The Big Iftar - share a meal with your Muslim neighbours

By Bernadette Meaden
June 7, 2015

The need for greater understanding and friendship between people of all faiths becomes clearer every day. As Ramadan approaches, The Big Iftar provides an enjoyable opportunity for Muslims and non-Muslim neighbours to get to know each other.

Iftar is the meal Muslims enjoy at sunset every day during Ramadan, having fasted since dawn. It is often shared with friends and neighbours, and The Big Iftar is about mosques, community centres, and other places of worship coming together for the iftar meal, inviting friends and neighbours from different faiths and ethnicities.

Last year the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby held an Iftar meal at Lambeth Palace. Speaking of the need for people of different faiths to stand together against the backdrop of violence and suffering, particularly in the Middle East, he said, “There is much that we need to talk about, and much that we can work on together; but tonight is about celebrating the importance of our friendships,”

In North West London, Alyth Synagogue hosted an Iftar meal. An account by Christian Muslim Forum reported,
‘Rabbi Maurice mentioned that he had received messages asking whether he thought people would attend the ‘Big Iftar’ given what was happening in certain parts of the world! Rabbi Maurice said that he had replied that it was even more important to have such a meeting and that what goes on in certain parts of the world should not affect relationships between Muslims and Jews in this county.

The reoccurring theme through the evening was of peace and commonality and how blessed we are in Britain that Jews and Muslims work together and have good relationships.’

There will be Big Iftar events held all over the country during Ramadan, which this year is from 29 June to 29 July. You can find out if there is one near you, or how to organise your own, via the website.

For Muslims there is a strong emphasis on acts of charity during Ramadan, so some events will be aimed at helping the homeless and those in food poverty, as well as bringing communities together.

You can follow @TheBig Iftar on Twitter.

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© Bernadette Meaden has written about political, religious and social issues for some years, and is strongly influenced by Christian Socialism, liberation theology and the Catholic Worker movement. She is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor. You can follow her on Twitter: @BernaMeaden

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