Iftar event brings communities together at Elland Road

Leeds United Football Foundation, working with Beeston’s Hamara Healthy Living Centre hosted a very successful Community Iftar at Elland Road’s Centenary Pavilion on Monday evening (18 March 2024).

Not all of the 350 ticket holders were able to make it due to traffic problems on the night, but those that did enjoyed an interesting and uplifting event … and some great food.

Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, the Chair of Hamara, welcomed guests and talked about the organisation’s partnership with the Leeds United Foundation:

“Together we aspire to foster a spirit of unity and service working hand in hand to develop and deliver programmes that uplift and empower our young people.

“Tonight we gather not only to break our fast together but also to celebrate the spirit of unity, compassion and service that defines our community.”

Raheem Mohammad, CEO at Hamara, commented:

“The partnership with Leeds United Foundation has been going from strength to strength. Both organisations have shared values to support the community in South Leeds and this event is an example of how we can go beyond football. It shows how much Leeds United want to invest in the community they’re based in.

“I think everyone is proud that their football club has open their doors for the second time. Last year was overwhelming, a bit chaotic, but the club saw that there’s a massive fanbase that they’d never seen before and it opened their eyes.”

Hannah Simpson from the West Riding County Football Association said:

“We’re blessed that grassroots football attracts so many people from different communities and different faiths. (We want to) explore ways that not only can we work with communities to get more people being active within the game, but also try and educate people that are already in the game to understand what it is like for people that they may be playing with on a weekend.”

Imam Qari Asim spoke about the religious significance of Ramadan and the daily Iftar – the breaking of the fast at sunset:

“I’m really grateful to the Leeds United Foundation for the amazing work they’re doing in reaching out to communities and this is a fantastic example of reaching out and bringing people together. That’s one of the key purposes of Ramadan.”

He went on to talk about the importance of self-reflection recognising the presence of God in your life; and of charity “showing that we care about our bothers in humanity, whether they are Muslims or not.”

He also commented that other religions have similar traditions such as Lent and Passover where believers detox their body and connect with God.

We then broke the fast by eating dates while listening to a traditional call to prayer.

Certainly on our table, we learned a lot about the traditions of the Iftar. An older lady explained that they believe that dates were sent from heaven. They are high in natural sugars and just what your body needs after a day of fasting.

 

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