Ilford Muslim leader invites non-Muslims to break fast during Ramadan
PUBLISHED: 14:13 18 June 2015 | UPDATED: 14:45 18 June 2015
A Muslim leader has called for families to break their fasts with their non-Muslim friends during Ramadan.
Chairman of League of British Muslims UK Bashir Chaudhry has called for more “understanding” of what the Islamic holy month, which started today, entails.
He said that there was no better opportunity to open a dialogue about fasting and Islam while breaking bread with friends and neighbours and urged people to come along to the Ilford Muslim Community Centre and Mosque in Eton Road, Ilford for iftaar – which translates as “break fast”.
Bashir said: “it’s a great way for people to see how it happens and there’s nothing wrong with that – it creates a better understanding and removes the fear of the unknown.”
Traditionally, Muslims break their fast by eating three dates after sunset and sitting down to family meal.
The month culminates in the festival of Eid al-Fitr on July 17, when families will get to together for food, exchange gifts and donate to charity.
“It’s the best opportunity to talk to each other and learn from each other,” said Bashir.
The leader also gave advice to non-Muslims on how to support friends who are fasting.
He said: “People should understand why you’re not going out with them on a lunch break or why you’re feeling tired.
“Employers should allow those who are fasting to have that extra 10 minute break to pray. That’s how people can help and there’s nothing impractical about it.
“People might feel more tired at work so don’t expect too much from them, just understand each other.”
He added: “People should respect your fast and that’s nice, but people who are fasting shouldn’t expect others to stop eating in front of them – they should see it as an exercise to keep them determined.”
Bashir said the month would be particularly hard this year with it being observed during June and July – the dates shift about 11 days every year.
“We’re having long days and of course you think about food but you just have to keep yourself busy and carry on with your day.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.