Muslims and non-Muslims are welcome to free meals throughout the month of Ramadan at Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Masjid Al-Malik Khalid in Penang.
The meals are prepared by 25 university staff, students and mosque committee members for about 2,500 people daily.
Among the volunteers are also non-Muslims who joined their friends to help out during Ramadan.
For first year student, Yong Zhi Shuang, 20, from the School of Housing, Building and Planning, she was happy and proud to have this chance to work with others during the fasting month.
“I told myself that if my Muslim friends, who are fasting, can pack meals for some 2,500 people, including the less fortunate, for the breaking of fast, why can’t I then?
“It is nice to work with everyone here. Whether you are a Muslim, Chinese, Hindu or Christian, it doesn’t matter. You are first a human being,” she told The New Straits Times.
The Selangor-born had previously volunteered to pack meals for students isolated at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She also joined her Muslim friends in fasting on weekdays.
“I want to feel what my Muslim brothers and sisters experience when fasting. And when I see them go the extra mile to help during this time, I feel even more motivated.”
Another volunteer is Kottham Lakshmann, 23, from the School of Arts.
“I want to join in helping my Malay friends as I love the spirit of volunteerism.
“Secondly, as a student leader, I need to show that everyone is equal, and more importantly, we are not racist.
“This is where USM gives us the opportunity to prove ourselves,” said the deputy vice-president 3 of the university’s student representative council.
USM’s Iftar Sukarelawan 2022 coordinator Mohamad Hariz Abdul Razak said the free meal programme had been going on for 10 years.
He said the programme’s approach was to involve everyone from the university.
“By roping in non-Muslims, they can experience and have a better understanding of the Muslim’s fasting practice, as well as the wisdom behind it,” said Hariz.