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South London comes together for second Iftar at Selhurst Park

South London came together for a second Iftar celebration at Selhurst Park last week to honor the holy month of Ramadan, which began on 22nd March and will finish on the evening of Friday 21st April.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is considered a sacred period for many Muslims worldwide. It involves a strict daily fast from dawn until sunset, and Iftar is the meal that breaks the fast at sunset – many Muslims break their fast with their community during this month.

Some of our Iftar attendees posing for a picture by the dugouts

The event at Selhurst Park was a chance for families to come together and celebrate amongst some special guest speakers including Dr. Zaf Iqbal, who works as the Head of Sports Medicine at Crystal Palace F.C. Dr. Zaf was a key figure in working with the Premier League to allow matches to be paused for Muslim players to break-fast during Ramadan. He spoke about the impact of fasting on elite-level footballers and how they manage their fast with training and playing schedules and also gave some top tips to guests on the best times to exercise when fasting.

Dr. Zaf Iqbal speaking at our second Iftar at Selhurst Park

Also joining our hosts, previous Palace for Life participants and now coaches, Abdullah and Akram on stage for a Q&A, was QPR Midfielder and Pakistan international Harun Hamid and Player Inclusion Executive Lead at the PFA (Professional Footballers Association) Riz Rehman.

The event was made even more special with the presence of two Palace midfielders, Cheick Doucourè and Naouirou Ahmada, who are practicing Muslims themselves, who joined in the breaking of the fast with other attendees, as well as former England cricketer Sajid Mahmood.

Cheick Doucourè at Iftar

Hazmi Bahrin, Community Development Coordinator at Palace for Life said:

“It was a privilege to have such a great turn out from the local community and be able to build on from last year’s event. It was also a great chance to see diversity and inclusion between club and foundation by having the club doctor and two first team players come down, which definitely had a lasting impact on both the young people and parents who came”

We’d like to thank Dr Zaf Iqbal, Harun Hamid, Riz Rehman, Cheick Doucourè and Naouirou Ahmada and all of our guests for coming down to Selhurst Park to break-fast together.

Events such as Iftar are part of our Get Involved programme, which is designed to create more inclusive spaces for groups under-represented in football, such as the local Asian community. For more information, head here.


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