Unity: Community Iftar in Richmond

Sun, 12 May 2019 19:30 in Community Engagement

Date: 12th May 2019
Time: 19:30-22:30
Venue: York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham TW1 3AA


  • Dialogue Society
  • London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
  • Fellowship Educational Society


  • Councillor Ben Khosa, Mayor of London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
  • Bishop Of Kensington, The Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin
  • Vamsi Dhari Dasa, ISKCON (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness)
  • Kerim Balci, Project Coordinator, Dialogue Society


Through the observance of fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan, Muslims aim to foster a period of reflection, reunification and spiritual growth. The personal sacrifice of millions of Muslims abstaining from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset is a powerful symbol of unity, and an effort to individually reconnect to God and to the services within one's diverse community.

This theme of “unity” was emphasised in the Dialogue Society's Community Iftar Dinner organised in partnership with the Fellowship Educational Society.

Hosted by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, the Iftar was held in the 17th century York House building in Twickenham with other 140 attendees.

A warm welcome was provided by Councillor Ben Khosa, Mayor of London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, who shared with the audience his personal experience of Muslims being represented as the “bogeyman” and the “enemy” by elders whilst disciplining children in the period following the post-partition India and the power of interfaith friendships of children in breaking down barriers of prejudice and enhancing unity within the community.

This was followed by the Bishop Of Kensington, The Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin, who highlighted the significance of religious freedoms within society: Vamsi Dhari Dasa / ISKCON, (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness), who highlighted the necessity of spirituality within education: Kerim Balci, Dialogue Society, who highlighted the process of the “Ramadanification” of the community: and, Shaykh Ammar Siddique , Hounslow Mosque, who performed the Call to Prayer and provided a short prayer before fast was broken.

The meal was accompanied by the rhythms of the talented Sufi musicians Murat Yegul and Khaled and mini-workshops of discussion on the theme of “unity” amongst attendees. After the optional observance of the Magrib prayer attendees shared snippets from the fruitful dialogue over the theme. Rabbi Gluck OBE, Chairman and Founder of The Muslim-Jewish Forum, and Deputy Lieutenant for Richmond, Gillian Norton were invited to the stage and presented their own take on “unity” and their iftar with the Dialogue Society.

Closing remarks were made by Councillor Ben Khosa, who called for attendees to take the theme of the evening into their own lives and society at large.