Waterlily function rooms at Mile End.
Ifter is the evening meal that Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. I have worked in Tower Hamlets for 20 years but this was the first formal Ifter I have ever attended.
It was a marvelous event with hundreds of guests and overflowing tables. I was somewhat surprised to see my old comrade, the Branch secretary of Unison Tower Hamlets Local Government branch present at this Labour Party event. I wondered after all the trails and tribulations of his current Party if he is considering coming home to Labour?
Even more surprising was to see controversial Tower Hamlets blogger, a Sunday Express Editor and fellow North Wales Gog, Ted Jeory, with his lovely wife Alberta, who was brought up locally in Whitechapel. I just had to sit next to him and ask if he had felt any sharp pains in his back since he had been in the hall?
There were a number of speeches including by local Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick, who gave a rousing endorsement of Labour Tower Hamlets Mayor candidate, John Biggs, partly in Sylheti (apparently with a slight Scottish accent). While Bethnal Green and Bow MP, Rushanara Ali, claimed that Jim's Sylheti was better than hers! She introduced the star attraction, East London Labour Assembly Member and Mayor Candidate, John Biggs.
I think that you must have tremendous respect for British Muslims, for fasting from drawn to dusk in high summer. It cannot be easy at any time of the year but non Muslims I come across simply cannot believe that they are not able to drink water as well as eat no food during the current super hot and humid conditions. Many also pray early and late into the night which means they have to endure a lack of sleep as well.
Iftar is obviously a religious event but I most impressed with the courtesy and respect shown to guests such as myself. The fast finished that night at 9.10pm. I am not at all sure that I will have been so polite and well mannered if I had no food or drink for the previous 18 hours.
Hat tip pictures in collage to Sami Photography.