On Tuesday 4th April, to commemorate Ramadan, Burnley FC in the Community, Building Bridges Burnley and Burnley Football Club hosted the first community iftar to take place at Turf Moor.
It was a significant occasion for the Muslim community in the local area. It fostered unity and emphasised both the club and community’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusivity by breaking down social barriers.
Leading the event were Director of Community Projects, Mike Colquhoun and Leader of Burnley Council, Afrasiab Anwar, along with Head of Matchday Operations Russell Ball and CEO Helen Gurman, who all emphasised the importance of welcoming and adapting to the local community, catering to different faiths and backgrounds and celebrating our differences. First-team player, Anass Zaroury, was unable to attend the event, but sent a warm message to attendees, which was shown via video link, setting the tone for the evening.
The event commenced with a beautiful recitation of the Quran by Hafiz Abdul Alim from the Lancashire Council of Mosques, with the verses referring to the significance of fasting during Ramadan for Muslims.
Bea Foster from Burnley Building Bridges highlighted the unity amongst all people, irrespective of their faiths and backgrounds. The message was incredibly touching and deeply resonated with the attendees.
Great to be at Burnley Football Club as they hosted their first Iftar. A gathering of a wonderful diverse group of people from all backgrounds, cultures, ages and abilities celebrating together, having fun, making new friends , eating incredible food and sharing in the Faith of the Muislim community. Well done Burnley Football Club, already looking forward to the next one.Bea Foster, Building Bridges in Burnley.
The evening continued with Saif Ali, who delivered a mesmerizing Nasheed (hymn), which was complemented by a Quranic recitation by Hafiz Nafees.
We were also honoured to have award-winning charity Islamic Relief join us at the event. Their spokesperson, Atique, praised both the community and club’s remarkable efforts towards the Turkey and Syria appeal, underlining the remarkable collaborative work done by both charities, and commending BFCitC for their openness to new ideas and initiatives to expand their outreach to the local community.
Local charity Community Outreach were also part of the event, and were applauded for their incredible work during COVID, ensuring families of the deceased were able to be provided with sacred burials, which were honoured in the correct manner. A small speech was led by Mayed on behalf of the local support group, who expressed the similarities of his charitable endeavors between his faith and work.
Mayed said of the event:
“What an absolute privilege for our team to attend the first ever Iftaar arranged at Burnley FC on behalf of Community Outreach UK.
Burnley is such a multicultural and diverse town, it was great to celebrate by bringing communities together. All were united through the love for football and for Burnley FC. A great milestone, one to remember by many. As a Charitable organisation working within the community, our aim is to build an integrated, strong bonded community through projects like these which unite people for the pursuit of *peace and harmony.* Thank you for having us“
A final call to prayer was delivered by Imam Anwar before everyone came together in solidarity to open the iftar and pray together.
Once the prayer had been inaugurated, guests embraced togetherness and unity that the event had raised. A delicious, large spread of food was provided courtesy of Ghausia Mosque.
Guests mingled with each other and engaged in conversation, it was a wonderful event that brought an audience of different background and beliefs, all with one common ground – a passion for the community. The atmosphere was filled with happiness, laughter, and positivity.
Mike Colquhoun, Director of Community Projects said:
“We are so proud to have hosted the first Iftar to take place at Turf Moor. This was an historic event, which we hope will get bigger and better in years to come. Our partnership with Building Bridges Burnley has been integral and we hope that by hosting events such as these, it will enable us to continue to collaborate and celebrate the diversity that Burnley has”
We would like to extend our gratitude to all those who contributed to the community iftar, particularly our guests who all shared the goal of promoting inclusivity, and helping us progress towards our vision and ethos of embracing everyone, and becoming, ‘One Club for All’.
For more information on our Community Programmes and how to get involved, please contact our Director of Community Projects firstname.lastname@example.org