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by Abdulrahman, Age 12

I am not the person some people think I am. I can be thought of as a bad person because I am a Muslim. There are a lot of Muslims around the world. In fact, almost a quarter of the earth’s population is Muslim, most living in the Middle East and North Africa*.

In Islam, we do something called fasting. Fasting is basically not eating for a period of time. We often fast in Ramadan. Ramadan is a special month when we fast. We start the fasting at 4:00 am until 8:30 pm. This is so we know how homeless people feel when they’re hungry. Just imagine if you were out there without any food, drink, or money. This gives us great compassion for people that have less. Do you know how homeless people feel when they’re hungry?

We pray five times a day at 4:00am, 12:30pm, 5:00pm, 8:30pm, and 10:00pm. These prayers are really important to us. We believe we can’t go to heaven if we don’t pray at these times. And when we pray and do good, then good things will happen to us. For example, if I do all the prayers, I could win a raffle the next day. It’s like karma basically. If we do bad things, then we believe bad things will happen to us.

We have two holidays, the small Eid (Eid al-Fitr) and the big Eid. We usually celebrate more on the big Eid. When it’s time to celebrate, men give women and girls money. Men also give money to kids that are about my age. We also go to fun places like amusement parks. We even have special food like Aseed. Aseed is a meal using only boiled water, flour and salt and is usually eaten boiling hot with your hands or spoons. We celebrate Ramadan for about 10 days. We buy a lot of new stuff for that day, like shoes, pants, and shirts.

Some Muslim people live in America because there is a war in Yemen. The Republic of Yemen is a country in Western Asia. Many of us want to return, but the war stops us. Sometimes it is hard for me not to be living in my home country. I hope my write-up will help bring understanding.

*Credit note:

What Makes You Different?

The world is full of people with differences. That is why it is such a fascinating place! When we learn about each other’s differences, we can better understand why we do the things we do. What makes you feel different from others at school or where you live? Perhaps your language, colour of your skin, religion or customs? Try writing your thoughts down. Thanks, Abdulrahman, for sharing!