Community unites for Iftar in wake of attacks

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Aylesbury Mosque held a huge community iftar last week to give people an insight into Ramadan and to unite the community in understanding what the faith is about.

Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Muslims break their fast at the time of the call to prayer for the evening prayer.

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The event was aimed at a broad crossection of the local community, to help people understand the role of the Mosque, the month of Ramadan and what it means for Muslims, and also for an opportunity for people to get to know each other.

Masood Ahmed, treasuer of the Mosque in Havelock Street, said: “We hosted a very successful community iftar, the breaking of the fast last Wednesday at Aylesbury Mosque.

“We did this last year and it's something that we were looking to build on.

“This year it was much bigger in terms of attendance with over 200 people attending, which was great to see.

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“Local dignitaries such as the chief constable, Aylesbury town mayor and local councillors and ordinary folk all came along.

“It was a great opportunity for everyone to see what happens in the Mosque during Ramadan, and to get an idea about what fasting is all about.

“We started with a speech from the president - Mr Assad Mahmood, followed by a speech by our leading English speaking Iman.

“Once the speeches were over, we provided the attendees with four facts that they may not necessarily know about the Mosque and once that was done we proceeded to break the fast.

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“After the fast was broken there was an opportunity for attendees to have a tour of the Mosque.

Thanks for everyone that made it such special evening and a particular thanks to all of our guests who took time out of their busy lives to join us for an Iftar at the Masjid. This was a remarkable evening and is testament to the strong community spirit we enjoy in Aylesbury.

“It was a good opportunity to discuss and share our experiences as Muslims with everyone, to give the people who attended an insight into Ramadan and our lives at the Mosque. In return we’ve been invited to several events, a great way to build a better and more cohesive community, as part of the ongoing efforts of Aylesbury Mosque to become a part of our community - to be the local Mosque not just for local Muslims but the whole community.”

Aylesbury Town’s Mayor, Tom Hunter Watts, who attended the event said: “The community iftar had a really convivial and welcoming atmosphere. It wasn’t just about doing things dutifully and ticking a box till the following year - this was a time to build deep and lasting friendships, a light in the darkness in dark times. I was honoured to represent our town.”

Raj Khan, county and district councillor for Aylesbury North said: “A very big thank you to Aylesbury Mosque for providing such a service to the wider community of Aylesbury. We have to recognise and understand we are one community and this is an inclusive community. Muslim and non-Muslim alike were invited to breakdown barriers that may exist, to bond us together in understanding.

“We are now in very challenging times and I feel that all responsible people must come together to condemn all bigoted attacks, be it in London, Manchester or the Finsbury attacks on Sunday.

“We have to show our strength against all forms of terrorism and extremists. The Mosque has played a vital role in getting people to join together, we want everybody know their friendly Muslim neighbours. We are all one community and should enjoy the diversity that enriches us.

“From our point of view we are against all forms of extremism targeting any innocent human being is a value that we as British people will always stand against.

“We condemn all these attacks in the strongest terms possible. All these attacks will strengthen our community. Bigots from one side or another, will not be tolerated.”