St Albans’ Muslim community gathered at Fleetville Recreational Park on Saturday 23rd April to break their fast at ‘The Big Iftar’. Iftar can be described as the meal in which Muslims observing Ramadan break their fasts at the time of sunset,.

Ramadan is a holy month on the Islamic calendar, a year in which Muslims give up food and drink for the hours of dawn until dusk, in an attempt to gain mental clarity and get closer to God. It is a month of reflection, personal development and crucially, it is a month of charity. St Albans’ Big Iftar was itself a charity event, with the proceedings raising money for a local food bank supporting families with weekly grocery shopping. Many stalls were raising money through selling various products such as dates, incense sticks, sweets and cakes.

The event was organised by the Adda Club, a group “promoting Bangladeshi culture, social and linguistic traditions within St Albans” and sponsored by local restaurants Tavah, Peri-Peri Original and Kimaya. It was also made possible through grant funding from St Albans City and District Council. Activities were provided by the Khayaal Theatre Company, and there was also an arts and crafts stall, run by the 20th St Albans Ansar Scouts.

The event also welcomed 75 Afghan refugee families living in restricted accommodation in St Albans, allowing them to come into greater contact with a sizeable Muslim population in their area. 

As sunset arrived, Muslims broke their fasts together with dates, fruits, water and biryani in Iftar packs on sale, which raised more than £400 for charity.

An Adda Club representative, Monir Ali lauded the event as "great" and "long overdue", also noting the "rejoice" felt from "seeing the St Albans community sitting together in one place and sharing food" in the holy month. He also added, "This was also a great opportunity for us to support local businesses after the pandemic."