St Paul’s Cathedral Hosts First Ever Ramadan Iftar

The Naz Legacy Foundation delivered the first ever iftar at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Tuesday, May 7, bringing together British Muslim and non-Muslim leaders.

The interfaith iftar offered attendands a platform to interact, communicate, and exchange ideas, not to mention a Ramadan iftar meal.

Sadiq Khan, the British Muslim Mayor of London shared his excitement on Twitter writing, “History made! @StPaulsLondon hosts its first ever #Iftar. Real honor to be part of such a special evening – breaking my fast with Londoners of all faiths and backgrounds. Together we sent the message loud and clear: London’s diversity is our greatest strength. #Ramadan”

Speaking on BBC News, Hannah Kaufman a British Jew spoke about the evening, “In Judaism we also have fasting so it is really interesting to come together as young people to understand people’s traditions and customs. And in this growing more polarized world with rising divisions and increasing Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Europe its really good to come together as a community today.”

The foundation’s objective is to improve community relations and integrations in British society through education with a particular focus on the next generation, young people, who will of course grow up to be our future leaders.

The stunning backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral which stands out from London’s skyline because it’s beautifully designed architecture, including its magnificent dome inspired attendees not once but twice. First for being there and second to be there in such good company, as Tufail Hussain shared on Twitter:

“It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to have iftaar with wonderful people of all faith backgrounds and none at one of the world’s most iconic centers of faith”

Historic Event

Non-Muslim guests on the night also shared their excitement at being involved in this historic event. Simon Hunt, a student at Lady Margaret Hall College at the University of Oxford wrote, “Delighted to have attended this #iftar at @StPaulsLondon. A rare opportunity to meet all of London’s faith leaders together in such a spectacular setting. Can you see me at the back?! #RamadanMubarak”

While Paula Gooder, a New Testament Scholar at St Paul’s Cathedral said, “What a wonderful interfaith conversation @StPaulsLondon With @SadiqKhan @bishopSarahM and many others”

Hosts for the evening St Paul’s Cathedral also shared their joy at being involved in an interfaith initiative tweeting a photo of the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally at the podium addressing the audience,

“This evening we welcome young people of all faith backgrounds and @bishopSarahM and @SadiqKhan for interfaith discussions before they head to Guildhall for an Iftar meal.”

The foundation engaged with social media sharing quotes in tweets, delivering the message to as wide an audience as possible:

“The quiet dignity of faith is extremely important during these turbulent times, and it’s a pleasure to share my faith with you today.” A really humbling message at the end of our #InterfaithIftar by Alderman Hailes today representing @citylordmayor @cityoflondon

“This beautiful month is meant to remind us of the things we take for granted. We know in London that half of all people eat their meals alone, and events like this #InterfaithIftar remind us to open our hearts and our doors to our family and neighbors” – @ArzooAhmed

“The tradition of welcoming the stranger is at the heart of many faiths. We need our London faith communities to continue to welcome strangers without judgement. Our faith and our diversity of faith is a strength to our most diverse city” – inspiring words from @bishopSarahM

“It is wonderful to come together to celebrate our ancient past in a setting of our wonderful present, where when there is peace, the world feels whole. Events like this #InterfaithIftar are the ways forward and we must tell everyone about such events.” – @chiefrabbi

Even Prime Minister May, who is currently battling for her political career with her controversial support for #Brexit, took time out to share a positive message:

“As we come to the end of our #interfaithiftar, @10DowningStreet has sent a special message of support for the annual Iftar that is a celebration of our diversity, our friendships and our young people”

Bishop Sarah summed up the importance of communities coming together. The harsh reality is that the far right are increasingly exploiting insecurities in society, people’s frustrations with the challenges which life throws at them.

There must be better ways for all of us to understand and respond to the challenges of life and one way to do this is to bring communities closer together:

“There is not a more important time than now that people of faith and no faith should come together to rejoice over what we have in common” – @bishopSarahM #InterfaithIftar

About Farrukh Younus
Farrukh I Younus has a background in mobile phone strategy across Europe and Asia, and has visited China on more than 25 occasions. Dedicated to understanding and delivering solutions based on new technology, Younus has spoken on the subject to the EU in Brussels, and regularly attends industry-leading conferences. He currently runs a video platform, Implausibleblog, delivering lifestyle content via social media; where his focus is on understanding consumer behaviour with regards to digital content and digital advertising. His interests include travel, nouvelle cuisine, and chocolate.