As the holy month of Ramadan continues, Muslims around the world are celebrating with traditional fasting, prayer, and community gatherings. However, for those living in coastal towns and villages, there is an extra layer of support, as they are being welcomed by their non-Muslim neighbors. From providing meals to hosting iftar dinners, individuals and organizations in coastal communities are stepping up to ensure that local Muslims are able to fully observe Ramadan. In this article, we will explore some of the heartwarming ways in which these coastal communities are showing their support and fostering interfaith partnerships.
Coastal communities in the UK are becoming more culturally aware of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, according to Muslim families. Ramadan, which began on 22 March, involves fasting during daylight hours. The evening meal of Iftar at Haverfordwest mosque is open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Schools in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion have held assemblies on Ramadan, providing advice for pupils on how to support friends who are fasting. During Ramadan, Muslims fast as well as focus on self-improvement, self-reflection and giving to the less fortunate.
Sajida Madni, 43, from Haverfordwest, said that cultural awareness of Ramadan had increased in her local community since the opening of the first mosque there. She said that the mosque invited all neighbours to an Iftar meal in order to demonstrate that those attending were “regular people sharing food and coming together”. Mustafa Yunis, a trustee at the mosque, stated that the mosque was intended as a “hub” for its community. The mosque runs a youth club with activities open to local people of all faiths.
Aayah Yunis, daughter of Madni, and Aziza and Mariam Akhtar, two children for whom she is a guardian, are the only Muslims at their secondary school. Despite this, Castle School in Pembrokeshire supported them during Ramadan, by providing a prayer room and advice for other pupils. The school has also broken down barriers and opened up discussion of the Muslim faith.
Sara Ahmed, 40, from Ceredigion, has also seen greater awareness of Ramadan in her children’s school this year. The school took the initiative to hold an assembly on the subject. “In the kids’ school, there’s probably less than 10 Muslim pupils”, she noted. “There aren’t that many Muslims in the community here and you can sometimes feel you stick out a bit. So it’s really great to see people taking an interest and embrace our culture”.