If you go
What: Fast to Fight Hunger and Bollywood Movie Night
When: Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Benson, Room 180
Cost: Free, donations accepted
University of Colorado senior Rasheed Lawal hasn't had much to eat for the last month.
Despite the many offerings by co-workers and students on campus, Lawal has refrained from eating or drinking anything during sunlight hours since Aug. 11, the beginning of Ramadan.
"It's about self-restraint and sacrificing for a greater good," said Lawal, president of CU's Muslim Student Association. "It's difficult sometimes, but that's what it's about: Giving up something I'm accustomed to for God."
Like Lawal, Muslims across the world, including several CU students, will continue to fast between sunrise and sunset until the end of the month-long celebration on Sept. 9.
In honor of the holiday, CU's Muslim Student Association and South Asian Student Association are inviting fellow Buffs to join them for a fundraiser Thursday. The first "Fast to Fight Hunger" event will raise money for the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Voices of the Civil Society, a nonprofit aiding disaster relief in Pakistan.
"At the end of Ramadan a lot of our families donate a percentage of our income to a charity," Lawal said. "This is our way of giving back to our community, both locally and across the world."
Organizers are suggesting that students skip one meal Thursday and donate the money they would have spent. The group will have a booth set up by the University Memorial Center fountains from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for donations.
Members are encouraging students of all faiths to participate.
"Good is good," Lawal said. "It doesn't have anything to do with our faith. It's just about giving back and doing something good, and I think everyone can get behind that."
Thursday night's fundraiser will begin with a screening of the Bollywood film "3 Idiots," but organizers expect the breaking-of-fast dinner, which starts at 7:30 p.m., will be the main attraction.
"I've been on campus for a while now, and free food is the best way to get students interested in an event," said CU senior Amana Malik, a member of the Muslim Student Association. "Free food is the No. 1 draw for students."
The Shish Kabob Grill and Tandoori Grill in Boulder will donate food for the feast, but students are still looking for local restaurants to participate. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
Whether it's the free food, the fundraising or social aspects of the event that bring students together, organizers said they're excited to help students explore different cultures.
"A lot of students know it's Ramadan," Lawal said. "They know we're fasting, but most don't know why. This is our chance to explain what we are doing and who we are to other students."
Members said they also hope to change some of the misconceptions that students have of their religion and their culture.
Ramadan is a time of reflection to help Muslims realize their place in life, Lawal said. It is often a time of realization when many find contentment in being better off than some and yet worse off than others. It is something to be thankful for and a humbling experience for most, he said.