Muslims in politics celebrate the end of Ramadan

Faiza Ali, co-director of the Community Outreach Unit of the Community Engagement Division at the New York City Council.
Faiza Ali, co-director of the Community Outreach Unit of the Community Engagement Division at the New York City Council.

Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan, will begin tonight after sundown. Ramadan, the ninth month in the Muslim calendar, is observed by fasting during the day. The fast isn’t just deprivation of food from sunrise to sunset – Muslims also refrain from drinking any liquid, including water, during that time. Daily meals eaten before dawn are known as suhoor, and meals to break the fast after sunset are called iftar.

“I think a lot of people mistakenly think of it as a thing that you suffer through,” said Zohran Mamdani, the field director for Ross Barkan’s campaign against Republican state Sen. Marty Golden. “It’s actually a beautiful time.”

Aliya Latif, manager of Immigrants Affairs and Muslim and South Asian Relations for New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, also said that she found meaning in observing Ramadan while carrying out her duties at work, calling the month “exhausting and exhilarating.”

“My job is service to both my city and my community. This is faith in action for me,” Latif said. “So I think that the challenge is an opportunity to push ourselves harder, to give back in ways that we didn’t think we could have.”

Mamdani said it could be challenging to manage field duties while fasting, especially during the last few hours before iftar, joking that he had “Ramadan brain” where it was difficult to concentrate. However, he also discussed how breaking the fast sometimes turned into a campaign event, as he has celebrated iftar with community members, especially since Bay Ridge has a large Muslim population.

“It’s nice to both…

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