The Ramadan Tent Project began with a group of students who came together to break their fasts together. It has since grown into an annual community event for anyone and everyone, providing free food in the spirit of Ramadan. After two years of hiatus, the Open Iftar is back, bringing together around 400 people at St Chad’s Cathedral.
The Open Iftar project is almost entirely volunteer driven, and has hosted over 100,000 people since its inception. It’s the largest annual community event in Ramadan, and believes strongly in the importance of bringing together people from all backgrounds to share in the meal.
Open Iftar strives to build bridges between communities and hone a sense of solidarity beyond our differences. The event aims to develop relations between one another based on compassion and understanding to bring about a more harmonious society.
Waseem Mahmood, Project Manager for Open Iftar, says: “So this is our first event, Open Inftar 2022 in the UK, outside of London, and we’re going to be doing it here in St Chads. This open Iftar is a unique opportunity to bring people from all different cultures, backgrounds, Muslims, non-Muslims together, to break bread, to actually educate each other about the concept of Ramadan, the ethics, and also how we can bring communities together.
“We’ve invited people from all over Birmingham in the West Midlands to turn up. And we are really lucky that we’re going to be kind of sharing a conversation with many important prominent individuals within the community. So we invited as many people as we could from a wide cross section of the community to come together, break bread and share conversations.”
Waseem Ahmad, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide, says: “I think the response is really amazing, where we have people from all faiths, and they came out on this really chilly evening and breaking fast with all of us. That shows that how much they value, the work that we do, how much value the Muslim faith has in this community in Birmingham.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, says: “Well, I think first of all, you want to understand what’s important to other faiths because I’m a huge believer that if one faith understands what’s happening in another faith, it actually builds education, builds tolerance, builds inclusivity.
“And you also tend to learn that values are far more common than people realise actually, and then society with common values at its heart, even if expressed through slightly different traditions, then that obviously bonds people together.”
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