In today’s podcast we have special topic: the Muslim Ramadan. The reason for choosing this topic is the great number of refugees in Germany which comes with a great number of intercultural learning opportunities. At RheinAhrCampus we have embraced this opportunity and have reached out to those refugees who are interested in university life, have integrated them in our daily routines and they, in turn, have readily shared their new lives with us.
Recently we organized an international cooking event followed by Iftar (إفطار – the joint breaking of the Ramadan fast) together with some international students, German students, ordinary Remagen citizens and our new international friends, the refugees. The success of the event and the incredible Ramadan spirit that reigned in the two kitchens gave us the inspiration for our Ramadan Special today.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. As we hear in this show, during this month, Muslims all over the world abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, as well as participating in anything that is ill-natured or excessive; from dawn until the sun sets. Fasting is intended to educate the Muslim in spirituality, humility and patience. Ramadan highlights Muslim traditions and customs and brings about a special feeling of community – the Ramadan Spirit!
Ru’a Sahsah is the project manager of the “Two-way exchange” project which was carried out in the context of Laurent Borgmann’s course, ‘International Business Simulations’. She explains the importance of creating situations of equal relationships between refugees and others, and her idea was meeting, teaching and learning through international cooking: “We chose Ramadan because this month is very important in the Islamic culture and through joint cooking and breaking the fast together, we aimed to achieve the original spirit of Ramadan.”
Refugees and international students were cooking typical dishes from their home countries and at the same time teaching each other how to prepare these dishes and how to share the food in Ramadan. One of the helpers in the event, Sarah Khalaf, an exchange student from Jordan, explains how the idea to celebrate Iftar came up and what role Ramadan plays in her life. Karim, who is doing an exchange semester in Germany, will explain that there are some situations, though, where Muslims are not supposed to fast. He will mention that this one month everybody is making this extra effort to help others and put a smile on their faces, which of course we should be doing all year round.
Our exchange students, Francisco from Spain and Emilia from Finland, explain how they, as non-Muslims, try to contribute and what they know about Ramadan. How has Ramadan affected their lives in Germany where they have been surrounded by Muslim exchange students and their friends, the refugees? Are the non-Muslims tempted to try out fasting for themselves? One of our German students, Tanja, was surprised that if you do not eat any food the whole day you can be in such a good mood and so happy. That is why Tanja will also try out the fasting. Another student, Vivian, is participating for the second time in the Iftar because she really enjoys the intercultural environment. We will also listen to Mouna and Ayoub and their special Ramadan experiences.
Our international friends, the refugees: Yahiya from Somali, Abdullah from Afghanistan and Maher from Syria will share some experiences from Ramadan in their own countries and tell us what Ramadan means to them. Abdullah learnt to cook Dolma in the Iftar cooking at Jugendbahnhof Remagen and he shares what gives him the Ramadan spirit in Germany far away from all his family. Yahiya and Maher celebrate Ramadan in Germany for the first time in their lives.
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The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Asif Safarli