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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Muslim students explain UW’s shortcomings with Ramadan support

UW Muslim students say university fell short in supporting their needs during Muslim Holy Month
Sarah Godfrey

The Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan came to an end on the evening of May 1. After a month of fasting, Muslim students at the University of Wisconsin are reflecting on UW’s handling of Ramadan on campus.

UW recognizes Ramadan as a religious observance and worked accordingly to support Muslim students and staff throughout the month, UW Interim Director of Media Relations Kelly Tyrrell said. To support Muslim students, Tyrell said UW has prayer spaces on campus and a Ramadan boxed meal service through UW Housing and Dining and posted a newsletter on creating inclusive workspaces well wishes on Instagram.

Additionally, the Muslim Student Association, a student organization affiliated with the  Multicultural Student Center, held several community iftar meals, Tyrell said.


Members of Muslim sorority Alpha Lambda Rho and Muslim fraternity Alpha Lambda Mu said in email statements to The Badger Herald that UW’s efforts to support Muslim students during Ramadan were not enough.

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ALR Marketing Chair Reem Salah said UW failed to support Muslim students during Ramadan — despite their ongoing claims to promote diversity and inclusion.

“Most Muslims are hesitant to ask for accommodations, and that feeling stems from a distrust in the university, a deep feeling that we won’t be respected enough to be granted the accommodations we need,” Salah said.

Salah said one example was when an ALR member emailed the Wisconsin Union to inquire about extended hours for dining options in Union South during the month of Ramadan. Observers of Ramadan abstain from water and food from dawn to dusk.

In response, the member received a list of union-run dining options, many of which were at Memorial Union, not Union South.

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With so few efforts by UW to recognize its Muslim students, it is left to Muslim-majority student organizations to bring UW’s Muslim community together and keep the culture intact, ALM Head of Public Relations Khizar Malik said.

One way UW has recognized Ramadan was by offering well wishes to the Islamic community on Instagram for both the beginning of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, Tyrrell said.

“These messages help demonstrate to the rest of campus that we value our Muslim community members and offer opportunities to learn more about the diversity of cultures on our campus,” Tyrrell said.

Additionally, UW provided Muslim students with breakfasts available for pickup from dining halls, Tyrrell said. UW also dedicated prayer spaces for Muslim students and encouraged faculty to avoid scheduling exams during religious observances, according to Tyrrell.

UW occasionally offers Muslim student organizations support through grants but this is not nearly enough, Malik said.

These organizations have noticed the lack of acknowledgment and support from UW and believe UW needs to do more to make Muslim students feel more at home and welcomed, Malik said.

With the prejudice and harassment the Muslim community already faces on a daily basis in America, continuous and effective support is critical to making Muslim students feel welcomed within their campus community, ALR President Johanna Hussain said.

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Moving forward, members of ALR suggested the university support Muslim students by increasing reflection spaces across campus. Malik suggested creating a Muslim Student Center — as other religions and cultures are recognized through architecture across campus.

UW should also give Muslim students accommodations for their holidays from the onset to ensure that students aren’t left responsible for absences and extension requests due to religious observances, Malik said.

Ultimately, ALR encourages the university to reach out and communicate with its Muslim students to ensure their needs are being met.

Editors Note: ALR wants to thank Abdullah Marei for bringing this topic up to The Badger Herald — they only provided a statement on the contingency that this article would not out-speak his article.

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