By Kamil Opeyemi
Chelsea Foundation will On Sunday 26 March host an Open Iftar at the side of the pitch at Stamford Bridge, in what will be a first for the club and a Premier League Stadium.
This will be held as part of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting from before dawn to sunset, which takes place from Wednesday 22 March until Friday 21 April.
The UK’s largest community event in Ramadan, Open Iftar allows Muslims observing Ramadan the opportunity to gather to break their fast together as well as providing a safe space for mutual dialogue and engagement.
A number of local mosques and members of Chelsea’s Muslim community such as supporters and school students will be invited to attend, along with Chelsea FC staff.
The Open Iftar will be run in collaboration with the Ramadan Tent Project, an award-winning charity established in 2013 with a mission of bringing communities together and developing the understanding of Ramadan.
Ramadan Tent Project, who are this year celebrating their 10-year anniversary, organises the annual Ramadan Festival which is a yearly celebration of art, culture and creativity inspired by the holy month of Ramadan.
Omar Salha, founder and CEO of the Ramadan Tent Project, said: “For the past decade Ramadan Tent Project has connected and convened over half-a-million people from all backgrounds through its annual Ramadan Festival and flagship initiative Open Iftar.
“We are honoured to bring Open Iftar to Stamford Bridge, on the occasion of our 10-year anniversary and our 2023 theme of “Belonging”, and work in partnership with Chelsea FC who have been driving inclusivity in football.
“To such an extent, the “Pride of London” will be the first Premier League club in history to host an Open Iftar event.
“Football and Ramadan brings people together over shared experiences and we are thrilled to share this important celebration with football supporters from all backgrounds, representing a community of communities.”
Ramadan will be recognised at Chelsea FC and Chelsea Foundation as part of the “No To Hate Campaign”, which is a club-wide equality, diversity and inclusion programme that targets hate and discrimination and aims to educate all stakeholders inside and outside of Chelsea FC and football.
Promoting religious tolerance is one of No To Hate’s key focus areas, with other religious festivals highlighted throughout the calendar year.
Simon Taylor, head of Chelsea Foundation, said: “I’m delighted to announce our Open Iftar alongside the Ramadan Tent Project and we are extremely proud to be the first Premier League club to be doing so. Recognising Ramadan and our Muslim community is a crucial aspect of our work in promoting religious tolerance and I look forward to welcoming everyone on Sunday 26 March.”