NEWCASTLE – St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle, UK, opened its doors to Muslims on Wednesday, May 23, with hundreds of people celebrating the ‘peace and unity’ Ramadan iftar event.
“The event was the first Muslim iftar at an Anglican cathedral in the North East of Britain,” the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Christine Hardman and Acting Dean of Newcastle, the Venerable Geoff Miller, told Chronicle Live.
Imam Abdul Basit of Newcastle Central Mosque, Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes and chief constable of Northumbria Police Winton Keenan all spoke at the Ramadan iftar.
Inspiring figures from the community, including race relations campaigner Dr. Hari Shukla and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Muzoon Almellehan, also attended the event.
“This celebration of peace and unity is a wonderful opportunity to listen to a series of talks and share food together,” a spokesperson for Newcastle Cathedral said.
The celebration drew together members from different communities. As part of the event, Michael Nixon, manager of Newcastle West End Food Bank, was also awarded.
After the speeches and songs, food was served up at 9.30pm for those who have been fasting during the day.
Hardman outlined her hope the historic occasion would serve to show the “common purposes for peace and unity across the city’s religious communities.”
“We want our common purposes to flourish. It is really important that people of faith show that sense of love and unity working for the common good,” she continued.
Islam is the second largest religion in the UK, with results from the United Kingdom Census 2011 giving the UK Muslim population in 2011 as 2,786,635, 4.4% of the total population. The capital London has the greatest population of Muslims in the country.