Grand ef­fort to pre­pare cap­i­tal if­tar

Thou­sands break fast at Abu Dhabi mosque

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Is­mail Se­bug­waawo @is­mailsebu is­

A mem­ber of the UAE Armed Forces has spo­ken of the “priv­i­lege” at serv­ing if­tar to thou­sands of peo­ple break­ing their fast at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

At 6pm daily, a steady stream of peo­ple are al­ready fill­ing up if­tar tents at the lower gar­den in the mosque grounds.

And in less than an hour, more than 15,000 men have al­ready taken seats for the big­gest daily if­tar gath­er­ing in the UAE.

Eleven air-con­di­tioned tents have been erected in the gardens - with each ac­com­mo­dat­ing up to 1,500 peo­ple each night.

Mo­hammed Ra­jab Ali, an Egyp­tian ex­pat work­ing with the UAE armed forces or­gan­is­ing group, said he is proud to be part of the team serv­ing free meals to work­ers.

“It feels great serv­ing thou­sands of be­liev­ers as they break their fast,” he said.

“I serve food to peo­ple of var­i­ous classes and na­tion­al­i­ties ev­ery day. For me it’s re­ally an hon­our to cater for fast­ing peo­ple dur­ing the Holy Month of Ra­madan. I am so happy to be part of the or­gan­is­ing team.”

Ali, 29, said he has been part of the team at the mosque for six years now.

On Tues­day, peo­ple broke their fast with rice, beef, a veg­etable salad, an ap­ple, dates, juice, water, Vi­ta­min C and la­ban.

Mo­hammed Kalema, 32, a Ugan­dan taxi driver, said it was the first time he had bro­ken his fast at the Grand Mosque since mov­ing to the cap­i­tal last year. “It’s cool and very com­fort­able,” he said. “I have been im­pressed by the great or­gan­i­sa­tion in here. I had never had the chance to have if­tar with such a big num­ber of peo­ple.”

Bangladeshi con­struc­tion worker, Omar Ab­dul Ka­reem said he stays in a labour camp in Musaf­fah and their com­pany bus trans­ports them daily to the if­tar.

“I come here ev­ery day to end fast. The food served here is re­ally good,” he said.

Ab­dul Ka­reem added: “I’ve been com­ing at the Grand Mosque for free if­tar for the past three years. It’s a good thing for me given my Dhs1,000 monthly salary.”

Thou­sands of work­ers from labour camps in Mus­safah, Mafraq and Baniyas also flock to the Grand Mosque daily us­ing the free shut­tle ser­vice to and from the mosque to their ac­com­mo­da­tions.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Cen­tre, which runs the if­tar pro­gramme, said this year 20,000 meals are be­ing pre­pared and de­liv­ered daily by the Armed Forces Of­fi­cers Club.

Emi­rati Walid Nasser, who is also part of the or­gan­is­ing team said: “There are even sep­a­rate tents for women and chil­dren. We love do­ing this job.”

PRIV­I­LEGE: Mo­hammed Ra­jib Ali (left) has de­scribed be­ing able to help as a priv­i­lege

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