An Open Letter to My Co-Workers and Bosses During Ramadan

Dear Co-Workers and Bosses,

Today marks the second week of Ramadan! A time where Muslims like myself fast from sunrise to sunset. That means no food and no water for the entire work day!

In the past, Muslims have felt the need to write emails and letters to their respective bosses explaining why they might be feeling sluggish or unproductive as a result of fasting. Our emails were often met with disrespectful comments including, but not limited to, the following:

“It’s not my fault you are fasting!”

“This is your job, you need to do the work regardless of your religion.”

“We do not do things like they did it in your country.”

The dissent from bosses and co-workers alike has clearly tainted the spiritual, holy, experience that characterizes the month of Ramadan.

In an effort to move beyond the Islamophobic rhetoric that makes fasting in the workplace much harder than it needs to be, I ask you, my fellow colleagues, to educate yourself about the month of Ramadan. Because in 2019, Muslims should not have to advocate for their civil right to practice their faith.

If you have any questions about Ramadan, don’t make assumptions. Come and ask us; we are friendly and don’t bite!

This letter should have been a detailed exposition of the fasting experience whilst working a 9-to-5 job, but in writing that letter, we would be affirming and validating a practice rooted in the social alienation of Muslims.

That said, this Ramadan, use your unlimited WiFi access to educate yourself on the holy practices of Ramadan. Understand that in this month of spirituality and shunning of some worldly desires, we may not be at full capacity. And to the haters who endlessly claim that it’s not their job to learn about some foreigners’ religion, to them I say: we are all foreigners. We are all immigrants, and so long as the world continues to grow and connect, we all must self-reflect and learn about our community.

In other words, get off your high horse. If you have any questions about Ramadan, don’t make assumptions. Come and ask us; we are friendly and don’t bite! I guarantee a conversation sparked by thoughtful questions about our holy month serves us in building a connected, empathetic workplace.

Cheers and Ramadan Mubarak!  [Hint: that’s what you should wish all the Muslims in your life.]

– A Muslim Girl.