Saturday, 18 August 2012

Birmingham Interfaith Iftar - Fasting & Feasting With The Faithful

Faeeza Vaid opens the evening with a call to seek connections
It was great to be involved in a little way in bringing together nearly 70 people from Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities together for the Interfaith Iftar at Zogora's Restaurant last Thursday. The evening was hosted by Faeeza Vaid of the Muslim Women's Network and Aisha Iqbal - who was the woman with the vision for the event and who put in the hard work of getting the evening together with a collection of friends and family. I asked Aisha to tell us about her motivation for organising the event and a little something about the evening itself.

Aisha Iqbal a wish to encourage dialogue
"Ramadan completely consumes my life and that of many Muslims for 30 days each year. Everything that we do is influenced by the special connection with the month; from fasting between dawn and dusk, increasing our prayer exponentially, to giving charity with an open heart and stuffing ourselves to the brim with lush food sent by friends, family and neighbours. Everything is about Ramadan. However, our experiences and sense of unity often does not successfully transcend beyond the immediate Muslim community and I feel that it is important to fill this gap - especially as we live a diverse multi-cultural/multi-faith society.

The faithful feasting!
One solution - Interfaith Iftaar: Fasting and feasting with the faithful. The core purpose of this event was to encourage a dialogue amongst the diverse guests. And so we began the formal part of the evening listening to  Dr Hany El-Banna (founder of Islamic Relief) explaining the purpose of Ramadan and closing with collective prayer led by the Dr Rizwan (ISB), thus cementing the sense of unity. And to stay true to the interfaith aspect, we also had the opportunity to hear insights of fasting traditions in Christianity (Rev Ray Gaston), Buddhism (Yann Lovelock) and Hinduism (Ravi Ladva). To cap off the night of learning and discussion, guests stomachs were tantalised by an array of Moroccan cuisine and their ears smoothed by the harmonious music from SILKROAD"


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