‘Not even water?’: Toronto artist launches digital Ramadan storytelling initiative

People pray at a vigil outside the London Muslim Mosque for the victims of the deadly vehicle attack on five members of the Canadian Muslim community in London, Ont., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette. NSD

As Wednesday evening marked the beginning of Ramadan, a southern Ontario-based artist and activist is looking to bring stories into the spotlight with a new campaign during a time of prayer, reflection and community.

Asim Hussain, also known as @studentAsim, designed the Community Ramadan Digital Storytelling Initiative with the goal of fostering a better understanding within the community about the holy ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

“Ramadan is a lot more than what people think it is,” he said. “I piloted a project specifically around Ramadan stories to decipher it.

“We get the same type of questions every year, like ‘not even water?’ I think it’s natural to ask those kinds of questions when you don’t know,” Hussain added. “There’s just so much more to Ramadan than fasting and it’s just an indicator that there’s something here that we can go deeper in and if we can share things in an easy way through digital storytelling, then we definitely have something.”

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Realizing that “everyone experiences Ramadan differently,” Hussain said that the online initiative invites everyone to write a story about their Ramadan history.

However, the campaign is not limited to just those who partake in Ramadan.

“You might not even know it, but you may have a Ramadan story in you,” he said. “I think Ramadan extends beyond the Muslim community.

“We live in a pluralistic society. So, no doubt, there are a good number of people that have experienced Ramadan in some way,” Hussain continued. “When you add stories together, we create depth of Ramadan, we create nuances of Ramadan, (and) we can create a context shift. That’s what these stories will do.

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“When we start to read these stories, they will now show the spiritual side Ramadan, the giving side of Ramadan.”

He added that the initiative, which can be found at, is “a concept of instant change-making.”

“I received stories and letters from Canadians coast to coast and receive messages of surprise and shock at the details and this realization that ‘oh, I didn’t know this existed’ or ‘I didn’t know about this,’ and this’s what we’re trying to showcase,” Hussain said.

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Community honours legacy of four murdered Muslims

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