SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Two local Muslims are asking the faithful to share food with neighbors and friends during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins Thursday.

“As the Month of Fasting or Ramadan approaches, we would like to encourage Muslims near and far to take part in the Ramadan Sharing Initiative,” South Brunswick resident and Board of Education member Azra Baig said in a press release announcing the Ramadan Sharing Initiative. “(It is) an initiative to help spread peace, love and kindness by sharing food with our friends, neighbors, co-workers and the greater community.”

According to the History Channel website, Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer.

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Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset during the month, which ends on July 17, as one of the five main principles of Islam.

There is also a prohibition on impure thoughts and bad behavior during this period, according to the website.

Good deeds, good character, prayers, as well as introspection, are encouraged during this special time.

Muslims then break their daily fasts by sharing meals with family and friends.

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Id al-Fitr that is considered one of Islam’s major holidays, according to the site.

Baig said that the positive attributes should be continued throughout the year.

Baig said that, for example, one can share a plate of food, a bowl of dates, a food basket or some cookies.

“Ramadan is a month of honoring and celebrating the teachings of the Muslim's Holy Book, the Quran.  And what better way to celebrate the teachings than to act with peace, love and kindness,” said North Brunswick resident, and fellow Muslim, Saima Iqbal said. “Muslim's Prophet, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him ) was a mercy to mankind. Being merciful, loving and caring toward each other and to those in our community is his legacy.”

The two women are requesting other Muslims to take part in the initiative and to spread the word on Facebook at

“By extending warm wishes and sharing a plate we are promoting the legacy of the Prophet and celebrating the Quran,” she said. “I hope we're able to perpetuate the sense of love, mercy, and sharing with this initiative, this Ramadan and in the years to come.”