Staff & Volunteers Tower Hamlets

Interfaith Iftaar in Tower Hamlets

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In the last week of Ramadan we held an Iftaar Encounter event, where 6 Christians from a local joined joined a group of Muslim young people, as they broke their fast. After eating together, we had discussions about our respective faiths. This is a guest post by Sarah Kaczka and Eli Hancock, InnerCHANGE interns who joined us for the event as volunteers.

Sarah playing a game of Prophets-musical chairs with the young people
Sarah playing a game of Prophets-musical chairs with the young people

As American interns from a Christian university in Chicago, we didn’t quite know what to expect when we were invited to join The Feast Youth Project, but we were intrigued and excited to learn more about The Feast’s vision for interfaith dialogue among young people. While living in the East End of London these past few weeks, we’ve been considering what it means to be Muslim, Christian, Bangladeshi, British, a resident of Tower Hamlets, young, or a number of the other labels or ‘boxes’ we place on each other in order to try to make sense of our world.

At The Feast event, we were able to sit in and observe how young residents of the area interact with these various boxes. It was humbling in many ways to meet other teenagers who were willing to step out of their comfort zones into a setting that blended the familiar with the unfamiliar, through activities such as eating dates to break the Ramadan fast, praying, playing ice-breaker games, and sitting in small groups to discuss and compare experiences of faith and spirituality.
Eli and Sarah inflating some balloons with some young people.
Eli and Sarah inflating some balloons with some young people.

 

To see students confidently step outside of what they know and intentionally enquire about another demographic of people they are sharing a Borough with was to see students willingly decide to make “the other” more than “the other”. It was to see them decide to open doors to deepening their own sense of who they are but also to deepen their sense of who their neighbours are. The more friendships we make with those that are different from us, the more we realize that these boxes we use are not as clear-cut as we initially thought them to be. We truly have so much to learn from one another, and it’s so exciting to see how through safe, inviting environments such as the Feast, these conversations are beginning to take place.