In what turned out to be a potent display of social unity, around three thousand people – hailing from a range of different faiths or no faith at all – converged in Bristol to celebrate the breaking of the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
St Marks Road in Easton became the centre of the neighbourhood last Thursday as thousands of locals all came together to help their Muslim neighbours break their fast.
The event was delivered by a flurry of volunteers, faith groups and community organisations who handed out a plethora of fruit, dates and food parcels to get the ‘Grand Iftar’ going. It wasn’t long before volunteers of every creed and colour lined the streets ready to get involved.
Messages of peace, love, unity and respect reverberated throughout the streets as speakers at the event encouraged the attendees to get to know each other better. For years now, Muslim communities all over the world have been inviting folks from all walks of life to break their fast with them.
“It is really important for Muslims to open our hearts and share this special moment with the wider Bristol community,” Mohammed El Sharif, one of the founders of the Grand Iftar, said. “The importance is not about where you’re from, but what we are all able to share. Easton is the hub of diversity, and to hold the Grand Iftar on one of the most vibrant streets in the city shows a sense of community.”
Before the event, Afzal Shah, co-organiser of the Grand Iftar and a Labour councillor for Easton, said: “Everyone is welcome to attend, a variety of food (including vegetarian options), desserts and soft drinks will be served. This event will provide a great opportunity to learn more about the significance of Ramadan for Muslims.”
He added: “The Iftar is not only about celebrating the month of Ramadan, but also building those important links with the community,” said co-organiser Nasreen Begum. “This initiative is a way of opening our hearts and bringing each one of us together to showcase the true depth of humanity.”
Featured image credit: Norberto Fernandez Soriano