Catholic teenager fasts for Ramadan


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For a month last year, Jordan Pahl, 16 at the time, awoke each day before sunrise. She dragged herself out of bed at 4 a.m., trudged down the stairs and grabbed an apple or yogurt out of the refrigerator. It was to be her last bit of sustenance before nightfall.

Jordan was fasting for Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset.

But Jordan isn’t Muslim; she’s Catholic. She chose to fast with her Muslim friend, Dahlia Bazzaz. This monthlong sacrifice wasn’t just a heavy mental and physical challenge — it was also a time in which Jordan’s global perspective expanded.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, about 2.6 million U.S. residents (in Oregon, less than 0.5 percent of residents) practice Islam, and many of them are spending August fasting. Jordan wanted to better understand how the experience affects Dahlia and all Muslims, and she’s fasting again this year for Ramadan, which began Monday.

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5 responses to “Catholic teenager fasts for Ramadan”

  1. Who says 2 people of totally different faiths can’t get along? What a nice story. Jordan is an example of what true friendship can be. She is trying to understand her friend’s faith by participating in it for a month—not easy since she must fast from sunrise to sunset. Teens like their food.

  2. Now if we can get a nice story about muslims fasting during lent, we would be making progress. Then we could move on to muslims refraining from bombin churches. I notice each time there is this type of story, it is about some Christian observing Islamic faith practices and not a muslim observing Catholic faith practices. According to Islam, can a muslim attend a Catholic mass? The answer according to a local muslim cleric is no.

    I would suspect the muslim would face strong condemnation and possible violence. So tired of ecumenical movement between Catholic and any other faith being a one way street.

  3. greta @2–a nice story about a Muslim fasting during Lent would be wonderful. I would be satisfied with a story about more Catholics bothering to follow the minimal Lenten fasting and abstinence requirements their faith obligates them to.

  4. Jordan sounds like a sweet kid. We hear so many “mean teen” stories that it is nice when we are reminded that idealism and friendship are still very much alive.

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