Palace for Life Foundation hold Iftar celebration event at Selhurst Park with special guest Zesh Rehman
On 11th April, Palace for Life held an Iftar event at Selhurst Park as part of this year’s Ramadan celebrations, which began on Saturday 2nd April and ended on Sunday 1st May.
Iftar is the main meal of the fasting day, which occurs at sunset every day of Ramadan, and is often done as a community. This event was part of Palace for Life’s goal to create more inclusive spaces for groups under-represented in football, including the local Asian community, women and girls and people with disabilities.
Hazmi Bahrin, Football Development Officer at Palace for Life, said:
“The event was a great opportunity to bring together and welcome the local community to break-fast in the month of Ramadan. Occasions like these show the inclusive nature of our football club and foundation. Everyone who attended enjoyed themselves and it was evident by the smiles and positive feedback we received during and after the event which only serves as encouragement that next year we can build on this and make the event even better.”
The event hosted in Speroni’s restaurant in Selhurst Park kicked off with a short introduction to the Get Involved programme, before ex-professional footballer and friend of the Foundation, Zesh Rehman answered some questions about his career, and what young south Londoners can do to follow their footballing dreams.
Zesh was the first British South Asian to play in the Premier League when he played for Fulham against Liverpool in 2004. Throughout his career and beyond, Birmingham born Zesh has had a passion to give back to his community and in 2010 launched ‘The Zesh Rehman Foundation’, which is built on principles of community engagement and support for young people, mentoring and role modelling, and using his networks within football to open opportunities across all elements of the industry.
When asked about how he became a professional footballer, Zesh advised:
“Whatever you want to do, if you’re passionate about it, you should follow your dreams. Anything is possible.”
Talking about The Zesh Rehman Foundatio’, he also said:
“The Foundation is over a decade old now – the whole idea of it was to create a ripple effect and it is happening; other clubs are involved. I always think home should be with your local community, so if that’s Crystal Palace, and Palace are doing a great job. Wherever you can support club then you should support where you can.”
After Zesh spoke to guests, there was a call to prayer, and fast was broken with dates, water and milk, then after prayer was complete, hot food was served to all of the guests.
Raya Ahmed-Sakhi, Female Engagement Development Officer, said:
“For our very first Iftar event it went amazingly smoothly, participants, families and staff had smiles on their faces, it was evident that everyone enjoyed their time.
Both participants and parents mentioned how good the evening was and engaged in the question and answer time with the first British Asian Muslim Premier League Player, Zesh Rehman.
Having this event happen has definitely shown the attendees that Palace for Life is a foundation that are very open to ensure everyone feels welcome and comfortable.
We hope to do more events like this in the future to both spread and show more awareness of such important dates.”
Events such as Iftar are part of Palace for Life’s Get Involved programme, designed to create more inclusive spaces for groups under-represented in football.
For more information on the Get Involved Programme , please head here.