ECCAR’s wishes a peaceful and joyful Ramadan 2024

For many Muslim citizens of Europe, the month of Ramadan is a unique time when they increase their religious practice, striving to gain more piety and virtues they can carry throughout the year. As the 9th pillar of ECCAR’s 10 Points Action Plan, ECCAR members ensure fair representation and promote city dwellers’ diverse cultural expression and heritage through cultural programs, collective memory, and interculturality in city life. As geographical and social units, cities are a reference point for individual and group identities. Being seen, acknowledged, respected, and accepted within the city environment is thus an essential aspect of social integration and cohesion. 

The ECCAR Guidebook on Local Actions against anti-Muslim Racism features a Ramadan chapter with ECCAR’s policy recommendations and three good practice examples from ECCAR member cities. While we often associate collective memory with the past of our generations, it is easy to forget how our now will be the past of future generations. Thus, creating these collective memories of belonging and solidarity is vital. 

We are living in challenging times of polarization, increased anti-Muslim and antisemitic discrimination, and hate crimes. The critical work cities have previously done to promote inclusion and cooperation between communities is an important pillar to open spaces for dialogue. Even if it might be difficult to facilitate open conversation, cities can still send strong positive messages through public actions that show appreciation for the religious life of the diverse communities that make up the city community. 

A good practice for cities in increasing fair representation is to use the city as a collective space that reflects the multitude of religious and cultural heritages of city dwellers. We see an excellent example from Frankfurt, the first German city to put up street lights during Ramadan. Since Frankfurt also decorates streets during Christmas and Chanukkah, bringing them out during Ramadan is even more critical. With such a joyful action, the city can increase the visibility of Muslim communities as part and parcel of the city and facilitate that necessary feeling of recognition. When it feels like it is challenging to be in a conversation with each other, some actions speak louder than words. We must be reminded that even though we are hurting, we do not give up on each other.