“I've known Muslims all my life, and I'm really glad thousands of others are getting the chance to learn all about the Islamic faith, as well as getting the chance to share in good company and great food,” remarked The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
“British Muslims are a shining example to the rest of the world, of being proud of your faith, while getting stuck in with the broader community. Nothing illustrated that better than the 700 Ismailis who volunteered as part of London 2012 [Olympic and Paralympic games] and helped make it such a fantastic national success,” he said.
Other guests included the Yemeni Ambassador, His Excellency Abdulla Ali Al-Radhi, Seema Malhotra MP, and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, as well as leaders of faith communities and civil society organisations.
Guests were treated to a sumptuous traditional meal while meeting representatives from the Ismaili Community at the West London Jamatkhana. The evening also included a performance by musicians from the Ismaili Community Ensemble, who collaborate closely with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Big Iftar encourages mosques, community centers and places of worship to invite friends and neighbors from different faiths and ethnicities to join in the evening meal taken at the end of a day of fasting during the month of Ramadan. It is promoted as a way for British Muslims to build bridges and share their faith and values.
“There is something wonderfully unifying about an Iftar meal,” said Amin Mawji OBE, President of the Ismaili Council for the UK. “After all, one of the best ways to break down barriers is to break bread together and to offer a prayer together.”