Ramadan is well upon us, which means that here at FFfL we are enjoying a period of self-control, religious observance and charity. It’s also a time that we reflect upon what we are thankful for. For us, that includes being thankful for living in a diverse, tolerant society that accepts everyone into the community – regardless of factors such as differing religious beliefs, backgrounds or socio-economic status.

Earlier this year, we put on a multi-faith tree planting event. People from a number of different faiths converged with us as we spent the day planting 32 trees across 10 London Boroughs. Not only did we do something good for the environment (always needed) but we promoted community spirit, strengthened existing interfaith relations and created an environment for them to flourish.

A few months before that, we took part in an inter-faith computer coding course at Twitter HQ. In a collaboration between the tech industry and various faith communities, young women from our group came together with all types of people, with all different life experiences. Everyone had the same aim: to develop computer coding skills. Twitter’s engineers were on hand during the four-day intensive course to teach us basic coding language (HTML, Java, CSS and Python).

We’ll also be taking part in The Big Iftar this year. Started by various Muslim groups in 2012, The Big Iftar is a community-led initiative that encourages people of all faiths and backgrounds to come together and share iftar. Muslims, who obviously have iftar every day during this blessed time, are encouraged to open up their iftar to anyone in their community who wants to share it with them.

Some people will enjoy breaking their fast, others will simply enjoy a delicious evening meal. Everybody will hopefully leave knowing a bit more about the lives of their neighbours and with an increased sense of community spirit. Iftars that have formed part of The Big Iftar since its inception have taken place in mosques, churches, synagogues, schools, parks and a bunch of other community spaces.

In 2018, when negative stories involving followers of the Islamic faith seem to be increasingly populating certain parts of the mainstream press, we think that it’s more important than ever for people of all faiths and backgrounds to come together. As a group that champions and represents social and religious diversity, this is extremely important to us.

This sentiment was matched by the people who celebrated the World Day for Cultural Diversity, for Dialogue and Development this week. Cultural diversity is essential for a society’s economical, emotional and spiritual development. It’s what provides a foundation for a society that benefits each and every member. That’s what we are always working towards here at FFfL.

 Click here for more information about our ‘Big Iftar’ which will be taking place on 31 05 18. Don’t forget to get involved.   

 Featured image credit: Leeds City Council via Facebook