Ramadan 2020: Redbridge believers break fast virtually under lockdown

PUBLISHED: 17:01 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:23 13 May 2020

Formo held a virtual Iftar over the Zoom video app. Picture: Formo

Formo held a virtual Iftar over the Zoom video app. Picture: Formo


Muslims across Redbridge swapped the streets of Ilford for their laptops as Ramadan was celebrated virtually.

The Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (Formo) held the virtual Iftar on Saturday, May 9, to connect people under lockdown to break fast together over the Zoom video app.

Formo leadership panel member Khalid Sharif said he was overwhelmed with the response, which had around 50 guests, including families, NHS teams, teachers, MPs, councillors and council officers.

All of the speakers remarked on the unique circumstances in conducting Iftar online this year.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting called it: “A sign of the times we live in where normally hundreds of people would be gathering together for prayer and this underlines the challenges all of us are facing.”

MPs Wes Streeting, Sam Tarry and Council Leader Jas Athwal were among the speakers. Picture: Sam TarryMPs Wes Streeting, Sam Tarry and Council Leader Jas Athwal were among the speakers. Picture: Sam Tarry

Ilford South MP Sam Tarry read a passage from Imam Al-Ghazali and thanked Formo for all the charitable work it has done during the pandemic which he said “shows not just the best of Ilford but the best of our whole country - real solidarity and action.”

Bashir Patel from the Ilford Muslim Society talked about the “massive impact” coronavirus has had on the Muslim community.

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He said: “It’s not massively disproportionate but because we’re a close-knit community we feel it a lot more.

“My personal experience is seven people I used to regularly see from my mosque in Balfour Road have passed away and that has a huge impact.”

Another Formo leadership panel member Sultanah Parvin said though the Iftar was conducted virtually this year “the purpose was to provide a place for the whole community both Muslim and non-Muslim to come together and feel the spirit of Ramadhan which is about charity and service.

“We wanted to provide a place where people could be part of something in these challenging times.”

In the main talk given by Mu’Alim Sanel Abdurahman Haskic he said he wanted to change the narrative around this year’s Ramadan.

He said: “Don’t call it the coronavirus Ramadan but the Ramadan of hope.”

Cllr Athwal said: “One of the things we’ve learned over the last seven or eight weeks, amongst the doom and gloom is the coming together of communities.

“We need to take the hope from this situation we find ourselves in and rise together as a better community, a united community, and certainly a stronger community.”

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