LONDON – A centuries-old church in London opened its doors on Sunday, June 26, to welcome hundreds of Muslims and followers of other faiths to a Ramadan iftar, organizing a Muslims’ prayer session for the first time in its history.
“Muslims, Jews, Hindus and others have come together to break their fasts and they are working together for good causes. We need to do more such projects,” London’s new Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was invited as the guest speaker, told audience, The News International reported.
St. James’s Church, Piccadilly, joined hands with the City Circle to invite more than 400 Muslims as well as followers of other faiths for a grand interfaith Iftar dinner.
Speaking to Geo News, Sadiq Khan said that it was a matter of pride for him that a London church had organized an interfaith Iftar dinner and invited him and others to break their fast in expression of harmony and solidarity and also to raise money for the homeless people who need the help of everyone.
He criticized misconceptions about Islam, which spread due to the unacceptable acts of a tiny minority.
“We need to correct it. We can do this by working with all communities and showing them the real picture. We live in a globalised world and it means the working together of all religions and schools of thought. We need to promote brotherhood amongst each other,” he said.
“I am the mayor for all Londoners. St. James’s Church has set a great example by hosting the Iftar dinner. Revd Lucy Winket fasted today to show solidarity, it’s a great example for all of us. In the UK, Muslims are a minority and such positive gestures are shown. Whether Muslims are majority or minority in a country, we all need to come together to build bridges,” he added.
Revd Lucy Winket told Geo News that the Iftar dinner aimed to bring Christian and Muslim communities together to celebrate Ramadan and shared “our common values”.
She said fasting with Muslims had been a great experience for her and it just made her realize “the sacrifice that goes into fasting around 19 hours a day.”
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.8 million, according to last census published in 2011.
Muslims in the UK started fasting on Monday, June 6, on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.