This year, UN World Day for Living Together in Peace (May 16th) fell into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. On this occasion, the London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre (ICC) and the UAE Embassy in London hosted an interfaith Iftar (breaking of the fast). This event brought together people from different faiths who all broke bread together, and discussed ideas of cohesion, peace and community.
A variety of speakers shared their knowledge on interfaith understanding, togetherness and peace. Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, Minister of State at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK Prime Minister’s special envoy on freedom of religion and belief, spoke about his discussions with colleagues of different faiths regarding Ramadan, fasting and the two different Eid celebrations Muslims celebrate each year. Dr Ahmed Al-Dubayan, the Director General of the ICC, who opened the event, explained how this gathering was an occasion to bring people together. Another distinguished speaker, Dr Lakshmi Vyas, President of the Hindu Forum of Europe, spoke about the similarities of fasting in different faiths, how Hindus also observe fasts, and explored in this context the broader values of fasting.
The evening unfolded with all guests taking a moment of reflection and prayer before the call to prayer rang in the room. All were then served with dates, platters of mezze, salads, a lentil stew and meat-laded rice dishes.
7Dnews spoke to other guests at the event about their experience of Iftar and asked them to share their views on peace, tolerance and interfaith initiatives that are currently active across the UK. Take a look at our video to find out more about their thoughts.