The Dar Ul-Isra Mosque estimates it will serve thousands of free meals during the holy month when Muslims fast during daylight hours and then come together to eat at sunset. Volunteers at the mosque in Wyverne Road, Cathays, will serve food when the fast ends at 9.30pm each night. Muslims and non-Muslims are being asked in to share the meal and the mosque is also expecting homeless people to join them, as they have in previous years, said community outreach manager Mohammed Alamgir Ahmed. The fast will be particularly tough this year as Ramadan falls during midsummer so practising Muslims will be unable to eat for 19 hours between 3am and 9.30pm each day “We provide the food to end the fast, called iftar, a three-course meal, to anyone who comes to the mosque at the time of ending the fast,” Mr Ahmed said.
“We can feed up to 400 people every evening. We even have ‘sharing Ramadan’ nights where groups of non-Muslims come to experience iftar with us.
“This year we have three dates booked in where are expecting about 30 [non-Muslim] guests per night." Mr Ahmed hopes the move will help links with the local community and break down any cultural and religious barriers.
“Our doors are open and we would welcome the chance to show the public what really happens at Ramadan and what Muslims really believe in, how we live, and how Welsh Muslims adapt to fit in their jobs, studies and lives along with their religion.”
The meals will be cooked and served by volunteer members of the mosque – some of whom are professional chefs and all of whom come from different backgrounds.
Non-Muslims invited to share food
“We may have Indian curry and rice one night, Malaysian food another night, and Middle Eastern food another night because our members come from different cultures, said Mr Ahmed. “All the cooks are volunteers and are not paid. It will be a mix of Arabic, Asian, Middle Eastern and Malaysian food.
“We have done this for years. It will be a military operation. We have no chairs. We roll out mats to protect the carpet and sit on mats. “It’s very important to show what Islam is really about and that it is about unity in everything.
“What better way to show unity than break bread together with the community?”
Mr Ahmed said in recent years the meals have become ever more popular as someMuslims and non-Muslims struggle to afford food. “Austerity means more people have been coming in recent years. It is a full meal that they may not have had otherwise. “It is particularly important we have an open-door policy.”
Muslims and non-Muslims are welcome to visit the mosque any time, he said. Three special dates have been set aside for non-Muslims to share the meal on June 26, June 29 and July 3, organised by the Bridges for Community Charity. Anyone wanting to visit the mosque or share the meals is asked to contact Mr Ahmed on firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Ramadan?
* A 30-day period of fasting, self-evaluation and spiritual growth for Muslims.
* Practising Muslims do not eat in daylight hours during Ramadan and they also try to give up bad habits, pray more, and read the Koran.
* Ramadan is held in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which goes by the lunar calendar so dates go back by 10 days each year.
* This year Ramadan runs from June 18 to July 18. The festival begins when the first sight of the new moon is seen in the sky.
* It is common to have one meal, known as the suhoor, just before sunrise and another, known as the iftar, directly after sunset.
* Ramadan is a time for friends and family so fasting is often be broken by families sharing an evening meal.
* Ramadan ends with Eid ul Fitr, a celebration to mark the end of the fast.