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Great Britain Hockey Star Launches Olympic, Ramadan Iftar 2012 Celebrations

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IMO News Service

London: This year, for the first time, the Olympics (27 July to 12 August 2012) will take place during Ramadan (20 July to 18 August 2012) and in the spirit of collaboration and friendship mosques across the UK will open their Iftar celebrations to neighbours, visitors, Muslims, non-Muslims, officials and Olympic athletes from across the world.

Iftar, the evening meal that breaks the Muslim fast during the holy month of Ramadan, is a time of celebration that traditionally includes the hosting of guests and travellers.

The press reception to launch the initiative will take place on Monday 11 June at The Islamic Cultural Centre, 146 Park Road, London NW8 7RG at 10.00 am. Hockey star Darren Cheeseman from Team GB will play in a hockey match between local children and the Boy Scouts Association in the grounds. This will be followed at 11.00 am by a programme of events including a speech by James Brokenshire MP, Home Office Parliamentary Under Secretary, at 11.15 am.

"The Olympics’ Ramadan Iftar Celebrations will give visitors a chance to experience Ramadan with local Muslim communities. They will sample warm hospitality and experience the cultural mix of mosques around the UK: a huge range of culinary dishes from Asia, Africa, Europe and the near and far East will be available at different mosques. The Scouts Association enthusiastically supports the initiative and scouts across the country will be on hand to help serve guests during the Iftar meals," said a press release received by Indian Muslim Observer on June 7, 2012.

Darren Cheesman, Team GB and Silver Medal hockey winner at the 2007 Olympics said, “I am delighted to take part in the Iftar celebrations... To have the Olympics in your hometown is just amazing, but to be able to share an experience of your faith with others as part of these celebrations is just fantastic... I hope people will keep an open mind and come along to a local mosque. They will be warmly welcomed and boy will they be well fed.”

The Iftar 2012 website, www.iftar2012.com, will provide details of participating mosques across all the Olympic venues in the UK. By using the latest social media tools to help visitors of any faith and no faith to find out what is happening in their areas by simply typing in their postcode. Some of the nation’s smaller mosques will have designated Iftar days; the larger ones will run Iftars every day throughout Ramadan that will host Olympic teams and officials as part of the national festivities.

The London Olympic Organising Committee, The Home Office, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Metropolitan Police, The Scouts Association, Year of service, Islamic Cultural Centre and Islamic Relief are supporting the Iftar 2012 celebrations.

All six Olympic city venues, London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham (Coventry) and Newcastle have participating mosques.

A free parking space has been allocated at the Islamic Cultural Centre for outside broadcasting units and for journalists.

Ramadan in 2012 will start on Friday, the 20th of July and will continue for 30 days until Saturday, the 18th of August. Note that in the Muslim calendar day begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Ramadan on the sunset of Thursday, the 19th of July. Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.

Iftar 2012 is being organised by Faith Associates on behalf of the participating mosques and Islamic centres. Faith Associates is committed to multidisciplinary collaborative research, development and implementation of faith and community initiatives at local, national and international levels. Further information can be found at www.faithassociates.co.uk/.

Full details of participating mosques and activities can be found at www.iftar2012.com.

For further information, please contact:

Faith Associates/Iftar 2012 office on 01753 201244

Zoe Staines on 07966 550306

Email: info@iftar2012.com
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