali said, "We're working with mosques on delivering sermons during Ramadan that raise awareness of hunger in the region, and ways to alleviate it. We're also distributing handouts on hunger and food waste to mosque congregations and guests at interfaith iftars (breaking of the fast dinners) to not only raise awareness of the challenges facing many families in food scarcity but also ways to address them. Hunger is such a pressing issue, especially in a place like the Bay Area, which is often associated with abundance or even excess."
One major partner in the campaign is the Rahima Foundation, which for 25 years has helped those in need, with hunger alleviation being a key component of their work. Three events in particular will contribute greatly to the campaign:
- Ramadan Food Distribution - Saturday and Sunday, May 12th and 13th, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Rahima Foundation. Volunteers will distribute 26,000 pounds of groceries to over 1,500 people.
- Human Dignity Day - Saturday, June 2nd, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 AM, at South Bay Islamic Association's downtown facility. Volunteers will provide hot lunches, t-shirts, socks, and hygiene packs to over 450 homeless individuals and families.
- Eid Food Distribution - Saturday and Sunday, June 9th and 10th, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Rahima Foundation. Volunteers will provide groceries to over 400 families.
The Bay Area Muslims Take On Hunger in Ramadan campaign page lists all the participating Muslim organizations and information about their interfaith iftar dinners. Please let me know if I can connect you to spokespeople for the campaign or other content that ING provides for Ramadan.
The following are other Ramadan story ideas and resources we can help you with:
- "A day in the life of a Muslim during Ramadan": ING Content Manager Ameena Jandali routinely delivers our presentation "An Overview of Ramadan and Fasting," during which she runs through a day in the life of a person fasting for Ramadan. She could provide the same overview for broadcast or print outlets, or present the background for your story.
- INGYouth speakers on Ramadan, countering Islamophobia: Some of the teen American Muslims who have received INGYouth speaker certification are being asked by teachers and peers to provide education about Ramadan and what it means to them. To help them educate others, we created a special slideshow presentation on Ramadan for them to use in their classrooms and communities. We can arrange interviews with those speakers to discuss Ramadan as a young person.
- Fasting from the perspective of different religious traditions: ING's Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB) brings together Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims to discuss the similarities and differences among their faiths. One such topic is how and why adherents of various religions practice fasting.
- Ramadan presents unique challenges for Muslim students: While they are not required to fast before puberty, younger children may do so in emulation of their parents or older siblings. The combination of fasting and late nights (for special communal prayers) may impact students’ energy level. Our trainers can speak to simple accommodations for fasting students.
- Ramadan presents unique challenges for the workplace: Fasting employees may request an adjustment in their schedules during Ramadan because of the challenging schedule of waking up early and sleeping late and because of the timing of fast-breaking, depending on the time of year. ING's corporate seminar trainers can speak to simple accommodations for Muslim employees observing Ramadan.
- Ramadan presents unique challenges for healthcare providers and Muslim patients: Fasting during Ramadan presents unique challenges in hospital environments, where food, water, and medication are controlled on tight timelines. Our trainers work with healthcare providers to help them understand these religious observances and how to work with Muslim patients to provide a safe, inclusive healthcare experience.
ING Communications Manager Tim Brauhn
720-381-1096 (m) | email@example.com
ING Deputy Executive Director Ishaq Pathan
845-826-2380 (m) | firstname.lastname@example.org
Islamic Networks Group (ING) is a non-profit organization with affiliates and partners around the country that are pursuing peace and countering all forms of bigotry through education and interfaith engagement while working within the framework of the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom and pluralism. Founded in 1993, ING reaches millions of individuals and hundreds of groups a year at the grassroots level by building relationships, understanding, and peaceful communities of all types and backgrounds through programs that include: 1) thousands of presentations, training seminars, workshops, and panel discussions annually in schools, colleges and universities, law enforcement agencies, corporations, healthcare facilities, and community organizations as part of cultural diversity curricula and programs, through a nationwide network of affiliates and partners; 2) social media campaigns that promote cultural awareness and best practices for bringing diverse Americans together to get to know and learn from one another; and 3) online curriculum on topics related to cultural awareness and building bridges available to educators and community organizations.