Ethical iftar offers Londoners an online challenge for Ramadan amid coronavirus outbreak
LONDON: A green iftar usually held in London is going online to help make the meals Muslims eat after fasting more ethical.
The week-long challenge also aims to keep Muslim Londoners connected during Ramadan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Muslims will be encouraged to share iftar meals with family and friends in a safe environment as part of the ethical iftar challenge 2020 between May 4-10.
Participants can also gift food to neighbors and donate to food banks.
Reducing food waste, minimizing plastic use and eating less meat are also on the ethical iftar menu. The challenge encourages participants to incorporate nature into their iftar meals.
Having iftar in the garden and using home-grown herbs are recommended.
The ethical iftar challenge is a response to the coronavirus lockdown in Britain that has left Muslims unable to host communal iftar meals or eat at their local mosques during Ramadan.
The challenge will encourage people to share iftar safely by observing social distancing, while also urging them to make their meals more ethical.
Organizers of the challenge normally host a green iftar during Ramadan for dozens of people at Rumi’s Cave, a center at the heart of northwest London’s Muslim community.
Participants bring their own tableware and enjoy a plastic-free, three-course vegetarian meal with herbal teas and drinks.
Singers Sakinah Le Noir and Rabiah Mali — sisters who perform as Pearls of Islam — came up with the idea for the ethical challenge.
The pair sing and compose religious-inspired music in Arabic and English, and run community projects that aim to connect creativity and spirituality.
The two performers developed the idea after asking their Instagram followers how they were approaching Ramadan 2020 with COVID-19 restrictions in full force.
Le Noir said that they were saddened by the number of people who were worried about having iftar alone or lacking motivation during the holy month because their loved ones were not with them.
“I felt guilty because I’m at home with my family,” she said.
“Every Ramadan we think of the people who are by themselves, but this year so many more people are going to be in that position. As someone who is so community oriented, this makes me sad.
“People will share pictures and they will be reminded of the prophetic tradition of breaking bread with people — whether that be virtually, or donating money and helping out at food banks,” she said.