Understanding and supporting our Muslim community during the holy month of Ramadan

A message to the Saint Mary's Community

by Brother Thomas Jones, FSC, and María Luisa Ruiz, PhD | March 12, 2024

At sunset on March 10, Muslims across the United States and around the globe commenced fasting from dawn to sunset, marking the beginning of Ramadan. We write today to emphasize the importance of understanding and supporting our Muslim community members during this significant time.

This sacred month, deeply rooted in Islamic tradition, invites individuals to reflect on their faith through acts of fasting, prayer, and spiritual devotion. Ramadan is a time of introspection, self-discipline, and communal solidarity, underscoring the values of compassion, empathy, and charity.

During this time, many of our Muslim students, faculty, and staff may abstain from eating from dawn until sunset. This practice of fasting is one of the fundamental pillars of Islam, symbolizing obedience, self-restraint, and gratitude.

It's important to recognize that each individual's experience during Ramadan may differ. We encourage groups and friends to engage in open dialogue to discuss how this observance may impact participation and energy levels. Additionally, providing a quiet space and allowing short breaks for prayer can greatly support those observing Ramadan.

Furthermore, as Eid al-Fitr approaches on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, we remind everyone to extend understanding and flexibility to our Muslim community. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and is a time of celebration after a month of fasting. 

Good Eating has offered to provide food for students before and after the fasting period. Students may use their meal plans or buy food in Cafe Louis until 9 p.m. on weekdays. Late Night in Oliver Hall starts at 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students can request breakfast bags the night before to have in their rooms in the early morning. For more information, please contact Mike Lee at the Good Eating Company.

As we enter the holy month of Ramadan, we want to acknowledge the challenging context in which this year's observance unfolds. The current conflict in Gaza casts a somber shadow over this sacred time for Muslims around the world. We cannot ignore the impact of geopolitical events on the lives of our Muslim brothers and sisters, especially during a period of spiritual reflection and devotion.

Amidst these challenging circumstances, let us reaffirm our commitment to creating a community of empathy, inclusion, and respect. As we extend accommodations and support to our Muslim community during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, let us also hold space for conversations and reflections on the broader social and political contexts that shape our world.

As a Lasallian Catholic institution grounded in the liberal arts tradition, we embrace the diversity of beliefs and practices within our community. Ramadan serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness of our faith traditions and the shared values of compassion, service, and social justice. 

Let us use this opportunity to deepen our understanding, foster inclusivity, and strengthen the bonds of empathy and respect that unite us as a community. Let us embody the spirit of empathy, understanding, and inclusivity as we support our Muslim community members during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. Together, let us create an environment where all feel valued, respected, and celebrated.


Brother Thomas Jones, FSC, Interim President

María Luisa Ruiz, PhD, AVP/Senior Diversity Officer, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion