“And not being able to see your family in Ramadan is so hard”

“The hardest part of Ramadan in Lockdown is not being able to host Lantern’s Ladies Iftars. Each year we host over 150 women every Friday in Ramadan.

The Iftars started off the back of my own isolation as a new Muslim. I was so fed up of breaking my fast alone. Iftars and congregational activities in the community were centred around the needs of the men in our community (taraweeh, itikaf etc). I had a young child so swanning off for meals out with friends like other Muslim women my age wasn’t an option, and I never felt at home in spaces set up especially for ‘reverts’.

There were many women like me, literally or figuratively alone for a plethora of reasons – Friday Iftars became our safe space.

Lantern as an organisation has grown since those early days, we have lots more volunteers and a quite a few more members.

We eat together, we pray together, we serve together. We have grieved and laughed, we have become a family. And not being able to see your family in Ramadan is so hard. (Can’t say I miss the clean ups till 1am though!)

But out of this isolation, will come forth something beautiful, as it did in the beginning and we will be back with something even better Inshallah. I just hope that the vulnerable people we ordinarily support are able to find solace in their own isolation.”

Shana Iqbal, Co-Vice Chair, Lantern

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    In memory of Gillian Llewellyn, daughter of Josie Courtney