On Friday 8 April 2022 (6pm), Ramadan Tent Project and Islamic Relief UK welcomed the month of Ramadan by joining forces to launch the largest community iftar in Manchester. The historic Cathedral Gardens hosted the first physical iftar at 6pm, after two years of virtual events, with an aim to share a meal and bring together the community.
Photos can be found here: Manchester Iftar
Now in its ninth year, Ramadan Tent Project (RTP) in partnership with Islamic Relief UK hosts its subsequent iftars across national venues including, The British Library, Victoria and Albert Museum and Cambridge Central Mosque amongst others through the course of the holy month.
Almost entirely run by volunteers, RTP has delivered virtual Open Iftar events for the past two years in 2020 and 2021, and has now launched its first physical event, opening the grounds for free meals, prayers and key guest attendees including MP Afzal Khan to deliver an inspiring speech.
In the ninth month of the Islamic year, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food and drink as well as increasing in charitable deeds. At sunset in the evening, a prayer called Maghrib is observed, followed by a meal to break the fast. This meal to break the fast is called Iftar, open to all faiths and none, with the aim to bring the community together and incite conversations, togetherness, and meaningful reflections for a more harmonious society.
To date, Open Iftar has convened and connected over 350,000 people across the UK, distributing over 150,000 hot meals in Ramadan, hosting over 300 guest speakers and collaborating with over 100 partners across the UK.
Omar Salha, Founder of Ramadan Tent Project said:
“We’re delighted to be working with Islamic Relief UK for this year’s Open Iftar events as part of Ramadan Tent Project’s Ramadan Festival 2022.
“After two difficult years amid the Covid-19 pandemic, we are delighted to once again facilitate a warm, open, inclusive and engaging environment in-person where people can enjoy wholesome food, conversations and community engagement, and to also come together to support the great work Islamic Relief UK is doing around the world and in the UK to tackle food scarcity.
“In light of the rise of the cost of living and the number of Muslims in the UK who are facing poverty and food shortages, we are more pleased than ever to come together to host these events for our communities across the UK.”
Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK said:
“After two years of online events, we are excited to be teaming up with the Ramadan Tent Project and to be breaking bread with the community in such a historic space. The pandemic created a physical distance over the past two years, making it more important than ever, during this holy month, to recognise and celebrate the blessings of neighbours, friends and our community.
“With the support of Afzal Khan MP, I enjoyed meaningful conversation, sharing a meal and forging a connection that embodies the true essence of Ramadan.”
Afzal Khan MP said:
“As the MP for Manchester Gorton, I am delighted to be a part of this community iftar at historic Cathedral Gardens. Breaking fast with friends and family during Ramadan is one of the things I missed most over the last 2 years.
“Sadly, the pandemic highlighted the scale of inequality in Manchester and beyond, and I would like to thank organisations such as Islamic Relief UK for providing a lifeline to those in need, especially as families struggle with the cost of living crisis.
“This goes to the heart of Islamic teaching, last year alone Muslims in the UK donated more than £150 million to charity! For me, that is the face of Islam, a religion of giving and generosity. I want to thank Ramadan Tent Project and Islamic Relief UK for organising this special event”.
Notes to editors
For any questions or to request to interview one of our spokespeople, please contact:
Islamic Relief UK
Islamic Relief is a faith-inspired, development and humanitarian agency working to transform and save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in over 40 countries. Islamic Relief assists people according to need and does not discriminate in any way.
Set up in Birmingham in 1984 by a group of volunteers, we have assisted over 117 million people all over the world. We’re saving lives and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty in over 40 countries – from Bangladesh to Bosnia, Pakistan to Palestine, Kenya to Kosovo. Islamic Relief is on the ground in some of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places – including Syria and Yemen – strengthening the most marginalised communities to withstand conflict and natural disasters and to build a brighter future. We also support vulnerable people in the UK in partnership with local charities and organisations.
Ramadan Tent Project
Ramadan Tent Project is a non-profit organisation founded in 2013. Their Open Iftar project which supported 70,000 people virtually last year, has welcomed well over one-hundred thousand people across 13 cities and 4 continents since its inception in 2013. As part of our Ramadan Festival series, the Open Iftar events are the flagship initiative of Ramadan Tent Project, a community institution developing the knowledge, understanding and experience of Ramadan & fasting for all.
Since 2013, Open Iftar has been inviting people from all walks of life, different faith backgrounds and none, to come together to break fast, share food & engage in inspiring conversations. Open Iftar bridges communities; it is a space in which our commonalities are highlighted, our differences celebrated and human connection is forged. Invitation is free and open to all.