Since its inception in 2013, Ramadan Tent Project (RTP) has fed over 150, 000 people. In the first ten days of Ramadan 2022 alone, we have fed over 20, 000 people across three cities; a simple idea to feed others has flourished into the UK’s award-winning largest community and cultural event in Ramadan.
Having spent the last two years online, it has been an honour to have had a warm welcome to our return of in person Open Iftar events – each of our evenings are filled with our community, old and new. Every day of Ramadan, for the past nine years, we ask our audiences to raise their hands if this is their first time gathering at Open Iftar. Every day for the past nine years, we have seen hundreds of hands raised and we hope this remains the case for years to come. RTP is a family that has space for all, and continues to grow
On Monday, April 4th, we celebrated the return of our in-person Open Iftar, back where it all started in 2013, on the SOAS Green. A packed marquee welcomed our guest speaker Benafsha Yaqoobi who reminded us of the essence of RTP’s Open Iftar, that despite our differences “we can live together and talk to each other”. She highlighted the spiritual importance of loving each other, and how this is “vital to real worship and having a real relationship with God”. Some of RTP’s biggest achievements include turning strangers into friends, breaking barriers and increasing understanding.
The SOAS Green saw two more sold out evenings; on Tuesday, Yusuf Hassan gave an important shout out to our volunteers, without whom Open Iftar would not be possible. On Wednesday, the rain was pouring, and our audiences poured into the marquee for one final time at SOAS this year.
The team then hopped on the train to Birmingham where our crowds braved the cold and wind to break bread at St Chad’s Cathedral, with a view of the BT tower, after hearing some words from Andy Street CBE and Islamic Relief’s Waseem Ahmad and Tufail Hussain. Open Iftar 2022 was then welcomed with open arms by over 1000 people, including Lemn Sissay OBE and Afzal Khan CBE, at Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens.
Birmingham and Manchester are the first two cities Open Iftar 2022 has visited so far. We’ll be in Bradford and Cambridge in Week 2 and two more cities will be announced soon. Our flagship project would not be touring the UK, or possible in London landmark venues, without the support of our venue partners and supporters across the country too – thank you to everyone who helps us bring our Open Iftar vision a reality.
We took a short break from in-person events with our third virtual Open Iftar of the year. Our speaker, Sohail Hanif highlighted the importance of Zakat and its message of belonging and community. He said “The message of the Zakat is that if you belong to the [faith] community, you should never have to suffer in silence, you should never have to be forced to beg for help, because this community is there to care for you.”
On the ninth night of Ramadan, RTP made history (once again!). We set up our rows of water and dates at London Bridge City’s Hay’s Galleria. With the arched backdrop, our community came together in strong numbers once again. On the night, Imam Shabbir Hassan poignantly reminded us of the fleeting nature of time. How last Ramadan felt like last week, and how the Ramadan feels like it started yesterday and how soon the RTP team will be planning for Open Iftar 2023 soon after we bid farewell to Ramadan 2022.
While we are still in the midst of this Holy Month, it is important to be mentally, physically and spiritually present. There is always an emphasis for our team to take a moment before we greet guests and after we have finished clearing up, to be grounded and understand what RTP as an organisation, and as a movement stands for and represents. With our Open Iftar events reaching full capacity every day, the importance of our work is constantly reaffirmed. Open Iftar exists to serve the people, to turn strangers into friends, to soften hearts and minds, and to welcome all into our family. To all who have attended our events since 2013 and to those who are yet to break their fast with us, you are Open Iftar.
Help Us Unite & Feed Humanity This Ramadan
This year, RTP has teamed up with faith-inspired charity Islamic Relief UK (IR UK) to feed vulnerable families across the world, with an aim to collectively alleviate world hunger. We have a target of £50,000, which is the equivalent of feeding 10,000 people this Ramadan. With every donation and giving level, we will split your donation between RTP and our Charity Partner IR UK. You will not only be feeding a fasting person & the public in the UK but also feeding a person in need for the whole month of Ramadan abroad with IR UK’s Food Packs Programme. Help us reach our £50,000 target by visiting www.launchgood.com/openiftar2022