Open Iftar event takes place at football stadium

More than 300 people have attended a free community iftar meal held at a football stadium to mark the month of Ramadan.

The Open Iftar, saw members of the local community gather at The Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion, in Smethwick, to break their fast on Friday evening.

Organised by charity Ramadan Tent Project, the venue is one of 25 across the UK to host the event, which kicked off at Villa Park in Birmingham on 12 March.

Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, began on 11 March this year and is set to last for 30 days until 9 April.

The holy month, a time for spiritual reflection, sees Muslims around the world refrain from food and drink, including water, during daylight hours.

Iftar is the meal that takes place when Muslims break their fast, immediately after sunset.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, The Albion Foundation described the Open Iftar event, the first one to be held at The Hawthorns, as a "great success."

The Muslim call to prayer, the adhan, was recited pitch-side at the stadium to mark the end of the day's fast, before prayers and a meal took place indoors.

Omar Salha, Founder and CEO of Ramadan Tent Project, said the theme of this year's Ramadan Festival was Heritage: Past, Present and Future, which he said aimed "to fulfil a deep understanding and appreciation of our shared cultural heritage in Britain".

"The month of Ramadan is an embodiment of the rich Islamic culture, tradition and heritage that is observed by millions across the globe as a journey of self-reflection, spiritual sustenance, and mindfulness," he added.

'Welcome to everyone'

Open Iftar events are taking place across the UK throughout the month, with meals at Windsor Castle and the British Library before the festival culminates with a final community meal held at London's Trafalgar Square on 8 April.

The events are open to people of all faiths and none, a spokesperson for the charity added.

Tufail Hussain, director at charity partner Islamic Relief, added the iftar was "welcome to everyone."

"Coming together with the local community and sharing a meal after a day of fasting will be very special," he added.

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