Last Sunday, 3 June, the Dialogue Society and Fellowship Educational Society held their annual community Ramadan Iftar Dinner. The event, breaking fast during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, was held to promote peace, harmony, diversity and mutual understanding.
The Dinner was attended by more than 170 people from 50 local organisations, with a programme of speeches on the Dinner’s theme, ‘Tackling loneliness and isolation’. Speakers included Caroline Lucas MP, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Roger French, the Mayor of Brighton and Hove Cllr Dee Simson, Deputy Leader of Liberal Democrats from House of Lords Lord Navnit Dholakia, the leader of the Council Cllr Daniel Yates, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP and Executive Director for Neighbourhoods, Communities and Housing Larissa Reed.
The Dialogue Society Brighton Branch Director, Mahmut Gunaydin said: “Ramadan is about developing relations within the community, helping people in need or those less fortunate, and gratitude to God. The Dialogue Society organises about 40 Iftar Dinners during Ramadan across the UK to promote our work. Our aim is to bring communities together and to raise awareness about social problems, such as loneliness and isolation, xenophobia and knife crime.”
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “l was delighted to be able to join The Dialogue Society, the Fellowship Education Society, and the local community to share a special Iftar meal on Sunday. It was a wonderful evening and an opportunity to bring people together, to share food, conversation and company and to celebrate the outward looking and welcoming spirit of the city.”
The evening opened with a one-minute silence in remembrance of the people who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena bombing and in the Grenfell Tower fire. Guests listened to the Ezan (call to prayer) from Imam Uthman Jeewa from the Al Medinah Mosque before breaking the fast. The event ended with peace prayers from different faith leaders promoting more cohesive communities. Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the “five pillars” of Islam.
Donations on the night were made to The Dialogue Society’s charities of the year, Brighton & Hove Impetus and to Time to Help UK, raising more than £440 for the charities.
Natalie Orringe, Trustee for Brighton & Hove Impetus gave an after dinner presentation on the charity’s work to tackle loneliness and social isolation in the City. Natalie said: “Sunday’s Iftar dinner is just one great example of how much can be achieved by listening and sharing experience. We are delighted that Brighton & Hove Impetus is nominated one of The Dialogue Society’s charities of the year. Our partnership will help us reach more people who face loneliness and isolation because of age, disability or poor health, by recruiting more volunteers who make such a difference in our city.”
The event was held in partnership with Sussex Police, Brighton & Hove City Council, Community Works, Brighton & Hove Impetus, Trust for Developing Communities, Brighton & Hove Muslim Forum and the Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group.
Further donations can be made online to Brighton & Hove Impetus at: www.justgiving.com/BHimpetus