News / USA

US Muslim Youth Adjust to Ramadan Summer

Faiza Elmasry
Fourteen-year-old Maleke Nabbus enjoys playing basketball with his cousins during their summer vacation, even while they are fasting Ramadan.

“It’s not that hard," he says. "Sometimes you can’t play that long, like you play for an hour or so.”

Maleke is among millions of Muslims worldwide who are fasting for the month of Ramadan, refraining from all food and drink during the daylight hours. In the northern hemisphere, these are the longest and hottest days of the year.

Maleke's cousin, Adeeb Baiou, 17, plays organized sports which are competitive and intense. That’s why he, like many other Muslim athletes, chooses to break his fast during games.

“The most challenging part is staying hydrated and not being able to drink water,” Adeeb says.

But there is an upside to the summertime fast, according to his younger sister, Sabrine, who finds it easier because there's no school.

“I actually like it better because we don't have to wake up as early," she says. "The days maybe longer, but you can sleep until like really late in the afternoon.”

Sabrine has a summer job at a local café, so she has to be around other people eating and drinking while she's fasting.

“It’s a little tough as a person who serves food and drink to people," she says. "It’s like hard watching them, but I’m kind of trying not to think about it.”

Serage Gerbbi, 15, says many of his non-Muslim friends wonder how he manages to keep the fast.

“In the very beginning they will be in shock, like 'How do you stay without water the whole day?'" Serage says. "They are very supportive, like sometimes too shy to eat in front of me but I'm fine.”

While Serage and his friends might feel hungry, thirsty and tired at times while fasting, they understand why they're doing it.

“You start feeling closer to your religion, closer to God," Serage says. "Second of all, you remember the poor and people suffering, we’re only staying throughout the day."

“Because of not eating the whole day, I realize you really don’t need the stuff they put in your mouth all the time,” Sabrine says.

Although young children are not required to fast in Ramadan, Nourene Nabbus, 9, is fasting this year, for the second time.
Wafaa Elmahgob cooks with her daughter, Nourene Nabbus, and her niece. (VOA)Wafaa Elmahgob cooks with her daughter, Nourene Nabbus, and her niece. (VOA)
x
Wafaa Elmahgob cooks with her daughter, Nourene Nabbus, and her niece. (VOA)
Wafaa Elmahgob cooks with her daughter, Nourene Nabbus, and her niece. (VOA)

“I wanted to fast because I wanted to see what it is like with my mom and dad," she says. "They were all fasting and I didn’t know how it felt.”

Nourene's mother, Wafaa Elmahgob, is pleased her daughter is joining in the ritual. “She wants to do it. When we told her she could practice, fast like half a day because the day is long, she insisted doing it.”

Elmahgob gets pleasure out of doing ordinary things, such as cooking, during this special time.

“During the regular day, not a Ramadan day, you prepare your food in rush, in hurry to finish a dish," she says. "But when it’s Ramadan, it’s different because you’re talking your time. Actually it’s the time when I call my sisters overseas and ask them for more recipes and new things. It’s really enjoyable.”

For Elmahgob, Ramadan is the best time of the year for family members to reconnect.

You May Like

Gun Nation

This is who America's gun owners are More

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs