The convenors of London's Carmelite Spirituality Group, 'Carmel in the City'
, Sylvia Lucas and Martin Pendergast, along with friends, were invited to the Citizens' Iftar
which was held in the capital on the evening of Thursday 2nd August to mark the mid-point in the Islamic month of Ramadan, the Olympics, and
the '100 Days of Peace'.
Carmelites and friends at the Citizens' Iftar.
It was an opportunity for members of the Carmelite Family
to participate in Interfaith Encounter and Dialogue
in London, and to join with other organisations and individuals committed to promoting justice, peace and the integrity of Creation
(Saum) is one of the 'Five Pillars' of Islam, and the holy month of Ramadan is the
prescribed period in which able Muslims are expected to fast
between the hours of dawn and sunset. Iftar
is the name given to the meal which
is taken after breaking the fast. Sharing this meal is believed by Muslims to have special
significance, and it is celebrated wherever possible with the community.
500 guests who are all active community leaders, were invited from across the
community of the City of London
and the East End
to be guests of the Muslim
community at a venue in Bethnal Green just a mile from the Olympic Park
Many of the guests are contributing to
the Olympic and Paralympic Games
as volunteers or are working with Citizen’s groups
- in the spirit of the games and the holy month of Ramadan - to bring leaders, neighbours, traders and families together to strengthen relationships across the diversity
of the community in order to promote greater peace and understanding on
were welcomed by the local Catholic parish priest, Assumptionist priest Fr. Tom O’Brien, A.A. (from the Church of
Our Lady of the Assumption, Bethnal Green
), the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Rushanara
Ali (M.P. for Bethnal Green & Bow), and Dame Tessa Jowell, M.P. (Shadow Olympics
Representatives of all the major faith communities, including Rt. Rev.
Adrian Newman (Bishop of Stepney) and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenburg, signed a
statement of commitment to peace which
is at the heart of all major faiths.
London CitySafe Campaign
is an integral part of the '100 Days of Peace'
young people and adults work together on initiatives to encourage local
businesses and organisations to offer their premises as CitySafe Havens. It has
the backing of Lord Sebastian Coe (Chair of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
joined Catholic layman Barry Mizen - who founded the Jimmy Mizen Foundation
in memory of his young
son who was murdered - in celebrating their achievements so far.
Barry Mizen addressing those gathered at the Iftar.
London Citizens have also worked with Lord
Coe and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to get
contractors to pay the London Living Wage
and to ensure training and job
opportunities for local people. They are now negotiating with The London Legacy Development Corporation
to ensure that land available for housing on the Olympic Park site includes
Community Land Trusts
which will ensure affordable homes for local families in
the celebration of these achievements, sunset was welcomed with the recitation
of verses from the Quran, and the fast was broken with water and dates. After prayers a meal provided by a local restaurant was shared.
Source & photography: Sylvia Lucas; Independent Catholic News