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16 July 2012

Iftar meals: Religious import underpins profound social meaning

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By Mohan Vadayar 

Sharjah: With the Holy Month of Ramadan at the threshold, all social organisations — Muslim as well as non-Muslim — and individuals, are fully prepared to offer free Iftar to millions of needy people in and out of the UAE.

Among several other organisations, the Khalifa Bin Zayed Humanitarian Foundation announced last Saturday that it has made agreements with over 600 Emirati families to prepare 1.7 million Iftar meals to be distributed among the poor during Ramadan, WAM quoted director-general Mohammed Haji Khouri.

This is the sixth consecutive year the Foundation is implementing the project of serving hot meals to help the poor and needy during the Holy Month.

The foundation said that it is an innovative initiative at the national level to task the Emirati families with the preparation of food, so they also get help as well as the opportunity to participate in the charity works.

Around 109 centres nationwide are ready to distribute the Foundation’s meals with 21 centres in Abu Dhabi (363,000 meals by the end of Ramadan), 10 in Dubai and 10 in Sharjah.

“During last Ramadan, the Foundation distributed Iftar for 1.8 million people nationwide. Sponsors of the project spare no effort to support the initiative,” Khouri said.

In another mass Iftar project, around 90,000 workers in Dubai will receive Iftar meals during Ramadan, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) announced.
General administrator of the 11th Ramadan Forum, Hamad Bin Magran, announced that over 2,800 people from different nationalities at the labour camp in Al Muhaisana 2, will receive free Iftar meals daily.

A lecture programme, like in the previous 10 sessions, will also be in non-Arabic languages on July 31, and from Aug.1-3 at the Al Tawar Tent. Two other lectures will also be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre on July 26 and 27, he added.

The annual event is held under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation.

The Ramadan Forum’s cultural activities will include the Goodness Caravan around Dubai, which will distribute thousands of books, pamphlets, and cassettes on Islam.

Other social organisations like the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), a body of Muslims in India living in the UAE, are also gearing up for supplying free Iftars during the Holy Month.
KMCC will distribute thousands of Iftars in the UAE as well as at their centres in Kerala— especially in hospitals, its UAE general secretary Ibrahim Elettil said in Dubai last Thursday.
Other social organisations like Akcaf (an apex body of Kerala college alumni), Priyadarshini, Indian Association Sharjah, and tens of district-wise and village-wise groups from Kerala and other parts of India have come forward to distribute free Iftars.

In addition to these organisations, every mosque in the country will offer daily Iftar for worshippers and travellers who happen to be at the mosque at the time of breaking fast.
The meals, collected from benevolent Muslim families and philanthropists, will be kept ready for breaking fast at the time of sunset.

Another attraction of Iftar is, invariably, the sumptuous offers by restaurants. Moreover, Iftar party meetings have also become the norm. Dubai’s top-class hotels at Dubai Marina, Barsha, Dubai Festival City, Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, Al Quoz, Jumeirah, Deira, Sheikh Zayed Road, TECOM, Bur Dubai, International City, Nad Al Sheba and Garhoud have already advertised their offerings on the Net. Similar offers are available in hotels and restaurants in Sharjah as well.

(Courtesy: The Gulf Today)

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