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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

University of Leeds to hold Covid-19 rescheduled graduation during Ramadan despite concerns raised by Muslim graduates

A doctor who graduated in 2020 claimed Muslim students had asked the University of Leeds to not hold their rescheduled graduation during Ramadan but their requests had not been listened to.

A junior doctor and graduate from the University of Leeds has spoken out about the university organising the School of Medicine’s rescheduled 2020 graduation during Ramadan claiming that Muslim students in the cohort had asked them not to.

The FY2 doctor, 26, who does not want to be named, shared on Twitter on Sunday: “Not the University of Leeds arranging the School of Medicine graduation in Ramadan when all the Muslim students in my cohort have been asking them not too for the past 2 years, not much to ask considering we make up a significant proportion of the graduating class.

“It is one thing to have your ceremony delayed by two years due to Covid-19, but it is another thing not to be able to celebrate properly because you are observing a holy month where parties or celebrations are generally avoided, and you are fasting for 15 or more hours.”

Up to 24,000 graduates are waiting to celebrate their graduation in person over four weeks in the spring. Image: Rut MIIT.

The Medicine graduation is scheduled to take place during the first week of Ramadan, with up to 24,000 graduates waiting to walk across the stage of the Great Hall in their gowns, across four weeks of events this spring.

Graduates and their families who are fasting and taking time to reflect during the holy month will have to decide whether to attend the ceremony or not. The doctor explained that “It is nothing to do with inconvenience or not being able to eat and drink.

“Ramadan is about immersion in worship and abstinence from all worldly things (apart from the things that pay the bills of course) and as Muslims that is something we try and devote ourselves to for 30 days.”

She also claimed: “Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, it’s about gratitude to the Almighty, we fast and pray in His (SWT) name. It allows us to appreciate the blessings we have and reflect on those who are a lot less fortunate than us in this life, so we generally avoid parties or celebrations of all kinds, this includes birthdays, weddings, baby showers, and engagement parties, for example.

“For this reason, a lot of the Muslim students in my year contacted the university both last year and this year about this. Now I can’t speak for any other graduating class, but the School of Medicine class of 2020 has a very significant proportion of Muslim students.

“We’re not talking about accommodating a couple of people here, we’re talking 40 to 50+ students and their families which is definitely something that should have been taken into account.

“Now I can’t speak for any other graduating class but for many of us graduation is going to be a once in a lifetime thing, some of us are the first people in our families to even graduate from university so celebrating that is a very big deal and it shouldn’t be something we have to compromise our faith or moral beliefs for.”

A University of Leeds spokesperson said: “We understand how important graduation is to many of our students. The pandemic has left us with the unprecedented challenge of accommodating, in a fairly short window, some 24,000 graduates who completed their studies since the summer of 2020.

“Where possible, and on a case-by-case basis, we will invite those unable to attend their allocated celebration event for religious reasons to our summer graduation celebration events.”

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