Article by Aysha Sadiqa
The weather decided to behave yesterday evening, the sun shone down on the Hub- the venue for last night’s community barbecue iftar which was set up by CATCH in partnership with Near Neighbours, and The Big Iftar. It was amazing to see people brought together from different communities, faiths and backgrounds to share an iftar meal and to have speakers of different faiths saying prayers.
Prior to the event officially starting, youth groups were already present working within the Hub. This allowed me to meet a lot of young people and the volunteers that work there. I also met the co-founders of CATCH, who gave me the reasons for why they decided to set up the charitable organisation in the first place. Initially, CATCH was set up to help the community but it grew and developed into a charity that aims to address issues surrounding young people. However, in the future the community focussed organisation is hoping to help and support the elderly and other vulnerable people in the local community.
My role on the day was to actually capture the event on camera, following the story as it unfolded. I had arrived before the marquees were set up, allowing me to observe the interaction and help and support that all those involved gave each other. The sense of camaraderie and community spirit was clear. Some of the young people were involved in the preparation of the food for the iftar, some collected the donated tinned food, whilst others prepared the prayer area by laying blankets on the ground. There was a designated area for, you guessed it, football.
Everywhere I turned I was faced with smiling faces; the atmosphere was very warm and friendly. It was so catching, the sense of peace and tranquillity, even if the laughter was also quite audible!
The iftar began with Ash, one of the organisers, welcoming everyone and introducing himself and then a family of a young man from Harehills who was stabbed. The older sister of the young man directed her speech towards the young men in the audience, warning them of the dangers of gang culture and violence. It was very moving and also very sad. It was evident that her personal experience of the violence was a real eye opener for some of the young people in the audience.
Following that, prayers were said by those of all the faiths represented. This in itself was beautiful as we heard the prayers being recited in Arabic, Afrikkans, and English. There is a certain universality behind the words and messages spoken regarding love and peace among mankind.
After the prayers, a young Imam came to do the Azaan (call to prayer) which meant that the fast was over and it was time to eat! Once people opened their fast with dates and fruit, the Muslim attendees went to offer their Maghrib prayer – this is prayed just before the sun sets. Upon returning, the Muslim attendees joined everybody else and began to eat.
The aroma of the barbecue, which Imran (CATCH) was in charge of, had been making my stomach rumble since it had been lit. The sights, sounds and atmosphere reminded me of the way communities should be living together. This was (maybe?) most reflected in the warm welcome that I received as an ‘outsider’ from Bradford.
One truly precious and memorable moment was much later on in the evening, watching the Reverend, members of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths as they were in deep conversation, while eating cupcakes together.
Author: Mr Tim Burton-Jones
Date: 17 July 2015
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