US students volunteering adds special touch to Iftar Ala Madinah event

15 Mar 2024 09:19am

SHAH ALAM - The Iftar Ala Madinah@Karangkraf 2024 programme yesterday was enliven with the participation of a group of students from Babson College, United States (US) who immersed themselves in the communal spirit of breaking fast.

The college's student advisor Sarah Perrin, 28, said it was a new experience for them.

"I know about the fasting requirements for Muslims, but I never imagined there would be an event like this because in the US, it (iftar) is not as festive as it is here.

"It's hard for me to describe the feeling right now when I see the crowd here looking so happy even though they've been fasting all day. I can feel their excitement.

"This is the most meaningful experience during Babson College's visit to Malaysia because we get to experience this and the Malaysian culture," she said when met during the programme at the vicinity of the Karangkraf Complex, yesterday.


Perrin said she was excited when Karangkraf gave them the opportunity to volunteer for Iftar Ala Madinah.

She said in the US, iftar programmes were usually held in a modest and private manner.

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"When informed by the management that we would be visiting Karangkraf to learn and participate in the breaking of fast event, I took this opportunity to dress modestly and wear a headscarf.

"This is the first time I'm wearing a hijab. I'm grateful to have Muslim friends who helped me put on the hijab to respect the event," she said.

Meanwhile, another student, Faija Choudhury, 22, said the excitement of breaking fast at Iftar Ala Madinah was indeed different compared to in the US.

She said there were Muslim communities in the US too, but the atmosphere and participation of the public for iftar events were not as lively.

"Alhamdulillah, I am very happy to have the opportunity to break fast with Muslim brothers and sisters in Malaysia. This is a new experience for me.

"Although this is not the first time I joined an iftar in a large group, I can feel a different kind of joy while also getting to know the culture of Malaysia," she said.


Commenting on Karangkraf's initiative to provide free meals, Faija said it was a very interesting effort to help the community.

"I was informed that today's (Wednesday) iftar has 10 types of menu items and all of them are not ordinary dishes. So it's not impossible for many people to attend this event," she said, excited to try Malaysian cuisine.

The Iftar Ala Madinah @ Karangkraf 2024 programme will be held from March 13 to April 4 and opened to 1,000 guests every day to give the public the opportunity to experience breaking fast like at Masjid Nabawi.