#LibDemIftar – a first for us! 

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Would you like a date with a LibDem? Not in the romantic sense. This is the fruit you can eat as Muslims do when they end their fast for the day, the Iftar.

Next week, Muslims will be observing the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan and this year, the Liberal Democrats will be joining them! Acting leader Sir Ed Davey, MP Layla Moran, Siobhan Benita and other high profile Lib Dems, will join Muslim communities this Ramadan by fasting alongside them on Saturday the 25th of April. They will be taking this opportunity to raise money for a charity of their choosing – many that tackle hunger in the UK, an issue which has become more prevalent in the recent weeks, as our foodbanks come under greater pressure during the coronavirus outbreak.

During Ramadan, Muslims seek to focus on their faith and compassion for others, through abstaining from food and drink from dawn until dusk. They don’t even lie. This is also a time of great community spirit, as people gather together in mosques and each other’s homes, to take part in communal meals and prayers. This year of course, that won’t happen. Mosques in this country closed their doors just as churches, synagogues and temples did. Nonetheless, after weeks of minimal social contact, the curtailment of Ramadan festivities will come as a further blow for many who feel isolated from their communities. This is something that many faith groups relate to.

Our party deciding to fast with our Muslim neighbours, is therefore a significant display of solidarity during a difficult time for all of us. Muslims, and indeed many others, will be feeling a loss of community spirit. By taking part in this fast, and sharing our experiences over social media, we can help re-create the Ramadan spirit online.

It would wonderful to have other Lib Dem members taking part, if they are healthy and want to be part of an unique experience. Not only is this a gesture of solidarity with the Muslim community, it will be an excellent opportunity to truly experience what true hunger feels like.

Sadly, being hungry is not a choice for many in the country. The number of people reliant on food charities is up and the homeless are only now getting accommodation to stop further spread of the virus. Muslims think of others and to give to charity when they fast – so this fast is the perfect way to highlight some of the charities that help our most vulnerable. If you fast, consider also donating to a charity of your choice.

To take part, you will need to abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk, which on 25th April is 4:03am until 8:19pm. Here’s a good article which goes into more detail about fasting and what it entails. This is not a religious act just an experience. We encourage you to share your thoughts of the day on social media, using hashtags #RamadanMubarak #LibDemIftar, also using this as an opportunity to raise the profile of your preferred charity. Then join others who have fasted for a virtual #LibDemIftar at sunset , a meal to end the fast. For more details including a comprehensive social media plan, please download this briefing for the day: Lib Dem Iftar 2020 Briefing

I’m so proud of our party and its record of solidarity with minorities. This fast will be a first for any political party and may raise a few eyebrows – but getting noticed for doing something that reaches out to our diverse communities is no bad thing. So give it a go – join us for this day to show solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters and at the same time help our most needy in our community. #RamadanMubarak everyone.


* Hina Bokhari is a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly.

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • Nothing like eating a fresh date from the tree.

  • Rodney Watts 19th Apr '20 - 3:00pm

    Hi Hina. Salaam Alaikum. Ramadan Mubarak!
    @Manfarang – meant to ask some time ago , how did you came to choose the Thai word for tuber or potato as your nom de plume?
    Take care and keep safe everyone. Shukran Hina for invite

  • Did the great and the good show solidarity with Christian communities during Lent?

  • Rodney
    A potato in Thai is munfarang.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Apr '20 - 3:31pm

    As usual a kind person, excellent notion.

    I am not against a fast, but am concerned, as one who has known well, people who have eating disorders, these events need to emphasise how important food is, and, as mentioned, see hunger, as awful, but not use such as ways to see denial of food, as a control mechanism other than worrying .

  • Gary J – what an odd question. As a Christian I am very aware that the festivals I celebrate tend to be culturally dominant in our society. I have also encouraged Hina with her initiative which can only boost inter-cultural understanding. I’m not offended so why should anyone else be?

  • Lorenzo
    I believe Muslims who are sick or traveling are not required to fast during Ramadan. Work hours are also reduced.

  • Rodney Watts 19th Apr '20 - 9:34pm

    Manfarang Thank you for your kind reply and free education! The only thing is, if you Google , you find both mun and man being given, as well as being separated from farang. I think you have spent time in Thailand, so I guess it’s the problem of transliteration from other scripts (like hebrew). Take care!

  • Rodney Watts 20th Apr '20 - 12:17pm

    Following on from Mary’s welcome comment, I attended a Zoom enabled Pesach Liberation Seder (Passover celebration of liberation of Hebrews from Egypt) organised jointly by BSST (British Shalom -SalaamTrust), Jewish Voice for Labour, and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, of which I am a signatory. This was attended by over 200, mainly Jews with a fair number of Muslims and others, including Jeremy Corbyn. As a Jewish Christian I welcome these kinds of cross cultural activities.
    Since Layla is attending , it’s worth mentioning that BSST, that we donated to is a charity that supports grassroots projects in Israel & Palestine to build a future of peace and cooperation. My own charity of choice is Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), which has been the target of pro-Israel hasbara (propaganda) organisations

  • Rodney
    As you are no doubt aware the Thai name of the fruit guava is farang. As a joke some call westerners buksida which is the Esarn (NE Thailand dialect) word for guava.

  • Rodney Watts 20th Apr '20 - 5:28pm

    First an apology for getting this thread somewhat off topic, whilst increasing international education
    Manfarang. Yes I have learnt about farang meaning guava, but you have taught me buksida! I checked about Esarn as I did have a friend who was born somewhere in the jungle amongst the Hmong, but their language is yet another one.

  • Rodney
    Yes we are getting a bit off topic. Northern Thailand does have its Yunnanese Muslims.

    As for the Hmong they are mostly in Laos, General Vang Pao and all that.

  • Rodney
    I have been sorting out my old photos during this lockdown. I came across one I took of a Hmong young lady on the Plain of Jars.

  • Rodney Watts 21st Apr '20 - 4:38pm

    Manfarang Thanks again for info, which I have read with much interest and at least you have got us back somewhere on topic. Muslims,though, seem to have had, and are still having a raw deal in much of the area. A lot of Christians, such as the Karen in Myanmar are treated terribly like the Rohingya.
    ‘Plain of Jars’ You’ve been about a bit, and a very interesting life you must have had.

  • Rodney
    Yes let’s not forget the many Rohingyas stuck in refugee camps in Bangladesh. On the Thai-Burmese border there are Karen refugees who have been there for decades. Most Karens are in fact Buddhists and at the moment there is a ceasefire between KNLA and the Burmese government.
    In the north of Burma there was a return of conflict between the Christian Kachins and the Burmese government as yet unresolved.

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