One of Ramadan Tent Project’s keen supporters and attendees – SOAS student James – interviewed other Ramadan Tent Project attendees to get their perspective on Ramadan and Ramadan Tent Project. We are so thrilled to see people meeting each other and getting involved in the Ramadan Tent Project community!
Reflections on the Ramadan Tent Experience
By James Appleby
After the communal meal has finished at the Ramadan Tent Project, not many people rush off home. During the meal, people make ample conversation and therefore usually stay around the gardens chatting for a good while afterwards. This community spirit that the Ramadan Tent Project has fostered was a good chance for me to interview a couple of students of differing backgrounds to ascertain what they made of the cause.
Firstly, I spoke to Naima, a former SOAS student from London, born to Somali parents:
Naima – I am a supporter since last year’s tent. It’s amazing to see how the project has developed and gained exposure, and I love to sample the atmosphere among friends.
James – Do you think that the tent is something that benefits the UK, a nation where Islam is [one of] the largest[s] religion[s]…?
Naima – What must be remembered is how unique the project is … Community events happen in every country in the world – but what is important about this project is that it brings people together in the same space regardless of faith, including the homeless. That is the true spirit of Ramadan and what makes it unique.
Offering free food is bound to attract people, but what really encourages dialogue and interaction is that people are obliged to sit together on the ground – a very communal setting. Every day I come here, I sit with people from all corners of the world, and of all walks of life.
The Ramadan Tent Project prides itself on being open to all people of all faiths, and all walks of life. Being ideally placed right near a cluster of internationally-recognised universities in London, it is clear that the communal spirit of Ramadan is able to be spread across the world. To gain a non-Muslim’s perspective on the project, I spoke to German SOAS postgraduate student Rudolph.
Rudolph – I think it is a really nice way of showcasing Islam…. It is a great example of community spirit, people coming together and making friends regardless of their backgrounds – and on top of everything, the food is really nice!
James – What about the atmosphere of the tent itself?
Rudolph – Sitting in the park is really such a relaxing setting – and the best thing of all is just meeting and speaking with people who are all new, different and interesting. The volunteers work tirelessly to the point where you feel guilty that they aren’t all sitting down and relaxing themselves. They always selflessly ensure that everyone else is having a good time. It was so nice that I brought my friend along, to come the day after I first attended.
James – What did she think?
Rudolph – Her first thoughts were that she wanted things like these to happen across the UK. She’s from Birmingham, a relatively multi-cultural area of the UK, yet she didn’t know of anything like this project before. She also praised the efforts of the volunteers and loved that this was something open to all faiths.
I remember being invited to Iftar by a Muslim family in Germany when I was younger, and I was humbled by the culture of sharing. This is absolutely something I’d like to see more of….
As a teenager having grown up in the statistically least ethnically diverse place in the UK, I wholeheartedly share Naima and Rudolph’s sentiments. I am convinced that projects such as Ramadan Tent Project are what is needed to bring divided and fearful communities together, allowing for tolerance and friendships to blossom.
My pride and gratitude is with all of the organisers and volunteers who make the project possible, and I will continue to support it – as it hopefully goes global!