American Muslims Celebrate Ramadan

December 10, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On December 10, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that "during the month of Ramadan, two Muslim teenagers on the Magnolia High School basketball team have to execute something tougher than a crossover dribble: playing hoops in the afternoon after going all day without food or water. Talal Trablci and Khalid Khoudari, who play on the freshman-sophomore team in Anaheim, won't be alone in competing on an empty stomach. Hundreds of Muslim high school athletes, sprinkled on teams throughout Southern California, face the same challenge: observing a month-long daytime fast while exercising up to four hours a day...With the expanding Muslim population--estimated at up to 500,000 in Southern California--an increasing number of high school athletes have developed informal strategies with their coach to compete while fasting. Todd Jones, the coach of Trablci and Khoudari, allows the boys to take a break from practice to break their fast once the sun goes down. And if a game starts near sunset--as it did Friday--Jones will allow the players to eat and drink something on the bench between breaks in the action...Dr. Daniel Kharrazi, who practices sports medicine at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, said a daytime fast won't affect most athletes...In years past, many Muslim student athletes, often a minority of one at each school, kept their fasting secret from their coach and teammates...Still, there aren't enough Muslim athletes who fast during Ramadan to get on the radar of many athletic administrations. Dr. James Staunton, commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section, a group that oversees high school athletics, said he hadn't been aware of the Muslim students' fast but would bring up the matter to coaches either through a bulletin or at an upcoming meeting...Even without official policies, Muslim high school players praise their coaches for keeping an open mind about their faith--and helping them get through their fast. 'My coach had some information about Ramadan already,' said Zafar Jadwet, 16, who plays on the junior varsity soccer team for Royal High School in Simi Valley. 'He was OK with it.' Jadwet and other athletes said they don't want special treatment but occasionally get it."