Ramadan: Cathedrals, museums and stadiums host iftar meals

  • 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.

people watch white-robed man speak at V&A
Image caption,London’s Victoria and Albert Museum provided a stunning surrounding for an iftar meal in March

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.


people at iftar at King's College Cambridge
Image caption,Cambridge University hosted an open iftar at King’s College, founded in the 15th Century
George Webster attends an open Iftar at the Rawdah Mosque in Bradford
Image caption,CBeebies presenter George Webster attended an event at the Rawdah Mosque in Bradford

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.

volunteers take time out to eat in front of a massive book display at the British Library
Image caption,Volunteers take a break at a British Library event – Ramadan commemorates the start of Quranic revelation, which began with a command to “read”

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.”

people watch rabbi speak at the Manchester cathedral event
Image caption,A rabbi was among those addressing an interfaith iftar with 1,400 people at Manchester Cathedral
children perform on stage at the Shakespeare's Globe in front of audience
Image caption,Children performed a sonnet on stage at Shakespeare’s Globe in London

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.

London mayor Sadiq Khan in Trafalgar Square event
Image caption,London mayor Sadiq Khan joined those breaking the fast at Trafalgar Square
people wait for iftar outside the Albert Hall
Image caption,Muslims make up nearly 7% of the population in England and Wales, according to the 2021 census

Organisers also wanted to make events sustainable by avoiding plastic and cutting down on waste.

lines of people sitting down at Aston Villa ground
Image caption,Hundreds turned up for an iftar at Aston Villa’s stadium in Birmingham
People at a pitchside event
Image caption,While Chelsea FC hosted a pitchside event

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.”

source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-65266627

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