Muslims across London are busy making plans on how to make the most of the holy month of Ramadan that began on the weekend.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Muslims across London are busy making plans on how to make the most of the holy month of Ramadan that began on the weekend.
After two years of lockdown many pre-COVID activities have made a return as well.
This includes Ramadan Tent, an initiative that started off with a bunch of university students at SOAS University of London in 2013, and has now gone on to support people around the world. The project includes an 'Open Iftar' which provided free meals during Ramadan time under a massive tent or an outside venue - though for the last two years they were not able to hold in-person events during the pandemic.
Ramadan Tent initially began as a way to support international students living alone in the UK, with this project they were able to open their fast together with others - but it went on to be a huge success and eventually held huge Open Iftars for the general public.
A spokesperson said: "We aimed to provide a home away from home, strengthen community ties and embody the beauty of our faith. The initiative grew and we were able to host more than just students. Our tent began welcoming the vulnerable, including the homeless, those in need of a community and anyone who wished to share our food and faith with us."
With time, the annual tent welcomed anyone and everyone, non-Muslims and Muslims from all walks to open their fast and enjoy dinner together. I've been privileged enough to be able to attend Ramadan Tent multiple times and try to go at least one evening every year - one of my favorite Iftars took place in the British Library where there were hundreds of us outside in the sun opening our fast together.
Hundreds of people sit on the floor outside in rows waiting for Iftar time and are served with dates, food and water. The Adhaan (call to prayer) is played on a speaker to ensure everyone can open their fast together. Going to the Open Iftar is a great experience and the vibe captures exactly what Ramadan is about - a sense of community.
Open Iftar is now one of the UK's biggest annual community events in Ramadan and is run entirely by volunteers. Events often host speakers as well and a huge prayer area is always available.
Iftars have also been hosted at Westminster Abbey, Wembley Stadium and Trafalgar Square and over 100,000 people from all backgrounds across the UK and the world, in over 10 cities and four continents have been able to attend - this includes Turkey and Zambia.