Middlesex University hosted The Big Iftar to bring the community together for an interfaith celebration of Ramadan.
The event in the Quad of the Hendon campus on March 28, which included a shared meal, was staged in partnership with Barnet Council and the Barnet Multi Faith Forum.
It was attended by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, co-founder of The Big Iftar concept Julie Siddiqi MBE, Bishop John Sherrington, Dr Pratik Sufi from the Islamic Association of North London, as well as other representatives from the Muslim community in Barnet.
"The main speakers The Chief Rabbi and Julie Siddiqi, honoured us by their presence and articulation of the meaning of the event and the panellists provided us with the intellectual and educational understanding of what Ramadan actually means and the Iftar’s communal significance," Esmond Rosen, Chairman of the Barnet Multi-Faith Forum.
The university would like to thank all colleagues, students and local residents, those of all faiths and none, for coming together to celebrate Ramadan and the principles of togetherness during this time.
Monna Rizvi, Co-Chair of Middlesex Inter Faith Network, described the event as “a beautiful demonstration of interfaith dialogue at its best. The main objective of bringing people together from different faiths and none, from different communities and sharing a delicious meal with a common desire for interfaith dialogue was realised and this says a lot for the successful partnership between Middlesex University, Barnet Council and Barnet Multi Faith Forum.”
Professor Carole-Anne Upton, the MDX Deputy Vice Chair for Global Innovation and Impact, said: “My thanks and congratulations to you and the many other people from the University and beyond who worked together to create such a wonderful community event.
“I felt genuinely honoured to be invited to be part of it and look forward very much to making this an annual event.”
Esmond Rosen, Chairman of the Barnet Multi-Faith Forum, praised the event afterwards in a letter to Prof Nic Beech, Vice Chancellor of Middlesex University.
In the letter, Mr Rosen said: “The Quad looked magnificent, and the atmosphere created by the organisation and planning was magnificent.
“The prayers and singing of the Islamia Primary School Choir gave us the perfect setting for the presentations and the fabulous food to end the Ramadan days fasting.
“The main speakers The Chief Rabbi and Julie Siddiqi, honoured us by their presence and articulation of the meaning of the event and the panellists provided us with the intellectual and educational understanding of what Ramadan actually means and the Iftar’s communal significance.
“It truly was a team effort, and what was so wonderful that everyone was so happy to help.”
The Middlesex Inter Faith Network, which helped organise the event, aims to showcase and support the diversity of our community and religious beliefs and help ensure there is representation from all religions and beliefs.
Dr Deeba Gallacher, Head of Academic Practice Enhancement at the University, said: “The Big Iftar was a big success. I've been at the university for 20 years and have never seen it celebrated like this before.”
Asmaa Georgiou Islam, from the Yusuf Islam Foundation and daughter of Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) founder of Islamia Primary School, said: “Alhamdulillah (praise to God) it was so good to see so many people there, enjoying each other’s company and sharing stories.
“May Allah reward you and the other organisers for putting on the event and providing the Iftar.”
Top image: Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis and Dr Pratik Sufi. Pictures taken by Revd Shaun Saunders. Images were also taken at the event by Lisa Bonollo, a second year BA photography student.