Searching for peace this Ramadan

Tuesday 27th February 2024 12:31 EST

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us, and it’s that time of year when we all can take a step back, reflect on the past, and work towards improving our actions in the present for a harmonious future. 


Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. Ramadan is likely to start on March 11, 2024, following the sighting of the moon in Mecca, and it will end on April 9, 2024. Eid al-Fitr is expected to occur on April 10, 2024, or April 11, 2024, depending on the moon sightings.


British Muslims go to the mosque for iftar (evening meal that breaks the fast) and taraweeh (special night prayer), and visit friends and family. Ramadan is celebrated in the UK with grandeur and special lights, not just in London’s West End or the UK capital at large, which is better than most major European cities. The significance of lighting up Piccadilly Circus during Ramadan for Muslims in Britain and around the world cannot be overstated. Community iftars across places of worship and faith mark the holy month of Ramadan. 


Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden said Monday he hopes a ceasefire in Gaza could start, adding that Israel was ready to halt operations during the Muslim month of Ramadan. 

Asked during an election campaign trip to New York when such an agreement might start, Biden replied: "I hope by the end of the weekend."

"My national security advisor tells me that we're close, we're close, we're not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we'll have a ceasefire," Biden told reporters.

"Ramadan's coming up and there's been an agreement by the Israelis that they would not engage in activities during Ramadan as well, in order to give us time to get all the hostages out," Biden said.


But the global socio-political situation is currently war-ridden, both literally and figuratively. In the past, we have seen groups like Extension Rebellion (ER), Black Lives Matter (BLM), LGBTIQA+, Climate change, Just Stop Oil, CND, EDL, Islamists, Khalistanis and countless others come out on our streets under any pretence and hold the nation to ransom. Today, there’s a steep rise in antisemitism, Islamophobia, Hinduphobia and absolute unrest within faiths to keep peace in the society.


The number of antisemitic incidents across the country reached 4,103, more than twice the figure in 2022, amid a surge of threats, hate speech, violence and damage to Jewish institutions and property, the CST said.

Tell MAMA, a leading hate crime monitoring agency, documented over 2,000 anti-Muslim cases in the four months after Hamas's October 7 attacks, the highest number since its founding in 2011. Of these cases, 901 were offline and 1,109 were online, with over 65% targeting women. 


In a press statement, Muslim Women Network UK explained, “Political leaders and institutions play a crucial role in shaping societal attitudes and policies. And yet despite Lee Anderson MP losing his Conservative whip due to Islamophobic and anti-Muslim comments directed at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister are refusing to categorise his remarks as Islamophobic. Additionally, Suella Braverman MP, who also made Islamophobic comments, has similarly not faced condemnation and retains her Conservative whip. Paul Scully MP is now making unfounded claims that certain areas of London and Birmingham, where Muslims reside, are deemed as ‘no-go areas’.”


Asian Voice columnist Kapil Dudakia writes, “The far right doesn’t distinguish between one type of ‘Asian’ or another type of ‘Asian’. To them, we all look the same.  The Islamists seem to attack anyone who does not agree with them or their perverse ideology. The Police can’t stop taking the knee, it seems they are spineless against such extremists. Maybe the day is not too far before we see our troops on our streets to provide a visible assurance for our protection. This is Great Britain 2024!” (See P10) 


It is high time, this nation must prioritise resolving internal conflicts to address pressing concerns, including the cost of living crisis, and steer clear of unnecessary turmoil caused by political polarisation. (See P3 for more)


Ramadan is not just a time for fasting and prayer but also for promoting peace, kindness, and understanding among individuals and communities. Britain needs this more than ever. 


This year, in our special coverage for Ramadan, Asian Voice speaks to the Sweaty Betty Foundation which has launched the Sports Hijab line to promote inclusivity in physical activity, addressing barriers faced by Muslim girls. Meanwhile, Dr Irfan Khawaja pioneers Ramadan's guidance for inclusive PE in schools, advocating practical adaptations and effective communication. Additionally, Bradford prepares for a city-wide clean-up ahead of Ramadan. Dina's Ramadan planner, a digital sensation, offers practical guidance and self-improvement tools. H&K Cycle Club fundraises for Congenital Heart Defects in Africa. 


To read our special coverage on Ramadan 2024, turn to P16-17. 

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