Muhammad Harby fasts from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. Then, after he breaks his fast, he heads from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan every day for a late-night appointment with hundreds of homeless New Yorkers who rely on him and other Muslim volunteers for a hot meal.
The volunteers pass out chicken and rice, vegetables and fresh fruit from a food truck run by Muslims Giving Back, a charity based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, whose activities — and coffers — swell during Ramadan, when Islamic teachings urge Muslims to donate to charity and do good works for the neediest around them.
For Harby, a kung fu teacher who came to the United States in 1995, there is no better place to celebrate Ramadan than New York.
“Believe it or not, I love Ramadan in New York City more than Egypt,” he said. “Back home, I would be so much with my friends and family, being invited here and there, and not focusing on worship and things like that. Here it is easy to focus on prayer and helping people.”