By Mark Ambrogi
To Nadir Zaidi, Ramadan signifies community.
“During the day we encourage each other to overcome the obstacles that fasting sometimes bring,” Zaidi said. “In the evening, we break our fast together and pray together.”
While sharing the feast together is a tradition, Zaidi said it is important to remember why Muslims spend the month of fasting during his speech at Carmel Mayor’s Iftar Ramadan on July 10 at College Wood Elementary
“Ramadan is about two things, it’s about helping people practice empathy and it’s about building the community,” Zaidi said. “We see in the world that a lot of problems can be distilled down to the basics, it can be said to be due to either the absence of empathy or community. Communities, when devoid of empathy, can be a destructive force. Empathy without community is a well-intentioned, but floundering, force. In order to have a truly impactful community, a society that looks out for the weakness among us, which is what is prescribed by the Quran, the Bible, Gandi, the Statue of Liberty, we must have both empathy and community.”
Zaidi, who grew up in Carmel and graduated from Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, shared how his parents came from Pakistan and are proud Americans.
“My father went from being a taxi driver to a doctor, only here is that possible,” Zaidi said. “Growing up, my parents always told me this is the best country in the world because it’s the only country in which hard work and education can take you absolutely anywhere you want to go.”
Zaidi, 24, who graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, is now headed to Cornell University’s medical school.