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KNOXVILLE — Thousands of college students around the U.S. and Canada will fast from sunup to sundown on Oct. 3 as part of the Ramadan Fast-a-thon, an event founded by University of Tennessee students to raise money to feed the hungry.

The UT Muslim Student Association held the first fast-a-thon in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and founded a national event in 2002. Last year, it spread to students at over 230 colleges and universities including the University of Texas, UCLA and Vanderbilt. The event also is held to help dispel misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.

From now until Oct. 2, UT students, faculty and staff can join the fast by signing up at the Muslim Student Association booth on the University Center plaza. Participants also can sign up at http://www.msaknoxville.org.

Local businesses and individuals then pledge a certain amount for every person who fasts on Oct. 3. The money is donated to the Love Kitchen in Knoxville, which provides food and clothing to the homebound, homeless and unemployed.

All of the participants in the fast are invited to break their fast at a dinner prepared by local Muslim families at 7:10 p.m. on Oct. 3 in the University Center Ballroom. Sean Blevins, who helped start the national movement as a UT student, is the speaker.

“After Sept. 11, we wanted to have an event around Ramadan that would help raise awareness about Islam and give back to the community,” said Blevins, now a lecturer in the UT Department of Religious Studies.

Last year, 800 people fasted for the UT event, and $1,600 was raised for the Love Kitchen.

For more information about the national fast-a-thon, go to http://www.fastathon.org/.


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179, elizabeth.davis@tennessee.edu

Adnan Khan, president of the UT Muslim Student Association, akhan3@utk.edu

Sean Blevins, (865) 974-6981, sblevin1@utk.edu