Muslims Organize Nationwide Iftar in Britain

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

A nationwide initiative has been organized in Britain for mosques to open their doors to people of all faiths to share iftar during the holy month of Ramadan, local media reported .

The initiative offers Muslims' neighbors a chance to learn about Islam and forge relationships with the Muslim minority, the Gathreh organization reported on its website on Monday as monitored by MINA (Mi'raj News Agency).

"It comes when myth-busting is more important than ever," said Baroness Warsi, Minister for Faith and Communities. "Research earlier this year showed that less than a quarter of people thought Muslims were compatible with the British way of life ."

''The Big Iftar'' (breaking fast) organized by British Muslims across the UK is a path to racial harmony with the wider community .

Warsi addressed one event held at the Brent Civic Centre in north-west London, where the guests gathered around a trestle table laden with rice, noodles, curries, samosas and, in keeping with Iftar tradition, dates and milk .

During Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset .

Around the globe, Muslims observe Ramadan with a set of traditional rituals including family gathering at iftar, religious lessons, special evening prayer and helping the poor .

"It's about reaching out," said the Big Iftar's founder, Mustafa Field, 32, a project manager from Brent. "Once you get to know your neighbors you start to understand each other's cultures ."

Mark Buckley, 40, a Christian, welcomed the opportunity to engage with another faith .

"Just as Christians need to get out of their church walls, Muslims have to get out of the mosque walls and engage with people in the real world," he said.


UK Muslims To Boycott Dates Harvested From Israel Settlements


The Muslim community in the UK plans to launch a Ramadan campaign during Ramadan against Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The campaign advises Muslims to boycott Israeli dates produced in Jewish settlements in the occupied west bank and Jordan Valley starting Friday, 21 June - roughly two weeks before Ramadan.

Nearly half of the settlements in the Jordan Valley grow dates, their most profitable crop, which contributes significantly to their economic viability.

The Muslim Association of Britain declares it will hold a national day of action against Israeli settlement policy.

"We want to draw everyone's attention to the 'Check the Label - Boycott Israeli Dates' campaign by holding a national day of action," MAB said in a statement.

The day activities include distribution of leaflets outside mosques after Friday prayers and putting up posters in mosques and local shops.

They will also list the big supermarkets that sell the Israeli dates, since some of them, like Asda, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Tesco, label the Israeli dates as their own product.

The campaign against the Israeli settlement policy is supported by more than 20 organisations, including Friends of Al-Aqsa and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the biggest ant-Israeli group in the UK and Europe.

Israel produces huge quantities of Medjoul dates, which are grown in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied west bank and Jordan Valley.

"Buying these dates will mean that your money is going towards supporting the theft of Palestinian land and the oppression of Palestinians," asserts the MAB.

The Israeli counter-argument is that a boycott will harm the Palestinians working in the settlement.

Campaigners retort that those Palestinians are getting paltry wages and do the back-breaking work Israeli settlers will not do themselves.

According to the Boycott Israel Campaign in the UK, over 50 percent of the world's Medjoul dates are produced in Israel and 60 percent of Israeli dates are grown on illegal settlement plantations in the Jordan Valley. Israeli made profits of $265 million from dates in 2011. Israeli settlements built on stolen and occupied Palestinian land have been ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice.

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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