A British MP has embarked on a journey toward empathy and compassion, announcing that he will be fasting for the first week of Ramadan to better understand what this holy month and practice means to Muslims.
"Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, self-improvement and heightened worship," Paul Bristow, a Conservative MP for Peterborough in Eastern England, said in a video on Twitter to announce his decision.
"For the first week of Ramadan, I too, have decided to observe the fast. I am not a Muslim but I feel it is important that I share this experience with the estimated 20,000 Muslims that live in Peterborough, my city," he said.
"Clearly, Muslims observing the fast are following their religion, not just the rules. Yet the lessons of self-discipline, sacrifice, and empathy for the less fortunate are available to everyone. Generosity isn't limited by faith," he told the local Peterborough Telegraph.
Bristow added that he hoped to "learn more about the Muslim faith while learning a little more about myself."
He said: "Although it‘s going to be a test of my mental strength and discipline, it also involves great moments of camaraderie."
Now on his third day, Bristow has been recording a daily video diary, or vlogs, that captures his fasting experience, sharing them on his site and Twitter every day.
"I hope this will be a useful way to bring Ramadan to others like me, who haven't lived it before."
The holy Muslim month of Ramadan started Friday under strict coronavirus measures, including social distancing and shuttered mosques in many countries.
The Muslim Council of Britain has published guidelines for Muslims on how to conduct themselves during Ramadan this year, urging around 3 million British Muslims to stay at home to avoid spreading the deadly virus.