Ramadan 2021: councillor captures 'joy and happiness' despite restrictions

Cllr Khaled Noor doing his prayers during Ramadan in his garden. 

Cllr Khaled Noor doing his prayers during Eid last year in his garden. - Credit: Khaled Noor

As part of the Recorder's series on Ramadan, Barkingside councillor and chairman of the Muslim Professionals Forum Khaled Noor has spoken about his happier fast this year compared to last.

As Ramadan is a time of giving to those less fortunate, he has delivered food parcels to Redbridge Foodbank every Saturday. They were funded using the sponsorship money he received for taking on the challenge of running 5k a week

Khaled Noor dropping off food parcels to Redbridge Food Bank

As Ramadan is a time to give back to those less fortunate, Cllr Noor has been donating food parcels every week to Redbridge Foodbank. - Credit: Khaled Noor

Have you been limited in how you can celebrate this year due to some restrictions still being in place?

Iftar is a great moment of joy and celebration after a long day of fasting, and sharing Iftar meals with others is highly rewarding.

In previous years I would break my fast while sharing food at a mosque or at gatherings with friends and family.

Like other Muslims, I am missing this part of the celebrations.

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However, I am pleased that lockdown restrictions are easing and happy to enjoy the essence of Ramadan by praying in mosques once more and meeting friends and family – albeit only in outdoor settings. 

A poster made by Khaled Noor's daughter for Ramadan

A poster his 11-year-old daughter made for Ramadan. - Credit: Khaled Noor

How has this Ramadan compared to last year when we were under full lockdown?

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Last year Ramadan was the most difficult, unusual and unprecedented one in living memory. 

This Ramadan is much better – you try to grab as much joy and happiness as you can, despite the restrictions still in place. 

Last year I celebrated Eid at home with my wife and children. Echoing Eid in the Park, we held an Eid in the Garden, with whimsical decorations to make the celebrations enjoyable for my young son and daughter - who have missed out on so much during the pandemic - and fun and games, and a picnic. 

Have you lost any family members or friends who you might have seen or celebrated Ramadan with this year?

I experienced Covid symptoms during March/April last year: however, I am lucky to be alive and healthy now.

Fortunately, I have not lost any of my close family members – though many have been infected with the virus.  Some friends and members of my community, as well as some professional colleagues, did succumb to the illness.

Sadly they are no longer with us, and I have been greatly affected by these losses through this Ramadan.

However, the vaccine gives us hope, and I look forward to a better post-Covid future. 

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