Friday, 10 August 2012

In the Guardian (8 August 2012) Huma Qureshi describes how she participated in an initiative to share the iftar (fast breaking) meal with non-Muslims:

"I'm taking part in Dine@Mine, an initiative set up by 25-year-old Maryam Douale from Manchester. The idea is that Muslims host an iftar (the meal with which you open your fast) for non-Muslims, to forge better understanding over food. "Ramadan at my house is loud, fun and full of love and good food," Douale says. "It's my family at its warmest and best. I thought what if we could give non-Muslims a chance to see what a normal Muslim family is like? Food plays such an important role in cultures and traditions ... it brings people together" 

Jack and Jenni arrive. We offer them elderflower drinks, explaining we will wait until we've opened our fast, but they say they want to wait with us. Although they haven't fasted ahead of the meal, they are excited about joining in: "When would I ever get the chance to experience any part of Ramadan?" Jenni asks.

I was worried the experience might put us on show – Look! Here are Muslims who fast! – but it hasn't at all. Friends and colleagues are intrigued about Ramadan but shy of asking questions and I want our guests to feel they can ask anything. Being used to fasting, I forget this is what baffles people most. "Do you really get up at 3am? Is it like a midnight feast" asks Jenni, who thinks sehri, the pre-fast meal, sounds "magical". I tell her that eating bagels while half asleep is quite mundane. They've been reading up on Ramadan, and instead of bringing flowers, made a donation to a charity for the homeless.
The simple act of sharing a meal together has laid down the foundations of a new friendship – Douale will be pleased to hear we're going over to theirs for dinner after Eid."
You can read the full article here.

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