Iftar event: the Spirit of Ramadan

(ICD House, August 8th, 2011)

The Iftar event took place in the ICD House of Art and Culture on the 8th of august which was also the first week of Ramadan. It was organized by the Muslim interns working in the ICD; Benbakka Youssef, Mohamed Lambert, Souad Amiri, Adel Aslan and Ozan Tekin. The idea behind the event was to introduce the month of Ramadan to the non-Muslim interns, friends and visitors, especially that some of them knew that we fast during that month without having any idea about it. The event was not only to give an introduction about Ramadan but also to taste some Ramadan special food from different countries.

We have started the event by giving a small presentation about the month of Ramadan. Giulio Regeni has shared his experience with us as a non-Muslim student in Egypt and Syria during Ramadan. He gave a description of the atmosphere there especially at the time of Maghrib (sunset and fast breaking) and at the time of Sohur (fast begin or sun rise).  We also projected a video showing Iftar (fast breaking) in different Muslim countries. At the time of fast breaking we played the Athan (prayer call) which is the sign for Muslims to break their fast.

For the time of fast breaking we have arranged the tables together to give a family atmosphere to the event, because in Muslim countries we usually break our fast together with family or friends. Date was the first thing we have served because traditionally a date is the first thing to be consumed when the fast is broken. After that we have served the food we have prepared. Each one of the organizers has prepared some specially food from his country. I and Mohamed Lambert we have prepared Harira (Moroccan traditional soup made out of tomato, spices, lentils, chickpeas, and small pieces of meat) and Chebbakia (Moroccan sweet usually served with the soup). Adel Aslan has prepared some Egyptian and Syrian food like: Batata-Harra (spicy potato), Baba-Ghannouch (Levantine dish of aubergine mashed and mixed with virgin olive oil and various seasonings) and some salads. Souad Amiri prepared some Katayef (sweet desert) and other sorts of Algerian sweeties. Ozan Tekin has prepared Turkish Bklava (sweet pastry).

After the food we offered to those who were interested to join us to go to the mosque to get an idea about the way we pray and to see the mosque (the mosque in Görlitzer Bahnhof) from inside. After the payers’ time we went together to drink Turkish tea.

As an outcome of the event there was a rise of awareness among the non-Muslim colleagues concerning Ramadan. They started to prevent eating in front of us and some of them they even apologized about not getting aware of it since the beginning.

At the end I would like to thank the ICD for giving us the opportunity to organize such event and introduce an important part of our religion and culture. I would like also to thank all the interns who took part in our event and made it a very interesting cultural exchange.

Written by:

Youssef Benbakka