American Airlines CEO Doug Parker fasted for Ramadan on Thursday, noting it was done out of respect for the Muslim employee at American Airlines.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker Fasts For Ramadan
Posting on LinkedIn, Parker explained:
Yesterday, I fasted from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. No food or drink — not even water. I did so at the invitation of our Muslim Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG). We are in the middle of Ramadan and our Muslim EBRG invited non-Muslims at American to Fast for Unity on April 29th. Muslims around the world, including American Airlines team members, fast like this for the entire month of Ramadan.
The invitation I received included these words: “The core of fasting is empathy. Fasting helps us feel others’ pain, suffering, loneliness, poverty and hunger. In a way, it connects us as humans. Refrain from eating and drinking to experience what it’s like for Muslims to fast, and also to step into the shoes of impoverished people.”
I can tell you I was hungry — and really thirsty — by 8:30 at night. It gave me tremendous respect for our Muslim team members and their commitment to their faith. I am proud of the work our Muslim EBRG does for American Airlines and we all thank them for their leadership and their open invitation to connect as humans.
I’ve been in Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates during Ramadan before. In the UAE, I’ve also taken part in suhur (pre-dawn) and iftar (post-sunset) dinners (even including starting the meal with three dates).
In the Christian faith, fasting is not directly commanded, but arguably assumed. For example, Jesus said:
“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
And there have been periods in my life in which I have fasted, though not on an annual monthly basis like some of the more devout Muslims that I know.
I point that out only to underscore that I respect those who fast for the right intentions.
Maybe Parker will now have newfound empathy for economy class passengers on his own airline who receive virtually no food and drink onboard.
Doug Parker fasted for Ramadan last week and found it quite difficult. He claims that he did that at the invitation of AA’s Muslim Employee Business Resource Group and that it led to more respect and empathy.
Of course if Parker wanted to practice fasting on a more regular basis, he should just fly AA economy class more often…
Have you ever fasted during Ramadan? How do you get through the day without food or even water?
image: Doug Parker / LinkedIn // H/T: View From The Wing