Photos: Bedford’s Street Iftar attracts 1,500 attendees

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Qari Hassen Rasoo addresses the Bedford Street Iftar 2023 (image: Islam Bedford)
Qari Hassen Rasoo addresses the Bedford Street Iftar 2023. Image: Islam Bedford

Around 1,500 people attended this year’s Street Iftar at Bedford Corn Exchange, organised by the town’s Muslim community.

The free event was organised by Islam Bedford, Eid in Bedford, with the charity partner Islamic Relief. It was hosted by the nationally acclaimed call to prayer and Quran reciter, Qari Hassen Rasool and was attended by people of all, or no, faiths.

During Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink during the hours of daylight as they dedicate themselves to their faith. Iftar is when those taking part in Ramadan come together to break their fast.

The event took place on 7 April and was funded by sponsors and donations from the community, businesses and organisations.

Alongside representatives from the Mosques in Bedford, the event was attended by the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire Russell Beard, ACC Dan Vajzovic from Bedfordshire Police, representatives from the Harpur Trust, Bedford’s elected mayor Dave Hodgson and MP Mohammed Yasin (Labour).

One of the organisers, Malik Khan, said one of the purposes of the event was to share Muslim culture with the rest of the community.

“Bedford is very diverse so it’s important to celebrate within our community and share with other communities,” he told BBC News. The High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Russell Beard, said it was the first time he’d attended the Bedford Street Iftar.

“The organisational effort behind the scenes was incredible and to serve 1500 delicious meals in a short space of time equally amazing,” he said.

“I met people from London and the East Midlands so the event is clearly attracting visitors from a wide area.

“The whole atmosphere was so friendly and positive – it was a delight to be a part of a growing and significant local event.”

Sergeant Karanjit Sanghera, from Bedfordshire Police’s Community Cohesion Team, said: “Throughout the event, we supported the celebrations and were on hand to engage with members of the public.

“It was an outstanding event inclusive of other cultures and religions, and it was great to see so many people come together to support and open fasting with the Muslim communities.”