From today on many Muslim citizens Europe-wide start their 30-day long fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Ramadan and its fast are considered highly important in Islam, as it constitutes one of the five pillars of faith. The rule of thumb is, that a fasting person abstains from any food or drinks from sunrise to sunset. However, the 30-days fasting period is not just spent abstaining from bodily pleasures but it is also an important time of self-reflection and self-improvement, a spiritual disciple. The month culminates in the three-day festivities of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Did you know that feeding a fasting person is highly valued in the Islamic faith?
For the faithful, the reward for it is the same as it is for the act of fasting itself. Since neighborhoods are the smallest units in a city’s social organisation, our work towards inclusive cities free of racism and enriched by mutual understanding between its residents starts from there. Thus, as the European Coalition of Cities against Racism, we encourage everyone whose neighbor, colleague, family member, or friend is observing the Ramadan fast to invite them for an evening meal - to break the fast together as an act of solidarity and friendship. Sharing a meal is an act of belonging. By eating together, we create a community around the table and beyond.
Such actions of solidarity and recognition should also be taken at the level of the city as a community. Thus, the ECCAR working group on anti-Muslim racism also encourages all European local governments to organise citizens’ Iftar dinners in cooperation with their local Muslim communities. As mentioned in our previous policy recommendations, cities can benefit from Ramadan and the fruitful ground it offers for interfaith dialogue and civic education. Good practices in this regard from our member cities Malmö, Gothenburg, and Leuven are featured in the forthcoming Guidebook on Local Actions against Anti-Muslim Racism that is foreseen to be launched in September 2023.