On Saturday 18th May, Liverpool City Council was delighted to host a wonderfully significant event named “Taste Ramadan” on the Pier Head, working with Liverpool Region Mosque Network, representing 15 mosques.
Taste Ramadan is a national initiative where hundreds of mosques across the country open their doors to people of all faiths and none, to share food and friendship. Liverpool’s Taste Ramadan event was the flagship national event based on its iconic location and the wide range of partners who were collaborating with the mosques, namely LCC, Diocese and Archdiocese of Liverpool, Merseyside Police, Liverpool FC Foundation, Tranmere Rovers and Fans Supporting Foodbanks.
Approximately 4000 people turned out to listen to talks, visit stalls and most importantly share food under the strapline “eat with love”.
The civic and interfaith presentations opened with a statement from Cllr Wendy Simon, followed by the Bishop of Liverpool, Archbishop of Liverpool, Chief Constable, Mark Palios, Head of LFC Foundation and 3 speakers from the Muslim community including women and converts. Rt Revd Paul Bayes said “Thousands of us ate the iftar meal together in Liverpool- Muslims, Christians, those of other faiths and no faith, together in peace and unity”. Chief Constable Andy Cooke said “I saw communities coming together peacefully to share food, friendship and hope. A beautiful atmosphere and what I believe to be the real face of the Liverpool City Region.” Special guests included Ambassadors, MEPs, MPs and local councillors. Also in attendance were Ron Odunaiya, Director of Community Services LCC and Colleen Martin, Deputy Director of Community Service LCC with other LCC officers.
The climax of the event was a sunset meal known as “iftar” which marks the breaking of the fast. Against the backdrop of a spectacular sunset and with the Islamic call to prayer ringing in the air, individualised food packages were opened and shared between people from different backgrounds
The event closed with a joint pledge affirming the common humanity of peoples to spread peace, tolerance, friendship and solidarity against hate.
Taste Ramadan builds on Liverpool City Council’s successful and diverse faith and cultural offering which includes events such as Liverpool Together in Faith and Culture at St Georges Hall. Jointly organised by LCC and LRMnet, with the support of local business sponsors, the event attracted over 135 volunteers from the Jeel Organisation in Toxteth/Granby area. The co-ordinator, Dr Mohamed Mahyoub said “what we saw at Taste Ramadan was young people from all ages and backgrounds working together in teams, sharing food and friendship with one another and enjoying jokes and laughter with police officers!” Other positive role models amongst the young people included Hisham Saif, a world champion Karate competitor from the Al Ghazali centre and three visually impaired Muslim children from St Vincent’s School for the Blind, which works with the mosques to break down barriers relating to disability and increase inclusion.
A survey conducted on the day showed 98% of visitors believed there should be more events like this for diverse groups to come together. Quotes from visitors said “there should be a button for “extremely important” for more events like this in the future”; and “I think events like this are very important especially in the current climate with the distorted perception of Islam in the media.” The Chairman of Liverpool Al Rahma Mosque, Ahmed Farah, said “A magnificent gathering which showed the unity of our community, mutual understanding and respect and demonstrated how we all celebrate diversity.” Added to this was positive local press and radio coverage and a significant outpouring of support on social media.