Ramadan: Iftar meals unimpeded by Covid restrictions for first time in three years

The East London Mosque during Ramadan

The East London Mosque during Ramadan - Credit: PA/Yui Mok

The holy month for Muslims has kicked off for the first time in three years without Covid restrictions in place. 

At the sighting of the crescent moon, Muslims around the world begin fasting for Ramadan, in order to observe self-restraint and reflect on the suffering of others. 

Throughout this period, more than 250,000 Muslims will come to pray at East London Mosque in Whitechapel, one of the biggest mosques in Europe.

Everyday after sunset, Tarawih prayers are performed at the mosque and Iftar meals are offered to around 500 worshipers.

This will be hosted by a variety of faith leaders throughout the month.

A spokesperson from the East London Mosque said: “Breaking your fast in the mosque gives a great sense of community and belonging.

“Ramadan brings the east London Muslims together and makes them more conscious of themselves and others.”

East London Mosque typically raises half a million pounds for charitable causes during Ramadan each year, with donations from Muslims around the country regularly topping £100m.

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Dilowar Khan, East London Mosque’s director of engagement, said: “The fasting month Ramadan, a time of deep spiritual reflection and observance, begins this year with a return almost to normality, following the complete closure in 2020 and restricted opening in 2021 due to the pandemic. 

“We will be hosting the special Ramadan prayers every evening, and over 500 people will be expected here every evening for Iftar, the meal for breaking the fast.

“We will also provide meals for those in need, both locally and overseas. 

“This year’s theme is ‘count our blessings’, recognising how fortunate we are not only after two years of Covid but also as others in the world face oppression and hardship. 

“We wish everyone a blessed Ramadan.”