Grand Iftar in Bristol to celebrate month of Ramadan

Grand Iftar celebrations on St Mark's Road in 2019 with hundreds of people massed together
The Grand Iftars have been enjoyed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike in Bristol [Bristol City Council]

Two Grand Iftar events are taking place in Bristol to celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The first, on St Mark's Road in Easton on Thursday, will be followed by another on 4 April on College Green.

The Iftars celebrate the city's diversity, with non-Muslims also invited to experience the breaking of the fast.

Organisers say this year the theme is promoting harmony and cohesion in the community.

Mohammed El Sharif, co-founder of the Grand Iftar, said: "The Iftar aims to bring people from all walks of life together, to celebrate social richness, cohesion and cultural diversity of our community and our city in the spirit of Ramadan."

The event started in Bristol in 2017 as a way of promoting peace and unity in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Grand Iftar celebrations on St Mark's Road in 2019 with several men lined up facing the camera
The Grand Iftar started in Bristol in 2017, after the Manchester Arena bombing [Bristol City Council]

This year's Ramadan began on 10 March and is due to come to an end on 9 April, when Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the holy month will be held.

During the month, Muslims fast - which involves abstaining from eating and drinking during daylight hours - as well as focus on self-improvement, self-reflection and giving to the less fortunate.

Negat cooking ahead of the Grand Iftar
Negat says Iftar is 'very important to people who have been fasting all day' [BBC]

Ahead of the Grand Iftar in Easton, Oumana and Negat told the BBC how they're preparing to feed several hundred people food such as vegetable curry and rice.

"It's very important for everyone to share food and to share our culture to different people, different communities," Oumana said.

Negat added: "Iftar is very important to people who have been fasting all day, but to be there with other people who want to find out about your religion, your culture, is even better."

The College Green event is organised jointly with Bristol Cathedral and Bridges for Communities, an inter-faith organisation based at the Easton Christian Family Centre.

The Very Reverend Dr Mandy Ford, Dean of Bristol said: "We are delighted to be welcoming people from around Bristol, but especially our sisters and brothers from the Muslim community, to break the Ramadan fast together.

"I hope that this will truly be an opportunity for us to share our hopes for a more peaceful world."

Dan Green from Bridges for Communities added: "We're excited to see faith communities coming together and working together in this new way. It's vital in the multicultural and multi-faith Bristol we live in that we find ways of living well together, and living well with difference.

"Sharing a meal together is just a great starting point, and we're looking forward to hearing all the conversations that take place and the new possibilities that emerge through this event."

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