Since the terrorist attack in Manchester last month, love has emanated from the city. These feelings of togetherness were perhaps at their most intense this past Sunday, when people filled the Old Trafford cricket ground to watch Ariana Grande’s return to the city, in the wake of another tragic attack in London.
The benefit concert felt like a culmination of all the good that had emerged in the wake of such horror. We have been flooded with examples of solidarity and kindness these past two weeks, but one story has really stuck with us.
Prior to the attack, Manchester couple Tracy and Marisa Lancaster considered fasting for Ramadan in a bid to raise money through Unicef UK for families in poverty. Any doubts they had about committing to the fast disappeared after the bombing, as they now saw it as an opportunity to not only raise money for charity, but to show solidarity with the Muslim community.
Speaking to Asian Image, Marisa, 30, said: ‘The terrorist was not a Muslim in my eyes…I want to stand with our Muslim friends and neighbors in a time when one man’s actions backed by a tiny minority of sick individuals has made them a target of hate and abuse.’
Along with raising money for Unicef, the couple hope fasting for the month will allow them to learn more about the faith. While the non-Muslim couple won’t be praying, they are, as they put it, ‘going to take the time out of our day to be mindful of how we are feeling and why we are doing what we are doing.
Tracy and Marisa aren’t the only non-Muslims fasting this year. 19-year-old Lewis Todd, from Blackburn, is also observing the fast. Lewis’ elected to fast to share the experience with his Muslim colleagues. This isn’t the first time he’s done it. Explaining the decision to Asian Image, he said: ‘I decided to fast again because of the same reasons like last year, out of respect for my friends, colleagues and clients, and to appreciate food and drink.’
Those same colleagues are supporting Lewis every step of the way, welcoming him to Iftars and inviting him to celebrate Eid with their families.
Lastly *SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT* YouTube vlogger AKA rapper AKA our boy AKA the man who took over our Snapchat (*cough* follow @ummahsonic *cough*) the other day AKA Chunkz alerted us to his non-Muslim mate Michael, who was observing the fast for a day.
Big shouts to Michael, who looks like he had to struggle for this one:
We’ve got big respect for the Lancasters, Lewis, Michael and any other non-Muslims fasting for Ramadan – or for some of Ramadan – this year. While their motivations might not entirely reflect the religious values of the holy month, the gesture represents an incredible determination to spread unity and understanding.
If you know any non-Muslims fasting for Ramadan this year – even if it’s just a day – shout them out in the Facebook comments or let us know on Snapchat (it’s @ummahsonic in case we hadn’t mentioned it).