Holyrood candidate Fatima Joji has shared her experiences of fasting during Ramadan while pounding the streets on the election campaign.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has begun for the second year in a row under coronavirus restrictions.
Fatima Joji, the SNP’s top-ranked candidate in their north-east regional list, started fasting on Tuesday, meaning she must abstain from food and drink during daylight hours.
The 29-year-old Nigerian-Scot from Westhill, Aberdeenshire, says: “We fast for about 16 hours in the UK.
“This election is already an odd one, with Covid, so we’ve also got the added pressure of fasting – so pounding the pavements and not eating or drinking anything – so it will be a bit difficult.
“I think we’ll tire a lot more easily.
“It’s not the first time I’ve campaigned while I’m fasting. The last time was in the 2017 snap election, which fell during Ramadan.
“We were campaigning during that time and it was okay. I’ve been fasting for nearly two decades so I’m really used to it now.”
In terms of tips and tricks she picked up from fasting during that election campaign, Ms Joji says she must preserve her energy by enacting small changes, such as how many hours she canvasses for and preserving energy by getting plenty sleep.
This will be the second Ramadan spent in lockdown, which the SNP candidate says is normally a month spent with “community and family”.
The end of the holy month is celebrated with Eid al-Fitr, the Feast of Fast-Breaking, and is usually celebrated with special baked pastries, the exchanging of gifts and family and prayer in mosques, among other things.
Ms Joji says fellow Muslim candidates in her party will be “touching base” with one another and willing one another along for the next 30 days of fasting.
The 29-year-old previously told us she would like to see a more inclusive Scottish Parliament and hopes to become the country’s first-ever female BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) MSP.
It comes after the SNP agreed a new mechanism of putting either BAME or disabled candidates on the top of their eight regional lists.
Can I wish Muslims across the world #ramadanmubarak This month of sacrifice will see many Muslims spend their second Ramadan in lockdown. If we stick with the rules a little longer & as the vaccine rollout continues, we will get some normality back soon, inshAllah 🤲#Ramadan pic.twitter.com/T8gHEwcOAT
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) April 12, 2021
She adds: “Ramadan is a month for spiritual discipline and it helps us to feel grateful for what we have.
“But we also use it as an opportunity for us to connect with our community and turn it into a celebration.
“Due to lockdown restrictions, we’re going to find it very difficult because we can’t invite people into our homes and we can’t celebrate with family and close friends.
“After each day we break our fast and usually invite families and friends round each evening to eat with us but we can’t do that anymore so it’s a bit difficult having to do it on your own or just with a smaller group.”