By Eugenia Durante
Genoa, Italy. Sara Idrissi is a 20 years old young woman born in Italy to Moroccan parents. She received a full Islamic education and when I asked her if she had ever been subject of discrimination because of it, she quickly replied: “No”.
Sara is one of the Muslims who started fasting Ramadan in Genoa. She is very pleased to talk about her religious tradition during the holy month.
“During Ramadan you can’t drink, eat or have sexual relationships from dawn to twilight. If a woman has her period she is allowed to eat, but she has to postpone the fast. Ramadan is good for your health because it purifies your body and it also helps you to understand how poor people, who have nothing to eat, do feel”, Sara told EMAJ magazine.
Sara studies Foreign Languages at college and has a summer job in a restaurant, which prevents her from going to the rooms rented by the Municipality where Muslims pray, since there are no real mosques in Genoa.
“But I love to go there during the Ramadan month, when I’ve got the day off. The Quran helps you to understand a lot of things, it helps you with life” Sara added.
I asked her whether she found it difficult not to eat or drink for the whole day while she had to work and study. She admitted that at the end of the day she was feeling a bit tired, but also repeated that Ramadan does not bother her. She explained me that children start fasting Ramadan gradually at the age of thirteen and she is used to it to an extent that she almost does not feel any hunger nor thirst.
“I’m happy to fast Ramadan. A lot of people wonder how I manage to work and study while not eating and drinking… I usually tell a joke about how it helps me lose weight, it is a sort of forced diet!”, she said with a laugh.
Sara believes that being a Muslim in a city like Genoa has never stopped her from having a normal life.
“I’ve got many Italian friends whom I go out at night with and nobody has ever ruled me out for not being able to drink alcohol because my religion forbids it”, she added.
Note from the reporter
According to the Quran, fasting is a way to glorify Allah and to purify the soul from evil and sin.
This is not so far from the Catholic view of it, even if there is no sort of imposed fast in the Bible: in Deuteronomy 8:3, for example, it is written that “He humbled you, allowed you to hunger […] that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord”.
The similarities between Christianity and Islam are astonishing, even if they seem so different. We would not be that surprised if we were more eager to listen to people who are totally different from us.