Five London iftars you should not miss this Ramadan

Food
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Muslim men eat during Iftar, the evening meal in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the London Muslim Centre on August 18, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Nothing quite announces Ramadan in Britain like an open iftar. As we said in our article describing a Great British Ramadan, these are wonderfully inclusive events that really embody the spirit of the holy month. Here we have picked five of the best open iftars in and around the British capital. If you’re headed to London this Ramadan, be sure to pop over to one!

RAMADAN TENT PROJECT (RTP) OPEN IFTAR

What: This wonderful initiative in the heart of London keeps going from strength to strength. It opens its ‘tent’ doors every evening during Ramadan and caters to anyone in need of food, friendship and, increasingly, inspiration. Speakers at this year’s tent have already included Dr Zafar Iqbal, the former physician of Liverpool Football Club, and Yassmin Abdel-Magied, the award-winning presenter and writer. It’s free, and all you have to do is turn up for iftar time.


Menu: This depends on who is donating; it could be lamb biryani or jerk chicken!

When: Every day in Ramadan 

Where: Malet Street Gardens, WC1E 6DP; the nearest tube is Goodge Street

THE GREEN IFTAR: RUMI’S CAVE

What: This delightful event by Rumi’s Cave and the Rabbani Project asks, “Why do we become so wasteful and indulgent during Ramadan?” Plastic bottles, cups and disposable container usage as well as meat consumption go through the roof in Ramadan. These practices are out of sync with our faith and responsibilities as stewards of the Earth. The role of a more environmentally conscious Muslim and how this consciousness deepens our Ramadan spirituality are discussed at the event, followed by a seasonal and ethically sourced meal.


Menu: A three-course vegan meal with herbal teas and drinks

When: Friday, 25 May. Free, but register here

Where: Rumi’s Cave, NW6 5RA; the nearest tube is Kilburn Park

THE HISTORICAL IFTAR: SHAH JAHAN MOSQUE

What: Have iftar and take a tour of Britain’s very first purpose-built mosque at this free open iftar every day during Ramadan. Built in 1889, this mini Taj Mahal remains one of Britain’s most beautiful mosques as well as a wonderful place to break your fast with the locals, who donate food every evening to feed hundreds of people of all faiths and no faith at this historical venue.


Menu: Fruit, pakoras and samosas, followed by biryani, daal, curry and, finally, a sweet dish

When: Every day in Ramadan

Where: Oriental Road, GU22 7BA; the nearest train station is Woking

THE INTERFAITH IFTAR: CITY CIRCLE

What: Fittingly for this event, you will be breaking your fast in a church surrounded by people of all faiths and no faith. This is a one-off ticketed event hosted by the forward-thinking City Circle, whose aim is to “unite people of all faiths and none in celebrating the values of Ramadan”. We think that’s rather nice and exactly what Ramadan should be about. Confirmed speakers include a reverend, shaykh, Jewish leader and several scholars, so not only will you get fed, but you’re going to learn stuff too!


Menu: There’s mouthwatering Sri Lankan biryanis, Moroccan tagines and Jamaican curries on this fabulous menu, all with vegetarian options.

When: Sunday 27 May. Tickets can be bought here.

Where: St James’ Church Piccadilly, W1J 9LL; the nearest tube is Piccadilly Circus.

THE BIGGEST IFTAR: EAST LONDON MOSQUE

What: Break your fast in the East London Mosque, the country’s biggest Sunni mosque, where 500 people of all backgrounds are fed an iftar every single day during Ramadan. Britain’s flagship mosque is often featured in news and current-affairs programmes, and their open iftars are just one of the many charitable events they host throughout the holy month. 

 

#iftar #simple

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Menu: A light iftar of dates, fruit and a rice-based main is the staple here

When: Every day in Ramadan

Where: Whitechapel Road, E1 1JQ; the nearest tube is Whitechapel.

Tharik Hussain is a freelance travel writer, journalist and award-winning broadcaster who specialises in Muslim heritage and Muslim travel. 

(Writing by Tharik Hussain; Editing by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@thomsonreuters.com)

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