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Great Harwood comes together to break Ramadan fast together

Hundreds of people of different faiths and backgrounds observed Iftar

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Crowds of people joined together to celebrate Iftar in Great Harwood - the breaking of the Ramadan fast.

Around 250 people gathered on the Towngate to share food together to celebrate the end of the day's Ramadan fast.

Speeches were made by Zakarya Anwar, Imam of the Madressa Islamia Mosque on Segar Street, and Rev Chris Krawiec, of St Bartholomew’s Church on Park Lane - they were also joined by Netherton ward councillor Noordad Aziz.

The event, now in its second year, originally came about as a reaction to the Manchester Arena bombing, as a show of strength and solidarity between communities in Great Harwood.

Great Harwood Ramadan Iftar 2018

Now, given the success of the event and the feedback from those who attended, organiser Shaune Riding hopes the ‘brilliant’ event will be held annually and has plans to form a committee to organise several other similar events in between.

He said: “Last year, after Manchester, we did it in two days, it was a bit rushed.

“Why does it only have to be when bad things happen? We want to do more events during the year - for all of Great Harwood.

“Everybody comes together as one - Great Harwood doesn’t have any problems between communities but it’s good to get together and speak to each other.

“It’s important, because we all have to live together.”

Great Harwood Ramadan Iftar 2018

Shaune and his colleagues also took left-over food to staff at Royal Blackburn Hospital, the Salvation Army and to a homeless shelter in Blackburn. They were also raising money for East Lancashire Hospice.

He said events like this were a great way of bringing people together, who may not ordinarily socialise.

Shaune added: “You live in the same town for 15 years and see people who you never speak to. Now, because of these events, you get to know new people.

“This just shows we’re all together.”

Great Harwood Ramadan Iftar 2018

Councillor Nordad Aziz said the ‘great’ event was an example of the strength of the community in Great Harwood.

He said: “It’s a very positive event. It’s a chance to bring the community together and get people talking to each other - who don’t have the opportunity to do so normally.

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“If you look at the number of people to turn up - you can see how positive this event is.”