Ramadan celebration ‘about reinforcing fact everyone welcome’

Queenstown locals of all faiths and backgrounds celebrated Ramadan on Friday evening.

Not-for-profit organisation MyFundAction Youth Development Centre (MYDC), an organisation which focuses on supporting Muslim youth in Queenstown, opened its doors to celebrate Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, and the holy month of fasting, beginning and ending with the crescent moon. It finishes tomorrow.

Thirty-five people from local businesses and community organisations, including representatives from police and the Salvation Army, gathered to learn more about Ramadan and Islamic culture in general.

MYDC co-ordinator Catherine Doye said the event provided a good opportunity to educate people on Islamic culture and the significance of Ramadan.

"It is all about education and reinforcing the fact everyone is welcome in our space, no matter their background or faith."

The evening allowed people to experience traditional Islamic practices, such as Maghrib —— one of five mandatory Salah (Islamic prayers) that occurs at sunset.

Queenstown people embrace Ramadan at an educational event held by MyFundAction Youth Development...
Queenstown people embrace Ramadan at an educational event held by MyFundAction Youth Development Centre on Friday evening. PHOTO: RHYVA VAN ONSELEN
Attendees then shared Iftar — the traditional breaking of the Ramadan fast, with dates, which was followed by a multicultural dinner with dishes from different regions a practise Islamic faith.

Ms Doye said the event also showed people that MYDC welcomes anyone into their space.

"If people are struggling or want a safe, friendly and welcoming environment, this a place they can come.

"Anyone is welcome, from any walk of life."

Active volunteer at MYDC, Habib Ali said he enjoyed inviting people into the space.

"I am thankful to share the blessings we have and build connection with other people in the community."

Throughout Ramadan, MYDC has supported its members by hosting daily Iftar, providing a place for people to prepare meals together and discuss their faith in a casual, intimate group environment.