Its incredible how much and how little things change from Ramadan to Ramadan.
For me Ramadan invokes the memories of last year, what I was doing and what life I was leading only one year before. Its a yearly reminder of how much I've changed and how much more I want to grow.
This Ramadan was a stark contrast from last year. One year ago I was a consultant eating cereal bars and instant oatmeal made with my coffee maker for sahur in my hotel room. This year I'm back to being a student and experiencing Ramadan on campus.
Every time I experience Ramadan on campus my admiration grows for the thousands of Muslim students and their MSAs. Holding regular iftars and programs while keeping up with school and doing extra worship is no easy task. Yet somehow our students manage to do all that while using this opportunity to reach out to students, hold Fast-A-Thons and get published in their school newspapers.
Personally, this was the busiest Ramadan of my life. I attended meeting after meeting, iftar after iftar hoping and praying my words will benefit the Muslim Community. From Congressional meetings to events at the State Department, my mantra was the same: we need to improve policy and show our government will not tolerate hate speech against Muslims.
Yes, I will continue to condemn terrorism; yes, I will show you our Muslim Students believe in reaching out to people of all faiths and backgrounds. We are doing our part; don't tolerate hate, and give our Muslim professors and students their freedom of speech.
My late nights got even later with the addition of Taraweeh and dozens of conference calls to help students deal with anti-Islamic sentiments on their campus.
Media experts, organizational leaders and speakers all told me the same things. These individuals will show how ridiculous their message is. Do your part - reach out to people, write editorials, respond immediately to hate crimes, talk to all the major organizations but let them show how untrue their message is.
So we will. While others attempt to spark controversy we will work to unify our campuses by dispelling stereotypes. While Muslim students continue to choose peace over prejudice, I will continue to meet with students, officials and organizational leaders to get the support and resources we as students need.
This year, like years past, Ramadan has given me a true sense of calmness and Peace. I believe in my fellow Muslim students, I believe in Allah and my faith, I believe in my fellow Americans and pluralism, and I believe that we can overcome the challenges we face.