LONDON – British Muslims have been organizing community iftars all across the country, welcoming both Muslims and non-Muslims in a bid to share the spirits of the holy month of Ramadan.
“It has been fantastic to see how The Big Iftar has grown again this year,” National Coordinator for The Big Iftar Julie Siddiqi said to express her excitement at the scheme’s yearly growth, The World Bulletin reported on Sunday, June 19.
“We are having an Iftar in a Cathedral for the first time and synagogues have been opening their doors too.
“Ramadan really has become known by so many more people now in the UK, which is great to see, and Muslims are realizing the benefit of opening up to people around them, not just Muslims.”
Muslims in UK and most Muslim countries 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.
Dubbing the event “The Big Iftar”, British Muslims hoped food could offer a path to racial harmony with the wider community.
Launched in 2012, it has provided a platform for iftars to take place in homes, community centers, synagogues, parks, town squares, schools and more.
What started as a small-scale project has generated a growing interest with more than 100 public iftars already being planned across the country.
One of these iftars was held last Thursday at Alyth Synagogue, Golders Green, London.
The iftar included shared learning about Maghrib and Ma’ariv prayers and a chance to watch and participate in both.
Another iftar was organized two days earlier by Nisa-Nashim Harrow, which gathered 30 Muslim and Jewish women to build friendships, learn about Ramadan and eat together.
Britain is home to a Muslim community of nearly 2.8 million, according to the latest population census released in 2011.
In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.
Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British.