Thursday, 29 February 2024 09:16

Ramadan in England: "Nothing beats the Moroccan atmosphere!"

Friday, 03 July 2015

The holy month of Ramadan stands for reunions, piety, and food but above all, it means challenges for the Moroccan community in England.

This is the month when Moroccans living in this country get together more and tend to establish a more active social life despite work constraints.

This is also the time when members of the Moroccan Diaspora meet more often around a table filled with delicious food and delicacies. They compete every day to organize the best specialties of the country and ensure that the table is well decorated of dishes and unique scents that tickle the nostrils.

Dates, milk, tea, orange juice, chebakia, fruits, soups and baghrir. Everyone does his best to break the fast, the Moroccan way.

But the majority of Moroccans in England are unanimous: Breaking the fast away from the family and the mother country is one of the most difficult times for all immigrants.

The meetings organized around the table for iftar reflect the spirit of solidarity and spirituality that symbolizes the Holy month, they say.

According to the opinion of the young student Abdelilah El Salhi native of Tangier, the time of breaking the fast is the hardest to overcome. He acknowledged that "fasting, away from the family environment and friends is the hardest thing to manage."

Same story with his compatriot Aziz El Redouani who works in the hotel industry. "It’s the family atmosphere that we miss the most during this holy month. And we need to be patient to overcome the difficulties of integration into British society," he said to MAP news agency.

As for Driss Tadlaoui, an employee at a London financial institution, he prefers with his English wife to break the fast at the Moroccan or Middle Eastern restaurant in order to recreate the atmosphere of the Moroccan Ftour.

By cons, his compatriot Rabii Ouhyne, who works in a Halal butchery ssays he prefers the dietary and economic Ftour at home rather than the menus offered by restaurants which are expensive.

Imtanouin Ahmed, a sexagenarian from the city of Agadir who has lived in England for years, evokes other virtues of this holy month.

For him, "fasting is not just refraining from eating, it helps to clarify and strengthen the spirit. It soothes the mind and also allows for recharging your soul."

"This is an opportunity for Muslims to reconcile and be generous," he said, claiming that the mutual aid and solidarity between Moroccans make them stronger, particularly in terms of religion”.

Indeed, during this blessed month, mosques based in London or those in other UK regions have a strong influx from Muslim and Moroccan faithful who often wear traditional clothing (djellaba pristine, caps and white or yellow slippers). A way to express their attachment to their roots and their Moroccan identity.

In this month of mercy, forgiveness, tolerance and sharing, mosques in London organize many activities, including free collective Ftours, allowing Muslims of the city to come together around the same table.

On this occasion, several British Islamic centers offer the faithful a series of thematic conferences on Islam and the benefits of fasting.

After the prayer of Al Isha and Taraweh, Moroccan faithful gather around tables of tea, a time to meet and exchange information on their respective families and the latest news in the country.

"It's the atmosphere, the scents and flavors of the country in the month of Ramadan that we miss the most in England," said many members of the community, who were very eager to see their loved ones and families this summer in Morocco.

"Nothing equals the pleasure of enjoying the Ramadan atmosphere near relatives in Morocco," they said smiles on their faces.

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