- Published6 days ago
From Shakespeare’s Globe to football stadiums, landmark locations have held events to celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan across England.
Manchester Cathedral and King’s College in Cambridge were among the venues hosting iftar meals – to break the daily fasts – for people of all backgrounds.
Organisers at Ramadan Tent Project say they want to bring communities together.
“There’s been huge appetite – especially since the pandemic – to connect,” manager Waseem Mahmood said.
The organisation has been hosting the events every night since Ramadan started on 22 March.
For Muslims, the month marks the start of divine revelation of the Quran and often spurs extra devotion and charity.
Mr Mahmood, who has been on the road for the past three weeks, said: “For me personally, Islam has a very strong vertical and horizontal element – the vertical is about getting closer to God but to do that, you have to expand yourself horizontally and that means service.”
He said iftar organisers wanted people to “get out of their comfort zones” by visiting local landmarks they may never have seen.
“For example, with Manchester Cathedral and Aston Villa, there were people who don’t go to church or aren’t football fans.
“The astonishment on their faces when they come in – and immediately take pictures before they sit down – shows we did a good job.”
Mr Mahmood, a Manchester United fan, even had to grin and bear a Chelsea scarf for a photo opportunity at the London club, which was one of five football grounds hosting iftars with the Ramadan Tent Project.
He said “every single location have said they want to do it again” after more than 20,000 people attended events at nearly 20 venues in London and nine outside the capital.
Organisers also wanted to make events sustainable by avoiding plastic and cutting down on waste.
About 40% of attendees were not Muslim, with some later joining a 500-strong group of volunteers “because they wanted to give something back”, Mr Mahmood said.
“It’s about how we inspire people to break bread and have conversations, but also the concept of stewardship and responsibility when it comes to food.
“This whole journey has inspired and fulfilled me and made my heart smile.”