Southwark Cathedral hosted a Grand Iftar on Thursday, April 13, inviting more than 500 Muslims, people of faith and no faith, to celebrate peace and interfaith harmony.
Organized by Amir Eden from Living Bankside, which serves the residents and business community, this was the 6th year of operation and a delight for attendants.
Entertainment on the night came from Syrian artist Rehab Azar who played two pieces on an oud. Taught by her father, an engineer who had a Musial instruments workshop, she’s been playing since the age of seven.
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Andrew Nunn, Dean of the Cathedral, spoke about a recent trip to Christian Holy Sites in occupied Palestine. He stressed the importance of people across faiths sharing their own experiences of God.
Bishop Christopher Chessun shared that there have been daily prayers at the Cathedral for over 1,400 years, which was interesting to me, as it matched up with the time of Prophet Muhammad, also just over 1,400 years ago.
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Time for Self-Improvement
Two youngsters, Adam Saalax and Sade Eddeen, shared how Ramadan is a time to be grateful for everything they have. A time to reflect, build communities, slow down, reconnect with family, and strive for self-improvement.
Remy Mohamed from the Association of Muslim Lawyers spoke about her work mentoring, adding that it’s a two-way streak. Both the mentor and mentee can gain from the experience of learning and sharing, an important reminder that we, no matter what stage we are in life, can always learn from someone else.
Dr. Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice, spoke about diversity in our communities, sharing how nice it has been for Muslim Londoners to have opened up Ramadan to non-Muslim communities so that everyone can share in the blessings of this month.
Like many of the public iftars that run during the month of Ramadan, it is the volunteers who allow these events to take place. And on that night, everyone was grateful to have enjoyed a delicious meal of vegetarian, lamb, or chicken biryani, making it a memorable evening for all.