UT Muslims ready for Ramadan in corona time

| Stan Waning

The UT Muslims Student Association is counting down to the beginning of Ramadan. When the sun disappears behind the horizon on Monday evening, it will mark the start of thirty days of fasting and reflection, but above all of being together . But how do you do that in corona time?

With her student association - which has about fifty members - president Boutaina Chami already experienced a very special Ramadan last year. At that time, the coronavirus invaded the Netherlands, now Muslims who participate in the Islamic fasting month have known for weeks that the circumstances are far from ideal. This also applies to Chami. ‘Getting together is very important during Ramadan, especially after the Iftar (sunset, ed.). It's a shame that coming together is much more difficult now. Also the Sugar Feast cannot be celebrated as usual. Fortunately, the curfew will not play a role during the first days, because the sun sets fairly early.’


Chami was born and raised in Enschede. The psychology student cherishes beautiful memories of the holy month of repentance. ‘I especially remember the Sugar Feast, the way we used to celebrate it. The whole community would go to the mosque in the morning. Enschede has such a large Muslim community that not everyone could fit into the mosque. The gym next to the mosque was even rented. Unfortunately, that's all different this year.’

Cultural differences

Unlike many international Muslim students, Chami has her family around her for the next thirty days. ‘That is why we try to create as much community as possible with the association. We get asked by so many members to eat together in the evening and to pray, but we can't get together with so many people. You see a lot of cultural differences and different beliefs during Ramadan. Muslims from Indonesia, for example, are very focused on family. We try to be extra supportive. Students do eat together, as long as the groups are not too big. We show ourselves online and we inform as much as possible, this is especially important for international students.’

Chami has noticed that the people around her are looking forward to the start. ‘During the month of fasting, the focus is always on our fellow human beings. This Ramadan is no different. With the association we are going to make food packets and distribute them to people who need them. It is a real countdown. I am really looking forward to it.’

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