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Sunday, June 13, 2021

‘We are all the same’: Muslims break fast at Barcelona church amid Covid pandemic

While volunteers cook a warm meal for free serving mostly Muslims who are homeless in the region, the rector of the church too attends the iftaar dinners regularly.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 7, 2021 6:30:33 pm
ramadan, ramzan, church hosts iftaar, barcelona church iftaar party, barcelona church ramadan dinner for homeless, ramadan communal harmony, indian expressVolunteers prepare a charity Ramadan dinner in the cloister at Santa Anna church during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain. (Source: Reuters)

In a perfect example of communal harmony, a church in Barcelona opened its doors for Muslims breaking fast during the holy month of Ramadan. As indoor venues remain closed in the country, the Catholic church offered its open-air cloisters for people to eat and pray together.

Every evening around 50 to 60 people, many of them homeless, visit the centuries-old stone passages of the Santa Anna church, where volunteers offer a hearty iftaar meal for free. Father Peio Sanchez, Santa Anna’s rector, who allowed the church premises to be used, sees the meeting of different faiths as emblematic of civic coexistence, Al Jazeera reported.

“Even with different cultures, different languages, different religions, we are more capable of sitting talking than some politicians,” the Catholic priest was quoted by CGTN.

Faouzia Chati, president of the Catalan Association of Moroccan Women, who used to organise Iftaar gatherings in the city, but limits on indoor dining forced her to seek an alternative space where there was enough space to practice social distancing. It was then that she reached out to the church and they received a warm welcome.

ramadan, ramzan, church hosts iftaar, barcelona church iftaar party, barcelona church ramadan dinner for homeless, ramadan communal harmony, indian express People queue for a charity Ramadan dinner in the cloister at Santa Anna church during the coronavirus pandemic for the iftaar dinner. (Source: Reuters)

The volunteers cook fresh meals, which usually consists of harira, that it’s a traditional soup from Morocco, that has meat, lentils, chickpeas, celery, parsley, coriander, tomato, onion and spices, Chati told Ruptly.

ramadan, ramzan, church hosts iftaar, barcelona church iftaar party, barcelona church ramadan dinner for homeless, ramadan communal harmony, indian express Volunteers prepare a charity Ramadan dinner in the cloister at Santa Anna church for iftaar. (Source: Reuters)

Adding that the social lunch hall started last year in the wake of the pandemic, where they first started to give breakfast, then lunch and Chati added they also started offering dinners to them on their way out. “And now, the Muslims, when the month of Ramadan arrives, can’t come to eat. So the food that they have in the afternoon, they now have in the evening,” she explained.

ramadan, ramzan, church hosts iftaar, barcelona church iftaar party, barcelona church ramadan dinner for homeless, ramadan communal harmony, indian express Priest Peio Sanchez speaks with people during a charity Ramadan dinner in the cloister at Santa Anna church during the iftaar dinner. (Source: Reuters)

“People are very happy that Muslims can do Iftar in a Catholic church, because religions serve to unite us, not to separate us,” Chati told Reuters.

“We are all the same… If you are Catholic or of another religion and I am Muslim, that’s fine,” Hafid Oubrahim, a 27-year old Moroccan of Berber descent who attends the dinners told the news agency. “We are all like brothers and we must help each other too.”

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