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Not even water? And other things not to say to your Muslim friends during Ramadan

Over 3.45 million Americans celebrate the Islamic holy month - here are a few tips to get you acquainted!
Eda Uzunlar
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NPR
Over 3.45 million Americans celebrate the Islamic holy month - here are a few tips to get you acquainted!

For about 2 billion Muslims around the world – a quarter of humanity – it's Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. There are about 3.45 million Muslims in the United States, and that number continues to climb. But if you're not Muslim, you might still not know exactly what to say (and not say) to Muslim friends, co-workers and colleagues during the month, whether they're fasting or not. Here are a few tips from Muslims across the United States collected over the course of Ramadan!

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Do: Know how to greet someone, especially at the beginning of Ramadan: Ramadan Mubarak/Ramadan Kareem! (Have a blessed Ramadan/May Ramadan be generous to you)
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Do: Ask to do an iftar (the evening meal to break the fast) together. - Dina Eldawy, Fla.Just because we aren't eating or drinking during the daytime, it doesn't mean we aren't eating or drinking AT ALL. Iftar is the meal we eat to break out fast, and we love to do so in the company of a friend.
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Do: Assume we're fasting unless told otherwise, and try to remember that we are! - Nihad Awad, CAIRWe don't mind saying "no, thank you" to offers of snacks or lunch invites, but it can be a lot to decline constantly.
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Don't Ask: "Not even water?!"
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DON'T ask anyone:"Why aren't you fasting today?" Selma Abouneameh, Conn. There are a lot of reasons why someone might not be fasting. TL;DR It's a personal question to many — best not to ask!
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And the final DON'T: "You can't eat anything for an entire month?" - Diana Vakhbiyeva, Utah. No. That would be impossible! Nobody can survive for more than a few days without food and water, even your muslim friends.
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And when in doubt, just ask! As Nihad Awad, executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, puts it, "There is nothing wrong or insensitive in asking to learn. Instead of us having to talk without being asked, it's better to ask and to talk."
Eda Uzunlar / NPR
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NPR

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