Ramadan 2021: Barkingside dad on breaking fast with family

Khalid Sharif, breaking fast during Ramadan with his father. 

Khalid Sharif (right) breaking fast during Ramadan with his father Mohammed Sharif at their Barkingside home. - Credit: Khalid Sharif

As part of our series on how Muslims in Redbridge are observing Ramadan, the Recorder spoke with Khalid Sharif, founder of IG-Soc and a leadership panel member for the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO).

Khalid, a father-of-five who has lived his whole life in Barkingside, founded IG-Soc in 2004 which led to the creation of FORMO.

IG-Soc helps to connect Muslims across Redbridge.

It has put on events, interfaith barbecues and debates, as well as run Facebook and email groups that reach 10,000 Muslims in the borough.

Muslim women make up 70 per cent of its current membership.

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What are you doing to celebrate Ramadan this year?

As there is social distancing and bubbles to maintain, we are having small Iftars (when each day's fast is broken) for those in our bubble only. 

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My children are trying to fast for a few hours to give me support rather than doing the full 17 hours. 

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

It hasn't been harder or limited but just very different.

As the start date of Ramadan changes each year, the length of the fast is different each year. We are used to a bit variety but no one could have expected this.

I do miss not being able to get more involved in charity work or attend more events during the month.

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

It has definitely been hard on us as we can’t connect with family for opening fast or attend for prayers in the mosque.

Last year was about sadness that a lifetime of practice in attending the mosque would need to change and this year is about understanding and trying to adapt.

The mosques are doing an amazing job keeping us all safe and we as a family have decided that we will not be going for prayers at the mosque to allow others to attend. 

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