Balsall Heath Street Iftar, Moseley Road, June 18 2017
MELA Social Enterprise, and partners along the Moseley Road, supported by an army of volunteers, brought communities together from all backgrounds, faiths and cultures in Balsall Heath Birmingham tonight. Over 1000 people were fed and watered! Organisations held Open Doors. Speeches from the Council and the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim faiths agreed we are born without religion – our religion is humanity. We are one human family.
This is the speech by Sajeda Sajan of the Clifton Road Mosque that I thought is worth sharing. We have more in common than that which divides us:
Just to let you know, if I seem nervous and unprepared for this speech, it is because of the Pakistan India cricket match today that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole day.
I am here to briefly talk about the month of Ramadhan and what it means to us. Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar and it is the month where Muslims all around the world celebrate this month by fasting from dawn to dusk. But fasting for Muslims is much more than abstaining from food and drink. Fasting is about self-discipline. It’s about waking up in the early hours of the day, eating, sleeping and waking up again for work and treating everyone you meet with kind words and gentle behaviour even though your mouth is dry and your stomach is like a forest filled with wild hungry animals. Ramadhan for those who are not fasting is also to bear with us sometimes when we come in to work with our eyes closed. Ramadhan for us Muslims is a month of families and communities, where you will find many mosques filled with people who break their fasts together sharing the love and sharing the unity. Ramadhan is also a month of food. I have seen people cook various different kinds of food, some which I never see outside the month of Ramadhan. Ramadhan is a month of charity because as we fast through the day, we realise the plight of those that are less fortunate than us who can sometimes only afford one meal a day, if that. And hence in the month of Ramadhan we are encouraged to give as much as we can. Ramadhan is a month of deep self reflection, where we ask ourselves difficult questions such as what can I do to make myself a better person? What can I do to make this community a better community? What have I done to help spread love over hate? Ramadhan is our MOT check, very appropriate considering we are in Kwikfit Car Park. It is our MOT check where we reflect upon our vices and pledge to work on them to make them better over the next twelve months
My dear brothers and sisters, this is the first time we have all got together as the community of Balsall Heath and the atmosphere here is filled with love and compassion for each other. Today we have opened our doors for all of you and you all have opened your doors for us. Today we have started our journey of celebrating the fact that we have more in common that that which divides us. Today we have taken our first step on this long journey of building a strong community of love, unity, peace and prosperity because it doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, your colour, your faith, your financial status, you are part of us and we are part of you. Let’s give a round of applause and show our love for this community of Balsall Heath! Thank you